I’d like to think that I am a well-traveled woman, but now and then, you’ll still see me tweet airline companies about an inquiry I am unsure of. I’ve done this a hundred times, and I still find myself confused about things. There are, unfortunately, no specific guide book about what you need to know before or during travel. So, I thought I’ll make a list of the things I’ve learned.
Months Before You Travel
- Book in advance, especially if the country of destination doesn’t need a visa. Take advantage of those promos!
- For visa-required countries, you can also book your flight in advance… if you can afford it and if you’re willing to take the risk. This is a step that I only recommended to those who’ve traveled a lot because the chances of getting their visa approved are higher.
- Research on the country you’re going to. Don’t just research about the places you’ll visit. Know more about their culture, holidays, laws and regulations. For example, it’s prohibited to bring chewing gum to Singapore. So don’t bring chewing gum.
- Research on what you should and shouldn’t do, wear or say.
For example: Don’t ever touch a Thai person’s head because it’s considered to be very sacred.
- Seriously, now is the time to use Google to your advantage.
A Week Before The Flight
- Get a piece of paper, write down the contact details of your loved ones, hotel, the Embassy and so on. Make three copies of this paper. Give 1 copy to your relatives, put 1 copy in your bag and always bring the 1 copy with you while you travel. You can also put the file in your Dropbox for a digital copy.
- You should also save a digital copy of your credit cards (in case you lost your card), passports, visas, insurance and other documents you think is helpful.
- Call your credit card company. Inform them that you’ll be going away so they won’t mark your card as fraud or stolen.
- Are you allergic or needs medical attention? Call the airline for special requests and questions.
- Double check everything! Check your flight details, your bag, etc.
24-48 Hours Before The Big Day
- Poop at home. It’s 10x more comfortable to do your business at home than inside an airplane cubicle.
- Be early. You don’t want to miss your flight.
- It’s best to buy drinking water AFTER crossing immigration and security. But that’s just me.
- Some countries will have an airport tax. Know how much it cost.
The Philippines, for example, will require you to pay PHP1620 (travel tax) + PHP550 (terminal fee). Why? Because we suck, that’s why. There’s no travel tax in Singapore.
- Do the web check-in, if it’s available. It’s so much better!
What to Bring: Hand-Carry
- Don’t bring an umbrella, sharp objects or any flammable object.
- Don’t bring any liquids above the 100ml limit.
- Make sure the dimension of your luggage will fit the airlines’ requirements. As far as I know, (extreme) budgeted airlines can be very strict when it comes to hand-carry baggage.
- Your hand carry should contain the important stuff, like important documents and expensive gadgets. Don’t pack them in your checked-in baggage. Ever.
- In the process, learn how to pack light.
What to Wear
- Wear something comfortable but…
- Don’t wear anything that’s too revealing.
- Don’t wear skirts or shorts for long haul flights. You can wear those for short trips. Wearing loose pants or leggings is ideal.
- Why? Because airplanes are cold… and dirty.
- Oh, and don’t wear high heels. Please.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
- I think it’s a matter of choice, but I prefer to use credit cards while abroad. What we normally do is deposit the money in our credit card before we leave the country. I use cash only when needed.
- I highly recommend that you purchase your checked-in luggage allowance BEFORE going to the airport. As far as I know, it’s more expensive to buy at the airport, on the day of your flight.
- I’ve learned that it’s cheaper to rebook when you’re halfway through your trip. I rebooked my UK flight when I was already in England because it was 10x less expensive. But this may not always work with all airlines (not applicable for Cebu Pacific, sorry).
- Be early for your flight, especially if you’re not a frequent flier. The ideal time is 3 hours before your flight. (Note: I don’t follow this rule, though. I usually arrive at least an hour and a half before my trip)
- THIS IS AN ADVENTURE! ENJOY IT! :)
So that’s my 30 Things about Traveling. I wrote this based on my personal experience, but I hope you’ll find this helpful for your future travels.
How about you? Do you have any traveling tips to share?