Do you know that Singapore is the most expensive city to live in, according to the 2014 by Economic Intelligence Unit (EUI) Worldwide Cost of Living study? In 2013 study, Singapore was ranked at number 6th but has now jumped to no. 1 in 2014.
But if you’re travelling to the city, do not fret: there are ways to avoid burning deep holes in your pockets. I have created this list of 10 ways to save whilst travelling in Singapore to enlighten you on easy cost-cutting techniques.
1) Book your hotels in advance & consider staying outside city centre
Hotels in Singapore are not cheap and an average budget hotel will cost you more than US $100. Luxury, boutique, 4 star and 5 star hotels are very pricey as well. If you’re planning a trip to Singapore, it is best to stay in hotels outside the popular tourist areas like Orchard Road. It is also advisable to book hotels in advance as hotel fares are much cheaper by then.
2) Book a backpacker hostel or alternative accommodation
Singapore is a haven for backpackers, with more than 100 hostels to choose from. You can get a bed in a hostel room for as low as US $20 which comes with the free Wi-Fi, locker and breakfast. You can also consider renting a room in a condo if you are staying for a week or longer. Sites like Air-bnb can give you various options if you want to rent a room or the whole flat.
3) Commute like a local – Use public transport
Renting a car in Singapore is very expensive, and also generally not advisable. Singapore is relatively small and the public transport is one of the most efficient systems in the world. It will connect you to and from all the hubs as well as areas in the outskirts of the city. You can save a lot of money by buying an EZ-LINK card, which is a pass that can be used in trains and buses around the city. Aside from that, Singapore is very walkable and safe, with one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
Click here to visit the Singaporean public transport official website.
4) Check deals & coupon websites to save on travel, excursions, supermarkets, restaurants and more
Couponing websites are gaining traction in Asia and are useful to check out a few months (as well as a few weeks) before you travel to Singapore. They offer special coupon codes as well as a list of discounts from a wide range of shops, so it’s a very easy way to save. From cultural events to flights, hotels and dining, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the plethora of discounts they have on offer.
Try Flipit.com – it’s the best and most extensive discount portal I have found in Singapore so far.
5) Eat like a local – Tons of hawker centers in Singapore
Eating out doesn’t need to cost you a lot , and if there’s anything cheap in Singapore, it would definitely be the food from the hawker centers. Hawker centers (food stalls) are everywhere along with kopitiams (coffee shops). Food varieties at hawker centres would include local Singaporean, Malay, Western, Chinese, Japanese – the list goes on and on. The particularly famous hawker centers include Lau Pa Sat, Makansutra Gluttons Bay, Maxwell Food Center & Tiong Bahru food market.
6) Get a GST (Goods and Services Tax) Refund
Singapore is widely known for shopping. No trip to Singapore is complete without visiting rows and rows of shopping malls along Orchard Road. You can easily reimburse GST from your shopping trip by showing your receipts at the airport. Read more about Singapore tax free shopping here.
7) Visit Museums on free days
Singapore has many museums to offer. There are lots of options to choose from and many of them offer free or discounted admission on a specific day or hour. Do your research and check the museum schedules you would like to visit. Most of them have websites and viewing hours online. National Heritage Board, for instance, offers 3 day museum pass for $20 and you can visit five heritage museums using the pass including Asian Civilization Museum, National Museum of Singapore & others.
8) Enjoy the nature and the beach
Singapore is one of the greenest cities in the world, with plenty of parks and trails, gardens and beaches. Dhoby Ghaut Green, Esplande Park, Hong Lim Park, and Istana Park are just a handful of the number of parks, gardens and nature reserves in Singapore. The good thing is, you can all enjoy these for free.
Here is Singapore’s official park website. Also definitely check out Singapore’s beaches or have a stroll along the Marina 🙂
9) Take advantage of packaged sightseeing tours
As Singapore is relatively small geographically, touristy spots and areas are almost side by side each other and you don’t really have to go that far from one destination to another. Take advantage of packaged sightseeing trips and by doing that you can save money and time as well!
10) Inform yourself of the local laws
Although some of Singapore’s laws align with the notion of common sense, the Singapore government has many fines to convince you not to do something. Informing yourself of the laws and special rules will keep you out of trouble and without fines (which can range from $500 to thousands of dollars and can even lead to incarceration). For instance, littering, chewing gum or eating in the metro can cost you hundreds of dollars if you are not careful.
Get informed by reading this 8 weird laws you should be aware of when travelling to Singapore, and perhaps do a bit of your own, more extensive research on this matter.
Keeping these 10 Best ways to save whilst travelling in Singapore, you should also plan your itinerary. This doesn’t only apply in travel to Singapore but anywhere else. By planning your day to day activities ahead of time, you will save money, time and energy. And travelling won’t be as stressful as it seems.