*Originally posted in Pulse
Although I specifically timed my trip to coincide with The Great Singapore Sale, I was not exactly prepared with what I saw and experienced. Here's how to survive the GSS.
Save. To even get to Singapore, you need money for plane fare and accommodation. Save some more if you'd like shopping to be a significant part of your trip.
Book a ticket early on. Take advantage of special rates. Zero or piso fares are announced a few months earlier. The Great Singapore Sale typically runs from the last week of May to the third week of July. Or you can use an award ticket like I did but remember to book early as they're the first ones that become unavailable.
Travel light. It's easier to move around if you travel light. It also means that you have more space and weight allowance in your luggage for all the shopping you have to do. But bring a big luggage, not just a carry on. So that you have all that space for your shopping. Is the item a what you want or a what you need? You would have to make this distinction each time you purchase an item. If you keep buying what you think are good deals and yet you have no use for them, they will just take up your baggage allowance, eat up your money and be reduced to clutter when you get home. Is the item bulky or heavy? Remember that airlines have strict baggage policies. You wouldn't want to pay for overweight package. If it takes up too much weight, leave it. This question popped in my mind several times as I was packing and repacking in Changi Airport. Bring a collapsible bag while shopping. It's easy to lose track of small packages. Stowing them in a bag will keep them safe. Of course, keep your eyes peeled on your collapsible bag too. If you lose the entire bag, you'll lose a lot more. The collapsible bag can also be your carry on when you fly out.
Research. Check out the websites of The Great Singapore Sale, Uniquely Singapore. If you have particular items in mind, check out the local sellers so that you know the price difference between where you are and Singapore. Check out the sellers' websites too for deals.
Take advantage of promotions. Mastercard, which is the official partner of the GSS, has all sorts of promotions from raffles tickets to taxi vouchers. Other credit card companies have tie-ups with some stores that entitle the shopper to more discounts. Some stores have special items/prcices available only to tourists. Remember though to come to these stores early as the stocks run out fast. And don't forget to flash The GSS card for extra discounts.
Eat. It's easy to lose track of time if you come across discounts shop after shop. We hardly noticed the time while we were shopping and always ate a late lunch as we both ate a huge breakfast.
Don't forget the tax refund. This can be claimed at the airport. Most stores only give a tax refund for purchases above S$100 so pool your purchases if you must.
Have a Plan B. In our case, S4 was our plan B. She lent me a spare luggage as my carry on's capacity was simply not enough. At this time, she's holding almost 20 kg of excess baggage; some Zara's, the rest mine. Zara's alternate plan B next time she travels to Singapore is her traveling light husband Clarence. She plans to bring him and use up his baggage allowance. Despite the troubles, I'd like to go back next year. After all, by then I should be better prepared. I'd learned my lesson. I will travel light, choose my purchases well and convince S4 to stay in Singapore so that I'll always have a Plan B.