It is not even halfway into the year, but Ms Janice Lim is already looking forward to 2018. After hearing the recent news that those working in Singapore could enjoy a bumper crop of nine long weekends next year with some planning, the 25-year-old is hoping to go on more weekend trips around the region with her partner.
Ms Lim, who manages financial comparison site GoBear, says: “We are making a point next year to travel more, to gain new experiences and take a break once in a while. So having more long weekends next year is definitely good news.”
Four public holidays – New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Good Friday and Hari Raya Puasa – will fall on a Friday or Monday next year, giving workers a three-day weekend. Another five holidays fall on a Tuesday or a Thursday, so those who want a four-day weekend would need only to take a day off. Long weekends are the perfect opportunity for a short getaway. And with midnight flights, more affordable air tickets and the plethora of budget airlines, Singaporeans need not limit themselves to neighbouring countries. They can even squeeze in a jaunt to China, Japan or Australia. Of course, do not expect to cover everything in four days, but you can still have a memorable and enjoyable trip with proper planning.
Mr James Lee, 42, a sales representative with lifestyle and travel membership company WorldVentures, travels during at least three or four long weekends every year, mostly with his family. His advice? Ensure that your transportation is well-planned and arranged so that moving from place to place can be hassle-free. Or if planning ahead is too much of a fuss, he suggests signing up for a tour.
Digital entrepreneur Nelson Lee, 30, who has travelled to Bali, Surabaya, Kuala Lumpur and Jakartaover long weekends, says: “Stay open-minded. And stay off the mobile phone.”
Recalling his trip to Surabaya in 2014, he says: “It is just a short flight away. And there are short or long itineraries which you can work out with a local guide from your hotel.”
There are also tools online to help you plan. Travel search engine Skyscanner, for example, has the Public Holiday Planner Tool (www.skyscanner.com.sg/publicholidayplanner) featuring a range of destinations with wallet-friendly deals. It also tells you how many days of leave are required to enjoy a long weekend in these locations.
Ms Alicia Seah, 51, director of public relations and communications at Dynasty Travel, says that when it comes to short getaways, Singaporeans are spoilt for choice.
“We are close to internationally well-regarded travel destinations such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong,” she adds.
“Some places in the region are also relatively unknown to many Singaporeans, such as Palawan island in the Philippines. They may make perfect getaways because they are exotic, easy to get to and you don’t have to jostle with the crowds.”
The Sunday Times recommends nine short getaways for the nine long weekends.