Budget Friendly Trips to Singapore

Singapore is an exciting city with a lot going on throughout the year. It’s famous for its luxury hotels and casinos, but also provides budget hotels and activities to attract every kind of visitor. You can find cheap hotels in Singapore that will leave you enough in your travel budget to have some fun in the city.

Singapore Hotels

With a vibrant Little India and Chinatown, there is a lot to see in the city, and you can find budget hotels in both of these areas. Most small budget hotels offer modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, refrigerators and air conditioning. There are larger hotels that have reasonable rates, modern amenities and views of the Singapore River. Some hotels in Chinatown offer clean rooms with basic amenities at very affordable prices.

Singapore was once considered the most expensive city in the world to visit with its many luxury hotels and casinos on Marina Bay and in the downtown area. At these hotels you’ll get panoramic views and personalized service as well as access to spa treatments, infinity pools, fitness centers and many first-class restaurants.

Vacation rentals are available in the city for every budget. From shared rooms in a private residence to a studio or larger apartment, you can find a clean vacation rental with a fully equipped kitchen to reduce your costs even further, TV and DVD player and free Internet access. If you’re traveling in a large group, you may prefer a large house with three private bedrooms or even a heritage mansion with a swimming pool, garden and modern amenities.

When to Visit Singapore

The weather in Singapore doesn’t change much throughout the year except that there is a little more rain from November to January. The driest month is February, but there are many things to do indoors during the rainy times. Singapore is a popular destination during holidays such as Chinese New Year, Christmas, Ramadan and National Day, plus there are special events such as the F1 race, the Sun Festival and Chingay Parade. You can check the Singapore Tourism Board Website to see the dates for these events, but you can find affordable hotel rates even during the busiest times.

What to Do in Singapore

A orangutan at the Singapore Zoo.

A orangutan at the Singapore Zoo.

Little India is a great place to spend an afternoon. There are shops with spices for sale as well as fabric shops and many inexpensive restaurants that offer delicious food.

Chinatown was established during colonial times, and today is geared towards tourists. The atmosphere is authentic and there are several museums, temples and excellent spas. During the Chinese New Year celebrations you’ll see street entertainment and beautiful decorations.

Singapore also has some natural attractions that are worth seeing. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is an area for rest and relaxation from the vibrant city and contains the largest tropical orchid display in the world. There is a playground and several restaurants. The Gardens by the Bay have giant tree-shaped vertical gardens, and The Cloud Forest has a huge indoor waterfall.

Singapore may be a small city-state, but it is not small on entertainment, good food and other attractions. There are several apps for your smartphone that will help guide you to the best food and sites. With a little advanced planning, you can enjoy it all at a price you can afford.

This article was written and provided by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the ultimate platform for all your travel needs.

USTA’s Roger Dow on Tourism this week:

Our industry is concluding a most successful National Travel and Tourism Week. This year, NTTW attracted record levels of engagement by more than 400 destinations, businesses and other supporters. And, no surprise, online social engagement skyrocketed, amplifying our voice under the banner theme “Travel is ______.” Thank you all for engaging with lawmakers and touting our message widely in the media. Your creativity and support was on display from coast to coast.

When it comes to informing policy decisions that affect travel on Capitol Hill, like preserving Open Skies agreements, passing Trade Promotion Authority legislation, or funding improvements to our nation’s aging infrastructure, it cannot be done without your participation at the local level during weeks like this one.

In recognition of NTTW, the U.S. Senate also passed a resolution on Wednesday, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), lauding the contribution of travel and tourism to America’s economy. Let the progress continue throughout 2015.

AARP’s Life@50+ Expo

Guest blog by Associate Editor Stephen Hartshorne:

I’m getting set to travel to Miami to attend the AARP’s Life@50+ Expo May 13-16. I’ll be joining other travel writers to learn about discounts and services offered to AARP members.

We’re going to meet representatives from discount providers and attend a variety of speaking engagements. We’re also going to participate in a day of community service, go to the AARP Superstar singing contest and hear performances by Chaka Khan and Kenny Loggins.

Merida: Four x Four for $4,000 Sounds Like a Plan!

Mariachis in Merida, Veracruz Mexico.

Mariachis in Merida, Veracruz Mexico.

Hacienda Petac, a private estate located 30 minutes from Mérida, Yucatán invites four guests to experience a specially priced  “FOUR FOR FOUR SUMMER INTERLUDE.” This perfect summer offer gives 4 friends or 2 couples a chance to enjoy 4 nights of Hacienda Petac signature pampering at the all-inclusive price of $4000 US dollars. That’s just $250/each per night for any suite of choice, all dining, all beverages, all taxes and all airport transfers.  This is a unique opportunity for friends or family to unwind luxuriously at Hacienda Petac, a resort exclusively reserved for one group at a time.  Awaken to the sound of birds flying across 250 acres of natural habitat, throw on a robe to meet for breakfast under the trees, stroll over to the spa for a massage, take a leisurely swing in a hammock, poolside, with margarita in hand, learn the fascinating history of the region, and eat deliciously prepared Yucatan cuisine, all while experiencing flawless service from a staff of 22.  A heavenly retreat.

Hacienda Petac rests on 250, extremely private acres in an ecological reserve just outside the little village of Petac.  There are seven spacious guest rooms which are located in four buildings surrounding the main house. Each room has soaring ceilings and beautiful native stone bathrooms with shower and tub.

The estate features lush, tropical gardens and lawns with fountains, waterfalls and a beautiful swimming pool. Also on the grounds is a stunning spa compound for massages with a Jacuzzi, nail salon and private gym. Additionally, the resort offers a media room, game room with pool table, ping pong and board games. The owners of this gracious, 17th-century, Spanish colonial estate have restored it exquisitely, respecting its historical and cultural legacy. The sweet and attentive Mayan staff adds to the feeling of a luxurious, private home.

The package, priced at $4000 for four persons includes roundtrip transfers from Merida airport, all meals and alcohol, for stays between June 1 and August 31, 2015. There are many excursions available for guests who wish to explore the diverse attractions of this region; several of the world’s finest Mayan archeological sites, wildlife reserves, and underwater caves are within an hour.

Hacienda Petac is located approximately 30 minutes from Merida International Airport, which is served by flights from Houston and Mexico City. From Cancun, the Hacienda is a four hour drive.

For reservations and information, call toll free (800) 783-6904 or 203-274-7375 outside of U.S.  Hacienda Petac’s website is www.haciendapetac.com

Bali for a Week, Just $1999 Including Air: The Catch? Cash Only!

The entrance to the Goa Gajah Cave, an 11th century site in Bali . Photos by Lakshmi Sharath

The entrance to the Goa Gajah Cave, an 11th century site in Bali . Photos by Lakshmi Sharath

The magical Indonesian island of Bali—often called the world’s most beautiful—is truly a South Seas Paradise. And now, with it’s Exotic Bali tour starting at only $1,999, World Spree Travel has made it as accessible and affordable as Jamaica or Hawaii.  What’s more: World Spree has made it a new kind of group tour, starting with organized visits to the most famous sites from Ubud, the inland cultural heart of Bali,  proceeding to a 4-day relaxing “vacation within a vacation” at a luxurious Nusa Dua beach resort (with lots of do-it-yourself activities), ending with the flexibility of independent travel on optional extensions to metropolitan Singapore and Hong Kong.

The super-value Exotic Bali tour includes round-trip flights on Cathay Pacific (from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston), nine nights’ hotel accommodation, nine international buffet breakfasts, four lunches and a dinner, all ground transportation, comprehensive sightseeing tours with entrance fees, Cultural Insite programs, professional English-speaking guides and baggage handling.

The charming hotel in Ubud is the Alaya Ubud, a stylish boutique hotel surrounded by natural beauty but within walking distance of Ubud and its many arts and crafts workshops.  The well-equipped rooms have either a balcony or terrace and the hotel offers a swimming pool, spa and restaurant.  In Nusa Dua the hotel is the 5-star Melia Bali, a prestigious beach resort with five restaurants overlooking a reef-fringed lagoon and surrounded by lush gardens and a pool that winds through the grounds. Here there are DIY opportunities to swim, cruise to Bali‘s three small sister islands, go surfing, snorkeling, shopping, take a wildlife safari or just loll on the beach or by the pool.

Those who want to see more of Southeast Asia—and travel independently with a list of suggested activities and restaurants—can take an optional $599, 3-day extension to the dynamic island nation of Singapore to shop, sightsee and enjoy some of the world’s best cuisine, while staying in the luxurious Pan Pacific Hotel overlooking Marina Bay.  There’s also a $599, 3-day stopover in Hong Kong, another culinary capital, with accommodations in Kowloon’s sleekly-designed Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, which is right in the middle of Hong Kong’s largest shopping complex on Victoria Harbor.

All prices quoted are cash only, are per person double occupancy, and are subject to availability.  For more information about the Exotic Bali package, visit www.worldspree.com, click “Tour Packages” and then “Bali.”

The World’s Top Entertainment Cities

There are a number of cities throughout the world that offer up various entertainment activities to fit the needs of any travelers, including adults with and without children. This is a list of top entertainment cities that will not disappoint.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Miami Beach is an upscale city that caters to a moneyed crowd, with high end shopping centers like Lincoln Road Mall and renowned spas like Auga Spa at the Delano. Visitors and residents alike tend to spend a great deal of money on both comfort and comfortable clothing. Adults who prefer the nightlife can shell out hundreds on drinks at bars and dance clubs. There are also sophisticated types who enjoy the Art Deco architecture and the Bass Museum of Art.

Of course, one of the best activities that is also free is relaxing at the beach. Visitors who are cost conscious often spend their days swimming or lounging on the beach, kayaking, or surfing in the Atlantic Ocean during the day. Many people go to Miami to visit South Beach. It is a liberal atmosphere with hot bodies, excellent sand, Art Deco design, and seventeen blocks between 6th and 23rd streets that give the feel of an entirely separate little world.

The shopping, spas, nightlife, and even the attractions for kids make Miami Beach a top destination for entertainment and fun.

New York City

New York's Times Square

New York’s Times Square

The city’s soaring skyscrapers and monuments are mesmerizing enough, but if that is not enough to make an impression, New York City offers flourishing arts, food, fashion, and nightlife scenes. Visitors can spend their mornings browsing along Fifth Avenue’s designers and take in the stunning city views in the afternoons from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. At the Met and the Guggenheim, art lovers can admire striking works of art before heading to Chinatown or Little Italy to feast on the ethnic fare.

As the evening approaches, visitors can snag some tickets to an award winning Broadway show or even head to the Meatpacking District after dark to experience the low key rooftop bars and jazz clubs. New York City has the widest range of nightlife options of most other cities, with countless ways to spend an evening. This ranges from participating in a never ending bar crawl in the East Village, to cocktail-sipping in a trendy SoHo lounge, to belting out some karaoke with friends.

New York City has entertainment and activities to enjoy any time of the year. Each season offers visitors special reasons to visit like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and holiday decorations in the fall and into winter. Spring is a great time to celebrate the opening of outdoor markets, frolic in Central Park, and even dine outdoors. As the hot summer approaches, there are plenty of hot entertainment activities that will surely keep you cool.

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip


Las Vegas

The city of Las Vegas is often dubbed the Entertainment Capital of the World. Some people view the city as the most exciting place on Earth because it is home to a large number of shows, events, concerts, attractions, shopping, sports activities, sight-seeing tours, and a very rich nightlife. It is a city of never ending fun, neon lights, and holidays.

There are plenty of things to do when traveling to Las Vegas. When it comes to shows, there are more of them and more performers in Las Vegas than in any other city. The shows include stand-up comedians, Broadway musicals, Cirque du Soleil, magic, funny hypnotists, adult shows, and many others.

The obvious entertainment activity that hardly needs to be mentioned occurs in the excellent casino resorts. Las Vegas is known worldwide as a top casino destination. Visitors should probably brush up on the rules of any casino games they intend to play for big stakes such as Blackjack, which is one of the most popular card games played at casinos. A more laid back casino option would be the slots; they are fun, exciting, and do not require any extra effort other than to sit down and push a button.

The Las Vegas Strip is home to the most popular hotels and resorts and is the main street that attracts tourists from throughout the world. The strip usually offers the best entertainment in the city.


Singapore at night.

Singapore at night.

This is one of the cleanest places in the world and my not be a city that comes to mind initially, but it is a feast for the senses. It is a small island off the coast of Malaysia and is an immigrant city-state with a mixture of cultures from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Europe.

Food is actually considered to be one of Singapore’s top attractions by their own board of tourism. The dining activity is representative of all the cultures that reside in the city. It is a gourmet’s paradise, with a range of humble street stalls to top five-star restaurants.

Other attractions in Singapore include the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Singapore Science Centre. After a hard day of sightseeing and shopping, there is also the Singapore Bath Culture Foot Therapy where visitors can get a nice massage. Located near the equator, the city does have a tropical climate so it is a great excursion to get away from winter blues.




The oldest and largest city in Australia is Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, which is in a south-eastern state of Australia. Many people recognize Sydney by its defining symbol, which is the Sydney Opera House. This is a popular attraction for thousands of people who visit from all over the world. There are guided tours at the site that will inform visitors with everything they ever wanted to know about the famous structure.

Sydney is a port city so it also has beach front, which is often a requirement for any holiday destination. The Bondi Beach is known the world over and entertainment near the beach includes restaurants, cafes, and bars located along the Campbell Parade. Visitors can go from the beach to visit Darling Harbor. It is located near the city center and features a maritime museum, an aquarium, and a wildlife park. There is also the Sydney Tower and Skywalk that offer a three hundred and sixty degree view of the harbor city.




London is a city founded by Romans two thousand years ago and called Londinium. It is the most visited city in England and has many famous attractions that include Big Ben, the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The London Eye is one of the newest attractions that visitors seek out to experience wonderful panoramic views of the city.

London has impressive museums that feature remarkable archaeological collections as well as large collections of decorative arts and galleries that exhibit notable works of art. The shopping experience in London is fantastic and there is a theater district in the West End where visitors can be entertained by plays, musicals, and other performances. There are very popular and lovely parks to experience as well as an exciting and jumping nightlife. London is a city of culture and history as well as entertainment.