I generally try to stay away from superlatives, but if there is one thing I believe without a shadow of a doubt, it’s that everyone needs to travel.

Travel is the gift that keeps on giving. You learn so much about yourself and about the world. It can open up your mind to new possibilities and teach you other ways of doing things.

Unfortunately, travel can also be complex and frustrating to the inexperienced. If the wrong choices are made, it can be a long painful mistake.

Knowing that, we decided to compile a list of travel tips to help you on your journey.

Figure out what kind of traveler you are.

Some like to travel without a plan, others like to have everything planned to the tee. Some like to travel budgeted back packer style, others like visiting a Shangri-La where money is no object. Most people fall somewhere in between these extremes.

What kind of traveler are you? The sooner you answer that question the easier your choices become and the better the trip.

There are always travel deals.

For the industrious traveler, there are always ways to get travel deals. Sometimes you’ll find them online, sometimes travel agents have special rates, sometimes there are industry wide events that allow for the best discounts.

Case in point, the upcoming Cebu Travel Catalogue International expo happening this weekend.

Expect the best deals to destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Dubai, Turkey, Maldives, New Zealand, North and South America, and most of Europe. 

 

Also deals to local destinations within the Philippines like popular attractions in Boracay and Palawan. As well as room and dining discounts on services from the  Henann Resort in Panglao, Bohol, Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa in Palawan, Marco Polo Davao, Bai Hotel, and Golden Prince Hotel and Suites.

The basics of the local language go a long way.

Talking to the locals can open doors that you didn’t know existed. The first step to talking to them is learning the basics of their language.

You don’t need to know enough to have a proper conversation, but they will appreciate your effort to learn and will in turn reciprocate to help you have the best experience possible.

Learn a little more about the destination.

There were trips where I just tagged along for the ride. Most recently this happened on our family trip to the Baltic Seas. I had no idea where we were going. They just told me our flight details and I made sure to make it to the airport.

I started the trip knowing nothing about our destinations. I found myself wasting precious travel time searching Google for interesting things to do. Fortunately, it worked out, but I would have wanted to know a little more so I could appreciate a little more.

Check the weather.

This is important. Coming from a country like the Philippines, where the weather is basically rainy or sunny, we aren’t used to the cold. There’s a big difference between twenty four and fourteen degrees Celsius.

You don’t want to be that person wearing a thin jacket and espadrilles on top of Whistler Mountain. Yup, that was me.

Bring a camera, but don’t get lost in the screen.

Sometimes we are tempted to capture as much of it as possible. So we take plenty of photos, chimp through the camera, post on Instagram, shoot videos and post on our IG stories, all the while we miss what is in front of us.

We miss a place we’ve never been before. We are there, but we really aren’t. We stare at the screens more than we look around.

Take pictures if you must, but leave time to sit back and enjoy your location. Sit down, look around. You don’t want the memory of your trip just what you can see on a screen. You want your memory to include what it felt like, what it smelt like, there’s so much more to a place than what you can capture in your camera.

Travel with an open mind.

Traveling is about experiencing the new. So it is futile to expect that the way things done at home are going to be the same when you travel.

This has never been more true to me than when I tried driving in America. As a Filipino, we have uh… a “style” of driving that doesn’t mesh with how people drive in the US.

I understand why American drivers would think of Filipino driving as crazy. We inch as close as possible to other cars, change lanes and cut people off, honk our horns all the time, don’t keep intersections clear, don’t follow stop signs, I could go on and on. That’s just how we drive.

What about all the other differences?

Always have travel insurance.

Travel insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind. You never know when you might need it.

When we traveled around the Baltic Sea, our little kiddo, Manu, had rashes all over his body. We decided to visit a doctor to have him looked at. Fortunately it was nothing serious. Manu’s skin was sensitive to the water. So we just bathed him with distilled water for the rest of the trip.

That small doctors visit cost us about a hundred dollars. Fortunately, we were able to write it off through our travel insurance.

Imagine if it was something more serious.

Pack smart.

Lugging around luggage through crowded airports is not fun. Save yourself the hassle by packing smart.

  • Only pack what you need.
  • Bring clothes that mix and match well with each other.
  • Usually one pair of shoes are enough.
  • There are items that take a ton of space that is easily purchasable in your destination. Example – diapers.

Access your money.

This is important. You don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country without access to your money. Sort out everything before you leave.

Ask your bank if there are ways to access your cash abroad. Check with your credit card company if there are things you need to do to ensure that you can use it out of the country. Bring some cash, preferably in US Dollars or Euros, just in case.

Sometimes it’s ok to blow your budget.

What may be a regular occurrence for someone is another person’s once in a lifetime opportunity. Each of us have something we truly want to experience. What is that for you?

When we traveled to the US in 2016, it was a long vacation that stretched our finances. So we made sure to spend money only on the things that we truly wanted to do.

In my case, I wanted to buy a shirt from The Hundreds, experience an NBA game, and watch stand-up comedy. These weren’t things that were essential, but they were important to me.

 

*This post is sponsored by the Cebu Travel Catalogue International (CTCI) 2018. Scheduled on January 26-28 at Ayala Center Cebu, the expo promises the best travel deals ranging from international and domestic airfare to tour packages from industry leaders in the Philippines.

 

Carlo Villarica

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