American on zero-dollar travel budget challenge sneaks onto bus without paying, incurs netizens’ wrath, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

American on zero-dollar travel budget challenge sneaks onto bus without paying, incurs netizens’ wrath

He may have survived a day in Singapore without money, but netizens aren’t impressed.

After all, to get around he sneaked onto a bus without paying. He also entertained thoughts of illegally plucking fruits from a tree.

American Austin Nelson shared his experience in a YouTube video on Nov 13.

“The 24-hour challenge with no money has been done a lot already but no one has done it in Singapore, the most expensive city in the world,” he said. 

He didn’t book any accommodation and planned to couchsurf. He had no food or transport, but wanted to go to Gardens by the Bay to find free activities. 

To get there from Chinatown, he had to either take the MRT or walk. He decided on the latter.

“I can try to sneak on the public transport but the only option is the train and I think people check there,” he says in the video. 

After walking for 35 minutes to Gardens by the Bay, Austin considers plucking fruit from a tree to eat. But as “it seemed pretty sturdy”, he decides not to after all. 

Taking a break from the heat in an air-conditioned space, he goes to check if anyone would take him in as a couchsurfer. But he had already received four rejections. 

“Given how hot it is, I really don’t want to be homeless tonight,” Austin says. 

He then heads over to Marina Bay Sands to see what he can do on his zero-dollar travel budget and manages to fill his water bottle for free. 

At this point, he says he was “starting to get hungry”.

He enters the hotel and goes up to the rooftop for a view of the city. But when he attempts to enter the infinity pool area, he is asked if he has a hotel room card and has to leave. 

His next stop – the ArtScience Museum, where he is lucky enough to catch a movie for free. 

Austin gets another break as a man named Faraz contacts him and allows him to couchsurf at his place, which is in Little India. 

That would mean a 42-minute walk from Bayfront, which he wasn’t keen on. So, he tries to sneak onto a bus. 

“Is the most expensive city in the world going to collapse because I take one free bus ride? No,” says Austin. 

He succeeds in his quest, but an elderly woman notices and asks him to pay the bus fare. He doesn’t. 

He still gets off at the wrong bus stop and has to walk for another 15 minutes to meet Faraz, who very kindly treats him to a meal at a hawker centre. 

His newfound friend also pays for his MRT ticket and takes him around the places he usually goes to in Singapore. 

They pick up Austin’s bag from his previous hostel and make their way to Faraz’s home, where the tourist is given a mattress on the floor to sleep on. 

The next day, Faraz helps Austin get to his new hostel, where the two men part ways. 

At the end of the video, Austin reflects on his experience. 

“Started off a little bit rocky but got to explore some pretty cool stuff and made a really good friend,” he says. 

“I do not recommend trying 24 hours in Singapore with no money,” he adds. 

Commenting on the video, several netizens called him irresponsible, with one pointing out: “Running public transport costs money. Please do not do something as immature and irresponsible as taking the bus without paying for it.” 

Another said that plucking fruit and not paying for public transport is illegal, and reminded Austin not to take Singapore’s kindness for granted.