Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 3 July 2014 • Uncategorized
Tags: travel tips
I’ve been asked A LOT OF TIMES about how I can travel so often. Many of my friends and acquaintances think I’m loaded to afford all those trips. Some think that all the trips were all paid-for by sponsors. As if! Aside from the art of managing time to travel for the 9-5 workers, there’s another word to the wise of how I can travel as often: discount airline tickets. Okay, well, three words.
Return flight between Jakarta and Padang for my Harau Valley trip for only IDR 60,000? (That’s less than USD 10!) A flight from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur only for IDR 30,000? (That’s not even 5 euros!) Like I said. Discount airline tickets.
Next question from my friends would be, “How do you get all these discount airline tickets?!” Simple. Here are my tips:
– Follow the airlines’ social media accounts or subscribe to their newsletters. They always inform you on discounts.
– Randomly check on the airlines’ websites. They usually have the discounts advertised on the big banners on the Home page that you just need to click.
“I’ve tried that. But when I get on the website, the system got jammed because too many people are accessing at the same time!” you might say.
Yes, that’s true. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. I once woke up to my alarm that I’ve set to 3 a.m. just to access the website and purchase the discount airline tickets! Or you could just stay up all night until 3 or 4 a.m., when most of your cheap-ticket-hunter competitors are in deep sleep. The result? Two return tickets between Kuala Lumpur and Yangon for only MYR 392 total (about USD 61/pax), when the normal fare is at least double that.
Okay. So you’ve got the discount airline tickets. Your mind’s all set for the grand trip and you just can’t wait to pack even though it’s still 10 months away! Well, my friend. Nothing is perfect except the word perfect itself. Though getting a great promo deal feels like winning a lottery ticket, there are ups and downs of discount airline tickets. I’ve summed up a few based on my own experiences:
– CHEAP is the word. If not cheap, discount airline tickets are cheaper than normal prices. Well, d’oh! With less money to pay for airline tickets, you have more budget for other posts, like accommodation, food, diving cost, etc.
– It could get you to places you didn’t even think of before. This is because not all the available destinations are those you’ve wanted to visit, but why resist a chance to travel so cheaply? After all, every destination has its own charm, don’t you think? My girlfriends and I flew to Penang because of the discount, and we had so much fun!
Discount airline tickets are usually offered quite a long time prior to the flights. It could be days or weeks, but more often than not months or a year prior to the flight. What can happen in months? Well, a lot. For example:
– Routes being closed; it happened to our Sulawesi trip in 2010, when Air Asia decided to close the route to Manado. The money was transferred back to my friend’s member deposit, but we had to buy another ticket, which was a lot more expensive than the one we got.
– Airline shut-down. Yup, just like what happened to Batavia Airlines early in 2013. And there went my IDR 800,000 (about USD 66 then) return tickets between Jakarta and Ambon that they didn’t bother to transfer back. In this case, the saying “if it’s too good to be true” really applied.
– Sudden change of plan. Diyan had to cancel his trip to Lombok with me due to his change of work that wasn’t planned. He also had to cancel going with us to Halong Bay because he had to save up for our wedding, which wasn’t planned when we bought the tickets 10 months prior the trip.
– No refund, no schedule changes. Yep. Like everything else that sounds so good, terms and conditions applied.
After a few bad experiences with discount airline tickets, I almost made vows not to be tempted by ticket discounts anymore. But as advised by the then little boy with high-pitched voice and asymmetric bangs, I chose to not say never. Proven, some of my best trips were the ones fueled by discount airline tickets, like the trips to Laos and Komodo National Park.
A little tip on hunting for discount airline tickets:
The high competition and relatively short span of promotion time often makes you gotta decide fast. You don’t want to lose the jackpot tickets to someone else. I actually bought a few tickets thinking, “Well, if I cancel the trip, I’m just going to lose a little money, anyway.” Sure if that happens once. But if you have to cancel more trips for which the tickets you already bought, it means you’re losing a lot more money. And it’s just too bad to waste so much money.
So even though time is ticking, you still need to keep a cool head before actually hitting the “Purchase” button!
So, what do you say about discount airline tickets? YAY or NAY?