— travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams —

travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams


Four words: fly through Hong Kong.


Because of…reasons…a Manila-London-Manila ticket will actually be cheaper — and not just cheaper but cheaper by 400 US dollars — if you tack on a Hong Kong-Manila leg and a Manila-Hong Kong leg.

Check out this HKG-LHR-HKG flight for next month. You fly out of Hong Kong on March 12, have a 2-hour layover in Manila, and get to London at 7:35 PM. The return flight leaves London on March 19, with a layover of a little over an hour in Manila, and arrives in Hong Kong on March 20 at 11:35 PM. Airline: Philippine Airlines. Price: $534.

Google Flights data as of 9 February 2017

Now check out this MNL-LHR-MNL flight. It also departs on March 12, arrives in London on the same day at 7:35 PM local time. You fly out of London on March 19 and arrive in Manila on March 20 at 7:45 PM. Airline: Philippine Airlines. Price: $932.

Google Flights data as of 9 February 2017

Obviously, flying through Hong Kong will take more time, but at a price difference of $400, it may be worth it for some. (FYI, $400 is nearly twice the average monthly wage in the Philippines.)

The price difference will be especially worth it for someone like me who lives in Cebu: instead of flying out to Manila to catch the $932 flight that departs from our capital, I might as well fly out to Hong Kong, maybe even get in a little sightseeing, especially since I can get CEB-HKG-CEB flights for as little as $51.

Something to think about. 🙂

11 Responses

  1. Hi SGMT! Last Sunday, whilst I was browsing through Rappler’s site, I stumbled upon your article ‘A Week in London for PHP 50,000’. I was dubious, at first. But when I tried calculating the expenses myself (based on your suggestion), it can actually work. Now, I’m starting to think I might be able to save up enough money for the trip. But I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with:

    1. Etihad flights to London layover in Abu Dhabi. Are we required to get a transit visa for this specific layover?
    2. Do you buy your Oyster card from here (Philippines) before going to London? And is Oyster card the same with the 7-day travel pass?
    3. Is there a best time to book a flight (in order to avail airfare promos)?

    Thank you and Godspeed!

    1. Hi MK!

      Transit visa for Abu Dhabi – It depends on your transit time. If it’s less than 4 hours, you won’t need a transit visa, but it will be required if your transit time is over 4 hours. If you’re flying Etihad, they can arrange it for you. More info here:

      Oyster card – No, we just got ours at the airport. The 7-day travel pass is actually just an Oyster card that has a 7-day pass “loaded” into it and you can also top it up with any amount you want and use it like a regular Oyster card. Kumbaga, parang SIM na ni-load-an mo ng Unli plan for 7 days tapos may regular load din. 😀

      Best time to book a flight – In my experience, not really, I just kind of wait for the airlines to announce a sale. I’ve read those articles that say you should book your flight on a Tuesday 6 weeks before your trip or something like that, but that hasn’t really been true for me. I *have* noticed though that there tend to be more sales in the beginning of the year, around January, though I can’t really guarantee that. What I usually do these days is I check the fares using Google Flights because they have this drop-down calendar that shows you the cheapest fares so I find it easier.

      Good luck, I hope you find your way to London soon! 🙂

  2. This is going to be helpful when I’ve finally saved enough to travel to London! And your tip is also helpful for other countries. I’ve experienced it firsthand with a Copenhagen-London-Hong Kong-Manila flight.

  3. Hi Gaya! I have tried looking for some cheap airfares online and was so surprised that indeed, the HKG-LONDON is much cheaper than MNL-London. I saw a PAL flight HKG-MNL-London and it’s cheaper that MNL-London, which is I find so funny. The layover is 19hrs in Manila. And since I’ll be coming from Manila, then I would presumed that I do not need to go to Hong Kong and just wait for the layover here in Manila before I would check-in going to the direct flight to London. I have already asked my sister about this, since she was a ground crew before in LAX-PAL, and she said, that’s fine. Your thoughts about this?


    1. And of course, for formality purposes, I will need to book the HKG-London, not the MNL-London flight. Haha!

    2. Oooh, I don’t know! That’s a scary risk to take. I don’t know if PAL will consider you a no-show once you miss the HKG-MNL bit and invalidate the whole HKG-MNL-LHR leg.

      I think the best thing to do would be to ask PAL — that way it’s official. I don’t think they will like it if you reveal that you’re purposely “gaming” the system to get a cheaper flight, but you could probably ask them something like, if you have a scheduling conflict that prevents you from taking the HKG-MNL flight, could you just catch up with the flight in Manila?

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