Craving for a year-end holiday, but left it too late? Here’s how you can still enjoy a break...without breaking the bank!
By Kel Tan
2017 is drawing to a close, so why not treat yourself to some well-deserved rest and relaxation? If you’ve left it too late to plan a full-on overseas trip (we know, we are guilty of procrastinating too!), here are several more feasible ideas for an affordable getaway on short notice, be it with your family or with your significant other.
1. Scour travel websites
It’s not impossible to plan an affordable overseas holiday, even at such a late stage. Contrary to popular belief, it sometimes (but not always!) pays to book your flight tickets and hotels late.
Many airlines and travel websites offer last-minute cut-price flight tickets and packages, especially if their booking levels are below what they have projected for a particular departure date.
What’s more, you can sign up for price alerts on comparison websites like Skyscanner.com and Kayak.sg.
This way, you’ll be informed if and when prices fall, without having to spend all day being glued your screen.
2. Choose the right time to fly
It’s easier to score bargain deals if you aren’t too particular about your departure and return dates.
Generally, midweek travel tends to be cheaper (sometimes by as much as 20%!), as most people favour weekend getaways. As such, try travelling on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to cut costs.
3. Download the right apps
Apps can really help you to save money while you’re exploring your destination.
For instance, the Entertainer app offers attractive one-for-one deals on dining, wellness and even accommodation, in cities like Hong Kong, Bali and more.
Additionally, apps like HotelTonight and HotelQuickly help you to score last-minute deals on unsold hotel rooms all around the world.
What’s more, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab can really help you save on transport, as they are often cheaper than regular taxis.
Thanks to their fixed fares, they can also help you to avoid becoming a victim of taxi scams, which often target tourists.
4. Consider lesser-known destinations
Have you heart set on Indonesia? Forget Bali and consider under-the-radar alternatives like Lombok or Bandung instead.
What about China? Rather than Beijing and Shanghai, try smaller – but no less exciting – cities like Xiamen and Kunming.
If you really want to go even further off the beaten track, try heading out to one of the many offshore kelongs (wooden fishing platforms) in the region.
For instance, you can book an overnight stay at Merolo Kelong Resort (www.morelokelong.com), a rustic hideaway situated off the coast of the Riau Islands.
Here, you can go fishing, enjoy banana boat rides, and embark on hill treks, before bedding down in a traditional room fashioned from locally sourced timber.
It costs approximately $200 per adult and $180 per child for an overnight stay; prices include transfers and all meals.
5. Book a staycation
Who says that you need to get on a plane to enjoy a rejuvenating break? There’s nothing like a staycay for a quick and convenient getaway.
f you’re planning one with your significant other, we’d recommend checking into Quincy Hotel (from $200++ per night), located in the heart of Orchard Road. Besides boasting a 24-hour pool, the hotel also screens romantic movies on weekends.
For a staycation with the brood, D’Kranji Farm Resort (from $150++ per night) is ideal.
The Family Suite here sleeps eight people comfortably, and even comes with a karaoke system and a barbecue pit. Activities include prawning, farm tours and more.
Alternatively, consider Furama Riverfront, which offers whimsical Theme Rooms (from $270++ per night) adorned with colourful wallpapers of pirates, castles and marine life, just to name a few.
What’s more, each Theme Room comes equipped with kid-friendly amenities like bunk beds, step-stools, an Xbox console and more. Notable facilities at the hotel include an outdoor swimming pool and an indoor children’s playroom.
6. Explore your own city
There is no shortage of places to explore here in sunny Singapore.
For instance, Sentosa is always a safe bet, especially if you have kids in tow. If they’re more on the adventurous side, take them on an outing to the island’s newest attraction,
AJ Hackett Sentosa. Singapore’s only bungy tower offers several vertigo-inducing, adrenaline-pumping activities, from the Skybridge (which has some transparent flooring and a glass cube) to the trademark 47-metre Bungy Jump. Plus, ticket prices start from a mere $16 (for the Skybridge).
Alternatively, take a day trip to Bollywood Veggies, an organic farm in the Kranji countryside. Here, you can take a guided tour of the premises, get your hands dirty planting rice, try making terrariums, and join a cooking class, among other things.
There’s something for everyone in the family!