An Expensive Lesson in Travel

I just learned my first real lesson for 2017. That is to NEVER EVER get excited over airline promo fares. I know I have no one to blame but myself. That makes it so much worse.

PAL Promotional FareSometime late last year, I got wind of a PAL (Philippine Airlines) sale. Airline tickets were supposedly 50% off. Sounds good, right? I called and asked for Manila-Haneda-Manila prices and the promotional rate came out to P70k for 4 people all-in. That’s P17,500 per person. It didn’t seem all that cheap. However, regular rates for non-budget airlines was around US$500+ per person so it was still less expensive. I heard about it late and it was the last day. I tried booking near the Holy Week but there was none available. My booking got pushed earlier and earlier. I checked the kids’ skeds and saw that the last day of school for my daughter was March 10. Both kids have ended school on the same day for the past several years. So I booked March 13-19. I knew it was non-refundable and they would charge me horrendous fees if I rebooked. I knew. But I feared I wouldn’t get a better deal so I still booked it.

This school year is supposed to be my son’s junior prom. Last year, it was mentioned that prom was sometime in February. They put out the official circulars this January and the actual date is… March 18. It’s right smack in the middle of our booked Japan trip. PAL was charging me P80k to rebook. There was no other way around it. The worst part was, during the time I was scrambling to rebook, there was new PAL promo. Oh the irony.

Some people advised me to just have my son skip the prom. Hubby and I never had a prom because we studied in a very strict school. I couldn’t deprive him of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

To make a long story short, I refused to pay P80k to rebook. Oh I tried my darnedest to find someone in PAL who could help me but I failed miserably. So I just let the tickets go to waste. I bought new tickets from Jetstar, it came out to P60k for all of us… even cheaper than the supposed super promo fare I availed of.

Anyhow I will make bullet points of my takeaways from this unfortunate experience so I will never forget:

  1. Make sure of all the important dates before booking. Common sense, right? But when you’re faced with a promo fare you sometimes decide take the plunge anyway.
  2. Don’t worry about not being able to avail of a promo fare. There will ALWAYS be a new promo. In fact, from the time I booked last October there have been 2 more PAL promos.
  3. Sometimes, you don’t even need a promo. I just browsed through Jetstar’s website as per our trusted travel agent’s advise and found cheaper fares pronto.

So yeah, that was a P70k lesson I paid for in cash. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.

Anyhow, I’ll be in Japan from March 22 to 28 and I won’t be bringing my laptop with me. I’ll resume blogging when I get back. In the meantime, I’ll share bits and pieces of our trip on Instagram and Facebook.

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  • Reply edel March 21, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I had the same dilemma a couple of years back when I booked a trip to Dumaguete – Bohol – Cebu. All the while I thought that my daughter would have finished her exams by then but the school suddenly decided to extend by a week. I didn’t cancel the trip though since my daughter’s great grand-aunts were joining us for the trip. Absent sya and took her exams after the trip na. In your case nga lang, your son will miss the prom …

    • Reply animetric March 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      Prom kasi sa amin huhuhu… T_T

  • Reply SJ Valdez March 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    That’s a huge amount of money! Sayang! Talagang “An Expensive Lesson In Travel”…

    • Reply Preppy Brat March 23, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Thats part of the Ego Boost. Saying “Oh shucks i wasted a ton of money. What a waste. So sad. I’ve learned my lesson na.” In actuality all she’s saying is simply “Because I can.” I’ve met people like her, on the fringes of can-afford but not quite there yet. She has just enough to pose as a Grennbelt 5 when really she’s probably just a Greenbelt 3. Sorry for the Brent lingo 🙂 <– see how easy that was?

      • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei March 23, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        Dear IP Address aka Preppy Brat (in this post),

        Thank you for sharing negative comments under different names. Since you obviously don’t like stuff I post, don’t let my blog waste your time. But thank you for each visit, it’s still additional traffic. Thank you for all the comments though not positive, they’re still feedback and engagement.

  • Reply Meikah Ybañez-Delid March 21, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Awww! Thanks for the tips, though…

  • Reply Annalyn March 21, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Ang mahal. I was supposed to fly from SG tonight, but I was homesick na so I bought a new ticket yesterday so I could go home asap. Budget or promo is sometimes not like that. A lot of circumstances can happen before a trip

  • Reply Joanna March 21, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Since my son is graduating this year, I made sure that my booking was NOT before Holy Week. I didn’t know when their schedule for graduation is, but I figured di naman aabot ng Holy Week no? Thank goodness! I still got my promo fares. Pero parang mas mura yata ngayon. Hahahaha

  • Reply xiaori March 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

    aw… a huge money for a lesson, indeed. Somehow it was a waste, but, it ended up a lesson, alright. Thank you for sharing and letting us know about your experience, Ms. Rowena. Being faced with a “SALE” items/services results to clouded judgement and rush decisions, not to mention, spending more money than what’s supposed to be saved. It happens to everyone I guess. I myself is guilty, but not as much as 70k so it doesn’t hurt much..

  • Reply Jen CC Tan March 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    that happened to me too, which is why my bunso skipped his grade school graduation hahahahaha!

    i told him, the world is his classroom. graduation is just one day. LOL!

    • Reply Bertha April 19, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Thnkas for taking the time to post. It’s lifted the level of debate

    • Reply farmville coins cheat April 25, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Malin, I think you have greatly succeeded with this piece to create, as you have stated in your "inspiration" of the J. Johansson music, a treasure that is "playful, unexpected, minimalistic… magic"… and I would add, inspiring!

  • Reply Rachiel March 22, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Sigh, me too. We availed of the PAL promo also and booked tickets for Singapore. Unfortunately, things happened and we ended not using the ticket. Lesson learned the hard way. Fortunately, the ticket was really cheap (not like your 70k) so it was easy to swallow.

    Next time, I know better

  • Reply melandria March 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

    and it also apply to some other so called SALE, in the end you will regret buying it for many different reason. Will take note of this and learn from your mistake.

  • Reply Solara March 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Happened to me also when i took a promo trip to HK which I got for only 16k for two. Turned out my husband was not available for the date I chose. He rebooked it for another 21k. It was too late when I learned that he had paid for the rebooking. It could have been cheaper had we bought new set of tickets.

  • Reply Mav March 23, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Ouch! Expensive lesson nga at least natuloy pa din ang trip :).

    Enjoy Japan! 🙂

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