The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble might’ve popped, putting leisure travel off the cards for a while yet. But there’s nothing stopping you from having fun right here on our shores with your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers. Valid from 1 December 2020 to 30 June 2021, they’re a chance to play tourist at home (goodbye long immigration clearance queues and jetlag).
Whether you’re planning on a trishaw uncle-guided heritage trail, a boutique hotel weekend breakaway, wildlife-spotting in Pulau Ubin’s mangroves or bungy jumping, it’s common to make staycation slip-ups. But the good news is, they can be avoided, so don’t leave home without reading these helpful tips.
Staycation slip-up #1: Failing to research your destination
Whether you’re going solo or heading out with your baby and wheelchair-bound granddad in tow, do your homework beforehand. Look up things like operating hours which may have changed due to Covid-19, whether the place has wheelchair access, whether advanced booking is needed and whether cashless payment is accepted. And if you’re heading to remote areas or an undeveloped island, find out where the nearest toilets and food places are.
Remember, the beauty of a staycation is knowing that if anything goes wrong, you can easily fix it since you’re never more than a few hours from home. If you’re not feeling good midway through your staycation or your kid doesn’t like the attractions, you can just get everyone into the car and head back. But having this freedom doesn’t mean you should take a gamble on your well-earned break.
Staycation slip-up #2: Not having a Plan B
Weather checks are a must for outdoor activities. But because you’ll be booking your experience in advance, there’s always a chance of weather change. If that happens on the day of your anticipated visit to the zoo or St John’s Island with the kids, you may wind up having to cancel the outing or cut it short. But with a list of backup activities, your leave day won’t be wasted and everyone will be a little less disappointed.
Try to have backup activities that don’t require advance bookings, like character-themed cafe-hopping or even a day out at Jewel Changi Airport, where you can get lost in transit with food, entertainment and retail therapy all under one roof.
Staycation slip-up #3: Forgetting protection
Singapore might be one of the safest vacation spots in the world. Still, accidents and mishaps can happen – even if you’re not planning to dive off a 50m tower from the end of a bungee rope. So, if you’re going hiking in a nature reserve, arm yourself with insect repellent to ward off pesky mozzies. And if visiting areas where macaques, wild boars or other unpredictable wildlife roam freely, don’t feed, approach or provoke them, and never try to get up close with the young wildlife for photos as the adult animals may attack you.
Mishaps can occur in seemingly safe places like malls and museums, too. A missed step, eating poorly handled food, falling debris from nearby renovation works can all ruin an outing.
To protect yourself, consider an Aviva’s personal accident plan which covers minor injuries like sprains to more severe accidents like drowning, dengue fever and gas poisoning. There are three plans to choose from and married couples get 10% off premiums while their kids get free cover. Get a quote here.
Staycation slip-up #4: Blowing your budget (or not setting one)
It’s impossible to over-spend when you’re holidaying on home ground and paying for attractions using government-issued vouchers. Such thinking can be dangerous for your finances. Staycations may be cash savers, but they’re not free. Once in vacation mode, many of us lose our inhibitions and succumb to food promotions, professional photos, adorable souvenirs, and add-on games and services that aren’t included in our basic ticket. Soon, your two-day staycation might actually cost more than a trip abroad. So set a reasonable budget for your staycation and stick with it.
Pleasure trips are so much more enjoyable when you know you don’t have to spend the next few months rebuilding you bank account.
Staycation slip-up #5: Not securing your home
Just as you would unplug all unused electrical appliances, turn off your gas pipe and lock up your windows and doors properly before jetting off for a weekend in Bali, do the same before your staycation. Keep valuables in a safe, and get your neighbour to check on your home from time to time and remove tell-tale promotional flyers from your doorstep that make your home an easy target for burglars. The last thing you want is to pull off a hitch-free staycation where the kids behaved, no one fell ill and everyone was happy only to find that burglars made off with your precious possessions.
With active home contents insurance, you’ll have the assurance that in the event of a break in, or unexpected events like a burst water pipe or electrical fire, your insurer will cover the cost of damages. Aviva’s new home insurance plan gives up to S$100,000 household contents coverage and emergency cash allowance. For comprehensive protection, the Home Plus plan comes with add-on coverage like utilities bill relief, breakage of fixed glass, and home cleaning expenses should your home need disinfection when a household member contracts an infectious disease.
Staycations are going to be the norm for a while, and now that you know how to dodge potential spoilers, you can make every future break a great one.