The Backpacking Freelancer - Part I

21 June 2011
The World Wide Web is making things easier for everyone to undertake do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and transactions.  It is not cost-effective to drive to the travel agency, shell out at least P200 to pay for the agent's services, and then burn more fuel on your drive back home. The old method is so passe. It needs a shave. 

do it yourself photoIf you have managed to land a freelancing gig by yourself, there is no doubt that you can wing something even much simpler: booking your own flight. Try Hong Kong for starters. The buzzling island is a favorite destination for many Southeast Asians. Airfares can get cheap if you know when to sniff a bargain and act on it pronto.You won't need a visa so long as your vacation does not exceed 30 days.

From Cebu to Hong Kong: Sites and Tips for the Bargain Hunter

Rather than buying your ticket at the airport counter or asking your travel agent to check the flight schedules for you, you need not leave your seat. Do your research, visit these sites and make a purchase if you see what you like:

  • Airphil Express

    Airphil Express is for the most part a local budget airline. Formerly known as Air Philippines, the carrier started plying between the Philippines and Singapore in 2010. This year's welcome addition is the Hong Kong route. The introductory fare is P888 per way (excluding taxes).

    Tip: Visit the site on Friday. Surprise deals apply between 4 and 8 p.m. only. As the name suggests,  surprise deals for selected destinations are not announced until Friday afternoon.

  • Cebu Pacific

    Not to be mistaken for Cathay Pacific Airways, Cebu Pacific has more international routes than Airphil Express. Majority of its off-shore trips are red-eye flights (scheduled on unholy hours such as late night, midnight and dawn).

    The cheapest recorded fare to Hong Kong is P1 per way (excluding taxes) but you have to be very alert to catch the promo. A more realistic expectation would be between P888 and P999 per way (excluding taxes).

    Tip: Visit the website for promotional fares at least 1 to 3 months before your intended departure date. The nearer your schedule, the more expensive the ticket. There is more than one way to get the lowest possible Cebu Pacific fare.

  • Sky Scanner

    It is sometimes hard to tell which carrier offers the best fares on a given date. For an outlook on when airline tickets reach their peaks and troughs, check with Sky Scanner. Sky Scanner is by no means an airline company. It is simply a site that lets you do a flight search and returns results from all available carriers.

    Tip: Use the site as a research tool. You will not be required to enter sensitive information. Rather, clicking a search result or two will redirect you to the official website of the airline carrier where you can finalize your booking.

    At its best (or worst), Sky Scanner will earn some revenue for each deal closed by a paying customer referred (but this is merely conjecture).

Booking Your Flight - a Simple Do-it-Yourself Guide
  1. Visit the official website of your favorite airline or access Sky Scanner.
  2. Enter your intended departure and return dates, as well as your preferred entry and exit points.
  3. Indicate the number of travelers in your group (yourself included).
  4. Press the OK/search button to view the results.
  5. Select from the given list of options and confirm your choice. You may be asked to enter personal information such as your full name, age, contact number, e-mail address and postal address in order to proceed with the reservation.
You will know that you have successfully made a reservation when you see a confirmation message on screen. Up next: Confirm the booking by paying for the airfare. Do you really need a credit card? Stay tuned to find out.* 
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