No matter where you are in the U.S., try getting a flight out of a major airport on the West coast like San Francisco or Los Angeles if you are headed to the Philippines. If you’re on the East coast, New York has also become competitive with their rates. Often, booking separate legs of your journey will save you money. For example, my point of departure is Denver; if I book a flight from Denver to Manila, it will run me in the vicinity of $1,350. If I book a flight from Denver to San Francisco, and then a separate flight from San Francisco to Manila, it will run me approximately $900, for a total savings of $450. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of layover time in case your first flight gets delayed.
Often, booking separate legs of your journey will save you money.
While direct flights from the U.S. to Manila are more convenient, they are often more costly. If you don’t mind a layover somewhere, you can save a couple hundred dollars and book cheap flights. On one of my trips, I saved $200 by booking a flight with a layover in Tokyo. Not only did I get to save money, it was quite an experience to explore all the shops in the airport – picture me trying to find some antacid when there was not a single word of English to be found on any of the medicine packages (thank goodness for the drawing of a man doubled over in pain, next to a plate of greasy food and a mug of beer)! And the Ebi Filet-O (shrimp burger) at Japanese McDonald’s was a pleasant surprise!
Book any domestic flights within the Philippines separately from your international flight. My favorite is Philippine Airlines (philippineairlines.com), but there is also Cebu Pacific (cebupacificair.com). You will be paying in Philippine Pesos as opposed to U.S. Dollars. If you have bags to check, paying for them when you book your tickets will save you a little extra. Just to illustrate savings, I did a search on Orbitz for a round trip flight from San Francisco to Tacloban. Then, I did a search for a round trip flight from San Francisco to Manila, and a separate search on Philippine Airlines’ website for a corresponding round trip flight from Manila to Tacloban. The savings of booking the two legs of the journey separately added up to a whopping $650!
Book any domestic flights separately from your international flight.
The only drawback to this method is that you will have to claim any bags and re-check them in between flights; however, for customs purposes, they may have you do this when entering the Philippines anyway. On your way home, if you bat your eyes and ask nicely enough, the agent at the check-in counter may be able to check your bags all the way home, depending on the airline.
Keep an eye on promotions for cheap flights offered by travel agencies that specialize the specific country you are visiting; they are able to offer deeply discounted prices because they contract with the country’s airlines. Subscribe to their email lists or Facebook pages. A great one for the Philippines is Mango Tours.
NINA LIVES IN COLORADO WITH HER KITTY YOSHI AND WORKS IN A MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY AT A HOSPITAL. HER PASSIONS INCLUDE FOOD, SCIENCE, OIL PAINTING, CREATIVE WRITING, CATS, AND TRAVEL. HER LOVE FOR TRAVEL WAS IGNITED WHEN HER MOTHER WOULD BRING HER ON TRIPS TO THE PHILIPPINES EVERY FEW YEARS TO VISIT FAMILY. SINCE THEN, NINA HAS HAD AN INSATIABLE APPETITE TO WITNESS HOW LIFE EXISTS IN OTHER PLACES IN THE WORLD. HER GOAL IS TO SEE A NEW COUNTRY EVERY YEAR AND TO VISIT HER FAMILY IN THE PHILIPPINES AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. Read Nina’s Q & A!