Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our Group's Travel Rules 101-1-We buy budget flights/promo tickets

Or, How To Make Sure We're Still Talking To One Another At The End Of the Trip - 1

We buy budget flights/promo tickets only 
Nancy and Tony have designated themselves as the promo-watchers and ticket purchasers, and they have it down to an exact science. They can predict 90% of the time the dates when Cebu Pacific offers its "Piso Sale" (P1.00 seats), know whether PAL's promo is better than CEB's, and know how and where to pay for the tickets. We pay in cash whenever possible, and we understand, albeit grudgingly, the statute of limitations of promo tickets - non-refundable, non-transferable, etc., etc. 

Since promo flights are usually booked months ahead of the flight date, if something comes up by flight date and some of us are unable to make the trip we do not fret, but only a little; after all, foregoing a P1,200. roundtrip ticket to Manila is much less painful than giving up a P7,000 ticket, right?

Some tips for booking online:

a) The airline websites may be  swamped by too many people trying to book flights during seat sales, so you just need to keep trying. Sometimes you may need to refresh your browser. The best time to book flights used to be between midnight and 2am, but I guess everyone got wind of that so everyone's logged on at that time. ;- (  I used to panic whenever I heard my cellphone go off after midnight, anticipating news of an emergency, but these days, the text message at 3 am is usually, "BFFs, we're booked to_____ on ____".

b)  If you're booking for a group, have a list of everyone's complete names, birthdates and addresses in front of you. Some websites save your details so it's easier to fill in the forms the next time you book online.  Check and double-check your entries.

c)  Some airline websites are tricky in the sense that you may be unaware that you're paying for add-ons like seat selection, meals, flight insurance, etc. Make sure you un-check those boxes and those seats. It takes more effort, but that difference could cost you as much as P1,000. each if ignored.  Make sure you review the details of your total fare, especially the "Add-Ons". 

d)  And because they're promo flights, we bring along our own sandwiches, chips, blankets, pillows, and even water. and we don't mind the 2 am flight schedules. Of course we still expect courtesy, comfort and basic amenities, but that is another story for another day. 

"You don't have to be rich to travel well." - Eugene Fodor

Batanes Diary 3. Going Around Batanes

There are very few motor vehicles in Batanes. Around Basco, there are a few rental vans for tourists. Bikes and motorcycles are available for rent. 

Of course there are a few tricycles which seat two slim people in the front seat, and another one behind the driver. however, because gas is expensive in batanes, the tricycles in basco do not go around town looking for passengers; instead, if you need a ride, you send a text message to the tricycle terminal and tell them where you wish to be picked up, and in a few minutes, the trike is there. How convenient is that! Besides, everyone in town knows the contact numbers of the trike terminal.

instead of an airconditioned van, we opted to tour batan island in this big jeep. 

this proved to be a wise choice as we had an all-around view of the sights as we went along since it was open on all sides. 

and you can even take pictures from a moving jeep...

of course, there's nothing like a sturdy pair of legs for strolling

and for climbing up and down the mountains....

Make sure you bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes for all that walking. Flip-flops sometimes just won't do the trick.

But mean we're walking all the way up and down there? hmmm...

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." - Gustave Flaubert

Batanes Diary 4. What We Saw In Batanes


More stones


...more boulders



...more water


...and more hills


...more grass 

Yup, that's all that we saw all over Batanes! So why is everyone jumping for joy?

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R.R. Tolkien