In Singapore: an independent traveller in training

The last time I was an independent traveller was in Hong Kong in 2011. I didn’t enjoy it. I wandered around aimlessly between a couple of organised tours, not knowing what to do with myself. Argh, I thought. I need to be on a schedule and have someone take care of all the organisation. I henceforth declared myself a terrible independent traveller. I justified my stance by claiming that I made lots of decisions at work, so it was nice to go away and have the decisions made for me. I took no personal responsibility for my travel other than deciding on the tour destination, the timeframe and forking over the cash to my fabulous travel agent.

My position has now changed. After doing three back-to-back tours: firstly the former Yugoslavia, then Turkey and finally Greece, I had had it with touring. Early starts; fleeting visits to places, cities and sights; herds (and hoards) of people; hit and miss hotel accommodation and food; and little free time left me feeling depleted, annoyed and ultimately dissatisfied.

So here I am in Singapore, schedule-free, apart from my fly in, fly out dates. I have used this city to experience truly independent travel, because I have organised everything myself (apart from my flights, which were organised by the fabulous Angela at Phil Hoffman Travel as part of this entire trip). I found my hotel via TripAdvisor (and it’s fabulous) and booked it via Booking (super easy and efficient). I’m using CityMaps2Go to help me get around (it’s fabulous, because you download your map with all the information over wifi for access offline. It even has location, so I know exactly where I am and in which direction I’m going, which is awesome for someone as navigationally challenged as me). I booked my airport-hotel-airport transfers and some short tours via Viator (it’s fabulous and so easy to use) and I’ve worked out what I want to see and where to go via friends, Uncle Google, VirtualTourist and CityWalks (no offline mode, but I use CityMaps2Go and a paper map to help me plan out my routes). Simples!

These few days in Singapore have showed me that I can actually be a very good independent traveller – a big shift from Hong Kong a few short years ago. And I’m enjoying the freedom and flexibility immensely. And being on my own.

And what I’ve found that works best for me is this: have the mornings free to go exploring, and if I do an organised tour, do it in the afternoon or early evening. That way I’m not rushed, and I can just soak up the atmosphere of being somewhere new, and enjoy the journey of discovery.

5 Comments

  • Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com October 16, 2013 at 3:18 am

    It takes sometime to get that point but being and independent travel can offer so much more then with a tour for sure. 🙂

    Reply
    • dileeshus October 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Absolutely, Susan ! I do have a schedule… but it’s my own 😉

      Reply
  • georginabarnett October 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I like those relaxed mornings too thats what we did. Go out get breakfast soak it up and then do a tour or get a local bus and do something. I know what you mean about the bus trips-I cried when we got to Florence as we stood in line to see “David” for over an hour (he was disappointing) then we had 2 hours left – we needed to eat then back on the bus. It was the one place I was really looking forward to. Never again!

    Reply
    • dileeshus October 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      That was me at the Acropolis. By the time we were all herded off into the domain of the tour guide, then were lectured for ages, I had only half an hour “free time” before we were herded back onto the bus. Was so disappointed because I could easily have spent a couple of hours there.

      Reply
  • Where I’m travelling to in Japan #NipponDisey | The Travelling Homebody March 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    […] around Japan on my own, without the security blanket of a tour group. But given a) how much I enjoyed being on my own in Singapore and b) how easy it is supposed to be to get around Japan, I’m really looking […]

    Reply

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