The holidays are fast approaching and some of us are already planning where to spend our next vacation. As the year is drawing to a close, why not have at least one more trip with family or friends? A new travel tour is certainly appealing, but we can’t just pack our bags and book the earliest flight available, can we? As Benjamin Franklin one said, “Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.” True, we don’t want to waste our hard-earned cash and much awaited break, but how can we make our travel worth it? Easy peasy. To grab that next great adventure, I say a well-thought plan and decision to follow it through are necessary. Do you agree?
I enjoy travelling a lot these days and I had been to several places this year. So far, I have only shared one experience in this blog: my Thailand Travel Diary. Well, that can be easily remedied as long as my readers will not get bored with my storytelling and photography skills (or the lack thereof). Soon, I will also write my local trips here in the Philippines and my travel recommendations for those who want to visit my country. I feel so excited just by thinking about it!
But before I go to my recent escapades, I would like to share some advices before one travels, roams, and explores the world. I am yet to be called a travel junkie, or whatever it is those people are called these days, but I am sure that I have learned a lesson or two. Without further ado, let me give you my 15 helpful tips before traveling.
My 15 Helpful Tips Before Traveling
1. List down the places you want to see and rank them. May it be local or international, write down countries and cities you wish to travel. Then, rank them according to its proximity from your current location, your budget, and your desire to visit the place.
2. Create your travel fund. Travelling can be addictive, so if you plan to travel at least thrice a year, better prepare your budget. Once you have saved enough, it will be easy to choose from #1 and follow #3.
3. Decide your travel dates. Like an impulsive shopper, I know it is not easy to plan a trip for the next year, especially when one already has enough savings. Some want it done as soon as possible. However, I suggest to consult both school and work calendar first then have your dates cleared and approved by your headmaster/manager. Or do what a lot of travellers do – plan your trip during holidays, annual leave or even long weekend.
4. Research important events that could happen in your next destination. It is very fun and memorable to visit a place where festivals are held. A traveler can join the local merriment as he tours around colourful booths, eats special delicacies, and watches joyful parades.
5. Buy tickets in advance. Flights booked ahead of departure dates are mostly cheaper than those bought the night before. In all my travels this year, this is the tip that I can’t really seem to follow. Oops!
Grand Centre Point Terminal 21 Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
6. Find accommodation suitable for your travel plan, budget, and lifestyle. If you are a backpacker, find hostels or bed and breakfasts that you fancy. For a budget traveller, there is now a growing number of budget hotels almost everywhere. For businessmen and others who want to splurge, international hotel franchises are the ones I highly recommend.
7. Plan your itinerary. Now that you know your travel dates and hotel location, you can start working on your itinerary. List down the places and activities you want to visit and do, but be realistic. You don’t need to cram everything in one day because you might end up not enjoying anything as you breeze from one tourist attraction to another.
8. Get guidebooks, maps, and download travel apps. I learned that these are very important when traveling. If you are going to another country, it is also better to download dictionary and/or foreign language translator, just in case.
9. As a follow-up of #8, it is also advisable to learn more about your destination. Is wearing short skirt and sleeveless shirt frowned upon? Is it okay to keep your hat on while eating? Shall you enter a temple with shoes on? Knowing the culture can definitely help.
10. Know that you are fit to travel. If you have any medical condition, it is highly recommended to have a consultation with your doctor first before departure. Prepare your medication and ensure that it is safe for you to travel. Your health is more important.
11. Pack light. Only essentials must be thrown into your luggage, nothing more. Better create a checklist of what you need, so it will be easier to choose what to bring. Yes girls, let’s not bring too much shoes!
12. Backup everything you need for traveling – passport, visa, health insurance, driver’s license, birth and marriage certificate, etc. Better have a photocopy of each in your bag as you travel.
13. Check the local news and weather forecast at least a day before arrival. You don’t want to bring inappropriate clothes for the season. Or worse, be in the middle of a country-wide demonstration. Ah, I’ve been there!
14. Know the exchange rates. It is better to have local cash in hand in case there will be no nearby ATMs in your accommodation. Also ensure that your credit card will work in the country you are visiting. For example, I heard some European banks don’t accept the outdated magnetic strip cards.
15. Lastly, keep an open mind! Traveling can be full of pitfalls and not everything will go according to your plan, but remember that you are there to enjoy. Be brave and take risks in your foreign journey. Nothing can substitute your memories and experience.
There are other travel lessons and tips I would like to share with you, but it seems that these fifteen are the most important ones I can think of as of the moment. Next, I will be happy to write about my Bohol Travel Experience and perhaps a travel essentials post is also necessary. What do you think?
Have any plans to travel soon? Where would you like to go? What else can you add more to these travel tips?