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Archive for August, 2009

Why I don’t visit NATAS (or any other travel fairs)

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This is for readers from Singapore. As most of you should know by now, NATAS is a travel fair held annually and attended by hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans who are keen on scoring good travel deals. Although I am always on the lookout for good deals, I always shun NATAS and other similar travel fairs for the following reasons:

1. Contrary to popular belief, the best deals are not found at NATAS – instead, they are found at the in-house sales held by individual travel agencies in the few weeks’ run-up to NATAS – prices for travel packages can be few hundred dollars lower than at NATAS itself.

2. Squeezing around with thousands of visitors ain’t my cup of tea – especially nowadays with H1N1 spreading like crazy, it isn’t such a good idea, in my opinion, to attend events like that.

3. Admission tickets cost $$$ – At $3 per entry, if you don’t leave with a good travel deal you’re just wasting your time and money visiting the show. Sure, it is a good place for those who want to see all the deals from different travel agencies under one roof, but most of the travel agencies in Singapore are located in the same area in town anyway.

4. Perhaps the most significant reason of all – I always get good deals off the Internet and seldom through travel agencies. In any case, travel agencies are better for group tour packages and not for free & easy travel which I prefer. So, stay tuned to my blog as I continue to bring you the best deals around!

Back from Cambodia

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I have been away in Cambodia for the past week, hence the temporary stop in posting about travel deals here. I’m back now and will continue bringing all my readers good travel deals in Asia! Stay tuned…

Malaysia Airlines Get-The-Deal Promotion

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Malaysia Airlines has a ongoing promotion in the form of a microsite called Get-The-Deal. Users can sign up for free to access the site where exclusive airfare deals are posted. Promotional destinations and fares change weekly, and include Malaysia as well as international destinations.

Fares are not as low as low-cost carriers’, but hey Malaysia Airlines is considered a 5-star airline and the prices (I’ve seen as low as S$90 all-in for return tickets from Singapore to Malaysian destinations) are pretty decent when you take that into account.

Zuji SG Reverse Auction

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Zuji Reverse Auction is run by ZUJI Singapore, an online travel agency which shares the same parent company as Orbitz.

Everyday at 12pm (GMT +8), there will be at least one reverse auction going on for hotels or airfares (ex-SIN) in Asia. It’s a good place to try if you’re trying to travel on a budget, because there are times when hotels in less popular vacation cities get sold for dirt cheap or even $0! What’s more, ZUJI is now offering its Facebook Fans a further S$50 off any winning bid!

I just won an auction for a return ticket from SIN – Siem Reap by SilkAir (inclusive of all taxes except REP departure tax which is payable on departure)… I am paying just S$88.88 after the $50 discount as a Facebook Fan (for those who don’t know, the number 8 is a lucky number for Chinese people – I deliberately waited for the price to drop to this amount before closing my bid… yes, I do need some luck for my ongoing job hunt!). That’s a hefty S$101.12 off the lowest available rate now on Silk Air’s website!

On the site itself you can see the last 5 auction items and their sold prices, as well as the next 5 items and their starting prices. However, Zuji announces the following week’s auction items at the end of each week via their Facebook page as well as through their weekly newsletters.

I highly recommend subscribing to Zuji’s newsletters – I received a $50 Zuji voucher (no minimum spend) out of the blue a few weeks ago, and I used it to book a flight to BKK. Just yesterday, I received another $30 voucher, supposedly to thank me for using Visa to make payment for my earlier booking!

Zuji’s doing a good job in marketing… however the downside is that their prices for hotels and flights are a tad higher than elsewhere sometimes – but you can find occasional good deals via their promotions and tie-ups with credit cards, as well as on Zuji’s Reverse Auction of course!

Why you should follow my blog and twitter updates for good deals

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This being a new blog I am sure there are readers out there wondering “Why should I trust this guy’s deal recommendations?”, or “Are you really that good at seeking out deals?”.

Well, here is a list of the travel deals I have earned since 2008. This list will be updated as and when I score new deals, for my own record keeping as well as for the skeptics out there =P

For those who do not know, S$ refers to Singapore Dollars (US$1 ~ S$1.50)
2008:

  • 2 x free room nights in Vancouver
  • 2 nights in Las Vegas for US$49/night with US$25 worth of dining credit per night
  • 1 x US$30 discount on a single night stay in Montreal
  • 2 nights in Banyan Tree Bangkok at 2 star hotel rates
  • 1 night in another Bangkok hotel for S$5
  • 1 free night in a Club Room at Equatorial Melaka
  • Another night’s stay in Equatorial Melaka with US$50 off
  • 1 night in KL at S$15

2009:

  • S$35 for 1 night, and S$1 for another at the new Hotel Ibis Bencoolen (I actually overpaid – my friend paid just $1 per night for 5 nights running)
  • S$69 return air tickets to Bangkok during the Hari Raya weekend
  • 2 free nights in Ibis Bangkok
  • 2 free nights in Ibis Phuket
  • US$50 off 1 night in Batam
  • US$20 off 1 night in Guangzhou
  • 3 nights in Kunming for US$2/night
  • 1 free night in Guangzhou
  • 60% off 2 nights in MGallery Songtsam Retreat at Shangri-la
  • Return air tickets to Hong Kong for S$128 per pax
  • 3 nights Evergreen Hotel Hong Kong for total of S$60
  • Beijing – Guangzhou by China Southern @ S$67
  • US$50 per night for 4 nights at Intercontinental Beijing (upgraded one night to include Club access for CNY 350)
  • S$50 return air tickets to Bali
  • 3 nights in Febri’s Hotel Bali with breakfast for S$50
  • 3 nights in Le Fenix Sukhumvit Bangkok for S$65
  • 2 nights in MGallery VIE Hotel Bangkok for S$30
  • 2 room nights at Ambassador Hotel Bangkok for S$10 each
  • Return flight from SIN – Siem Reap by SilkAir for S$88.88
  • 3 nights in a Siem Reap hotel for FREE
  • 2 room nights at Equatorial Cameron Highlands for S$30
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