Long weekend gets some Singaporeans in the mood for short getaway

SINGAPORE – With New Year’s Day falling on Tuesday, some people in Singapore are taking advantage of the long weekend to make short trips abroad.

Customer service associate Irene Woo, for instance, took her two young daughters to Hong Kong on Friday (Dec 28) for a five-day break. They fly back on Tuesday.

“It’s a short holiday for the girls before they have to go back to school on Jan 2. Both their birthdays are in January so this is also a special trip to celebrate and spend time together,” said Ms Woo, 39, who took two days of leave for the trip.

“The public holiday really helps to maximise the time so that I didn’t have to take that much leave and still get to spend more days away,” she added. Her husband was unable to join them.

For financial analyst Alwyn Wong, 28, the long weekend gives him an opportunity to spend more time with his girlfriend Elizabeth Lee, 27, who is based in Kuala Lumpur and works in a product marketing firm.

“We wanted to celebrate the New Year together and also take advantage of the public holiday,” he said.

The couple have been dating for two years and take turns to visit each other every month.

While he acknowledged that his plane ticket cost about 20 per cent more than usual, Mr Wong said he did not mind spending more because the New Year is a special occasion.

Travelling during the New Year period can be more expensive, according to travel agencies.

Ms Alicia Seah, director of public relations and communications at Dynasty Travel, said hotel rates at popular destinations such as Vietnam, Phuket and Bali are typically about 70 per cent more expensive.

“That’s why we usually see more couples travelling during this time rather than families,” Ms Seah said.

But higher hotel prices are no deterrent for many.

Ms Jane Tor, 26, will be heading to Batam with her parents and brother for a three-day trip from Sunday (Dec 30) to Tuesday.

“It was a really last-minute thing. We wanted to take a short break somewhere nearby because my brother who is serving his national service had some leave to clear.”

The family of four have booked two hotel rooms for about $200 per room per night.

Ms Tor noted that some better hotels are charging more than double the amount.

“We figured that since we are just sleeping in the rooms and intend to spend most of our time outdoors and at the beach, we didn’t need very expensive accommodation to still have fun together.”

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