Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I feel a deeper sense of being when I come home from a vacation, from travelling. I feel more connected to the big big world around me. I feel like I matter - that I am not just a dot in this universe. I dream of being able to travel to every country in my bucket list and I plan to do it with my husband one country at a time (I won't complain if the odds would take us to more than one country though). 

For now let me share to you some travel tips that I personally follow - to avoid an epic travel fail:

Manners are universal - use them!

When in Rome, live like the Romans do. When in Greece, follow the Greek customs and traditions. When in Turkey, respect their culture. When in Indonesia, respect their local customs. The point is it isn't rocket science to have manners. Just do the right thing and don't ever attempt to impose your own culture - you are the visitor so you have to remember that. 

Tag your luggage - Inside and Out

Make sure to label your baggage inside and outside. Sometimes outside labels get lost and if it happens that you need to prove that the bag you are claiming is really yours the inside label will save you for sure. Put only your name and phone number outside label. You can also put a sticker with your destination airport scribbled in it so in case the sticker that the counter puts in your bag gets lost in transit you will have another saving grace. I am not sure if this will work but it would not hurt if you have a label using the language of the origin and destination airports. Might be good to try eh! - SOURCE

Keep an open mind. 

Never ever step out of the plane with a closed mind. You should not let other's experiences define you as well. Remember - different strokes for different folks. You may be following a travel blogger that did not recommend a tourist spot in Japan - that doesn't mean that you will not go and visit the spot yourself just because someone said his expectations weren't met. Go and see for yourself. 

Try different dishes - forget about your own for a bit. 

When I was in Denmark, I started looking for rice and noodles (how Asian!) the first week that I was there. However, my husband was adamant to let me taste Danish dishes which I really really loved. When you go to Thailand, try their street food (but be very careful if you have a queasy stomach). When you are in Macau, try their Portuguese egg tart or their varied choices/flavors of sumptuous beef jerky. Let your tongue travel too. Promise! Trying someone new will not kill you. 

Gather documents. 

Make copies of basic documents such as your passport and driver’s license, your travel itinerary and any e-tickets or hotel vouchers. Store these separately from your luggage, in case the luggage is lost, and away from your wallet, in case your wallet is stolen. You might tuck the copies into an inner pocket of a backpack or carry-on bag. Make a list of your wallet contents, including credit card numbers, along with the number listed on the back of the card for reporting it stolen. If you are the victim of a pick-pocket, you’ll be able to quickly cancel the cards before too much damage is done. - SOURCE

Buy travel insurance. 

Some embassies require you to purchase travel insurance before they grant you a visa. If you will not be required, it would still be good to have an insurance just in case your flight gets delayed, your luggage lands to a different destination, and other unforeseen circumstances that would ruin your dream vacation. Just go get insured. No ifs or buts. Now! - SOURCE

Learn how to read a map.  

Reading maps and learning how to read maps for that matter is essential to you when you travel or even when you navigate around your own city. Make maps your best friend. You can rely on apps too if your life depends on technology. 

Wallet smarts.   

Make sure to call your bank before you travel and let them know about your travel dates. You may not be able to use your ATM card or credit card outside the country if you don't alert your bank. Save yourself from the hassle and the inconvenience on having to call your bank or not being able to sleep in your hotel of choice because your card was frozen for suspicious activity outside of your country. As much as you need to ensure your money cards are working, it is also a smart idea to remove all cards that would be useless when travelling. For sure, you will not need your library card or your department store frequent shopper card or your neighborhood grocery card among others. Keep your wallet tidy and organized. 

Health is wealth!   

Prepare your own first aid kit (cotton balls, gauze pads, adhesive bandage, alcohol, povidone iodine, small scissors, tweezer, standard ointments especially for burns and fungal infection, bandage wraps for sprains, respiratory mask, water purification tablets among others). Get vaccinated before you fly depending on your destination. Bring copies of your prescriptions and a couple of medicines and vitamins. I usually bring Bonamine for when I feel nausea while travelling, Bioflu for when I feel my nose is itchy and my throat scratchy, Imodium for when you unfortunately have LBM, some antihistamine for unexpected allergy attack, cough drops, some aspirin and ibuprofen. I usually buy brands that have worked for me before. - SOURCE

Share and mingle with other travelers.   

There's nothing like conversing and sharing a laugh or two over a pint of beer or some local street food with other travelers. Push your comfort barrier on the side and make friends. You are all on the same boat and it would be awesome to exchange travel tips and anecdotes with your new friends. 

Safe travels!

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