I started travelling overseas during my late 20s. Whenever I set foot in a foreign land and experience wonderful things, I would always think of my family back home and how it would be nice to travel with them. I can picture how my parents would love Korean and Vietnamese food, how my mother would enjoy shopping in Bangkok, how excited my father would be when he tries his luck in a casino in Macau or how my brother and his family would have enjoyed Disneyland in Hong Kong or Universal Studios in Singapore. It has always been my dream to travel with my parents and fortunately I was able to make it come true this year!
Singapore is just a 4-hour plane ride from Manila, Philippines so it is very near and it would not feel too foreign for first-time Filipino travelers like my parents because there are also a lot of Filipinos here. I have visited Singapore before so it is easier to tour them around. Singapore is a very clean, organized and safe country so I thought it would be best to take my parents here just so they can have a pleasant experience on their first overseas trip.
Booking Flights to Singapore
Travelling with my family would also entail a big dent on my budget especially since I would be the one to pay for the whole trip haha! Fortunately, during Cebu Pacific’s piso sale last year, I was able to get a round trip ticket for me and my parents for only P6000 ($120) or P2000 each ($40)!
Where to Stay in Singapore
I had always stayed in guesthouse, dorms, capsule hotel or hostels whenever I travel because I try really hard to stick to my budget since I have a family to support. This time, since I am travelling with my parents, my foremost concern would be their comfort. Singapore is very expensive so finding an affordable place to stay with a private bathroom and in a good location is quite tedious. We stayed in Bright Star Hotel in Geylang. I will post a separate review of this hotel soon, so stay tuned!
How to get around Singapore
The public transportation system of Singapore is very efficient and affordable. However, at the time of our trip, my mother has been suffering from knee pain due to gouty arthritis for one month already so we had to ride a taxi to get to our destinations much easily and more comfortably.
What to do and where to go in Singapore
Because my parents are quite old already and my mother had knee pain during our trip, we took our time to rest, eat and prepare our stuff before we start our daily tour so we usually go out and explore around noontime and back to our hotel whenever they feel tired already. I also had to plan our destinations well in order to maximize that very little time we had to explore so the places we have visited are quite limited as well. I had this urge to explore more places but that can wait til next time. Anyway, I was able to have a quick meet-up with my college friend on our second night and my high school friend on our last night.
Here is our itinerary for 3 days and 3 nights:
Amoy Street Food Center
Thian Hock Keng Temple
Nagore Duhra Shrine
Gardens by the Bay
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
Albert Food Center
Back to Manila
If your parents are still quite active and can walk around a bit more, you can start your day earlier and be able to explore more places like Chinatown, Little India, Orchard Road, Clark Quay, Arab Street, Botanic Gardens, etc.
Breakdown of Expenses
This is the breakdown of what we spent during our entire trip in Singapore:
SGD 360 – Bright Star Hotel in Geylang (4 nights, 3 days)
SGD 109 – Taxi (3 days)
SGD 12 – Sentosa Monorail Ticket (SGD 4 x 3 persons)
SGD 3.6 – MRT card (when I met with my college friend)
SGD 179.4 – Food and groceries (4 nights, 3 days)
SGD 65 – Pasalubong (souvenirs or presents to give friends and relatives back home)
SGD 729 – About P26,000 or $524.5
Note: I booked for 4 nights because our flight from Manila to Singapore was Thursday night but our arrival was 1 a.m. Friday. Our flight from Singapore to Manila was Monday 1 a.m. Late check-in and late check-out were not allowed. I have to make this trip as comfortable as possible for my parents.
This is our total expenses including our airfare, check-in luggage fee, Philippine travel tax and pocket money:
P6000 – Roundtrip Airfare Manila to Singapore (P2000 per person)
P1200 – Roundtrip check-in luggage 15 kilos
P4860 – Philippine Travel Tax (P1620 per person)
P26000 – Hotel, Transportation and Food for 4 nights and 3 days
P38,060 – TOTAL COST for 3 persons (or about P12,700 or $257 per person)
Budget Travel Tips to Singapore
1) Use public transportation and avoid taxi if you can unless you are travelling as a group like us.
2) Buy groceries for light breakfast and eat hawker food for lunch and dinner.
3) Bring water bottle and facial napkins.
4) Visit tourist spots that have no entrance fee.
5) Stay in hostel or guesthouse rather than hotels.
6) Sign up to get updates on seat sale of local airlines.
7) Pack light so you do not need to pay for your check-in luggage.
8) Pasalubong or presents for our relatives and friends back home is optional. Do not feel obliged to buy especially if you are on a tight budget.
If you consider these budget tips, you can cut down your travel cost much less than what we spent on our trip!
Singapore is an expensive country but travelling on a tight budget is possible!