Singapore, an island-city-state, is one of the most visited and vibrant exciting destinations full of world class sights, museums, parks, pubs, spectacular architecture, historical places of interest, and is internationally renowned for its sense of style, culture and lively nightlife scene. However the Lion City also has a widespread reputation for being an expensive city to visit. Accommodation rates are high, attraction tickets, meals out, a few drinks – they all start to add up and don’t even get us started on the shopping! That being said, there are still several ways to visit Singapore on a budget without settling for hostels and street food. An affordable Singapore vacation is no more a dream, you just have to know where to look and do a little extra planning beforehand.
You can make it easier on your wallet with these money saving tricks.
Travel when flight tickets are cheapest
Contrary to popular belief, flight tickets to Singapore need not be expensive. You just need to know where and when to book. The best time to book your Singapore flight is typically five to six months in advance. Most airlines usually release tickets 10 months in advance. So, once you have decided to go, you can start looking for cheap airfares and continue to check at least once per week. You should plan your trip as far in advance as possible since promotional offers for flight tickets run for a limited time only and have a specific travel period within which you can use your purchased flight tickets. If you are a frequent traveler, you can also use some of your points or miles towards the ticket.
Delete your browser history
Delete your browser history when it comes to booking flights and use private browsing. Prices can increase based on the number of times you re-enter a particular website. So for example, if you’ve searched for a particular flight or holiday deal multiple times before, the airline or travel website may automatically boost the cost of a flight the next time you search for it, as they know how desperately you want to book it.
Be flexible with your travel dates
Try to be flexible with your dates as one has the maximum chances of finding the lowest air tickets if the travel dates are flexible. Also avoid choosing weekends or holiday time to travel as weekends and holidays are the times when a maximum number of people travel, and it is also the time when the ticket prices are at the high.
Book accommodation in central Singapore
We are often asked by our customers as to what are the best places to stay in Singapore. Always stay in the city center. Hotels in central Singapore can be expensive, yet while it might be very tempting to choose cheaper accommodation outside the city center, it’s a choice that you’ll quickly regret. First, commuting into the city every day will cost a lot of money and time. Precious time that you could otherwise use for sightseeing. By staying in central Singapore you can see much more in less time with easy access to the Metro that transports you to all major attractions. Ultimately this will save money not just on transportation, but also on your overall trip budget because you’ll need fewer days in order to see just as much. Make sure, you book in advance.
Travel for less days
Without a doubt, one of the largest variables on your travel budget is how long you plan to travel for. One week? A month? Longer? The longer you’re travelling for, the more it’s going to cost. Plan your itinerary such that you are able to cover major sights in a shorter time thereby saving money which would go on accommodations, food etc. for every extra stay in the Lion City. For first-time visitors we recommend to spend at least 3-4 days in Singapore. This should give you sufficient time to get acquainted with the city, see the main landmarks, and visit a few attractions.
Go budget shopping
No trip to Singapore is complete without indulging in some shopping madness! Cheapest and best-budgeted places to go shopping in Singapore are the Grand Mustafa Centre, Lucky Plaza, Bugis Street, Little India, Far East Plaza, Anchorpoint and Chinatown (for street shopping).
Avoid travelling during holidays and school breaks
Singapore is an extremely popular destination that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The busiest times to visit Singapore are from February to March and July to September, as well as during Indian and Singapore bank holiday weekends and school breaks. If you can, try to avoid these peak periods for fewer crowds and better prices on flights, accommodation etc.
Skip the fancy dining in Singapore
Singapore is an expensive city and dining out can be a pricey experience. Tourists can enjoy local cuisine without paying tourist prices. Many of the local favorites and traditional meals can be found without a heavy price tag in Singapore. Most Singapore classics taste as delicious from a food stand as it does at a fancy restaurant. Furthermore, restaurants located close to the tourist attractions don’t always serve the best food, so researching restaurants in advance can be a good idea.
Also, travelers opting for apartment style accommodations can cook their own meals. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to a lavish table of warm home-cooked dishes at the end of a long day of sightseeing. Plus, cooking from your apartment will help you cut your food expenses while traveling, which you really can’t say no to! No offense to Singaporean cuisine, but you won’t be missing a cultural event if you cook most of your meals at home.
Travel by Metro around Singapore
Singapore Metro is the most convenient option if travelling within Singapore and can save money and time. There is no need for a car or cab, you can easily access to any destination (all major attractions) with MRT & LRT. Also travelling by metro is one of the things tourists love most about Singapore. The biggest advantage of the Metro is that you can quickly get to the desired location without having to waste your time in the traffic. There’s an extensive network, the trains are quick, spacious, comfortable, always on time and air-conditioned, which is a great help in the city.
Avoid buying food or water around the popular landmarks
Prices in tourist areas are usually higher than in local markets. Traveling with snacks is a great way to save time and avoid temptations to eat out. Bottled water is expensive in Singapore. It costs around SGD 4 for a one-liter bottle. The tap water in Singapore is safe to drink as it passes the set international guidelines. Make sure to carry an eco-friendly water bottle to be refilled as and when required.
Use your feet
Walking is free and many places in Singapore are easy to navigate on foot. Carry an updated road map and ask for directions if you have to. Also, walking is always a great idea early in your trip as it helps you get the lay of the land and find good restaurants, grocery stores etc.
Buy foreign currency in your own home country
Due to the availability of forex at the Singapore airport, banks, shops or even hotels, most travelers don’t purchase forex in advance. Some assume, the rate of exchange offered in Singapore would be same or better then what’s offered in home country. However, we beg to differ here. Only your home country can provide you the best currency exchange rates, so it is always advisable to carry foreign currency in advance.
Visit Singapore’s free attractions
Singapore is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and is bursting at the seams with amazing, free things to do. There are always lots of places you can enjoy without paying an entrance fee such as the scenic Merlion Park, Iconic Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Botanic Gardens, Singapore’s most atmospheric temples, Southern Ridges, Symphony Orchestra and other free tours. A little research and insider tips can help you find out all the free activities. Just simply stay outside and go for a hike, a cultural walk, go to a park or a playground, window shopping or attend the musical orchestra.
Cluster your attractions
Few sights are located closely and can be visited on the same day. Try to visit all the attractions in each area in a single visit to cut down on your transportation costs thereby resulting into an affordable Singapore vacation.
Look for package deals
Airlines, hotels and Travel Agents often offer plane tickets and accommodation into package deals. You won’t read about this often as they don’t officially announce it. When you book a package deal, you’ll get a good rate on airfare and hotels, some meals, often guided tours, and some ground transportation. Don’t believe us? Take a look at a package deal and then try to book the airfare and hotel separately—the package cost will almost always be significantly less.
And lastly don’t forget the little important details:
- You’ll be walking a lot, so wear comfortable shoes.
- Pack an umbrella. It rains a lot in Singapore.
- Singapore is hot and humid so pack clothes that are light and comfortable.
- You may want to consider buying a local SIM card to save on roaming charges.
- You are not expected to tip in Singapore.
- You can pay by credit card pretty much everywhere, but it’s always useful to have some cash as well.
- Hop on a bumboat with the Singapore River Cruise, and acquaint yourself with Singapore’s history and modernity in one classic experience.
- Don’t forget to taste the infamous Durian fruit in Singapore.
Thinking of heading off to Singapore for a quick city break, but don’t want to break the bank?
Don’t let Singapore’s reputation for being expensive deter you from visiting the island state. Want the best prices on flights, Singapore visa, hotel rooms, cruises, and attractions? Akbar Travels has done the hard work for you, looking into the cost of everything from travel to food to accommodation and sightseeing. With our affordable all inclusive Singapore tour packages you can make it a lot more affordable, and in the end, you will find Singapore is worth every single Rupee!
STILL PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO SINGAPORE?
Here are some useful resources to help you plan your trip:
- Singapore Travel Guide
- Singapore Itinerary: What to Explore in Singapore for 3 Days
- The Singapore Bucket List – 10 Experiences You Need to Conquer
- Roti, Rice and Everything Nice: The Singapore Food Guide
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