This was a travel expo survival guide made for 2014 PTAA Travel Tour Expo. But the tips are gold for all travel expos.
Here comes the de-vil!!! (or the savior, depending on how you see it!) The travel expo madness is here again!
Before you get all excited to go tomorrow (or the weekend) and daydream about all the places you can book for the year, read our tips to assure you a more productive, enjoyable travel tour expo experience!
Travel Expo Survival Tips
Have the following documents ready (Download a checklist below)
- Passports and copies of passports of everyone in the troop you’re booking for (valid 6 months from date of departure)
- Active credit cards/cash (note the P50k daily withdrawal limit, P20k for other banks, if you plan to book international flights. Withdraw ahead of time)
- List of dates of holidays
- Inventory of available leave credits
A list of marked dates you’d want to book
Believe us, it comes handy to know the dates already; less pressure; less stress; faster booking; *very* limited slots secured! You win! This is like amazing race, really! :p
Come early! Doors open at 10am but lines can build up as early as 7am!
Crazy I know! I came a little after 7am last year and the lines were far out spiralling the whole hallway of SMX
If you can, secure an entrance ticket ahead.
Deal sites like Groupon offer travel tour expo tickets! You’ll have far shorter line (for ticket redemption with vouchers) than the regular ticket box. Regular Entrance Fee is P50 (students and children included), P20 for senior citizens (2014).
Have a clear intention of what you want to book– i.e. places you want to go to.
You’ll be less overwhelmed if you have focus than when you decide to just window shop and see what attracts you. Believe us, if you’re a passionate traveler, it’s like you entered Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or Disney Land, it’s overwhelming (even for those who are not die-hard travelers)! All those places you want to go, and the irresistible deals that go with it, the world just twirls around you and you want to scream and become a millionaire at once! Plus the volume of crowd can unleash the inner monster in you. You would ask, with this number of people splurging on travel, who said we’re poor?
It may be a short notice, but save up. If you have a travel fund, way better.
This is the time to allocate your most precious travel fund to a
goodgreat cause. This is the Grand Prix of travel. This can dictate your travel lifestyle in 2014(insert year)! So discern ahead how much you are willing to shell out during the expo, total.
Tonight, start scheduling your travel year.
Do you want to go once a month, every quarter or you just need a total of 7 travels evenly scattered all throughout the year? PLAN AHEAD. And include the details– places, dates, accommodation, airfare. You have how many months of lead time to save for the pocket money.
For pragmatic reasons, go to SMX this weekend carrying the lightest bag possible.
You will be getting TONS of fliers, booklets, magazines, giveaways to help you compare and decide on which offers you will take, because there will be a wiiiide array of options available for you! All, like the number of your suitors, will try to win you over.
Bring a bottle of water and food you can munch on while roaming around.
You wouldn’t have much time or attention to realize you’re human who needs to eat at certain times in a day. Or worse, you will be stuck in a very long line just to secure a slot, so gear up! You’re going to the travel booking battle field!
If you have your mind on a preferred airline, first thing to do is to locate their line and get on it!
PAL, Cebu Pacific, and other budget airlines attract the most lines and people seem to know exactly where they’re going how many months from now! The lines will put MRT lines to shame! Last year, seats to hotspots sell out like pancakes, *especially* the holiday dates! We even saw a Batanes flight for P800. We tried to fall in line, it was sold out the first day, of course.
If possible, call everyone tonight or start a message thread with your favorite travel companions to decide on trip details.
Prepare a plan A, B, to Zinc just in case your ideal itinerary is not available. This will save you time and a lot of decision-making ping-pong stress while in the expo. Imagine calling each of your friends or family to consult a date or a place while you’re already at the counter with so many people behind you standing for hours already?! Standing aside to wait for their decisions is not an option because that would mean you have to fall in line for hours again! If you decide too late, your slot would be booked by another fellow from another agent. Simultaneous booking goes on that’s why it feels like amazing race!
Check the status and available credit of your credit card.
You don’t want to be declined after 3 hours of varicose-inducing queueing marathon, do you?
Check the travel promo details obsessively so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
My US trip from PAL last year states that my return date should be within 1 month from the date of departure, or else I will be charged a regular fare for the return ticket. I had to move my flight dates at once! So prepare a plan A to Zinc, I can’t emphasize enough!
Bring a friend if you can so you can tag-team the whole craze.
Someone stands in line while the other’s on a look-out for the next deal! Stra-te-gy!
Don’t bring a child.
You might not be able to take the crowd and a ranting child all at once while you have your eye on the goal.
That would basically cover most of what I learned from last
year’s (2013) experience. Since I didn’t have much idea what goes on, I came very unprepared (only knowing where I want to go) that I had to come back the next day for payment and passport issues that I did not anticipate:
- I had to bother people to lend cash since the daily withdrawal limit is not enough to pay for the whole transaction. (I’ve decided to not own a credit card temptation or else I will be booking incessantly, if you’re wondering about that.)
- I learned the hard way to store my *updated* passport details digitally. I had mine saved on email and phone album but as I found out too late, it was the old one. :/
- I stressed out if there will be slots when I returned so I had to beg the agent to hold it for me for 24 hours, without assurance.
I was willing to do all the hassle for the love of travel. And it paid off, of course! Another bucket list item checked! I got to see the concrete jungle where dreams are made of and a segment of the New York Fashion Week, played paparazzi, too! :]
So in a few hours, rush to SMX this weekend! Drool over tons of irresistible travel packages and deals! Expo runs from
February 14-16, 10am to 9pm!
Believe me when I say, I only got to go to my dream New York, New York because of this travel expo! They can go THAT low! Or else, I would still be dreaming about it.
Love Life, Love Travel. What can be a more apt catch phrase for this year’s Travel Tour Expo.
Book. Pack. Go!