Plan your Gradventures: Budget-friendly Trips for Students

PREETHIKA cracks the code to unforgettable trips under $1,000. Escape the ordinary and conquer Cebu’s beaches, navigate Hanoi’s streets, get artsy in Taiwan or even climb a mountain in Indonesia.



Preethika Saravanan
Editorial Admin

Hype Issue #58

Published on
January 31, 2023

While all graduating students are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and motivating themselves to push through their final submissions, it’s no secret that they’re also looking for ways to celebrate the end of an era. This celebration calls for a trip! We believe that going on graduation trips, otherwise known as “grad trips”, should leave you with unforgettable memories with your friends instead of an enormous hole in your wallet. So, we have come up with a list of dream destinations for your well-deserved trip which are all under $1000 – inclusive of flights, accommodation, and activities.

Live your ‘Island Girl Life’ in Cebu, Philippines

What better way to be in your beach era than in a country with over 7000 islands and islets? While many Singaporeans turn to Bali, Indonesia to experience sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, the island has earned a reputation for being too congested, with many locals and tourists getting stuck in traffic jams for hours. Cebu is a great alternative to Bali, offering graduating students captivating coasts, cheap food and drinks, and smaller crowds – all at an affordable price.

Cebu, Philippines

The Philippines has panoramic views for days. Photo taken from Cris Tagupa.

Cebu is also home to some of the most diverse and vibrant marine life on the planet. Whether you want to explore beneath the waves with a snorkel, or above them in a boat, Cebu has plenty of islands to check out and let you be one with nature.

Hanoi, Vietnam: There’s a First for Everything

Immersing yourself with rich history, lush greenery, and tantalising local delights in one of the cheapest capital cities in Southeast Asia almost sounds too good to be true. But really, Vietnam has something for everyone, offering everything from city tours to motorcycle excursions through the countryside, making it an exciting destination for both thrill seekers and countryside lovers.

The Mekong River

The Mekong River is surrounded by an abundance of greenery and is a vital source of food and income for locals. Photo taken from Ruslan Bardash.

Whether you decide to go for a boat ride along the third-longest River in Asia, the Mekong River, or visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site such as Hạ Long Bay, Hanoi is filled with first-time experiences that will make your graduation trip even more memorable.

Get Artsy at Picturesque Taichung, Taiwan

Don’t miss the chance to witness Taiwan’s cherry blossom season in March, when the city is welcoming spring. Taichung offers many activities to partake in for free, something that you might never experience in Singapore. Consider visiting the Rainbow Village, National Taichung Theatre, and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts to indulge in the mesmerising arts scene of Taiwan.

Taichung, Taiwan

These works of art are by Huang Yung Fu, who is more commonly known as Rainbow Grandpa due to his artistic flair. Photo taken from iStock.

Taichung will never fail to amaze you with its many off-beaten tracks and streets to explore. Furthermore, the birthplace of bubble tea is bound to leave you astounded with endless food options at its vibrant and affordable night markets!

Climb a mountain or two at Flores Island, Indonesia

Take a rejuvenating trip to the unconventional tourist destination, Flores Island in Indonesia. Go for a short climb up Mount Kelimutu to get a glimpse of three colour-changing lakes. These lakes, which are considered sacred to the locals, can vary in colour, from green to red and even black! Be sure to catch the sunrise at the mountain’s peak and witness the natural phenomena caused by the volcanic gases.

Flores Island, Indonesia

You’re in for a well-deserved treat of scenic views after a short hike up to the mountain’s peak. Photo taken from depositphotos.

If you don’t fancy climbing or hiking during a getaway, consider exploring Rangku Cave, a hidden gem with unique rock formations. Locals believe that the natural wonder possesses healing properties due to its serene atmosphere.

Thrifty Tips and Tricks

Now that we’ve seen what these beautiful yet underrated destinations have to offer, here are some tips you’ll need to make these trips a bang for your buck:

  1. Ideally, book your flights and accommodation three months before your actual trip.
  2. Sign up for low fare alerts on booking platforms and keep a constant lookout for price drop reminders in your email inbox.
  3. Utilise money changer applications like YouTrip and Wise to score the best conversion rates possible.
  4. Save money on transportation by purchasing travel concession cards that’ll last you throughout your trip, allowing you to splurge more on exciting activities.

While this list of hidden yet affordable destinations may have given you new options to consider for your graduation trip, always do your research before deciding on one to make your trips worthwhile. Safe travels and congratulations on graduating!