Last-minute Year-end Holidays You Can Actually Afford

By the SMU Social Media Team



So you were too busy studying for the exams to plan a year-end break. And December just happens to be the most popular (code for: most expensive) time to get away. Well, that does not mean you have to be cooped up at home while everyone else flies off to a far-flung destination. In fact, this presents the perfect opportunity to get creative and plan a fun vacay on a shoestring budget, with a couple of insider tips:


Embrace surprises with great tools

Ready for an adventure, and don’t have much cash to splurge? Then sign up now for price alerts for hotels and airfares within your budget, prioritising price over destination.

The usual trusted search engines such as Skyscanner and Expedia are great for spotting deals; but better yet, give Google Flights a try. Sporting a swank new interface, the intuitive system makes searching for the cheapest deal over a range of flexible dates even easier. It also suggests destinations and experiences based on broad preferences provided by the user. For example, we discovered a $380 flight to Kathmandu in December—which is a nice time to trek in lower elevations thanks to the cool weather, based on our search selection of a nature-based holiday in Asia. Or give Kayak a go and try out it’s ‘Explore’ smart tool for recommendations based on your budget or interest.


Take advantage of off-season pricing

While travelling during the year-end monsoon season might be dangerous in certain areas, other spots are better experienced during low seasons. Some say that Siem Reap’s ancient temple sites, for example, can look their best during rainy periods. The lack of tourists means a visit to the Angkor temples is all the more meditative and romantic. Aesthetically, the verdant flora surrounding the historical sites look lusher in wet weather, and any shutterbug knows that the glistening reflection of wet surfaces and diffused lighting after rainfall make for amazing shots.

And while beach destinations like Bali may experience rain in December, there are plenty of other activities to check out even when the weather’s dismal. Take advantage of the lower airfares and accommodation prices, and try the region’s top foodie hangouts, or plan in-villa parties with your besties. You could also check out this list of 10 Best Things to Do in Bali When it Rains.


Plan a fun staycation

Why not simply book a nice hotel to relax in for a couple of days and play tourist for a couple of days exploring the many corners of Singapore you’ve never found the time to check out yet? Airbnb offers unique experiences ranging from tours of old neighbourhoods like Tanglin Halt to learning to cook classic local dishes from old family recipes.

Meanwhile, Tribe Tours provide tours like Disappearing Trades, which teaches participants how to make traditional fluffy bread or visit a maker of Chinese religious paper offerings. And if a night’s stay at Capella is a bit too rich, then why not chill in a retro Kampong-style hut on Sentosa? Costa Sands Sentosa offers regular rooms and 1960s-type huts—that cost a fraction of other Sentosa hotel room rates. Best of all, it is located minutes away from Siloso Beach.

Have more creative suggestions? Go ahead and share with us in the comments below!