Explore the wanderer in you! Here are some tips for a stress-free travel:
- PLAN YOUR TRAVELS AHEAD. Plan your travels from the start of the year until the very end. Pin the places that you will visit on a calendar or place stick-ons on your organizer. This way, you will be able to project your budget flow for each place that you might want to visit. Traveling in 3 countries in a month could be costly, right? This can happen if you fail to foresee your next travel schedule. So, make sure to plan ahead.
- TRAVEL LIGHT. Do you really need three pairs of shoes, four dresses, ten tops, and seven bottoms for a three day trip? It’s all about packing efficiently. Avoid long queues in the luggage check-in counter by packing light.
- KNOW A LITTLE BIT OF THE LANGUAGE. Know at least the basics. It pays to be able to speak and understand a little of the local language. Learn how to say Hello, Thank You, Please, How much?, Friend. (And a little bit of haggling in another language). Works all the time!
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF TURBULENCE. It is best to get enough rest before your scheduled flight. This will prevent you from being nauseous during the flight. However, in some cases, turbulence can not be avoided especially if you are flying on a bad weather condition. If you can’t snooze your way to your destination and you encounter air-packets, swallow several times, open your mouth as wide as you can and allow your ears to pop. Turbulence can make you a bit queasy, but by doing some facial exercises it eases the discomfort.
- BRING AT LEAST 2 EXTRA TOPS and UNDIES ON YOUR CARRY-ON. In case your travel luggage gets lost or jammed in the airport (it happens mostly during holidays where flights could get really toxic), at least you have clothes to change on inside your hand-carry.
- ALWAYS BRING A SARONG. You MUST always include a sarong inside your hand-carry bag. This is the most versatile piece of clothing in your entire luggage. It will serve as a blanket, a towel, a body-wrap, a shawl, a cover up, or lay on it by the beach.
- WEAR COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR. During a flight, it is best to wear your most comfortable shoes instead of open-toe sandals and flipflops for the reason that in case of emergency evacuation on board, your feet are protected from external dangers like heat and falling obstacles. You can wear your most comfortable sandals once you have landed to explore a new place by foot.
- PACK AN EXTRA FOLDING BAG. This comes in handy all the times. You can never tell what you’re going to see and purchase along the way.
- PLACE YOUR TOILETRIES IN A ZIPLOCK (and bring extras too). This is not just for toiletries, but for medications as well. This will avoid your liquids from leaking on your entire luggage and it will save you time from rummaging into your stuff just to find them.
- ALWAYS CHECK THE WEIGHT OF YOUR LUGGAGE BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME. Avoid the stress and expenses of having to pay for excess baggage. Weigh your luggage first before you proceed to the airport. Make sure that everything is within the allowed baggage weight.
- SAVE ON ACCOMMODATION. If you’re on a travel tour, you will use your room just to keep your luggage and sleep during the night. You will be outside most often than not. Hostels and inns are there for a reason. You need not to think of 5-star hotels every time you travel. Learn to budget wisely.
- TRY THE LOCAL CUISINES. What’s the point of traveling if you will dine in international fast-food chains with branches from all over the world? Try to eat like a local. Explore the flavors of the world and learn how to make the food in an “authentic” way.
- BE FRIENDLY AND SMILE. Porters, bellboys, public utility vehicle drivers, front desk staff, restaurant waiters, sellers, and cashiers are your usual encounters during travel. Be courteous and polite, smile at them as often as you can (not in a weird way) and you’ll see the wonders of being friendly. Who knows? You might get a free ride back to the airport by simply sending a smile.
- CHECK-OUT LOCAL WEATHER BEFORE BOOKING A FLIGHT. The most important factor to consider before booking any transport ticket is the local weather. This allows you to pack the necessary items to bring for the climate. You wouldn’t want to be wearing sleeveless and lightweight blouses and denim shorts during winter, right?
- FLY OFF-SEASON. It’s either you book your tickets ahead of time or you travel off-season. Airfare rates are more pricey during Summer, long weekends, country holidays, and during Christmas season. For some countries, airline tickets are higher during spring time and low during winter. Also, rates tend to increase during festivals and seasonal local events.
- CHEAP RARE ITEMS ARE ALWAYS FOUND IN THE LOCAL MARKET. Whether you’re looking for rare culinary ingredients, or looking for items which can only be found in that place, rest assured, they have it in the local market. Most markets have different sections. Dry market, wet market, souvenir shops, and gourmet delis.
- WORK IT OUT WITH TECHNOLOGY. You don’t need to bring a heavy guide book to make your way to a new place. This is where technology come in handy these days. Bring a wifi-ready gadget like a smartphone or a tablet and download map apps, travel apps, and bank apps and as I always say, maximize technology! (Don’t just use it for your recent travel selfies to be posted on Facebook.)
- KNOW WHERE TO ASK FOR HELP IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. Before you wander around an unfamiliar place, know where your country’s embassy is located. It is very important to know where to run in times of crisis. Know not just the embassy, but familiarize yourself with police stations, hospitals or clinics, if by any chance you encounter a mishap.
- BUY SOUVENIR ITEMS FOR YOURSELF AND FOR THE PEOPLE CLOSEST TO YOU ONLY. You don’t need to buy souvenir items for your entire office! Remember, souvenir items are bought to remind you of your experience wherever you go. You can bring back small items for your friends, no need to buy a bottle of wine from France for each of them. Cute little items like ref magnets and luggage tags are my personal favorites.
- STASH YOUR CASH AND PLASTIC MONEY IN SEVERAL PLACES ASIDE FROM YOUR WALLET. In case of robbery, theft, or misplaced items (God-forbid) during your travels, at least you have stashed some amount of your cash somewhere around your stuff.
- ALWAYS BRING YOUR PASSPORT IN YOUR EVERYDAY PURSE. If you are traveling in another country, it is essential to bring your passport with you always. It doesn’t matter when you’re laying on the sands of Maldives, riding an elephant in Thailand, shopping in Hong Kong, or street trotting in New York. As long as you have your passport with you, there won’t be any problems (well aside from some fun travel mishaps). This is not just in case of immigration checks, but it will also serve as an identification in case of emergencies when you are abroad.
Always remember, there is no such thing as “smooth and perfect” travel. Where’s the fun in that? Get to a new place, learn a new experience, and treasure the best parts. Experience your country, experience the world first-hand! Travel for what its worth! 🙂
Enjoy your future travels! 🙂