Trying to book a last minute holiday over public holidays in Singapore screams “Titanic” as everyone scrambles to get out before it’s too late. A cheap flight to a place like Bangkok magically becomes 5 times the price as normally docile Singaporeans fight tooth and nail to snap up seats.
If you haven’t already booked your tickets for this years’ Christmas and New Year holidays, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to another year of celebrating at Orchard Road. Here are some ways that will successfully get you out of the country without inflicting too much damage on your wallet.
1. Go to Malaysia by bus
I’m not going to lie. Taking a bus ride to Malaysia over a public holiday is going to mean you will be stuck in traffic, possibly for hours. It also means you might not be able to get a ticket at all for certain destinations.
But if you’re able to get tickets, a trip to Malaysia is one of the few holidays you can take without having to pay hideously inflated prices.
A trip to Malacca is going to cost $45 to $70 whether you go over a public holiday or not.
2. Fly on the holiday itself
If you don’t fancy being stuck on the Causeway over the public holiday, booking air tickets that will have you flying on the public holiday itself can be quite a bit cheaper than flying just before or after.
At the time of writing, the cheapest air tickets departing Singapore to Bangkok on 25 Dec cost $146, while on the Wednesday before and the Friday after that they cost $172.60.
The reason for the difference in prices is that nobody wants to spend Christmas or New Years’ Day celebrating with other passengers on the plane or kissing the customs officers under the mistletoe. If you’re not too fussed about holiday traditions this is a great chance to save a bit of cash.
3. Check the cheapest dates to fly and take leave accordingly
The websites for most budget airlines let you check the prices for a range of dates. That means you can see how much it costs every single day of the week, and take leave accordingly in order to lower your costs.
For instance, flights to Bangkok on Tiger Airways are at the time of writing more expensive the day before and after Christmas. However, 2 and 3 days before Christmas, they are much, much cheaper. Booking a return flight on Monday instead of Sunday will save you quite a bit as well.
If you have any leave you want to use before the end of the year, now’s the time to use it, especially knowing you’ll be saving quite a bit of money in the process.
4. Use your frequent flyer miles
If you have frequent flyer miles to spare, the best time to use them is during the holiday season when prices rise. No matter how in-demand tickets are at that point in time, so long as flights are available, the airlines usually have to let you redeem your tickets for the same number of miles as during off peak period.
Redeeming your miles off-peak can often seem like a waste when you can easily find discounted tickets online. So saving frequent flyer miles for those times when ticket prices get inflated helps you get the most out of what you have.
Not sure which credit card will help you accrue miles the fastest? Here’s our quick summary of the 3 best credit cards in Singapore for frequent flyers.
5. Go to a less popular destination or one with multiple flights
While most budget flights out of Singapore get inflated during the holiday season, some suffer more greatly than others. While popular routes like Singapore to Phuket and Singapore to Hong Kong will have you paying more than 200% of the off-peak price, some flights just happen to be less popular and suffer from less inflation.
You might sneer and think that the reason those flights are not as expensive is because there’s nothing to do at those destinations anyway. Well, a bit of research will show you that’s not always the case.
You can fly to Medan in order to visit the famous Lake Toba. For some reason this route isn’t too popular, and prices stay pretty much the same until immediately before departure.
If you are looking to get away, make sure you’re able to travel with peace of mind with a good travel insurance plan. You can check out all the best plans available on MoneySmart’s new Travel Insurance Comparison Page now!
Do you have any other tips desperate holidaymakers can benefit from? Let us know in the comments!