As a frequent traveler, I’ve encountered my fair share of horror stories on the road. From being the victim of a travel scam where drivers take the roundabout scenic route to a nearby destination so they can overcharge you to those unbelievably low-priced group tour deals where you end up getting squeezed in a van like sardines on your way to a destination.
These days, it’s hard to trust travel deals and products. If it looks too good to be true, there’s probably a catch. The good thing is you can easily check online if a service or product is really safe and legit. This can apply to hotels, restaurants, gadgets, online travel agencies and travel apps.
Since 2017, I’ve been using the Traveloka App, to book my flights and hotels for personal trips and I have to say, this is one of the apps that has made my trip planning much easier. Traveloka lets users search, compare and book different domestic and international flights and hotels in one handy app with just a few swipes on your smartphone.
For those who have never tried booking their flights and hotels this way and are worried about using it, from the past months of regular use, I can assure you that it’s safe and legit to use. Here are just some of the reasons why I like using Traveloka for my trips.
EASY TO USE INTERFACE
Many of the features in Traveloka’s website and mobile app are straightforward and easy to use. The site is very clean looking and easy to navigate. You can easily book all your flights and hotels with this app instead of opening multiple tabs from individual airline’s or hotel’s websites. This saves you a lot of time and hassles especially if you’re on the road and just making up your itinerary as you go along.
WIDE SELECTION OF AIRLINES
The Traveloka app conveniently scans flights of 100,000+ routes served by various domestic & international airlines. You may book flights with AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Jetstar, TigerAir, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, EVA Air and many other local and international airlines using the Traveloka App.
You can book your flight one way on one airline, and another on another airline depending on the time you want to travel or budget preference. With the Traveloka App, you can easily search for flights with the lowest rate based on your need. You can also set the parameters or filter search results based on your travel details or preference, preferred cost, airline, the number of passengers, departure date and arrival date.
YOU CAN CHOOSE HOTELS DEPENDING ON YOUR BUDGET
Traveloka lists a good range of hotel choices ideal ranging from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly backpacker haunts. You can filter by preference, whether you’re looking for hotels, hostels or even mystery deals. The selection is pretty good in the top destinations like Manila, Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Palawan and Davao.
I’ve used Traveloka to book family and couple staycations in top hotels in and near the city like Marco Polo Ortigas, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and Thunderbird Resorts in Rizal to celebrate special occasions.
Choosing a place to stay always depends on who I’m traveling with. The great thing about booking with Traveloka is you get an idea at once of the hotel’s facilities like swimming pool, WiFi, parking and places you can visit nearby.
On a recent motorcycle backpacking trip to Palawan, I used Traveloka to book budget-friendly haunts all around the island, including in Puerto Princesa City, San Vicente and El Nido. In San Vicente, we stayed in Turublien Long Beach Inn, a beach front lodge with just 10 rooms, which I only found out about through the app. When we got there, I wasn’t sure how they would be able to know of my booking because the place was not exactly a hotel, but rather a rustic homestay type set-up, but the staff on duty had my booking details stored via text message on his phone.
While the hotel selection could still use improvement in some of the more off-beat areas I’ve traveled to recently where it would have come in handy (ex. Marinduque, Samar, Bukidnon), it makes sense that app developers would prioritize listings in popular places since chances are more people would travel to and book hotels there.
NO HIDDEN CHARGES
What I like about booking flights and hotels via Traveloka is it shows you immediately the price you have to pay with no hidden charges. You can check out photos of the room, see the location and read reviews immediately to help you decide where you want to stay.
When you book hotels via official websites, you often get the glamorized version of the hotel in their photos, which may not necessarily reflect the real state of the rooms or facilities. Professional photographers are usually hired to take stunning drone shots and wide angle shots of the rooms to make them appear as luxurious as possible. While the room photos on the Traveloka app are not always the best quality, they give you an honest picture so you can manage your expectations. The honest reviews from other travelers are also very helpful. You end up getting what you are willing to pay for.
DISCOUNTS & PROMOS
Traveloka is very generous with giving out discount codes. If you check their Facebook page, they constantly plug hotel and flight deals weekly, which can range from Php 1,000 off on hotels or 20% on flights. Flight customers get special rates on certain hotels, and hotel prices are indicated for last minute deals.
When you’re booking, it’s just a matter of putting in a promo code to get an additional discount. Discounts and destinations covered vary from promo to promo.
EASY PAYMENT OPTIONS
Traveloka has very secure and flexible payment options. You can pay for your flights and hotels easily by linking your credit card to the app, but if you don’t have a credit card of don’t want to use it, there are many other payment methods available including paying over the counter, by bank deposit, debit cards, pawnshops, 7-Eleven and PayPal funds. I usually just pay by credit card or PayPal so that I don’t have to carry too much cash when I travel. This leaves me with more cash on hand to spend on other important things like activities, food and beer.
EASY TO MAKE LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS
Because of my flexible schedule and work-related trips, I tend not to plan personal trips too far ahead in the future to avoid trip conflicts. I’ve found myself booking flights and hotels just a day before or on the day itself whenever a few free days in a week come up. Traveloka has provided me a hassle-free way to do this. While it’s good to plan ahead, sometimes it helps to keep options open and make things up as you go along especially if you’re trying to visit multiple destinations.
During our recent motorcycling road trip around Palawan, we originally planned on staying in San Vicente 2 nights, but made a last-minute decision to stay in El Nido once we got there so we could enjoy the night life and dining options more instead of just riding back the same day. Instead of walking around hotel to hotel and asking if they had any rooms available, I just scanned the app while we were having late lunch, found a good option nearby and was able to book a room immediately. As long as you have a WiFi connection, the app provides a hassle-free way to find a place to stay.
From several months of using the Traveloka app, I can say this app is safe and legit to use. Though they’re still fairly new in the Philippines, they’re a leading brand in Southeast Asia with a strong presence in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia where they originated. They recently co-sponsored the second season of AXN’s hit-rated series, “Asia’s Got Talent” and are highly recommended by frequent travelers and fellow travel bloggers in the Philippines.
Since Expedia invested in Traveloka, you can only expect bigger things from this company. Expect to see them make their presence felt even more in the country this year and beyond.