For me, traveling is not just about discovering new places, taking lots of photos, and enjoying ourselves. It’s also about self-discovery. We discover what we are capable of- when we’re in an unfamiliar environment, when facing new experiences, and when taking on challenges that come our way. Every journey we take helps us grow, and in the process, we discover what it is that we want out of life. Sometimes, it is when we’re traveling that we discover what we are truly passionate about.
For us wanderers, we want to get the best of our trips in every way that we can. We want it to be memorable. And in order to do so, there are some things that we have to keep in mind every time we travel because the truth is, what happens during our trips often depends on what we do and how we prepared for it.
Wake up early.
As the old sayings goes, “the early bird catches the worm.” When you wake up early, not only will you get to enjoy the attractions with fewer people (or photobombers lol), you’ll also be able to make the most out of each day. You’ll get to maximize your time, get to do more activities, and visit more places and spend enough time in each one. There’s no fun in hopping from one place to another in a rush. Linger and savor every minute of it! Wake up early because you didn’t travel all the way to your destination to sleep, unless that’s what you originally had in mind. Lastly, if your location is right, you can even watch the sunrise. So, get up early and waste no time!
…or as light as possible. As a girl, I have struggled with this ever since I started traveling. I know some of you can relate. I still find it difficult to pack light though, but I think I’m getting there! I’m close to fitting everything in just one backpack!
- Pre-plan your outfits. Personally, I like to pack my clothes by outfit. That way, I can just pull out my OOTD, throw it on, and go. It really saves time!
- Organize your stuff. Group your things by category. Put all your toiletries together, your gadgets together, bla bla bla. By doing this, you won’t have to rummage through all of your belongings when you’re looking for something.
- Only pack what you need. Think twice about something before you put it inside your bag. If you think you really need a certain item, go ahead and put it there. If you think you might not need it, or you can buy the same item in the place you are traveling to, you might want to leave it to save some space.
Don’t be afraid to ask around.
No one knows a place better than the locals. When we travel, we can’t avoid getting lost at some point, especially if we don’t go on guided tours. If you find any locals around, don’t be afraid to ask them for directions. Also, you can trust the locals to give you tips on what places you should visit. There are some spots that only the locals know. Try to build rapport and get to know their way of life. What do they do every day? Where do they eat? Where do they go to have fun? This could be a great way to immerse yourself in their culture.
Always pack a first aid kit.
We never know what could happen when we’re far away from home. We might get sick, or worse, even meet an accident. There have been a couple of instances where I got sick during a trip. One time I had a fever, and the other time I suffered from indigestion (because I ate too much). It really helps if you have the basic medicines with you. They won’t take a lot of space in your bag, so there’s really no reason to skip them when packing.
Take advantage of booking discounts.
I’m a budgetarian, so I obviously love discounts and sales! I have never spent more than Php 2,000 on a (domestic) roundtrip plane ticket. I wait for seat sales in Cebu Pacific or AirAsia, and when I’m satisfied with how low the price is, that’s when I book my flight. This is only possible when you book in advance though. Same goes with hotel bookings. If you book your room months before your stay, the price could be cheaper. I’ve tried booking directly on the hotel websites, but usually, I do it through Agoda or Travel Book. You may subscribe to their newsletter to get first dibs on discounted room rates when they have a sale as well. However, if you have no choice but to book your accommodation at the last minute, you can always trust Hotel Quickly. With the app, you’d still get to enjoy huge discounts on accommodations even if you didn’t book in advance!
Look for vouchers that you can use during your trip.
There are a lot of websites offering travel deals these days. However, you have to be sure that you purchase only from legit websites so you don’t get scammed. One website that I can recommend is MetroDeal. It’s where I purchased vouchers for Tagaytay Sky Ranch, Manila Ocean Park, and Yexel’s Toy Museum last year. They have tons of travel, shopping, and buffet deals on the website!
Leave no trace.
You know what my major pet peeve is? It’s when I see people leaving their garbage everywhere! When I went camping in a rather well-known campsite here in Cebu, I was appalled at the amount of garbage I saw in the morning left by other campers. Is cleaning up really that hard? I don’t think so. It wasn’t a good sight to wake up to. It’s sad how a place so pure can turn into a chaotic mess because people do not respect it enough to keep it the way it was. People ruin beautiful things and that’s a fact. However, we shouldn’t let it be that way forever. Let’s be considerate. Let’s all be responsible travelers and clean up after ourselves. If you say you love nature, but you throw even just the smallest piece of garbage anywhere, you better re-evaluate how you see yourself. Do your best to not ruin nature’s gifts. Enjoy yourselves and take a hundred photos if you must, but always remember to leave no trace.
Respect the culture.
Many of us like to dress up when traveling, but not all of our clothes may be appropriate in certain parts of the world. Different cultures observe different practices and dress codes, right? We don’t want to risk offending the locals with our sartorial choices, so we have to do a bit of research before we start packing. For example, in the Middle East, tank tops, short-sleeved shirts, mini skirts, and shorts are frowned upon. If you’re traveling there, modest clothing is the way to go. Also, there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable in some places. We must be aware of these too. Keep in mind that we are only guests. We must follow the rules and respect the practices of the place we are in.
Know the history of your destination.
Use Google wisely and research about the history of the place you will be traveling to. You don’t have to know everything, just the important ones. You can learn about the rest when you get there. This is really important. Why? Well, remember that girl who took a smiling selfie with the Nazi concentration camp in the background? That didn’t turn out well for her, did it?
Limit your pasalubong.
Even though it has been a long-time practice for us Filipinos to bring our friends and family pasalubong when we travel, know that you are not obliged to bring everyone back home delicacies and souvenirs, unless you promised them you’ll do so. If you really want to bring everyone pasalubong when you get home, it would be best to set a budget for it so you won’t end up falling short. Also expect that you might have to pay for an additional baggage allowance for that.
Everyone seems to be a “traveler” these days. We take pride in the number of places we’ve been to. But you know what? It really doesn’t matter where our destination is or how many countries/cities/provinces we’ve stepped foot on. What’s important is that we enjoy every bit of it and get to expand our knowledge of the world.
Did you find these tips helpful? Let me know what you think! 🙂
Just a girl in her late twenties trying to find her way through life. She loves to write, eat, take photos, and freedive. She used to travel a lot and hopes she could do that again when this global pandemic is over.