Its almost that time of the year again…June has always been peak travel season, with factors like the long school holidays, and the summer weather of many destinations playing a large part.
Studies show that Singaporeans are the MOST well-travelled in the region alongside Hong Kong, and another research also shows that travelling is the top priority spending for majority of Singaporeans…Perhaps it is time that we officially replace shopping with travelling as Singaporean’s favourite pastime!
Given the above, plus the fact that Singapore is one of the leading countries in the region in terms of internet use, connectivity, start-up scene and essentially overall online savviness and all things tech, it comes as no surprise then that there are many travel tools available here online or on your mobile to help with your travel needs.
Did you know that many of these tools are “Made-in-Singapore”? In recent years, the Asian online travel booking market was estimated to be more than 50 billion USD! No wonder Singapore companies are reaching for a piece of that pie…
Here are 5 Singapore-made Travel Tools you should use for your next trip (especially with so many looong weekends this year), and an introduction to some others!
BeMyGuest is a name that many will recognise because this startup won the inaugural Startup Asia Competition organised by Channel NewsAsia and was on our TV screens for months! One of the factors that swayed the panel of judges and investors to invest in BeMyGuest was its a unique selling proposition – a marketplace for travellers to search and book things to do, and a platform that empowers entrepreneurs and locals businesses to market and distribute their tours and activities. The online booking website just recently turned 3 years old and have achieved a few more milestones since then, including being the world’s largest online provider of activities in Asia, with over 5000 listings, today!
Fun fact: The company logo is inspired by the peace/victory sign but it also spells out B-M-G, can you spot it?
Use it when you are travelling in Asia and need inspiration for things to do or to book local attractions.
Journeyful is a very ambitious travel company. Its main brand is an online hotel booking site that caters to both business and leisure travellers but the platform differentiates itself by being rewards oriented and through reward points, earned from booking, referrals etc, it can give customers the best hotels at the best prices. Additionally, it is aiming to change the world of travel, and to “bring the small guy back to life” through the travel apps that it builds. The company believes that we will be worse off if the small guy goes out of business. “Travel is … about the millions of small companies that collectively make it so big and beautiful. The internet is meant to level the playing field, not penalize the small guy for not having a great website or failing to understand digital marketing.”
Fun fact: Journeyful runs a monthly lucky draw on its website and you can win some pretty amazing travel prizes!
Use it when you are feeling sorry for the small guy? A company with such a meaningful philosophy absolutely deserves our support…and at the same time we all get rewards!
Luxexplorer is barely 1 year old but it has already serviced many happy clients. It’s secret? It’s called a Trip Customizer and allows you to, as the name suggests, customize your request and input your preferences. The company offers tailor-made solutions for all travel needs, catering largely to luxury leisure clients and also corporate incentive groups. The philosophy lies behind the belief that everyone is unique and so are their travel needs, hence the promise of bespoke itineraries.
Fun fact: Amy Sim, the founder of Luxexplorer, once took a sabbatical to travel the world (over 30 countries) and has visited destinations like Middle East and Antartica! In awe of her worldly experiences during our chat, Amy left us with a very inspirational and favourite quote of hers – Travel is the only thing we can buy that makes us richer.
Use it when you are looking for bespoke trip planner.
Just like Luxexplorer, The Luxe Nomad is a luxury travel site but it is unique in its private service. Members get to enjoy its flash sales of up to 70% off luxury villas and resorts in destinations all over the world but at the same time, anyone can conveniently book the same accommodation outside of the flash sales anytime if they would like to.
Fun fact: The founder of The Luxe Nomad is none other than Stephanie Chai, former television host and supermodel!
Use it when you are looking to travel in style but at a great deal.
Tripzilla offers a free service for travellers to view and compare the latest outbound package prices and deals by different travel agencies all in one place online. Most of these packages are offered by traditional travel agencies so instead of going to their retail outlets you can find their promotions online here. Using Tripzilla is akin to attending a mega-travel fair, like the bi-annual NATAS, but the online version…what’s more, this “travel-fair” is available all year round!
Fun fact: Tripzilla has a sister company called Flyzilla which offer pretty much the same service but instead of packages you compare only flights out of Singapore.
Use it when you are lazy to attend travel fairs but need to find a great group tour package.
Flocations is similar to Tripzilla as both websites offers a platform for travellers to find the tour package of their choice. Its model, however, differs from some of the above OTAs as Flocations is a meta-search engine (a search tool that uses other search engines’ data to produce their own results from the Internet). You should definitely check out their current site sooner rather than later though because our friends at the Vulcan Post just reported an inside scoop this week that Flocations might be headed for a merger!
Fun fact: Flocations used to be a platform for airlines reservations when it was first founded.
Use it when to find all travel packages in one place instead of searching travel agencies one by one.
Having introduced the term “meta-search”, it is interesting to note that this model is not that uncommon for online travel sites, including the likes of Skyscanner and Wego. Wego searches the major hotel and flight websites to help you find cheap flights and hotel deals at the best prices.
Fun fact: Wego bills itself as the largest travel search site in Asia Pacific and Middle East.
Use it when you want to compare all the available flight options including rates, or all the prices offered by different hotel booking sites, instead of having dozens of tabs open at the same time.
FlightLover is a mobile application that gives you all the budget flight options and information at your fingertips including budget flights from Singapore to over 80 destinations.
Fun fact: This app is created by the founders of another popular, sort-of-travel (more commuting) platform and app, none other than gothere.sg.
Use it when you want to book budget flights on your mobile.
Packnada is actually very different from all in this list in that it doesn’t offer travel planning/booking options, rather, it offers a storage solution for frequent travellers (and washing of clothes) so that they need not pack a big luggage on their next visit and have to spend a long time at airport because of checked-in baggage. Based in Singapore, its customers who visit Singapore can deposit up to 20 pieces of clothing in a specialised laundry bag before they depart and pick up all of their clothing upon check-in at any hotel on their next visit (less heavy baggage), with delivery, cleaning and washing all included in the service.
Use it when Packnada expands to offer their service to other countries, so that you can save on checked-in luggage if you travel frequently to a destination.
Hey Wander is currently growing their community and subscribers but when it will be launched soon on Android then iOS and this app connects single travellers who do not want to travel alone.
Fun fact: Hey Wander seems to deploy a Like/Dislike function for their travel buddy “search”, which brings to mind a certain dating app…
Use it when you are “carpe diem”-ish and looking for unique travel experiences with someone new.
Travelling soon? Try out one of the above for your trip(s) and #itsSHIOKtotravel to share with us your wanderlust fulfilment!