276 DAYS! 9 MONTHS AND 2 DAYS! THAT IS HOW LONG I AM STUCK IN SINGAPORE! 482 DAYS! 15 MONTHS AND 27 DAYS! THAT IS HOW LONG I AM STUCK IN SINGAPORE!
651 DAYS! 21 MONTHS AND 12 DAYS! THAT IS HOW LONG I AM STUCK IN SINGAPORE!
SEEING THE WORLD IN STEPS IS FINALLY TRAVELLING AGAIN! This is in fact the third time I have been trying to say this. Hopefully, the third time’s the charm! Keeping my fingers crossed! I hope that I will actually manage to set foot on the plane. Nothing is certain in today context and I learned it the hard way with my past two attempts heading to Hong Kong! Which got canned at the very last minute. One good thing that came out from COVID-19 was how it sort of acts as a reboot. Allowing us to rethink our priorities, learning how travelling shouldn’t be taken for granted. We are too used to grabbing a bag and hopping on the next available budget flight to Penang or Bangkok for a getaway. Happy to share that I am finally heading on a trip, using my little red book and stepping on-board a plane after almost 2 years! Of course, besides wanting to travel and fly badly, on the reviews front, it would be interesting to see how travel has changed since then. To kick start this trip series, I will be sharing about the Vaccinated Travel Lane briefly before sharing on my upcoming trip I will include the places I will be visiting, flights, hotels and lounges! With this, let me introduce you to my latest Trip Series, The Corona Way!
Vaccinated Travel Lane
I will be doing a dedicated post next, regarding the Vaccinated Travel Lane. This will include more detailed information touching on COVID Tests, their venues and the cost both in Singapore and overseas. I will also be sharing on Medical Expenses and Travel Insurance that covers COVID-19 from a Singaporean perspective! Basically, the idea of the VTL is to re-establish travel links between Singapore and the international stage. It allows vaccinated travellers or residents to travel to Singapore quarantine free as long as certain conditions are met. This will be the new norm and it allows safe travelling without the standard 14 days quarantine. Travelling on a VTL passengers will also be required to take up at least 2 COVID-19 tests. The actual number depends on the destination. It can be in the form of ART or PCR test! For the VTL, you do not have to follow a controlled itinerary and you can travel for any reason.
Countries and Cities
While the plan would be kinda fluid, for not I will definitely be visiting at least 7 countries and 16 cities. Here are the places that I plan to head to in order: Frankfurt, Antwerp, Paris, Milan, Zurich, Budapest, Lisbon, Porto, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Seville, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona. It has been more than 6 years since I last went to Spain! This time around I intend to cover most places in Spain and chalk off the entire country from my list! I do still have one place I need to visit in Spain, the Canary Islands which I am unable to fit into this trip! Do give me a holler if you are in these places as well and would love to meet up!
VTL is kind of a phenomenon these days. It is directly correlated to Singapore Airlines share price, their website traffic and of course Saver Class redemptions tickets on Business and First Class. Every time there is a new announcement SQ call centre wait times are ridiculous, this might just be the first time that I waited more than 2 hours on the PPS Solitaire line. I could even hum the music for the call centre nowadays. Without saying, redemptions tickets are snapped up at lightning speed. Flight were in hot demand after each news! Surprisingly, commercial tickets are still available and prices remain rather stagnant or in fact even cheaper prior to COVID. You can easily get a ticket on SQ to most European destinations in the mid 900~ SGD. Seoul is a different story though! Well, the power of KPOP! I was lucky enough to hold a First Class saver ticket for my outbound trip. Sadly the return sector on a VTL dedicated flight came at a costly Advantage Class price. It is a painful extra 28,000 miles but oh well! Can’t wait to be flying again on my favourite Singapore Airlines. You have been missed!
I decided on a 44 days trip! I will be flying out on SQ326 on the 29th and returning on SQ379 in Jan. This is still not going to be the most “worth it” use of your miles, but given how special the occasion is and how deprived I am of travelling, it is nevertheless worth it! I am happy with it. I valued the total miles I spent at a total of 4,154 SGD, with additional taxes of 84.60 SGD. It will be nice to capture the onboard experience on Singapore Airlines both in First and Business Class in a COVID era! For the experience before COVID, you can check out this and this. This will also be the first time I am trying out the Long Haul First Class on Singapore Airlines. For my return flight, I will be on Business Advantage Class, where I redeem an extra 25,000 miles to route to Tokyo. I will be able to use it next year when Japan opens up. I will be taking a couple of intra-Europe flights over there as well.
I will have 43 nights on the ground over there. As per usual, the focus will be mainly on Hilton properties which will allow me to clock some necessary nights before 2022. At the point of travelling, I am currently holding Hilton Diamond, Marriott Elite Gold as well as Global Hotel Alliance Black status. There are no marginal benefits with staying GHA properties and I will rather focus on the other chain. For places without a Hilton, I will probably shelter under the Marriott umbrella, allowing me to earn some points. I will also be using the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefits in certain cities to help me bring down the cost. On certain dates I am staying over super peak periods like Christmas and New Year Day, I will be using my loyalty points given the ridiculous prices. I will be sharing my experiences and reviewing all the hotels that I will be staying at during this trip! I will include the cost of the properties in each of the individual reviews. Some of the highlights will feature properties like Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona and Casa Alberola Alicante Curio Collection by Hilton.
One lounge that I will be looking forward to reviewing will be the brand new KrisFlyer Gold Lounge and SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3. It has recently reopened after a refurbishment. It will be nice to see how the service and offerings are like in the COVID Era! I will also check out the SATS Premier Lounge in Singapore. I will also review the lounges that I visit overseas such as the Lufthansa Lounge in Frankfurt, Swiss Lounge in Zurich.
I love to blend in some gastronomic experience while I am overseas, especially over in Europe. I will be on the hunt for some Michelin starred restaurant to try while I am there. Besides, I also do find that overseas fine dining is so much more affordable in comparison to the ones in Singapore. Perhaps, I am also much more willing to spend when on a holiday!
I will look to build some visits to the port wine cellars in Porto as well as a visit to a Cava house in Catalonia near Barcelona into my itinerary. If I have time, an olive oil mill visit is definitely on the books while in Spain. I will also share my experience spending Christmas and the New Year over in Europe seeing how this is the first time in my life I will be there over the festive period. It should be magical. Finally, I will also be driving along the Mediterranean coast during the later stages of my trip as I make my way up from Seville to Barcelona. Follow me on my journey around the Costa del Sol. That should be quite an adventure so do stay tuned for that.
Upcoming Highlights for The Corona Way:
I am Travelling to Europe on the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)
All you need to know about Vaccinated Travel Lane
What do you need to enter Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal and Spain
Am I crazy to do a round the Europe trip at this moment?
Travelling Overseas during COVID-19 at Singapore Changi Airport
Silverkris Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 3 Review (COVID Era)
SATS Premier Lounge Changi Airport Terminal 3 Review (COVID Era)
Singapore Airlines SQ326 777-300ER SIN – FRA First Class Review (COVID Era)
Hilton Zurich Airport
Primeclass Lounge Zurich Flughafen
Swiss Senator Lounge A/E Zurich Flughafen
Swiss Alpine Lounge A Zurich Flughafen
Swiss Air LX2254 A220-100 ZRH – BUD Economy Class Review (COVID Era)
Platinum Lounge Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport
Lufthansa LH1683 A319 BUD – MUC & LH1778 MUC – LIS Economy Class Review (COVID Era)
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Munich Flughafen
Lufthansa Business Lounge Munich Flughafen
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lisbon – Fontana Park
Alfa-Pendular Train Lisbon to Porto
Pocas Wine Cellars X Port Journey in Gaia
Hilton Porto Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia
Celebrating Christmas in Portugal
Hotel Ercilla de Bilbao Autograph Collection
Hilton Garden Inn Seville
Europcar X Driving in Spain Review
AC Hotel Malaga Palacio
Casa Alberola Alicante Curio Collection by Hilton
Why is Citi Prestige still the most worth it Credit Card?
AC Hotel Valencia
Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
PCR Testing Experience in Barcelona
How is travelling like in a COVID-19 era?
Singapore Airlines SQ379 A350-900 BCN – MXP – SIN Business Class Review (COVID Era)
VTL Arrival Process in Singapore Changi Airport
How much did I spend for 44 days in Europe?
Hope you guys are looking forward to following me on my adventures once again. If you all have any recommendations in the places that I will be visiting, that will be very much welcomed and do drop me a holler! Seeing The World In Steps, signing out!