Monday, December 18, 2017

#adulting: the truth about last minute trips.

Hey guys! So how was your weekend? If you asked me the previous Friday, I would have told you that my weekend plans consisted of waking ...

Hey guys!

So how was your weekend? If you asked me the previous Friday, I would have told you that my weekend plans consisted of waking up at an unearthly hour to drag myself to Admiralty for an event on Saturday morning, meeting James to buy a Christmas tree, before waving goodbye to him as he leaves for his work trip to Manila.

Thereafter, I'd spend the rest of Saturday and Sunday sleeping, doing my nails, rearranging the house, secretly throwing away stuff that I don't like...you know the drill.

But life is funny and I ended up going to Manila. And here's what I learnt from my last minute trip.

#1 Last minute flights are not cheap.

Yeah so you've heard that you can get really good deals on flights by holding out till the very last minute to buy tickets. Like, I'm sure you heard the hype over websites like lastminute.com where last minute trip planners can get great deals, or some friend of a friend of a friend who got a great deal at the very last minute. LIES.


So James was flying to Manila for work on Saturday evening, and before I went for my event he mentioned that it was a waste that I wasn't joining him in Manila since he had the whole of Sunday free to explore the city. I checked the prices of air tickets online — $411 via Cebu Pacific. Um okay, I thought last minute flights were supposed to be cheaper and this wasn't the $200 or less that I was looking for. So I went for my event and met James after. We had a great lunch and went Christmas tree shopping.
And then we went home. and James mentioned that it was a waste that I wasn't going with him to Manila. And then he packed, and mentioned that it was a waste that I wasn't going with him to Manila. I checked the flight prices, the 5.20pm Cebu Pacific flight to Manila was no longer available online. There was only a $600+ Philippine Airlines flight at 8pm, and the $1000+ SQ flight that James was on at 7.10pm. Oh well, Save money. Stay at home.
James, "Oh but it's a shame that you won't be able to join me."
(Via Giphy).

No bees, no honey, got work, not enough money. Anyway, just so you know, flights are not cheaper at the last minute. I was looking at flights mere hours before they departed, and they were still more expensive than my White by Vera Wang wedding dress.
(For more on my dress, click here!)

#2 Third party websites are not for last minute bookings.

So there I was, humming and hawwing over whether to buy tickets when I saw that CheapoAir had some cheaper flights available as compared to the same flights found on Philippine Airlines. An hour later, the flights on Philippine Airlines were no longer available for purchase, but those on CheapoAir were still up for grabs. I mean at first I was only able to buy the super expensive Flex tickets on Philippine Airlines, but later on the website said that I had to go down to the airport counter to purchase my tickets. But, I could still buy them at a reasonable price, from CheapoAir. HOW DOES THAT SEEM LEGIT.
(Via Giphy).

But anyway, I tossed all my stuff into a bag, and raced to Changi in a taxi. Took me 45 minutes in total. Yes, I'm a very efficient packer. And yes, I'm very experienced at speed packing.
(Via Popkey).

So I was at the Philippine Airlines counter, and the guy told me that the flight was totally full. Even for staff. And this was for the 8pm flight, as well as the 12.20am flight the next daty. But yet when I checked the CheapoAir site - THERE WERE STILL FLIGHTS AVAILABLE.  What gives man?!
(Via Giphy).

So I have concluded, that you may get some great flight deals from third party websites, you should only rely on them when you are booking in advance. If you're booking at the last minute, STAY CLEAR OF THEM. You may be buying a space on a flight which doesn't exist.

#3 It's cheaper to book online.

So the guy at Philippine Airlines recommended that I visit the Changi Airport service desk for help. The dude was very helpful and gave me a list of outgoing flights to Manila which I could check out. Scoot at 1.50am. Jetstar at 2.20am.

So I went from T1 where Philippine Airlines was based to T2 where Scoot was based and the lady at the Scoot service desk told me that yes! There are still flights available on the 1.50am flight. It cost about $700. Again, WHO ARE THOSE FOOLS WHO SAID THAT LAST MINUTE FLIGHTS ARE CHEAPER?
(Via Giphy).

Anyway, the lady at the service desk was good. She advised me to book my tickets online. Turns out that booking online is much cheaper than booking at the airport, and I had plenty of time to book as online booking closes 4 hours before departure. After which, tickets will only be available for sale at the counter.

So for those of you wondering if airline tickets are cheaper at the airport (ie. me two weeks ago), the answer is, no they are not. Booking online is cheaper.
(Via Giphy).

And that's how I got round trip flights to Manila leaving at 1.50 am on Sunday and returning on 1.20 am on Monday.

#4 It is good to have an insurance agent friend.

So since I had about 5 - 6 hours before my flight, I took the train home and decided to curate my holiday wardrobe a bit more, maybe have some food or take a nap. And buy some travel insurance of course. Call me a stickler but I ALWAYS buy travel insurance. $15 to guarantee my trip to a country which the UK and US governments do not consider safe?
(Via Giphy).

But as it turned out, I was unable to buy my insurance on the NTUC app. My insurance agent friend (who does all my insurance and handles all my financial policies) said that the app was down that night for maintenance and advised me to try the website. As it turned out the website was also down. But insurance agent friend was able to access the NTUC agent portal and purchase travel insurance for me before my flight. Which, I would have never been able to do given the circumstances.

While I didn't need to claim anything from my trip, I still maintain that travel insurance is very important. And it's VERY HANDY to have someone you can trust to do such stuff for you. Also, my friend is great. If you need some insurance I can refer you to her.

#5 No one calls me old.

So you might be wondering what made me go to Manila. Well, I was okay with not going, even as James kept saying what a waste it would be, since he would be there for work, and that he had a free day which he would probably spend cooped up in his hotel room doing work, and blah blah blah. I was okay with that. Then James asked if I could take the Monday off to make the flight worth it and I said no. Then came the kicker...
James, "Yeah you're probably right. We're so old and responsible now."
And I heard my resolve snap. I AM NOT OLD! And I cannot grow old and regret not like, not wasting my youth by flying all around the world.
(Via Giphy).

So I put the phone down, threw all my clothes into a bag, and headed to Changi. What?! Everyone has their weaknesses. This is apparently mine.

Anyway, we had a great time in Manila and explored all the major sites (except for a Chinese cemetery because it started raining).
Quiapo Market.
The historic area of Intramuros.
Kilometre Zero at Rizal Park.

We even went to James' favourite Mexican bar which turns out to be one of the most highly recommended restaurants in Manila!
Oops I meant to put this photo.
 El Chupacabra in Makati.

And then to a rooftop jellyfish bar, which was pretty awesome.
Antidote in I'M Hotel, Makati.

And then I headed to the airport, went home, woke up, and then headed to work on time. Because I am youthful and not old.
(Via Giphy).

 Anyway! That's my take on last minute trips. Also if you are not a last minute kind of person, you might probably be already worrying about what you want to get your beloved for Valentine's Day. (WTF and here I am worrying about Christmas). Anyway, the folks at Floral Garage are already offering products for Valentine's Day, two months in advance! You can check them out here. They also do vegetable bouquets, chocolate hampers and, most importantly, for the last minute folk, same-day delivery for a standard charge of $9.70. I can afford that.
Okay and now I've come to the end of my post. Hope you found it useful! Now I will leave you with a good song.


Okay that's all for today! Have a good week ahead guys!
❤ Jac.

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