I’ve had a LOT of visitors in the three or so years we have been living in Singapore. From people we barely knew who became lifelong friends after their visit, best friends from home, a friend’s daughter who came for a few days and stayed for two weeks, old school friends who moved to Australia and I hadn’t seen for years and of course, parents and siblings. Each visit has been different and each visitor has been given the ‘Jo tour guide’ treatment. Some more so than others, depending on how busy I was or how much they wanted me around.
So it’s not surprising that when other people I know have visitors they tend to ask me for “one of your itineraries.” I’ve got quite a reputation for my planning when it comes to visitors. I learnt early on that without a plan days can disappear and before you know it guests leave having seen barely anything. So I thought I’d share the three most used itineraries with you. All free of charge, no plus plus added and no forms to fill in. I just ask one – well two – favours. Please click the like button at the side of this page and at the bottom of the page add a comment about who you’ve got visiting. This kind of info takes a lot of time to put together so some feedback is always welcome. If you could go so far as to follow the blog too you’ll get notified when I add more itineraries or reviews of places to go here in Singapore.
Oh, and if asked how you found out about an attraction or place to visit, please mention 5 Go Mad!
Before you check out the itineraries, here are a few tips to help make the visits as much fun and as easy on you as possible.
Things to remember when you have visitors:
- Everyone has different tastes and likes and dislikes. Ask visitors before they come if they have any ‘must-sees’ that they’ve heard about or anything they don’t like doing (for me, you’ll not get me near an aquarium).
- That jet lag will affect them to one degree or another. This can mean they get barely any sleep at night and then want to crash during the day. Where possible encourage them not to sleep during the day, but it can be tough. Allow for rest breaks during the day though as don’t forget the heat hits people hard too.
- Make sure you have spare bug spray and sun tan lotion. You’ll be surprised by how many people think they don’t need it.
- Being a tour guide 24/7 can be exhausting, no matter how desperately you want the visitors here. So give yourself some time off too. If they are confident travellers you could suggest they do one more of the days on their own. If not, allow for some time out at some point – maybe just take a break from each other early evening.
- Remember all friends and family want to see how your life works here so if you have a group you meet up with regularly, consider introducing them. Or if there’s a favourite coffee shop or cafe you go to a lot, take them. That way, when you’re talking to friends and family back home again next, they’ll be able to relate to your life here so much more.
What to do before they arrive:
- Buy a couple of MRT cards for them and load them up with $10 – that way they can get around straight away.
- When my nieces have visited I have made them up a goody bag as a welcome gift. I just go along to the markets and pick up some cheap souvenirs – a Singapore tote bag filled with things like a stuffed Merlion, a key ring, a notepad, a fan. etc.
- Pick up a couple of Singapore maps or voucher books from the larger MRT stations or at the airport.
- Prep your helper if you have one on the fact that there will be more people either staying or visiting and to adjust her shopping and cooking accordingly. I ask guests to leave money for a helper when I had one as it is extra work, but really that’s up to you ($50 per person at least is a fair amount I think). If you haven’t got a helper, prepare yourself – get some extra food in, start making up beds a few days before etc.
Once they arrive:
- Once they’ve arrived, get your guests to download the MRT map app as well as Uber – that way they can figure out where to go and how to get there if you can’t be around the whole time.
- Give them your address, phone number (add to notes on their phone or physically on a note) and point out a few local landmarks so that they feel they know where they are. You’d be surprised how many people forget to ask and head out for the day, not knowing where they’re coming back to! I always tell people what our nearest MRT and the line it’s on.
- You could treat guests to a local sim for their phone – or point them to a shop that sells them.
- Explain to them how the aircon works in their bedrooms, any water heaters etc. Also explain that electricity and water costs a fortune here and to turn air con and heater off when not using otherwise your next utility bill will give you a shock!
Please click on the links below for the itinerary you want to see:
This is for when your besties manage to get away from the kids and visit you. Lots of girlie fun and relaxing.
Is your sister or brother heading over for a holiday with their kids in tow? Teenagers or toddler, this 14 day plan will have you covered.
Got the parents or in-laws coming for the first or twenty-first time. Here’s some suggestions for things to do with them to keep you and them sane.