We all have that #TravelBlogger friend who always seems to be jetting off to new places, with high-contrast photos from his trips dominating his Facebook wall alongside posts about how he scored five piso fare flights in one night. Meanwhile, you can't seem to catch a break when it comes to those airfare promos: the sites are always down when you finally find the time to book, and the schedules you're eyeing are always sold out. End your dismal booking streak by following these tips:
1) Subscribe to airline newsletters
Getting newsletters in your email can be annoying, but when you're on the lookout for an affordable round trip ticket to Japan, you'll be extremely thankful for them. Don't want a cluttered inbox? Check the social media pages of your favorite airlines regularly, and make sure their posts show up first on your feed.
2) Know when the seat sales usually are
When you've been on the lookout for seat sales for a few years, you'll notice that certain airlines tend to offer promos at certain times of the year. Cebu Pacific tends to have seat sales during major holidays, with witty one-liners for every promo. AirAsia holds Red Hot Seat Sales every few months, while Philippine Airlines' annual Independence Day sale offers great value for money.
3) Act fast
If you want a piece of that piso fare promo, you better be quick: These sales start at midnight on the dot, and seats run out FAST. Make sure your internet connection is stable, set your alarm to ring at midnight, and make sure your fingers are ready for some hardcore clicking action. Good luck!
4) Plan early
Deciding to visit a certain place a year in advance might seem like overkill, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. You can usually buy tickets a year in advance, and the further away your target date, the cheaper you can usually get your flight. This is especially useful if you're planning to visit a place to catch a particular event, like Japan's notoriously short cherry blossom season.
5) Uncheck your checked luggage
Extra luggage can get heavy on the pocket. Nix the added fees by flying with only a carry-on whenever possible: Not only does it force you to master the essential art of packing light, but it also saves you from worrying about your bags being lost or mishandled by airline crew.
6) Pick the right credit card
Thinking of getting a credit card? Do your research and get one that lets you earn airline miles when you use it. Some cards even offer other travel-related perks and bonuses like airport lounge access and free flights upon signing up.
7) Fly late at night
No one likes red eye flights, but they're a godsend for penny-pinching travelers since they're usually cheaper than normal-timed flights. If your schedule can accommodate it, pick a flight on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday—they're usually cheaper than weekend trips.
8) Consider less convenient airports
If you're based in Manila, try checking out flights to and from the Clark International Airport in Pampanga. Flights from Clark are usually cheaper than those from NAIA, and the airport's less congested, too. There's a shuttle service to and from TriNoma Mall in Quezon City, and it only costs P250 one way.
9) Attend travel fairs
If you don't mind queuing for hours and shoving your way through crowds, you can attend travel expos and fairs. Several airlines offer exclusive promos during these events, and if you get there early enough, you might just be able to score roundtrip tickets to Batanes at a mind-bogglingly cheap price.
10) Milk those loyalty programs
Booking a flight isn't the only way to earn airline miles. A lot of airline loyalty programs also let you earn points when you shop or book hotels. AirAsia's BIG Loyalty Programme, for example, lets you earn points with a minimum purchase from Zalora. Ain't that a great reason to finally buy those sneakers you've been eyeing?