Many are wondering how was I able to travel with very small salary. Of course I don’t really need to save huge amount of money to travel because there are ways to travel very cheap. One of the most expensive part or the deal-breaker in traveling is the airfare.
When I started traveling, I was still not in to promo fares. I had doubts then if it’s true or if I would really be able to book one. I didn’t even knew that time that I would be in to traveling and blogging until I experienced it.
How to Book Cheap Airfare?
1. Read Blogs, A Lot of Blogs
There are plenty of helpful blogs out there that would give you tips and recommendations on booking during seatsale. That’s how I started, I read other experiences and tried it on and it worked!
2. Like All Airline Fan Pages (and Others)
Subscribe to all Facebook fan pages of all airlines and modify your subscription to “see first” so you’ll always be updated whenever there’s an upcoming seatsale. You may also like a travel group like the DIY Travel Philippines; the members of the group post whenever there are announced and unannounced seatsales such as those exclusive ones that are only sent through SMS/texts. Please like and follow my Facebook page Taong-Gala to get the latest updates on promo airfares.
3. Know Where (Else) You Want to Go
You must decide quickly which flight/s you want to book or where else you want to go in case your desired flight is not up for sale. Remember that every seatsale is first come first serve and the one with the fastest decision-making and fingers gets to book the cheapest fare.
4. Have a Flexible Travel Period
‘Wag mag-inarte, seatsale yan. Kung anong available, yun lang ang pwedeng i-book. Tayo ang mag-aadjust sa travel period. If your travel period is not negotiable, then book the regular fare. Usually, piso fares’ travel period are about 6 months to more than a year from your booking date and on off-peak seasons. This is to fill in their usual vacant seats on their flights based on their statistics. The farther the travel period, the bigger the chances that passengers are not able to take the flight. It’s actually a risk too.
5. Have a Very Reliable Internet Connection
Most of the time, those with very fast internet connection can easily access the airline’s booking system and they’re the ones who are able to book the best travel dates even before the airline booking site crashes. PLDT Fibr is the most reliable internet connection that I know of to this date of because it uses fiber optics that produces the fastest connection compared to regular DSL and mobile. But of course it comes with a price, it is also more expensive than regular DSL.
6. Have a Lot of Patience
You need to stay awake until 12am of the start of the booking period and you need to endure the waiting time until you are given access to the booking site. This is because you are not alone who wants to get cheap fares and a lot of people are trying their luck to book cheap fares too. But this usually happens during piso sale. Other seatsale booking, chances are better, of course they are not as cheap as what you can get from piso fare but still a lot cheaper from regular fare.
Sometimes you can get a seatsale on the succeeding booking days; those seats were usually not paid by those who tried to put hold on them. Sometimes the airlines just open new sale seats. Just keep your hopes high and pray fervently.
7. Limit Your Group
Minimize your group to a maximum of 4 persons in one booking. But ideally, it is easiest to book a flight when you’re alone. It’s either you’ll book a set of friends on a chosen time of your travel period and the others are on a later time. You can also book as much as you can on your desired travel period and the others who wouldn’t be accommodated on seatsale shall be booked on a regular fare; then you can just divide the total expenses to the number persons in the group. The groups are usually the ones who are not able to book the most coveted seatsale because seats are usually limited.
8. Have Your Credit Card or Debit Card Ready
It is most convenient to book when you have your credit card especially in times when you don’t have cash with you. At the same time, you get to secure your booking right away. However, not all people are privileged enough to have their own credit card. Other option is to have your debit card which is reloadable and can be used like a credit card. Debit cards are available from banks for a fee or you can have PayMaya which has an available app and there’s no need for the physical card to use it. But in case all else are not available, you can still pay through their payment channels such as 7-eleven, Bayad Center, Over-the-counter payments, etc. for a limited holding period ranging from 4 to 24 hours depending on the airline.
9. Have Your Passport Ready (for International Travel)
Make sure your passport and your friends’ still have 6 months of validity on your travel date. Immigration will not let you go out of the country if your passport has less than 6 months of validity. Renew your passport early because it is very difficult to get an online booking at any DFA branch. Visa is not guaranteed when you book a flight.
10. Have All Your Individual Information Ready
It is quicker to book flights if you have all the information of your friends and/or your family ready, such as:
- Full Name
- Passport Information
- Passport Number
- Issuing Country
- Date Issued
- Expiration Date
- Preferred Add-ons like baggage, meals, seat, insurance, etc.
Again, it is fastest fingers first.
11. Book for Yourself
Don’t ask someone to book for you. Because aside from causing too much hassle, it would take someone to book longer because he/she would need to confirm you the travel dates, get the information, and other stuff before he/she can book you your flight. Before he/she’s able to confirm all the details, flights might be already taken.
12. Practice Booking
You might as well try mock booking. Try booking your desired flight, enter the necessary information, etc. This would make you more equipped so you know what to expect when you already need to book for real. Don’t fret because it’s not a necessity to pay for it when you mock-book. You can even try the holding period just as to know the experience, if you haven’t tried it.
13. Register on Airline Membership
This can give somehow an advantage when it comes to booking because your details are already inputted and plus there are other exclusive privileges that are only offered to members. You can also earn points when you’re a (or become one) frequent traveler that you can use to book flights.
14. Book Your Flights on a PC
It is easier to book flights using PC than mobile phones because of their size and the existence of physical keyboard.
15. Don’t Hesitate
When you already go the promo fare, chances are someone’s also trying to book those dates. If you’re hesitant, more likely than not, it will be taken by someone else. Put it in a holding period if you’re not sure whether to book it or not.
How Much is Expected for Cheapest Airfares?
- PHP300 to 800 Domestic Round Trip Airfares
- PHP1,500 to 3,500 International (East and Southeast Asia) Round Trip Airfare (Including Japan & South Korea)
- PHP3,000 Round Trip Basco, Batanes (rarely happens)
Regular Seatsale (Usually Selected Routes)
- PHP1,000 to 1500 Domestic Round Trip Airfares
- PHP2,000 to 6,000 International (East and Southeast Asia) Round Trip Airfare (Including Japan & South Korea)
- PHP5,000 Round Trip Basco, Batanes
Seatsales That I was Able to Book
- PHP350 Round trip Manila – Davao (AirAsia)
- PHP1,500 Manila – Cebu, Tagbilaran – Manila (Cebu Pacific Air)
- PHP2,100 Manila – Taipei (AirAsia through Traveloka)
- PHP2,000 Manila – Incheon (Seoul) (GetGo Cebu Pacific Air)
- PHP3,000 Manila – Osaka (GetGo Cebu Pacific Air)
Install Traveloka App
Traveloka is a third party app which gives you all the available airlines to book flights from. Most of the time, they have the same price as with the booking site of the airline. But Traveloka usually offers discounts to flights and hotels that makes it cheaper. It also happens when Philippine Airlines had their sale, they were still able to use the discount offered by Traveloka which offers greater discount.