Vacation or Staycation: What Should Singapore Families Choose?

Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

Parents, are you rejoicing over the recent updates to the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, which allow vaccinated Singaporeans to resume travel to selected countries — without quarantine measures?

Or do you intend to play it safe and remain in Singapore for the immediate future?

If you need a refresher, here is a list of countries that Singaporean families could potentially visit during the year-end school holidays, which, for 2021, will begin on November 20:

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France 
  • Germany 
  • Italy 
  • Netherlands 
  • South Korea 
  • Spain 
  • UK 
  • US 

For those eager to travel again, do be mindful that there will be more research and planning involved, compared to the pre-pandemic days. We recommend that you refer to official sources, such as government and airline websites, for the most updated and accurate travel information.

Below are some VTL requirements that you should be aware of. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list:

  • All travellers under the VTL scheme need to be fully vaccinated, with proof of vaccination.
  • Travellers intending to leave Singapore to a VTL destination must check with the relevant authorities about entry processes. You can get an overview of the requirements here.
  • For convenience, use this checklist for information on re-entry into Singapore — it has all the information that you will need.
  • Children aged 12 and below are not required to present proof of vaccination. However, they must comply with all other VTL conditions (unless aged two and below) and be accompanied by a fully vaccinated VTL traveller.
  • Unvaccinated travellers aged 13 and above are not allowed to travel under the VTL.
  • Persons who are medically unfit to be vaccinated are not allowed to travel under the VTL.
  • For travel purposes, Singpass users vaccinated through the National Vaccination Programme can request for a digital vaccination certificate from Notαrise before their journey. This will be sent to your email and Singpass app, and users are also encouraged to print out their certificates prior to their trip.
  • To find out where to take your pre-departure Covid-19 tests, check the Singapore Airlines’ guide to test locations worldwide. Within Singapore, you can refer to the travel website Milelion, which has a cost comparison article for local Covid-19 tests.

Do also browse the official VTL FAQs page, which addresses the many questions that you might have. Finally, remember to check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for the latest advisories that apply to your intended destination.

Safer Travels During Covid-19: Considerations For Parents

Travel used to be great for the mind, body, and soul, but has Covid-19 made it impossible to relax and fully enjoy a trip with the family?

There is no straightforward answer to this question, as different families will have different health profiles and risk tolerances. For instance, a fully vaccinated family would have different considerations from one with unvaccinated children.

Do note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends delaying travel until one is able to get fully vaccinated. However, if you should still wish to travel with your unvaccinated children, you can read the CDC’s tips on safer travel options. In general, this involves practices that Singaporeans are already familiar with, such as masking up, finding ways to avoid crowds, and washing or sanitising one’s hands often.  

You could also read ST’s guide to the Covid-19 situations in selected VTL destinations, to get a sense of the vaccination rates and daily case averages in these countries. Naturally, you would want to choose a destination with higher vaccination and lower daily case rates. Given that the Covid-19 situation is perpetually evolving, you will need to do your bit to keep up with the news as well.

Other suggestions for safer travel during the pandemic include focusing on outdoor activities, or choosing an all-inclusive holiday resort with health protocols that you can trust. When booking your plane tickets, opt for direct flights and a higher cabin class if you can afford it.

Within Singapore, a recent news report indicated that there was increased interest by families in European destinations, while local transport minister S. Iswaran offered this advice: “It’s important that we understand the circumstances in the countries you might be considering to visit… I hope [the VTL] gives Singaporean families, on the one hand, the option, but I hope it’s an option they will exercise with due care.”

Not Ready To Travel? Make the Best of Your Singapore Staycation

If you have decided to remain in Singapore for the year-end holidays, you can still reap some of the benefits of travel by being open to new experiences as a family.

For those of you who have not used your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, they are valid till 31 December 2021, so why not browse the authorised booking partner sites to see what’s on offer?

You can begin by looking at Klook’s recommendations for kid-friendly staycation packages. Alternatively, you can also check out Traveloka’s recommendations for family-friendly tours.

In fact, you don’t have to book a hotel or tour package to try something different with the family. You could simply set aside time for a family meal at a new restaurant, visit a park or attraction that you’ve not been to before, or even purchase a board game to play together at home. It may not be as exciting as hopping on a plane, but it is a chance to remind ourselves that there are many ways to spice up our daily lives — all it requires is a little effort and creativity.

Looking for outdoor activities in Singapore for the family? Bookmark our list of 40+ DIY Walking Trail Guides that you can use for every school holiday!