How satisfied were you with your last travel? Rate your trip on scale of 1 to 10. Are you hovering at 8?

Few will rate themselves travel pros and more likely travel victims.

If you’re like most folks, chances are you weren’t too happy last trip. Either you paid too much for your airfare, you booked a terrible hotel, you lost luggage to Manila airport thieves or you brought the wrong things – like winter clothes to a desert.

Today will be the last time you book at Hotel Transylvania via the SSS Titanic. I’ve been travelling since 1998. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and regretted many trips. Now with over 20 years flying the (un)friendly skies, I encapsulate for you my top tactics to making every trip an awesome one. Are we ready for beautiful travel memories?

Get 70% off Airfare

There’s a secret most airlines keep guarded and it is this: if you were to book your flight at  exactly 40 to 53 days before take off, you’ll be paying rock bottom rates. I wrote an article on this some time ago which you can read here. I’ve known about the travel hack since 2003 and it’s always worked.

Stop a moment, and let me disabuse you from the myth subscribed to by average travelers who think that booking 1 year ahead of time saves money. This is untrue. Sometimes you pay even more. The 40-53 day window is magical due to the unprofitable  inventory airlines keep on their seats. The rates are so good within the 53 window you’ll be stunned at the prices that can go down to even a few dollars. This inventory depletion fuels the sneaky framework travel agencies exploit when they say “If you book within this xxx period, and travel within this xxx period, you get 70% off”. That promo is bullcrap because you can avail anytime- just book 53 days before flight. No later, no earlier

Oh yes- and it helps to book via incognito browser and using the IP address of a poor country like Bangladesh, Philippines or Somalia. The logic is obvious. Check out VPNs like ExpressVPN which I use.

Get Awesome Hotel Deals

Whether you book at Agoda, Expedia or Kayak, click the tab that says Secret Deals. Travel aggregators do partnerships with very high end hotels vying to dispose unused room inventories .

It’s an economic reality that whether a guest comes or not, hotels already assume fixed Operating Costs monthly. Selling an unbooked $900 room for $50 is better than not selling at all. So why not just sell the top suites at 90% off? Economics again. If hotels promoted their top rooms at 90% off, guests will lower their perception of the hotel and just wait for discounts. That’s bad for business. The best remedy is to sell top rooms anonymously via aggregators. And that’s also what we do here at United Travel Group

Gives Thieves a Hard Time

Back in the day, I overpacked and took nice designer bags. Carrying a Louis Vuitton backpack and Rimowa Trolley made me feel well-heeled and trendy. Bad idea. These also broadcast that you’re an easy mark with lots of things worth stealing. I lost quite a bit at the Charles du Gaulle airport, NAIA 1,2 and 3.

Rimowas look indestructable. So do Samosnite. They aren’t. With a ballpen, you simple punch the zipper teeth and the thief gets right into your soiled underwear and pirated DVD collection. Thousands upon thousands of tourists lose their valuables or find planted bullets at the Manila airport that the good President Duterte himself had to step in and fire a lot of airport devils.

The best alternative is to travel with those bright yellow or black Pelican dry cases. Not only are they waterproof, you’d need a sledgehammer to get through. Manila  Airport police won’t have time to pilfer your bag nor pop in a few bullets for extortion. They’ll meander off and pick on easier victims toting Le Sportsac.

Pelican Briefcases are pricey though. A trolley would cost 25k and the laptop case 15k. But you’re not out of luck. From a local vendor named Vinnie Tan (tel number 0917 7930752), I found exact replicas of these Pelican Briefcases that can withstand the sinking of the Titanic or the crash of your Boeing 747. Even if they can’t find your body at sea, they’ll locate your designer jeans floating in these cases that Jaws couldn’t pry open.

Prices are stellar at 6000 for the Trolley and 3000 for the briefcase. I bought a lot and intend to replace even the storage of my gadgets and drones with these.

 

Travel Light and Smart

My fourth trip out of the country was with a good buddy Arch Erico Abordo. We visited China for five days and I took 2 oversized trolley’s carrying 20 pairs of each item. It was a disaster- especially as the tour group had us crossing borders that were trolley unfriendly. I recall my buddy Erico just took a single backpack and used the same jocks for seven days.

Do yourself a favor. Travel light and be a frugal packer. Take no more than one shirt, underwear and leggings per day. Ideally, make it quick dry- I have a preference for Underarmor. This way you can wash your clothes at the hotel sink and reuse them next day.

And finally – never fold your items. Traditional folding takes double the space. Don’t use those vacuum bags either. Your return trip will rarely see you using them. Rather, roll all your items like towels. Not only do they compress to less space, they remain crinkle free. The following video illustrates

Ready to embark on that unforgettable trip? Write back and let me know how these helped!

JRP

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