Hols during long weekend? Forget it

SINGAPORE - Travel abroad during the upcoming National Day and Hari Raya Puasa long weekend? Forget it.

Several people that My Paper spoke to said they are eschewing a trip overseas during the four-day long weekend between Aug 8 and 11 because they anticipate jams at the checkpoints and crowds at the airport.

Holiday packages tend to be more pricey during this period too.

"It's the peak period, so it's very troublesome to try and get flights. What's more, flights and tour packages cost more," said Ms Kerlin Tan, a 32-year-old sales executive.

"I'm just going to stay home with my family. Perhaps I will go out with my family for dinner and a movie," she said.

Madam Alice Chua, a marketing executive in her 40s, feels that the long weekend is a "time to destress", and would rather stay at home with her family.

However, many people are interested in a staycation over the long weekend.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore hotel said it expects to be fully booked over the period, with repeat guests making reservations as early as a year ago.

It has a National Day package where guests can book a deluxe room facing the National Day Parade fireworks and celebrations, starting from $1,470, which is higher than usual.

The Raffles Hotel has a special package for Singaporeans, permanent residents and Work Pass holders. A night in a suite costs $550 (before taxes) during the long weekend. It comes with a discount for Sunday brunch on Aug 11.

Travel agencies are still doing a brisk business, though.

Zuji Singapore has seen a 50 per cent spike in bookings for the upcoming long weekend, over last year's National Day period.

Chan Brothers said that bookings for the weekend came in as early as the final quarter of last year.

Most of CTC Travel's tour groups have been fully booked since late last month, a spokesman said, although it is still possible to book some seats on flights to Taiwan, South Korea and China.

But it is difficult to get air tickets to regional destinations and customers may need to pay about 30 to 40 per cent more than usual, the spokesman said.

The National Association of Travel Agents Singapore said short-haul destinations are still "overwhelmingly popular" travel choices during the National Day period.