Travel

Staycations Vs Overseas Trips – Which Would You Rather Choose?

staycation singapore

Joanne Poh

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If travel means adventure and the great outdoors to you, you need to get out of Singapore to get that vacation feeling.

But let’s face it, for a great many Singaporeans, the joy of travel comes from being pampered in a nice hotel, sitting down to a sumptuous buffet breakfast and chilling out by a pool with a nice view of the city.

Unfortunately, luxury comes at a cost, one that’s perhaps greater here in Singapore than in most other places worldwide. A stay in a four or five star hotel can cost 2 to 4 times what it would in neighbouring countries.

Which leads us to ask: is it more worthwhile spending those hard-earned dollars on a real vacation overseas, where you get to, you know, do stuff other than bum around Orchard Road, or splurge on a local staycation?

 

How much does a staycation in Singapore cost?

The whole idea of a staycation is to check into accommodation that’s more luxurious than your own home. No Singaporean in their right mind would book into a backpackers’ hostel unless they were living with their parents and had a big fall-out. And I have a feeling nobody goes to Hotel 81 for a staycation. No wonder some of Singaporeans’ favourite hotels for staycations are Marina Bay Sands and Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa.

Here’s the price of a night at some popular Singapore staycation locations:

Five star hotels

  • Marina Bay Sands – $1,500 for deluxe (now $504 on Agoda)
  • Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa – $600 for deluxe (now $304 on Agoda)
  • Pan Pacific Singapore – $353 for Deluxe King or Twin
  • Shangri-La Hotel Singaore – $455 for Tower Wing Deluxe Double (now $411 on Agoda)
  • Capella Singapore Hotel – $1,500 for Premier Garden View (now $835 on Agoda)
  • Fullerton Hotel – $433 for Courtyard Double or Twin Room

Four star/Boutique hotels

  • M Hotel – $880 for deluxe (now $188 on Agoda)
  • Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway – $790 for superior twin room (now $270 on Agoda)
  • Porcelain Hotel by JL Asia – $290 for Superior Twin With Wi-Fi (now $149 on Agoda)
  • The Scarlet Singapore Hotel – $223 for Deluxe Double or Twin Room
  • Wangz Hotel – $245 for Superior Double or Twin Room

Based on the above prices, for a 3D2N hotel staycation over the weekend, you’re generally looking at paying a low of $400 for a boutique hotel, and up to $1,000 for a five star stay, and that’s provided you are booking at a discount on Agoda. If you’re paying full price, you’ll end up spending much, much more.

That’s not cheap at all, and can cost even more than an entire friggin’ week in Siem Reap, for example.

 

Do you really save money by not travelling?

Singaporeans who swear by staycations might say they get to save money on flights, but in reality they might still end up paying more overall, when you consider the relatively high prices of hotels here when compared to other cities in the region.

A five star hotel stay in Bangkok, when booked on Agoda, can cost $80 to $300 per night online. A stay in a Premier Double or Twin Room at the gorgeous Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort costs only $192 a night. At that price, you would only be able to afford one of the cheaper boutique hotels in Singapore. Food and entertainment are also cheaper in virtually any neighbouring country than in Singapore.

While you certainly save money by not having to fly to a foreign destination, given the relatively low cost of budget flights to destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City, your total costs might work out to be similar.

What’s more, by going abroad, you get the novel experience of going on a real holiday, instead of stepping out of the hotel and finding yourself on Orchard Road. For many people, getting to explore a foreign land is part of the reason they would even think of spending hundreds of bucks in one weekend.

Of course, some may argue that there are other peripheral costs involved, such as buying things like travel insurance, but then again, we’re generally not looking at anything above $50, unless of course you plan to go and climb into a volcano or something like that.

 

Time savings

Whether you can actually save money by going on a staycation instead of a real weekend getaway is debatable, but there is no doubt you save a ton of time by not having to travel to Changi Airport and take a flight elsewhere.

In fact, you can quite easily just book a hotel staycation for Saturday and Sunday, and then check out on Monday morning in time to go to work, thereby saving your precious leave days.

For the many Singaporeans who work long hours, time is an even scarcer resource than money, and not having to spend those 4 or 5 hours travelling to Changi Airport and catching that Air Asia flight can be very appealing.

 

So, would you want to go on a staycation?

People who just don’t do staycations think it’s a dumb waste of money, while those who swear by them think the naysayers are just too poor to pamper themselves.

So, do you think staycations are fun or stupid? That really depends on your idea of enjoyment and how much time you have to burn.

If you’re relatively flush with cash but don’t have much free time, and your idea of a holiday is to relax in a plush hotel and enjoy the facilities, a staycation can be a good way to enjoy the luxury you’re working so hard for.

But if $500 isn’t a small sum to you and you want that money to go a longer way, or you’d pick adventure to luxury any day, you’re probably better off just taking a few days of leave and flying somewhere else for the weekend.

Do you think staycations are worth the money? Tell us in the comments!

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D’Kranji Farm Resort (header image)

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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.

  • Jonathan Lloyd

    “Staycations” in local hotels just seem like a complete waste of money. We can do plenty more fun things with the money. However, for some people (especially those with very little annual leave or heavy work commitments) they’re probably one way to escape routine and have some fun R&R without the hassle of air-travel or a long drive into Malaysia or a ferry ride to Bintan.

  • Kong T W

    A possible reason for choosing a staycation over an overseas trip is the context of one’s family make-up. In the case of mine, a staycation (without getting out of Spore) just doesn’t make sense when my wife and me were a young couple with no kids. Fast forward to today’s context, we have a 2-year old in tow + a growing tummy. Getting onto a plane even for a short 2-hour haul + potential inconveniences of a young family in another country is no longer as attractive as before.
    Of course it also depends on what the family favours. If a “feel good” factor in a hotel breakfast and hotel environment is sufficient to satiate the “thirst” for a get-away, a staycation is quite a good alternative to a short overseas trip, if not better.