She works hard for the money – Donna Summer
Saving was a huge component in the planning process of my trip. I took about $2000 with me and that was more than enough (I had $200 left upon my return). There is a currency conversion in Singapore; the U.S dollar is more than the Singapore dollar (roughly $1 Sing = $0.80 USD). You can workout your savings in whatever way works best for you; saving $50-$100 a week for about 5 months right up until the week of my trip worked out for me and allowed me to travel comfortably. Once you actually have your savings converting the money is relatively simple. I converted my money once I arrived in Singapore simply because my stop in Japan was very short and they accepted credit cards which automatically did the conversion calculations and charged me accordingly. My advice however is to use cash, keep your credit and debit cards for emergencies. Many banks charge a conversion fee per transaction which varies in price range but can definitely add up.
There are definitely a number of anxieties that come with taking a trip of this caliber. I’d never gone farther West than California so there were many things I had to consider:
Come & Talk to Me: Communicating While Abroad
Communication while abroad is key. I needed to figure out cost effective ways to connect with my loved ones while abroad. I would advise downloading an app called WhatsApp. This app is wonderful for international communication and texting. Additionally, WiFi will be your best friend. To get access to the WiFi in the Tokyo airport ( I had a layover in Japan) you need to have a code texted to you. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive these codes until I returned to the States. Ultimately, whenever WiFi was available I used Facetime on my Iphone.
Tasha Tip: Speak to your provider at least a few days before your trip. See if there are any international phone packages that you can add to your account temporarily. Sprint allows you to choose a start and end date and will charge you an almost negligible amount per text something like five cents a text and $1.20 per minute for calls.
As for language barriers both the Tokyo and Singapore airports are international so there are plenty of signs in multiple languages including English which was a huge assistance to me. Also, many of the representatives speak fluent English so I didn’t have too much of a problem finding my way. I absolutely loved the service in both airports, everyone was super helpful and pleasant. I spent only a couple of hours in Japan waiting for my connection so hopefully on a bit more adventurous return trip I can delve deeper into navigating the language concerns for Japan. Singapore however is easy as pie! Why you ask? The national languages which include English,are Malay, Mandarin and Tamil (language of the people of South India and North-East Sri-Lanka). Although the demographic is made up of many different peoples including those from neighboring Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand the majority of the population speaks English fluently. The locals will almost automatically address you in English so you can always find someone to help you navigate your way around. The beauty of this trip was there was no need for those cumbersome English to (? language) dictionaries.