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Singapore Budget Travel 101: How to Travel to Singapore on a Limited Budget

I’m proud to say that I’m a budget traveller and my favourite hobbies include comparing hotel prices and subscribing to airline companies for discounted fares. 

Now, you might assume my own country bested me with its expensive costs, but you would be wrong.

In fact, I compiled a few hacks here to beat our usually pricey travel expenses. I’ll help you save a few SGDs and travel around Singapore despite your limited budget!

1. Choose the right time to visit


If you want to pay less, travel around Singapore during the shoulder season which covers the period of mid-January to May. 

These months fall between two peak periods (December and June) which see tons of tourists come in for Christmas (December), the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Great Singapore Sale.

My family and I usually travel around the country during the off-peak season. This way, we save tons thanks to the cheaper accommodations and tour packages.

The fewer crowds are also a plus, as we can enjoy these usually busy tourist spots with just a handful of guests.

Pro Tip:

If you want to go even cheaper on accommodations and tour packages, you can visit during the low season which runs from August to October. 

It’s going to be a bit hot with scattered rain showers during this season, but you can still have a ton of fun with your family if you visit indoor play areas and attractions.

2. Look for cheap flights to Singapore


We found out that the cheapest flights going to Singapore usually occur from November to March. During this period, there is less demand for flights, making tickets more affordable.

You can also try some of the strategies our foreign friends use to get the best deal during these months. For example, they subscribe to price alerts so they get a notification on sales or discounts on preferred flights.

They also filter flight dates. More often than not, they got the best deal they could find during their preferred dates of travel, and I’m sure their wallets and bank accounts couldn’t be happier.

Pro Tip:

If you’re flying into the country, you can try getting a flight + hotel bundle. These bundles, which you can usually book through airline websites, have discounted rates!

3. Go for affordable but quality accommodations


Going for affordable accommodations in Singapore doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the quality of your stay. On the contrary, there are a number of very good hotels you can score for cheap—but that will all depend on how good your hotel sleuthing skills are!

My number one tip to get the best value for your hotel is to consider the location!

First, if you want a cheap but full-fledged hotel, you may want to book one a bit farther away from the city centre. Aside from the more affordable accommodation, you get the extra benefits of fewer crowds and cheaper eats.

Second, if you want something near the city centre, you can check out one of the few Airbnbs around the metropolitan and business district of the city. You won’t get the same full hotel experience, but you get to spend less while staying near the city centre.

Pro Tip:

Use Google to your advantage when choosing the right hotel. If you’re just after price, then filter the list of hotels by price (lowest to highest), but if you want to focus on location, filter the list by location (nearest to farthest).

4. Dine at hawker centres


We know that hawker centres offer inexpensive but delicious meals, so we recommend getting your food from them if you’re a budget-conscious tourist! Plus, you get to enjoy some local cuisine like our favourite kway teow (stir-fried noodles).

The informal seating at these hawker centres can be a bit jarring if you’re a first-timer, but here’s my tip for you: just look for a vacant table after ordering your food and sit if there’s no meal or personal item placed on the said table.

Chances are that’s a free table. You can also do what we do: we ask my kids to sit at an available table while we line up to order our food. 

Pro Tip:

Our family usually orders budget meals from these hawker stalls. In fact, some of these eateries offer budget meals with 1 meat and 1 veggie dish for as low as SGD 2.50. 

We recommend you order if you want to eat something affordable and delicious during your trip to Singapore!

5. Drink during off-peak times


Drinking is a big leisure activity for a lot of people, and it’s no different here in Singapore. In fact, my buddies and I consider some of the local beers here to be our all-time favourites like Tiger Beer and Anchor. 

To get the most value for your money, I recommend you drink during off-peak hours which usually runs around 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays. You can also look for happy hour deals to get great value for your money.

Also, keep in mind that drinking beyond 10:30 PM at licensed venues can cost you more. They also stop serving at midnight. 

In addition, drinking in public areas outside of licensed venues is banned after 10:30 PM, so stay legal!

Pro Tip:

If you’re not looking to go out drinking, you can also do what my buddies and I usually do: buy your drinks from the supermarket and just down a few bottles at home or in your hotel room.

6. Take advantage of Singapore’s public transport


Taxi rides can be quite expensive here so we usually don’t hail one unless we really need to. 

Instead, you can opt to get a day pass for a whole day of commuting for cheap (SGD 22). This pass will also give you access to the common public transport options such as buses and trains (both MRT and LRT).

Plus, you can also ask around or research for any cheap or free shuttle service to and from tourist attractions.

For example, you can take cheap shuttle connections to the MRT from the Singapore Zoo or opt to take a public bus (instead of a costly cable car ride) if you plan to visit Sentosa.

Pro Tip:

If you’re not planning on a day of commuting, you can also use your credit card to pay for fares instead of a day pass. 

7. Stay hydrated with the country’s tap water


Believe me when I tell you that we locals aren’t cuckoo if we tell you that tap water in Singapore is potable. It may seem gross at first, but the tap water here is perfectly safe for drinking. 

During trips to hawker stalls and even exclusive restaurants, my family and I never order any sparkling bottled water. Instead, we usually ask the wait staff to bring us some of that clean reliable tap water to quench our thirst. 

Pro Tip:

We recommend bringing your own refillable bottle or flask, as most tourist attractions actually have water coolers where you can refill your container with safe drinking water.

8. Go for discounted bundles and packages


Good news: most attractions in Singapore offer discounted bundles for families and large groups.

For example, you can get a 2-Park bundle that will grant you and your kids access to 2 attractions—Singapore Zoo and River Wonders. Or you can come as a pair and pay only SGD 30 each for entrance to the Singapore Zoo (which usually costs around SGD 50).

Pro Tip:

You can also score awesome deals if you use an application to look for packages and bundled tours. Most tourists use Klook.

9. Enjoy free panoramic viewpoints


For extreme penny-pinchers or those who just want to admire the views around Singapore, there are a ton of free viewpoints around the country to check out. Personally, I prefer checking out the wonderful views at a nature reserve.

Some of the free ones I visited include the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and the Labrador Nature Reserve. All of which offered a scenic view of the beauty of Mother Nature.

I also brought my family to the Gardens by the Bay to just admire and let our jaws drop at the imposing size of the Supertree structures. 

Pro Tip:

Aside from the views, the nature reserves here also offer amazing hiking opportunities. We recommend you wear some hiking shoes just in case you decide to take a stroll. 
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