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4 Year-End Holiday Destinations That are Cheap Thanks to the Exchange Rate

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Joanne Poh

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One of the nice things about being in Singapore is that it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to get out of it.

While the prices of virtually everything else have been getting more and more expensive, airfares have been falling. The Singapore dollar has been getting stronger over the years even as currencies like the Japanese Yen and the Australian Dollar have fallen.

If you haven’t booked your end-of-year vacations yet, you’ll be pleased to know that certain destinations now cost way less to visit than they did ten years ago.

Here are four traditionally expensive trips that are now significantly cheaper to visit thanks to their weak currencies. Just follow the trail of Singaporean tourists and you can’t go wrong.

 

Australia

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10 years ago, 1 AUD was worth roughly 1.25 SGD. Today, the Aussie and Singapore dollars are roughly on par, and flights are cheaper than ever now that budget airlines like Scoot and Jetstar fly directly from Singapore to various Australian destinations.

In the past, Singaporean parents used to blow tons of money taking their brood to the theme parks on the Gold Coast. These days, with more and more Singaporeans having studied in Australia or visiting friends who live there, a trip to Sydney, Melbourne or Perth is a lot more chill and, consequently, economical.

Cost: Flights to Perth can be as cheap as $400, while you can fly to Melbourne for $700+ if you are willing to take budget airlines. One you are there, you can keep your spending under $100 a day if you pick accommodation on Airbnb and stay away from expensive restaurants.

What to save up for: Sydney and Melbourne in particular are becoming big foodie destinations. Singaporeans aren’t that interested in buying macadamia nuts or kangaroo leather goods, but they are splurging on chic cafes and award winning restaurants—which are now significantly cheaper thanks to the weak Australian dollar.

 

New Zealand

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Singaporeans used to laugh about there being more sheep than people in New Zealand. But judging by our own overcrowded land and sagging public infrastructure, many of us wouldn’t mind trading some people for sheep at this point.

New Zealand is an escape for those who are sick of being elbowed by five million other people, miss breathing haze-free fresh air and want to hike terrain a little more challenging than Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Once upon a time, a New Zealand dollar used to be worth more than one Singapore dollar. Now, it’s worth less. If you want to try bungee jumping or see glaciers, now’s the time to do it.

Cost: Flights to Auckland generally cost over $1,000, but food is less expensive than in Australia. You can keep your spending under $80 a day by staying in Airbnb accommodation and eating at inexpensive cafes.

What to save up for: New Zealand is known as the adventure capital of the world, and you can bungee jump, skydive, hike glaciers, ride horses or go white water rafting. These activities are not cheap, but you can at least rejoice that you now pay less thanks to the exchange rate. In recent times though, plenty of Singaporeans have been flocking to Hobbiton, the village movie set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

Japan

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The first time I went to Japan as a poor student ten years ago, it was notoriously expensive, and we survived on budget bowls of ramen and pretty much only did free stuff like hanging out at Harajuku.

Over the years, the Japanese Yen has fallen steadily in value, and Japan is now a pretty affordable destination for Singaporeans to visit. It’s lost none of its charm either.

Tokyo is just as wacky, the sushi is just as incredible and the public onsen are just as awkward. The only difference is it’s all way cheaper now.

Cost: You can now fly to Tokyo for around $500 if you hunt for cheap tickets in advance. If you’re careful about your spending you can get away with spending under $100 a day on food and accommodation.

What to save up for: Almost every Singaporean has something they want to buy in Japan. Whether you’re spending your money on cutting edge electronics, manga and anime merchandise or street fashion, set a budget or you’re going to come back broke, weak Yen notwithstanding.

 

Malaysia

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Gone are the days when things cost half the price in Malaysia. With the Malaysian Ringgit at an all-time low, things can be as cheap as one third the price. I regularly go for a kickass 90 minute massage in JB at the price of 30 SGD.

If you’re the kind of Singaporean who thinks of Malaysia as Singapore’s more dangerous cousin, you’re missing out.

They’ve got an amazing variety of tourist attractions, from historic cities like Malacca and Penang, hiking in Kota Kinabalu, diving off the Eastern islands and so on.

Cost: Malaysia can be extremely cheap to visit if you aren’t fussy. To stay in a cute boutique hotel and enjoy mid range meals anywhere but KL, you can get by on less than $70 a day. Stay in budget hotels and eat at hawker centres, and you can keep your expenses to under $50 a day. You can easily get to most parts of Malaysia and back for under $100, whether by plane or bus.

What to save up for: Honestly, everything in Malaysia is so cheap now because of the exchange rate that there’s nothing much to save up for.

Are you planning to visit any of the above destinations? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.