My First Travel Hacking Experience: Singapore

Singapore's Super Trees by travel photographer Heather McKay

Travel Hacking to Singapore: As most people know by now, I’m taking a desperately needed little sabbatical to visit Africa. A bucket list level trip…

Oh, wait, you ask, what does Singapore have to do with Africa??? What is “travel hacking“?

Well, the answer there is Travel Hacking!

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

So, here’s what happened… beer.

My pals, Philip and Tracy, were having a beer at the newest brewery in town and invited me to join them. A few beers later, Tracy invited me to go on a work trip with him to Singapore! Oddly, later that night, a different friend offered me her buddy pass through American Airlines.

So, this crazy hair brain idea emerged and got traction. Two weeks later, I was flying first class to Japan and then economy to Singapore. What a ride!

American Airlines first class from Chicago to JapanIt took forever to get there. Even in first class, it was rough. Part of the problem was that it was my first time in first class and I wanted to enjoy the experience! Now I know to just sleep… I mean, they do give you a lay flat bed, pajamas and an eye mask for a reason.

Singapore cafe near ferris wheel by travel hacker Heather McKayTracy and I stayed at his hotel and toured the area via foot. It was very hot and humid. This was our view from our hotel! We arrived at midnight on his birthday and the hotel had cake waiting in the room. So great. For such a large town, the streets were rather quiet.

Singapore at night by travel hacker Heather McKay

We learned the hard way about taxi drivers offering to take us to China Town…. Um, just say no. It’s all a scam. We were given Tiger Beer and whisked quickly into a Tailor’s shop, then a pearl shop. The high pressure sales tactics were fascinating and gave me the insight that I should never ever apologize for my prices or sales ever again. I can’t imagine how wealthy I would be if I used their techniques. Crazy pushy.

Singapore street in old China town by travel blogger Heather MckayThe two things I noticed about Singapore were the epic malls and the amazing green spaces everywhere. Even the railing on the highway were lined with flowering shrubs. The bathrooms were full of plants, roofs had gardens, etc. Shopping is certainly the main attraction. For me, it was like being in another world.

Singapore mall by travel photographer Heather McKay

My favorite thing in Singapore was indeed the Super Trees at the Botanical Gardens. First of all, it was FREE. Second, it was stunningly beautiful. We went twice. At dusk, they have a laser light show and for a measly $5 you can go up to the cat walk and walk around them. The trees are a simple structure with airplants and succulents growing and climbing them over time. There were photographers with wedding couples everywhere!

Singapore's Super Trees by travel photographer Heather McKay

It was rough timing for a long weekend away on a whim, however it was an experience I’ll never forget.

Singapore's Super Trees by travel photographer Heather McKay

The only major bummer was that the Travel Hacker that I’ve been following on the Art of Non-Conformity Blog, Chris Guillebeau was in town the NIGHT BEFORE and having a meet up. What are the odds?! I missed him by just one day on my first official Travel Hacking trip. Though I didn’t use exclusively points and miles to take this trip, I’d say visiting Singapore for $1200 and flying first class was pretty good. It sure was a great test drive for my big Africa trip.

Do you have a great travel hacking tip?? Go somewhere cool on your honeymoon? Leave a comment below!

Interested in learning about travel hacking for yourself?

Join the Travel hacking Cartel

Here is a HUGE Marriott sign up bonus to get you started.