Travel Tour Expo 2015 + Tips to Make the Most of It

Philippine Travel Tour Expo 2015The 22nd Travel and Tour Expo is going to be held next weekend!

The Travel & Tour Expo 2015 will be from Feb. 13-15, 2015 (Friday to Sunday), at the SMX Convention Center right beside the Mall of Asia. 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Tickets are P60.00 each.

I have always enjoyed going to these events! There are so many sales & promos! But you don’t just go to these events unprepared! You lose out on a lot of things if you’re unprepared.

Here are some tips to make your visit worth your while:

  • Be there early and plan to be there the whole day. Goes without saying. Free stuff and swag run out quickly. Dress comfortably. Then see the next bullet point.
  • Bring someone with you. You will be glad you did. A lot of the booths have long lines, especially for the good promos. You can be in line for hours! You can take turns waiting in line. Bear this in mind when planning to bring kids along.
  • Bring an extra bag, just in case. There are usually exhibitors who give out one of those eco bags which you can use to carry all your accumulated fliers. But with budget cuts, those freebies are scarcer every year and run out fast. So be prepared and bring your own.
  • Bring your cards & membership info. All of them. You never know which card is suddenly useful. This bank’s card might entitle you to a free or a discounted entrance fee, or that airline’s membership card might get you more freebies. Who knows?
  • Make a plan. Many of the promos you’ll encounter will only be available during the expo. You have to buy the ticket / tour / accommodation / whatever during the expo. Sometimes, you might be able to talk to the exhibitor to give you the promo price even after the expo, but that’s not usually the case. This puts you in a bind if you don’t have a plan – you either make a rash decision or don’t buy anything at all.
    • If you are planning to go on a trip with someone, decide beforehand where you want to go. Do you want to go on an international trip or a domestic trip?
    • Have a list of at least 3-5 cities or countries in mind – it can be as specific as Hong Kong, or as vague as “nice resort just a few hours away from Manila”
    • Decide on your budget. Don’t forget that trip expenses also include pocket money, money to buy pasalubong, travel tax, terminal fee, transportation expenses for taxis, ferries, subways and the like, and tip money (in some places tips are expected). Me, I want to splurge on at least 1 meal during my trip, so I plan for that too. It adds a little highlight to the memory of that trip, like, “Remember when we had High Tea at the Raffles in Singapore?”.
    • If the person you plan to travel with cannot go to the expo with you and you have to make the decision about your trip, decide with them beforehand what are non-negotiables, budget, date availability, and do what-if scenarios. For example: what is more important? Do we get the better airline but it’s more expensive? Or do we get the cheaper airline (but has worse facilities)? Please read my experience on the difference between choosing Philippine Airlines vs Cebu Pacific when going to Hong Kong. Is a cheaper hotel far away from the city center okay or should we choose a more expensive hotel but nearer the city center? The answer depends on how much it saves you in taxi money and travel time. It also depends on what kind of trip you want to have – tourist trap bonanza or “live like the locals” type. And call your companion if you can before making any major financial decisions. If possible, have them go to the expo later in the afternoon. This way, you’ve already separated the wheat from the chaff and they’re just there to help with the final decision and payment.
  • Bring decision-making tools. It depends on your style, but for me, I would bring a notebook, my planner, pens & highlighters, a calculator AND something with mobile internet and a powerbank. You might want to spend a late lunch talking things over and decision-making. You can leave the expo – just have your wrist stamped so you can come back. Mobile internet is the best thing to have in these expos, but signal can be spotty inside. Anyway, while having lunch outside, use your mobile internet to check online prices, and also check reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp, and check Google Maps for proximity, etc… You don’t want to unintentionally book a place that’s in the middle of nowhere, like, far, far away from the museums you want to see. I like researching places before booking, and I especially like looking at actual visitor pictures because it shows you the real room and facilities, not the nicely edited marketing version. But keep in mind that some bad reviews does not mean that the place is bad. The reviewer could just have been unlucky. Read the reviews and use common sense to determine if it was the hotel’s fault or not. Manage your expectations. Don’t expect 5-star service at a hostel price.
  • Bring your travel documents and ID. If you buy a ticket or book anything, they will usually want to see your passport or some form of valid government ID. Bring along your companion’s, too – the one who’s going on the trip with you but can’t go to the expo.
  • Bring your credit card or some form of payment. I really don’t recommend taking a big wad of cash with you. It’s a crowded place with lots of people bumping into each other. Avoid trouble and don’t bring lots of cash. Think of alternative forms of payment – usually credit cards. And make sure your credit cards are in good order with enough credit limit for your planned purchase.

Hope these tips help. If you would like to share your own tips, please feel free to comment! I’m nice, I promise!

Update: Be sure to check out PAL’s Updated Baggage Allowance Matrix for Domestic Flights.

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