We bought two tickets to fly from Athens to Singapore six months ahead of our trip for a budget-friendly way to get to Southeast Asia, and we used an app similar to Uber that is popular in Singapore called Grab.
It was our first time with Scoot – a low-cost airline owned by Singapore Airlines. You get nothing for free, not even water.
You are allowed two carry-on bags that total 10 kilos. But one of our backpacks is a stuffed and it put us way over that weight, so we paid for one checked bag: 43 euros (!), which was less than $50 at the time of booking.
The actual airfare was 263 euros for two tickets — no assigned seats. With taxes and fees, and that baggage charge, it worked out to under $400 for both of us to fly from Greece to Southeast Asia. That’s a pretty sweet budget deal to get to Southeast Asia from Europe.
We checked in at the airport early enough to get seated together on the Dreamliner 787 (although we were one row from the bathroom).
We snuck in snacks — peanuts and granola bars — because no outside food is allowed. Scoot made that clear when we booked our flight – it was in the email receipts, and it was also posted outside the gate. But we ran out of water, and I wanted a coffee while I was writing something, so they won: we ended up spending a few more bucks on board.
All in all, we had a good experience and we would fly Scoot again.
We used the app Grab for the first time in Singapore and had a great experience with several rides.
Grab is similar to Uber — and it accepts wifi-based phone numbers, which is what we use. (Read Budget world travel: Do you really need a phone contract or SIM card?)
Grab was acquired Uber in 2018. It overtook Uber by focusing on hyper-local market needs. (Read more about that here.)
The two biggest differences I noticed between Grab in Singapore and Uber in America: Grab takes cash as its primary, default payment method; Grab’s format includes other services and a point system to get rewards.
We had trouble adding our credit card information in the app, but we had no problem adding our PayPal account, so we’ve been using a combination of PayPal and cash for the rides. Since Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world, we haven’t had any misgivings about potential robberies from drivers.
In fact, the drivers have all been wonderful. They have been old and young, Muslim and Christian and non-religious — as varied as Singapore herself. One of our drivers had 10 children, and was still in love with his life after many years of marriage. Another driver was an engineer looking for work and moonlighting as a taxi for extra income in this incredibly expensive city.
Grab also pushes food delivery services and ‘GrabPay Deals’. Its app format includes a ‘Daily News’ section, polls, funny quotes, suggestions and coupons for tourist sites, a video playlist for a local’s commute — even a way to send birthday wishes to family and friends. Grab’s website is here.