Singaporeans love travel. In 2018, Expedia found that frequent short getaways were popular among Singaporeans, with Singaporeans making an average of 4.6 overseas trips in the year, with each trip lasting an average of 2.3 nights.
Why do Singaporeans travel? Skyscanner found that 71% of Singaporeans cited rest and relaxation as a key motivator for travel. Interestingly, Skyscanner also found that almost four in five Singaporeans are opting for a type of holiday they call ‘Splurget travel’. This type of travelling involves travelling on a budget, with an element of splurging on something luxurious.
Here are 9 travel apps that can help you achieve the budgeting aspect of your travels, from the planning stage to your time in the overseas country.
For the cheapest flights.
The go-to site to find the best flight combinations and deals. As an aggregator, Skyscanner helps you find the best deal you can get from different airlines and different travel providers. By having many different airlines on board, you can make bookings on two different airlines (e.g. Outbound on Japan Airlines, Inbound on Singapore Airlines) with just one booking. Skyscanner offers aggregator services for hotels and car rentals as well.
How to use: Select the country you want to travel to, input the travelling dates and travelling party size. You can then narrow down your flight selection based on filters such as number of stops, departure times, journey duration, price and airline. Not sure which country to go to? Click on “Everywhere” to get an overview of how much the air ticket prices look like for each different country.
Alternatives: Kayak, Trip.com, Hopper
For traveller reviews.
TripAdvisor is a review platform and more. Not only can you read up about what people have to share about their travel experiences, you can also ask for tips and suggestions prior to your trip. This is particularly useful for those planning your own travels, to get input from people that know the area better than you do. Besides provide user reviews, you can also use TripAdvisor to make bookings for just about anything on your travels, from flights to car hire to accommodation and more.
How to use: Search for the attraction you are looking to visit and read the latest traveller reviews. These reviews provide insight into the price of the attraction, the popularity of the attraction based on the number of reviews, what travellers can expect and realistic photos of what the attraction will look like. This will come in handy to help you shortlist the attractions you want to visit.
Alternatives: Yelp, Expedia
For non-hotel accommodation.
Airbnb offers a wide range of accommodation for every different user. There are low cost ones and also luxurious, expensive ones that look like a dream house you could never afford in Singapore. Sometimes, these luxurious accommodation options come at a wallet-friendly price!
However, in some countries such as Japan, Airbnb has faced difficulty penetrating the local market due to government regulations. Besides offering homes for booking, Airbnb also offers local experiences and adventures for tourists to book.
How to use: First, decide if you are looking to book an accommodation, experience, adventure or restaurant. If you’re booking an accommodation, select the city you want to stay in, before narrowing down your options based on filters such as price, location, number of guests and type of place. Read up on the reviews left by previous guests to make sure that the accommodation and host you are booking with is what you are looking for. If you’re a new Airbnb user, don’t forget to get a referral code from a friend!
Alternatives: HomeAway, Vrbo, Flipkey
For hotel bookings.
An aggregator for hotel rooms, sites such as hotels.com allow you to see all the hotels in the area you are looking to stay in. These websites also provide a detailed information on what is offered in the room, as well as the facilities and other amenities that are provided by the hotel. Some of these websites also allow you to cancel for free, as long as it is done before the stipulated deadline, providing guests with a degree of flexibility.
Some of these sites also have their own loyalty programmes. Fore example, on Hotels.com, stay a total of 10 nights to get 1 night free!
How to use: Select the city you want to stay in, input additional details such as number of guests, rooms and dates. Use the filters available to narrow down your hotel preferences based on filters such as the price, location, guest reviews, star rating.
Alternatives: Booking.com, Trip.com, Agoda, Expedia, HotelsCombined, Trivago
For paying in foreign currency.
YouTrip is a multi-currency travel wallet and money changer in an app. Overseas transaction fees can result in you paying more than you intended to. YouTrip’sSingapore Overseas Spending Survey 2018 found that 9 in 10 Singaporeans are not willing to pay any more than 2% in Overseas Transaction Fees. With YouTrip, you can pay in over 150 currencies worldwide with 0% transaction fees and enjoy Wholesale Exchange Rates.
How to use: Every YouTrip app is linked directly to a free, contactless Mastercard. You can use your YouTrip Mastercard not just in physical stores, but also for your online purchases from overseas e-commerce stores.
After signing up for a YouTrip Account, top it up with SGD before using the card for your overseas spend at competitive wholesale exchange rates. Alternatively, you can also convert the SGD into your desired foreign currency when a good rate is available.
DollarsAndSense Exclusive: If you’re planning to travel, check out our step-by-step guide for registering for YouTrip, which allows you to change and pay in 150 currencies with no fees. Use the promo code DNS5 during registration to receive an additional $5 in your YouTrip account!
Alternatives: DBS Multi-Currency Account, UOB Mighty FX
For travel activities.
Klook offers great deals on admission passes, Wifi, train tickets, day tours, food vouchers, theme park tickets and more. You can book and pay for these tickets, deals and activities days, weeks and even months in advance! This saves you the hassle of carrying large amounts of money overseas when you can pay for these activities even before going to the country. This is also a great option for countries where communication could be an issue. By booking through Klook, you know exactly what you are paying for.
How to use:Download the Klook app or use Klook’s website to start sourcing for deals for your holiday. Search for deals based on the country of city you are visiting. Upon making the purchase on Klook, the voucher will appear under “Bookings” in the app. Head down to the travel destination and collect the item with the QR code and voucher number on your phone.
Alternatives: Kkday, Viator, Voyagin
For getting around.
Ride-sharing has disrupted the taxi industry in many countries over the past few years. Uber was the company that pioneered the ride-sharing industry. Local versions of Uber have seen rapid success, such as Grab in Singapore, Lyft in USA and Didi Chuxing in China. These ride-sharing options are often cheaper than the taxis in many local countries, and you also get certainty on how much the final cost will be when you use these ride-sharing apps instead.
This also comes in handy in countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, where you don’t speak (or read) the language. These apps allow you to put in your pickup and drop off location, eliminating the miscommunication that could happen when you try to converse with the locals.
How to use: The most straightforward on this list, the hardest part to using ride-sharing apps would probably be the hassle of setting up an account. Once that is done, all you need to do is to input your pickup and drop off location, as well as select the mode of payment.
Alternatives: Grab, Gojek, Lyft, Didi Chuxing
#8 Google Maps
For navigation. Crucial.
Not just for your navigation on the streets, but also for your drives. You can even download offline maps beforehand, to ensure that you still have a map to refer to for places with choppy or absence of internet, such as mountainous regions and large forests.
How to use: This app needs no introduction. Key in your destination, or choose your current destination, and hit “Directions” to get going. Besides providing you with directions on the type of transport to take, Google Maps also provides other details such as an estimate of the time required for your journey, road conditions, as well as the expected wait time for the next bus/train.
Alternatives: Waze, MapQuest, Bing Maps Citymapper
#9 Google Translate
For you to communicate with locals.
This app is your travelling translator. Google translate can help you with anything from translating the menu, reading road signs, to verbalising what you want to say. Even for languages which you don’t know how to write or type out the text, you can take a photo and Google Translate will read the text for you. Google Translate is also your best friend when it comes to trying to bargain for a cheaper price for your purchases.
How to use: There are two main ways to use google translate. From your native language to foreign languages is easier, you just need to type in what you want to say and Google Translate will translate that to the foreign language for you. To translate foreign languages to your native language, you can either type in how the word is spelled (assuming it uses alphabets) or use your camera function to read the text for you.
Don’t forget to download these apps in your smartphones before travelling overseas, to make the most of your hard-earned money!