1. Australia - Tasmania
Although a familiar destination for many Singaporeans, you can now go further with a favourable Australian exchange rate. So head for the wilderness of Tasmania, where fresh seafood, dramatic coastlines and fine vineyards are the norm. Begin your journey at Cradle Mountain and experience nature’s wonders by riding a horse to view Dove Lake. Kayak at the lake the next day and visit a Tasmanian devil sanctuary to see the endangered marsupial. Embark on a night tour to see the animals in their natural habitat by taking a bus tour.
Ensure your stop at Hobart falls on a Saturday as the world famous Salamanca Market opens with over 300 stalls selling freshly picked fruits, gourmet produce, art pieces and local handicrafts. Browse and pause to pick up souvenirs but be prepared to spend your whole morning here. End with a fabulous lunch at the wharves where fish and chips have never tasted better. Linger over a cup of strong coffee to experience the Aussie café culture.
Your trip is incomplete without a vineyard visit to the Moorilla Estate for a wine tasting session. Spend your whole afternoon there as the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is truly an experience. Besides the art collection, take your time to study the architecture.
Continue to soak in nature’s wonders by flying to Southwest National Park, Tasmania’s largest national park, in a small airplane. View the dramatic coastline and take in Tasmania's vast southwest wilderness area before landing at Melaleuca Inlet. You will see the rare and endangered orange-bellied parrot. After your picnic lunch, board a boat to stop at Bathurst Harbour where you can view the picturesque Celery Top Islands.
2. Europe – Italy
The weak Euro truly opens the door to Made in Italy produce, including its famous high fashion, for the shopaholics. While you are awed by the spectacular ruins and beautiful architecture, do plan for more shopping time. Here are a few must-shop places:
Start in Rome, where some of the biggest names in Italian fashion such as Fendi, Valentino, Furla and Bulgari, have huge stores near the Spanish Steps. Think high fashion when you are in Rome so buy your branded stuff here.
Make Tuscany your next stop and go “vintage” when you shop on your wine tour. Bring home top quality Italian wines aged over the years. Next, visit Piazza Santo Spirito for vintage clothing and accessories, antiques and jewellery. If you are into Mediterranean cuisine, visit the daily market for the sauces and pickled stuff.
Milan should be your next shopping stop. From fashion outlets to haute couture, you are spoilt for choice. Do not miss the Fashion District located in the most exclusive area of the city where some of the best brands are located. If you miss out any branded item in Rome, Milan is your next best bet. For the more affordable items, join a local tour to McArthurGlen Serravalle Designer Outlet, the biggest outlet in Europe. Do not forget the exclusive shopping card that gives you additional discounts on your purchases!
Make Venice your final shopping stop. How can you not think “traditional” in Venice when masks and Murano glass are the known favourites in this ancient city? Buy these items to grace your home as they are fond memories of the great savings made from buying “at-source”.
As you go away to further destinations, having a travel insurance plan to cover your medical expenses and trip cancellation is more important than ever.