Impulse shopping

Next year’s trip to Europe (tentatively scheduled for next May) just seems so very far away. So very, very far…

At the weekend I was tooling around with travel widgets on sites like Skyscanner and Kayak that show where you can fly for what price. And I thought – “hey, Singapore looks cheap! Also, I’ve never been to Singapore!”

Forty-eight hours later, I had a 5-day leave request approved and a purchased return airfare, booked for October, in my hot little hand.

I never did the whole backpacking in my 20’s thing that many of my friends and other seasoned travellers did, so I’ve never stayed in hostels or really experienced budget travel. However, with some savings goals that I have to hit for our Europe trip, doing Singapore on a budget will be a necessity for me. Technically I can ‘afford’ to fly with a full-service airline, and stay at a four-star hotel for my entire trip, but I want to keep costs down.

I’ll be flying with Scoot, the low-cost offshoot of Singapore Airlines. A ‘seat only’ return airfare from Sydney came in at just under $500 – there’s a good chance I’ll tack on a couple of extras such as a meal and seat selection in the quiet zone of their plane. I’m going to travel carry-on only, so no need to pay for extra bags. As for in-flight entertainment… My return flight is a red-eye, so I will attempt to just sleep on that leg, and as for the flight over? I once survived a 14-hour long haul from Sydney to LA with a busted in-flight-entertainment system, so I figure I can make it through the 7 or 8 hour flight to Singapore without too much drama. I make a habit of loading up my ereader with terrible trashy romance novels for travel reading anyway.

"When I was boy, television was called books."

“When I was boy, television was called books.”

As for accommodation… I’ve booked two separate hotels for this trip. I’ll spend two nights at The Pod Singapore, which is basically an upmarket hostel with sleeping pods and privacy blinds and posh bathrooms. I looked at a few budget options, but eventually went with The Pod after reading a positive review from Nicole at Bitten By The Travel Bug.

For my third and final night in Singapore, I’ve booked into BIG Hotel. I like the compact and minimalist design – their basic rooms remind me of a cabin on a luxury yacht. And at $160 for the night with breakfast included, it was a good deal for notoriously pricey Singapore.

So there you have it. Return flights and three nights in Singapore for $760. It will be a new experience for me, and one I’m very much looking forward to.

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Melbourne dreaming…

The next trip that the unhusband and I will embark on is a short jaunt to Melbourne. We lived there for a while, for two and a half years, and it remains one of our favourite places to spend time.

The unhusband is being sent down there to attend a trade show for work, and this makes it an inexpensive exercise for me to tag along. He gets an accommodation allowance, but we get to choose our own hotel.

I booked my flights through Virgin Australia, because I’m a member of their frequent flyer program. I joined up with them after a glorious flight between LA and Sydney last year. Not that I’m sure cattle class can ever be referred to as ‘glorious’ but really our flight over to the USA with Delta was such a hideous exercise in comparison that I’ve vowed to fly Virgin forevermore when I have a choice. For $119 each way (unfortunately I missed a fare sale due to waiting for leave approval to come through) it’s no hardship to fly with my preferred airline. My fare doesn’t include checked bags but I travel light anyway so carry-on is easy enough for me.

We’ve booked into the Pegasus Apart’hotel for four nights. I book through agoda.com because it is an affiliate of Virgin and I earn points for booking through their links. At about $15o per night, for a queen studio with kitchenette, it’s a good get. It’s also right next to Queen Victoria Markets, which means… Market Lane Coffee for breakfast YAY!

I’ll be posting updates of our long weekend, with places visited, photos and reviews and recommendations later.