ruthdelacruz

October 8, 2012

10 Travel Tips for First-Time Travelers and Jet Setters

Before you grab your luggage and head to the airport, please take time to read these travel tips I learned from travel buddies, online sources and from my previous travels, experiences and mistakes.

I was supposed to write this list last month, especially that we had new travelers on board.. BUT, crazy schedule didn't permit me.. I hope one or two of my tips would be helpful for first time travelers and jet sets too!


1. Keep your Passport Handy and Keep Copies of It (read: My passport renewal experience 2015)


This is the single most important thing that you need to bring when traveling abroad. Make sure that it is valid for more than 6 months (at the time that you will go back to your home country). I have read a story when a business traveler's passport was less than 6 months valid at the time of his departure from the host country, and he was denied departure. He had to call the Philippine Embassy to expedite renewal of passport and he had to stay in the airport until the new passport had arrived. Of course, we don't want that to happen.


I also make copies of my passport (and visa), and keep copies in my hand carried bag, check in luggage, and all other bags I bring. It would be helpful to keep a copy just incase you lose your passport. This would help to expedite securing of new passport.

When traveling, I usually keep my passport in the safety box and just bring a copy of it wherever I go.



2. List Your Credit Card/Bank Accounts in a Document and Store Online


It would be helpful just in case you lose your wallet with all your cards/credit cards in it. What I do is I keep a document with a list of all my credit cards, numbers, toll free numbers and expiration dates, and password protect it, and store in my email account. This way, it would be accessible anywhere. I can easily call my bank and have the credit cards blocked before anyone else has access to them.


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3. Prepare Other Important Documents and Leave at Home

If you can make a Final Will and Testament, do it! I am actually planning to ;). Whenever I travel, even for a few days, I always prepare important documents, bank account certificates, slumnotes, pictures and even gadgets, and keep everything in another luggage - and endorse it to my mom. I always tell her that in case of emergency, that's all she needs to grab (and a few of my clothes, probably?)

4. Call Your Bank/s

.. and tell them you are traveling so that they can update your credit cards to international status. Some banks and credit card companies have really good security control that they don't allow international transactions unless verified by card holders. You don't want an unapproved transaction when traveling, shopping or impressing someone over a candle-lit dinner in another country.. do you?


5. Mark Your Luggage

No, I am not telling you to wrap your luggage with a big banner with your name and destination - although that would be a cool idea! In a carousel, every luggage looks the same. Black in color. Same size and shapes. Same brands - Samsonite, American Tourister, Vouyager - how would you know, which one is yours, and how would other travelers know, they are yours? The last thing that you wanted is someone grabbing your bag (although the next worse thing is airline forgetting to load your bag!).




Your parents might have already told you to put a ribbon around the handle. But it seems like everyone is doing it. Or put a bag tag which says "Not Yours! Don't Touch Me!", but again, these bag tags are soo cool, I am sure most of us, travelers have them. This is the best time to be creative.. what I did was..



I put lovely, glittery stickers I got from Accessorize to make my luggage stand out! People and other travelers cannot go wrong. I couldn't go wrong! My luggage shines in the carousel, and I happily grabbed my properties.

6. Secure Your Asset

This is a call for all business travelers. We travel, attend meetings, go back to the hotel, explore the city, and forget about our assets. I am not saying that Housekeeping will get your laptop or wallet, or gadgets.. Maybe not.  Make sure to lock your laptop using Kensington lock (I locked it around that lamp! If you can lock it around the bed, why not?);  [ edit - I am not sure if we laptops now have Kensington locks ] and keep your gadgets and wallets inside the safety box whenever you are leaving the room. It wouldn't hurt to be extra careful.
 


7. Wear Comfy Shoes, Presentable Clothes and Less Jewelry (read: what to wear on a long-haul flight)

When traveling and flying a plane, make sure that you wear comfy shoes because some countries' airports are so huge that sometimes you even need to take trains to get to your boarding gate; plus, airport security always, always requires you to take off your shoes - so it is a struggle to take off your shoes (especially sneakers with elaborate laces), and put them on again after a walk through the scanner.

As for the clothes, wear something presentable especially if you are going on a business trip or going to countries with really strict immigration process (e.g. US and Canada).

I usually bring a blazer or coat with me that I wear whenever I go through immigration. On the contrary, don't wear too uptight coat and tie - as the immigration and security might get suspicious of you.


As for wearing jewelry, only bring one special, expensive jewelry for special night/s. It is during travels that we tend to misplace items and we don't want special pieces to get lost while crossing timezones.

For accessories, security scan would be your biggest nightmare. During my flight back to Manila, the scanner got a red light and "eeeng!!" sound when I walked through it. The next process was to do body frisking, and again scan. The same sound was heard. I kept calm and cool as I know I am not carrying anything illegal - internally and externally.

Then they asked me to enter the tube like scanner, and asked me to raise my hands like a ballerina! A quick scan, and then it shows a diagram of me and a red spot on my back. Again, the security called the lady guard to do frisking, they said something about my bra. The lady guard told them we are good, and with a wink she told me, "don't wear too much accessories and fancy undergarments next time!"

8. Prepare for the Loooong Flight

I thought my flight to and from Beijing was looong, but I just had the longest trip of my life, from Manila to Vancouver to Toronto, which totals to more than 17 hours (not counting timezone differences). How do you kill time? Bring a book, a pen and notebook for "offline blogging" or for journaling, or a headset to watch movie (if you are lucky to get your own screen just like in Air Canada!).


If you have done all these and you are still up in the air,  the next plan is to get to know your seatmate, or play with the cute kid on the next row. In every flight, there is always that one kid or toddler who will become the darling of the crowd.

9 Separate Your Intimates

It is not just the toiletries and liquids that you need to pack separately, but your intimates too! Airport security might ask to check your luggage and the least you wanted is for your intimates to present themselves to the personnel. I had a colleague who once went on a travel straight from work so she carried her luggage in the office. Our security personnel asked to check her luggage and bag before leaving the office, and you already know what the security had seen!



Pack your intimates in travel cubes or pouches - for hygiene purposes too!

10. Get Membeship Cards and Frequent Traveler Cards

If traveling is your next big hobby, make sure that you get frequent travel cards like Mabuhay Miles, and hotel priority club cards.

We have colleagues who earned free nights from Marriott Hotel just for staying in Marriott Residency Hotel in another country. It might, however, take you longer to get deals, but it is always nice to earn rewards whenever you travel.



Do you also have travel tips you want to share?





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