Going online to book flights and hotels spells convenience for any traveler. However, strategically clicking on the airline, hotel, and resort websites, making a few tweaks here and there, and making the most out of online deals are the true marks of a savvy traveler with one too many travel booking hacks up their sleeve. After all, who doesn't love a great bargain?
Whether you are travelling to Boracay with your significant other, your family and friends, or simply just yourself, score the best flight and hotel bookings and get the most bang out of your buck with these Boracay travel booking hacks.
The early bird gets the best deals
Photo Courtesy of Frank Kovalchek via Flickr
One of the niftiest tips for booking flights and hotels is scouring the internet early morning when most people are still asleep. This way, you get the first dibs on a wider selection of wonderful online deals. A study by the Airlines Reporting Corporation reveals that the limited promo seats that airlines post at night "may sell out later in the day." The key word used is "may" and there may be discounted tickets released throughout the day, but scooping the best bargains is totally not a bad reason for waking up early.
Be smart with your research
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Randomly looking around on the internet will get you lost and eat up your time. With this, navigate through countless online travel deals and find out which airlines fly which routes by heading first to popular and off-the-radar flight and hotel search sites. Keep an open mind. If you can afford it, be more flexible with your travel and stay dates, preferences, and so on. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to compare first before deciding on your fare and accommodation.
Photo Courtesy of Chung Ho Leung via Flickr
All of those diligent sessions doing your homework will be for naught if you mix up or lose track of the information you have read. As with any other research, come up with a note-taking and organization method that works best for you. Jot them down on a notebook that you especially reserved for travel. Create a spreadsheet that you can easily access on all of your gadgets. Whatever it is, stick to it so you can better compare fares and hotel reservations.
Go for connecting flights
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Airfare eats a lion's share of a traveler's budget. Avoid exorbitant prices by taking advantage of connecting flights instead of the usual one-route tickets, especially if you are coming far from the Philippines. You can grab city-specific specials or make your own flight itinerary from the same or different airlines on your way to Manila. From there, you will have to take another flight to Kalibo or Caticlan, the two airports nearby.
As said earlier, it surely pays to do your homework on the available routes and flights. Once you have solid research, come up with a strategic plan. For instance, allot enough time between your flights to make sure you won't be late.
Book directly with the resort or hotel for discounts
The beauty of online hotel booking is two-fold: it not only gives you a convenient glimpse of the amenities and features, but also of the savings you can get from online deals. Take one of the best hotels in Boracay as an example. Booking an Alta Vista de Boracay hotel room will give you access to a luxurious beach accommodation with a grand and generous discount, leaving you with more moolah to enjoy your much-needed vacation.
Keep an eye out for hidden fees
It is not an uncommon practice for budget airlines and accommodations to profit from exorbitant fees and hidden charges. Be careful not to fall victim to this as the accumulated charges could only offset the discount that you have been trying to score. What you can do here is to look thoroughly on their websites and contact them for inquiries as needed. Good thing there are hotel businesses that are all for transparency and will show you upfront the clear breakdown of costs such as taxes and the PayPal handling fee.
Switch to incognito browsing
Avoid hidden charges, but go undercover when doing your online research. Airlines track down demands through the cookies or data sent from your browser to their system, giving them an idea of when to raise the price range and in which deals.
Know when to book
Boost your traveling experience by simply tweaking your calendar. According to World of Wanderlust, the best time to book flights is six to eight weeks ahead of your planned travel date, except in flash sales and holiday travel. In the case of the latter, anticipate the huge demand and rush so you better book as soon as possible.
Timing is everything
Photo Courtesy of Tsabo Tsaboc via Flickr
One definite thing you should consider is whether it is high or low-season before you travel. Know the events in Boracay. The Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, hailed as the Philippines' Mardi Gras, is in the third week of January. The Boracay International Funboard Cup and the Annual International Paraw Cup Challenge take advantage of the strong winds during the northeast monsoon, which occurs from late January to early February. Soak up in the summer sun in March, April, and May. Apart from these, the place is also packed during Christmas, New Year's Eve, and the Holy Week. On the other hand, if you are not into crowds, visit Boracay anytime from June to October. Tip: The best sunsets happen in October and November.
Go the extra mile for miles
With points expiring in accounts inactive for a year being one rule of airline rewards programs, WeHostels gives a handful of hacks to keep the account active even without booking a flight. Answer an online survey, transfer miles out and back, signing up for their email subscription -- basically anything to show activity on your account. Think of it like watering a plant every now and then so it will be there alive and well by the time you need it.
Miles are great, but you still need to think carefully
Does it pay to always be loyal to your airline? Well, while you are rewarded with miles, this is also a scheme to get customers to hold on to airlines and not bother looking around for other deals.
However, it all still depends on what you need and want. If you prefer your go-to airline any time of the day, then just use your miles to upgrade. But if you are after saving, then it certainly does not hurt to be on the lookout for better deals.
Be on your toes with email alerts
Photo Courtesy of NEC Corporation of America via Flickr, Creative Commons
With demands and deals fluctuating faster than you can say "price drop," you need to be given a heads up. Subscribe to different airlines and hotels newsletters and make sure you are able to access notifications on your mobile gadgets for checking and booking on the go. Doing this will ensure you the freshest offers for more value-for-money deals.
Enjoy big rewards and discounts by simply making a few changes to your usual booking practices. Pull off these smart travel booking hacks and have a blast in the paradise that is Boracay.