While some of us prefer the convenience that comes along with all-inclusive vacations, others yearn for adventure or a chance to do something they've never done before. Luckily, due to the increased interest of exploring different travelling styles, travel agencies and other organisations have started catering to individual needs, rather than only offering standard vacation packages. Below, we break down the financial costs of some of the top new travel trends to help you plan your next trip.
Group packages (flight and hotel) are easy and convenient ways to travel and can often end up being one of the most affordable options. For added convenience, you can always use comparison sites like Kayak, Expedia or independent travel agencies to find hotel and flight bundles, making this option ideal for ideal for families or last-minute travellers looking to keep planning and costs to a minimum. For instance, travel agencies offer a 5-star hotel and flight package to Bangkok for around S$550 per person for a week-long trip, while a 3-star package costs around 45% less. Should you have booked the flight and hotel separately, you could have ended up paying almost S$1,000. Additionally, these sites provide a chance to throw in an excursion or two, making it easier to create an affordable yet fun itinerary.
All-Inclusive trips are a great option for families or luxury travellers looking for a beach getaway. These trips usually cost between S$2,000 and S$4,000 for a one-week stay in a neighboring beach destinations in Thailand or the Maldives, but they can go as high as S$2,000 per night for luxury all-inclusive options. While they may be more expensive than cheaper local dining joints, they offer a good way to save while enjoying hotel quality accommodations and food.
Volunteering can be a great way to do some good while on holiday. A one-week program to a nearby destination costs around between S$1,200 and S$1,500. If you volunteer through a program like International Volunteer HQ you will have to pay a program fee that will cover accommodation, meals, volunteer placement and 24/7 in-country support. However, outside costs include flights, travel insurance, immunisations and transport to and from your volunteer site.
The great thing about these programs is that you can also take a friend or make it a family trip to teach your little ones about giving back to the community—especially if the thought of volunteering alone in an unknown place is out of your comfort zone. Additionally, because many volunteering opportunities are available in countries surrounding Singapore, you aren't obligated to travel halfway around the world to volunteer (although you can if you are willing to spend the few thousand extra dollars on airfare).
Eco Tourism & Backpacking Trips
Ecotourism is a new trend that aims to minimise your carbon footprint when you travel. Because backpacking or eco-focused trips may not be as luxurious as an all-inclusive resort, ecotourism is generally recommended for individuals who don't mind staying in hostels or airbnbs and are interested in learning more about environmentalism. The good news about these trips is that they are often much cheaper than normal vacations, since your itinerary will be full of either free or lost cost activities such as hiking or kayaking. For instance, staying at an airbnb or hostel instead of a hotel can save you up to 60% in accommodation costs. You'll also save expenses on food since ecotourism encourages travellers to eat at local restaurants rather than touristy, international chains that often have a markup and add little to support the local economy.
Because ecotourism can involve some far flung destinations, you can save on the expensive airfare by utilising your credit card miles. Additionally, because your destination may involve a considerable amount of nature-related activities, being well protected with a travel insurance policy and making sure your vaccinations are up to date can play an important role in protecting your health and safety when outside assistance will not always be available.
Trips for Adventurous Activities
These trips are optimal for those who prefer the adrenaline rush of physical activities like skydiving, scuba diving or skiing as opposed to the high energy hustle and bustle of a major tourist destination. Additionally, you don't have to go far from Singapore to enjoy the adventure trip of a lifetime. For instance, Malaysia or Indonesia are great economical choices for a quick scuba diving getaway since airfare, accommodations and food are quite cheap. Skiing trips in Japan can cost between S$1,500 to S$2,000, which is considerably cheaper than flying out to the Alps. For more adrenaline rush activities, you can opt for skydiving in Thailand for a cost of S$600 for airfare and a skydiving ticket.
To save on your adventure getaway, you can consider combining ecotourism into your itinerary to save on hotels and pricey meals. Lastly, this is one type of trip where adequate protection is required due to the risk of medical emergencies. For this, you should check with your travel insurance to make sure they will cover the activities you are planning on participating in.
Luxury Bespoke Travel
The opposite of ecotourism (although not necessarily mutually exclusive) is luxury travel. This is the most expensive kind of travel, usually reserved for those with high net worths who prefer the finer things travel has to offer. While luxury travel can be as simple as a high-end luxury resort on a beach (think of the S$860/night resort on Batam, as opposed to a mid-priced resort for less than S$150), there is a growing trend for bespoke travel packages that involve individualised itineraries. Because of the high level of individualisation required and unique features, these packages are some of the most expensive out of all the different types of holiday packages.
Budgeting for travel can be stressful, especially if you don't have enough cash to go on the holiday you've been dreaming about. However, there are different approaches to take if you are adamant about going on the vacation of your dreams. For instance, you can forego a vacation for a few years and save extra each month in order to get a chance to go on that bespoke trip you've had your eye on. Alternatively, students and adventurers can consider ecotourism for cheap and affordable long weekend getaways. Families can find great deals with vacation packages that keep planning and costs to a minimum or visit relatives in nearby countries who can provide accommodation and meals.