Some enterprising Singapore firms have teamed up to relieve your travel withdrawal symptoms virtually, with free hospitalization coverage to boot!

Wistfully scrolling through your past Instagram travel photos and wondering when you can book your next holiday? The bad news is that you already know the dire predictions of your local travel industry experts.

What’s the good news? You can always get a few laughs from a virtual vacation!

In Singapore, one novel way has been made available by an insurance company and its partners. They have launched a new virtual travel and booking platform that offers the comfort and safety of travelling from your own home, while enticing users to prebook their next possible ‘vacay’ or ‘staycay’ in the process.

Couch travel, anyone?

Teleport yourself to five exciting and well-loved destinations of interest: Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam—through a series of immersive curated virtual tours with virtual guide Sam. Customize your travel experience and decide where to go, what to do, and even what to eat, in a snap!

Missing Japan? Now you can virtually Go-Kart through Shibuya, visit Tokyo’s craziest bar and train like a ninja at the Oshino Ninja Village. Next, pop over to New Zealand and see nature at its most beautiful. Wander around the Hobbiton movie set, hike at Marokopa Falls and for the brave-hearted, conquer New Zealand’s tallest bungee or swing upside-down across the Nevis River!

Feeling hungry after all that adventure? Check out Taiwan’s famous night markets or take a food tour at Jiufen Old Street.

The virtual tours for Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan are now available on the UPGREAT Virtual Vacay platform by insurer Great Eastern. Couch travellers can look forward to the Korea and Vietnam tours in the coming weeks. 

According to Hendric Tay, co-founder of The Travel Intern, the firm behind the virtual travel aspects of the program: “With limited opportunities for physical travel, all we wanted was to be transported to our favorite destinations. Collaborating with Great Eastern to design virtual travel journeys was immensely fun for the team. We hope this can bring delight to anyone who has had to cancel their travel adventures this year, regardless of their travel styles.”

Travel local, SG!

Need a break from the WFH arrangements? Singaporeans will be able to check out the customized staycation itineraries designed to help uncover new sights and sounds in their own little island nation. Explore iconic areas such as Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Downtown Core: simply book your accommodation, walking tours, restaurant reservations, and start exploring our fair isle on foot, and support local!

The platform also offers promotions, rewards, and bundles with travel partners such as, Hotels Combined and Agoda. Users can book trips now through UPGREAT, Great Eastern’s lifestyle and rewards app, without worrying about cancellation fees. They can earn double UPGREAT points through the app’s ‘Shop & Earn’ feature when making travel bookings through Agoda, Klook, Expedia and many more.

According to their press release, the app’s extensive retailer access offers users a seamless and rewarding online shopping experience. The UPGREAT app is free for anyone to join and is not restricted to Great Eastern customers.

Said Ryan Cheong, Managing Director, Digital for Business, Great Eastern: “The love for travel is such a big part of the Singaporean DNA. With this platform, we aim to bring customized experiences and travel benefits to our hundreds of thousands of members and all who can’t wait to get out and about. Like most Singaporeans, we believe in planning ahead for later.” 

Free insurance, of course

What better way for an insurance firm to entice potential members than through linking free hospitalization coverage with the virtual vacay program?

People who register on the platform can receive a complimentary one-year protection plan that provides a daily hospital cash benefit (up to 14 days) if one is hospitalized due to COVID-19, Dengue Fever, food poisoning, accidents, Yellow Fever or Zika, as well as death benefits due to accidents or COVID-19.