Times are tough and for most, travel is the last thing on their mind during a recession. However, I’ve been looking forward to this trip since last year, and there’s no way I’m putting this off, recession or no recession! Of course, this means keeping the expenses down and sticking to my budget (unlike what I did three years ago in Thailand).
Often, the biggest expense in any trip is the airfare. Though admittedly, airplane tickets prices have gone down drastically with the onset of no-frills airlines, it still eats up a huge chunk of one’s travel budget. That’s why it’s best to book tickets ahead in time or to take advantage of the airfare promos offered by the airlines. You’d have to always be on the lookout for these promos, because you can really save (though in some cases, it *can* be more expensive — booking way ahead often leads to flight cancellation or re-booking).
So how did I get round trip tickets to Singapore for less than US$100?
The first step to getting great airfare deals is to canvas the prices of airfare from different airlines. Don’t limit yourself to the low cost carriers. Check out the fares of the full service airlines like Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines. They sometimes have fare specials, specially if your trip is less than 8 days long. For my trip to Singapore, I’m only considering two airlines: Jetstar and Philippine Airlines. I like taking Jetstar to Singapore because it flies from the NAIA airport (unlike Tiger Airways that flies from DMIA in Clark), and lands at the Changi airport in Singapore (not the Budget Terminal). Also, their check-in baggage allowance is 20 kilos, unlike other carries that only allow for 15 kilos.
Similar to my trip to Hong Kong, which was brought on because of an e-mail newsletter I received from Mabuhay Miles, I received an e-mail from Krisflyer, Singapore Airlines‘ frequent flyer program. It turns out that this year is Krisflyer’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate, they’re giving out 25% off the miles required for redemption, and even 50% off select flights. I have been lamenting that I’m short a measly 160 points to redeem a one-way ticket to Singapore from Manila, even with the 15% discount on online bookings, and with this promo, I can finally redeem a ticket to Singapore.
Using Singapore Airline’s online booking facility, I booked my flight back to Manila from Singapore. A one-way flight to Manila from Singapore (or the other way around), requires 12,500 frequent flyer miles. With the discount, I only needed 9,375 miles (I had around 10,500), and pay the taxes. The Singapore airport/government tax is SG$28, while the airline’s surcharges amounts to SG$43. Total damage to my credit card: SG$71 or US$46 or PhP 2,260.80.
After booking my flight back to Manila, I went over to Jetstar to book my flight to Singapore. I wanted to fly out on a Sunday, but the fare has already gone up. I opted to fly out a day early, and availed of their promo fare — US$37. With the taxes, it comes out at US$50 or PhP 2,413.08, excluding the Philippine travel tax and the airport tax.
Total airfare to and from Singapore: PhP 4,673.88. Pretty nice deal, no?