When I first traveled outside of my home country, let me tell you, I was not that prepared. Since I am still traveling on the same continent, I assumed it will almost be the same as in my home country. Thank goodness I was with a friend who’s well-equipped that I get to survive my dramatic dilemmas.
Knowing I am ignorant of the ways of traveling before and hoping you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Here I am listing out things about what to bring when traveling around the world.
READ MORE: Steps on How to Get a Philippine Passport
WHAT TO BRING WHEN TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD
It is fun and all when booking your plane ticket at first, but reality sinks in and suddenly tons of preparations are needed before the trip. And then sometimes, we think we’ve got it all perfect, only to be surprised by stuff we didn’t know we need on our travels. Such was the story of my first out of the country travel.
Do remember, “A good travel is the result of great PLANNING”. My first travel overseas was still a GREAT EXPERIENCE even with all the mishaps.
1 PACK SOME BASIC KNOWLEDGE
They say that a person’s best weapon is his knowledge. And I totally agree with this quote due to the number of my mistakes before. When traveling, it’s best to know well the country of your destination first. These are the things you need to check out to avoid some ugly surprises during your trip:
» Their culture: This is very important, we all know that each country is unique and knowing the culture of other people is a must. If it is a very reserved country, check out their dress codes. Know what type of dishes they eat so you know what you’re getting yourself into like maybe you are allergic to an ingredient they usually serve.
Knowing more about their customs and etiquettes will put you a step ahead of the game. You need to know what not to do, what to avoid, what is normal to them and more. Just like when in Rome, do as the Romans do, blend in with the people and their environment. This also helps so you won’t be a victim of some tourist traps, looking clueless is a big NO. Ignorance is bliss, but not when you’re out traveling alone and most especially as a solo female.
» How safe is the country for travelers: Some countries are safer and some are not. This should not hinder you from traveling, but know by heart what you should be avoiding. There are times when daylight is safe but when night time comes, crimes become rampant. Even a first-world country is not off the list. According to my friend’s friend, an Apple MacBook got stolen from them while on a trip to Paris.
Be updated on current tourist scams, prevent yourself from being a victim. Always be wary of your things, the environment, and the people. I’m not suggesting you doubt all people but, always use your instincts and feel if something is off your radar. Know what crimes are the usual issues as it may also differ per city, province and per island.
» Check the weather: In a recent news this late 2017, there’s been a harsh winter climate in the US where even sharks get frozen on shores. Always research the weather so you can plan what attires you should bring. If it is a cold country, know how cold it gets in there or you might get frosted before you know it. And if it’s a hot tropical country, know how humid it gets as the heat can rise up to 36-40 degrees too. Always know the type of clothing you will need to bring and save yourself the hassle when you get to the country of your destination.
» The country’s rules: Same as knowing what culture a country has, remember to read up some of their rules too. Especially those unspoken rules! When I visited Japan I was not aware that you should clean your table before you leave. It would be embarrassing as a tourist to not know this and just leave your food trash there. It’s disrespectful and they might stare at you for it. It’s better to always obey rules and learn them in advance. We don’t want the locals to feel disrespected. Remember: we as a tourist is a representative of our own country.
» Research events and news: Traveling is fun and all but sometimes political conflicts are issues to consider. I’ve watched news of terrorist attacks and for the sake of self-preservation, I’d rather not visit that certain country at this time. Always think of yourself and your safety first! Just visit later when the conflict dies down.
» Learn some local language: Blend in with the people and know some key phrases like saying hello or a thank you! This will definitely put a smile on a local’s face hearing a tourist speaking the same language as them. It helps with the flow of the communication and it can save you your sanity as well. A language barrier is very hard to break, there are places where they can understand English but cannot speak it. Much like my experience in Japan and Vietnam. I talk to them in English and they answer me back in their native speech. *le sigh*
» Research what you can and cannot bring inside the country: One thing I hate when traveling is when they have to check my luggage again and again. The process is physically tiring for me since I need to pick my carry-on luggage at the security check. And when they see something I’ll need to open up my luggage and show them the stuff they want to see. I try to avoid that and please read up on their rules too so you don’t bring anything illegal. It may be legal in your country but it might not be on theirs.
» Check the country’s entrance and exit fee: Check if you have any fees to pay once you arrive or exit the country. Much like in the Philippines, us Filipinos will need to pay a travel tax before we can exit the immigration. These fees depend on what country you are living in. It pays to do research rather than get surprised later.
» Learn and watch videos on how to use public transportation of the country you are visiting: Transportations are tricky for the first time, stock up on knowledge on how their transits work. I was lucky that I have a friend in Japan because when we rode the train I was clueless for a few days on how it works. There were too many stops and change of lines and I heard even a native Japanese gets lost in riding their trains.
» Know your airline’s rules: Every airline has a different set of rules. As an example, you should double check if you will be having connecting flights. Some airlines have 40 kg baggage allowance while some will only give you 15kg and you have to pay if you want to add some additional weight. It may get tricky at first but this is one thing that should not miss checking out.
Research as well the airline’s pre-flight process so you won’t get confused while at the airport. This can save you time if ever you arrived at your terminal at a later time than expected.
2 PREPARE YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Preparing your travel documents in advance is a basic requirement. This should always be prepared in advance so as not to forget or get laid-off and make your pre-flight process smoother. Here’s a checklist that I also use so I won’t forget any important things before my trip:
» Passport: Never ever forget this! Do check the validity of your passport though.
» Visa: Always determine first what documents are needed before you enter the country.
» Boarding Pass: Print out your boarding pass so you can save time by not needing to fall in line.
» Print out copies of your bookings/tour confirmations etc: Better be safe than sorry. Print out hard copies of your confirmations so when someone tries to overcharge you like at a hotel, you can show proof of what you only need to pay.
Showing your documents online is possible now but sometimes the availability of your wifi connection slows you. Bringing a hard copy is better and it’s less of a hassle for both parties.
» Identification cards: These are sometimes needed on the immigration in addition to your passport. If they tried to somewhat interrogate you, they will ask you your company ID or some other documents. Always have your identification and company documents ready!
» Writing Pen: A very useful tool when traveling! I always bring one with me because sometimes or usually, there are forms to be filled out. One time I was on my flight to Tokyo and I had to borrow a pen from a kid. Embarrassing.
3 POCKET MONEY
Don’t leave your cards at home! You should always have access to cash whenever and wherever you are. Having an emergency cash on hand is also an unwritten rule. Just make sure you have enough that will last when you’re abroad.
» Credit or Debit Cards: Before you leave, call your bank and tell them that you’ll be using your card overseas. This is to prevent them from closing your credit card while you’re abroad. Cards are especially useful when you have an unplanned or an emergency transaction. I thought I don’t need a card before but my bank offered me a credit card and I just accepted it. Now I can see how useful it is for me especially the credit points~
» Wallet: Well this is almost impossible to forget lol. I usually take with me 2 wallets to prevent me from overspending. My first wallet is where I put all my cash and cards and my second wallet is where I put the cash that I allow my self to spend in a day. It’s helpful for me since I always overspend on food hahaha. I need to keep a tight leash on my spending habits on desserts.
» Cash in local currency: Try to convert your cash inside your home country to the currency that you need. Sometimes the conversion is much cheaper. This is what I always do since I also avoid having my cash exchanged at airports. Although it does not apply to all, it’s best to do your math beforehand.
4CLOTHING BASED ON THE SEASON
Know what types of clothing you need especially when you will be hiking or doing some water activities. Visiting a country during winter time means that you will be carrying a much heavier luggage. This includes those heavy winter jackets, the shawls, earmuffs, boots and other winter stuff. Whilst visiting during summer saves you a lot of baggage expenses since it will mostly be thin and light clothing.
>> BASIC STUFF
• Travel pillow (those inflatable ones or the soft cushion)
FOOTWEAR: Each of us has our own reasons when visiting one country, it may be a cultural trip, an adventurous one and etc. Depending on our activities, get to know whether you will be needing sandals more than shoes or even boots.
• Closed shoes
>> CLOTHING FOR VISITING ON A TROPICAL SEASON
There’s less to consider when visiting a tropical country since the only thing you want to save yourself from is getting heat stroke. The thinner the clothes the better but still make sure to protect yourself from the heat. Global warming is upon us and sometimes the heat is abnormal during the summer season.
• Jacket for your flight
• Tops for sight-seeing (shirts, innerwear, cardigan, dress, blouse)
ACCESSORIES FOR A TROPICAL SEASON:
• Hat, caps, sun visor, bandana
• Hair accessories
>> CLOTHING FOR VISITING ON A COLD SEASON
Layering clothes are the secret to not being frosted during a winter trip. Know yourself well on how much you can tolerate the cold. Pile up some thick jackets and thermal inner wears so can have a cozy trip.
• Winter jacket, coats, parka
• Tops (long underwear as your base layer, vest, sweater, thermal shirts)
• Bottom wear (Tights, leggings under your jeans etc)
• Neck warmer
• Insulated boots
ACCESSORIES FOR THE COLD SEASON:
• Heat packs/hand warmers/heat pads
>> WATER ACTIVITIES / HIKING
• Clothing set for your special activity like water sports, hiking etc. (swimwear, rash guard, cover)
5 BAGS AND LUGGAGE
I always bring a small bag for my actual sightseeing tour but lately, I bought some new gadgets and I needed to convert to a backpack. I still prefer a mini bag since I can take my items in and out easily. What are your preferences when traveling?
• Mini bag for travel and sightseeing
• Waterproof bag
• Hiking bag
• Travel backpack
There are certain types of luggage we need to consider when traveling. We need to check if what terrain we will be walking on. I usually prefer the 360° luggage dues to comfort but I won’t be using it on a rocky or muddy terrain. What’s your pick?
• 4 wheel luggage or rolling luggage
• Duffel Bag
• Wheeled Backpack
• Travel Backpack
• Travel lock: For those who will be checking in their luggage, having a double security lock can ease your mind a lot. We don’t want any of our stuff disappearing from us right?
Some of this is available at the hotel but I know most of us prefer to book a budget room like in Airbnb. Hence, toiletries are not usually available, and it’s much safer to bring our own especially if your skin is sensitive to certain soap ingredients. I always bring mine since it’s cheaper to buy in my home country than overseas.
• Tissue or feminine wipes
• Facial Wash
• Feminine wash
• Shaving kit (cream, oil, razors etc.)
• Body wash or soap
• Body scrub
• Cotton buds
• Face cream (Day cream or night cream)
• Makeup kit (Face Powder, Eyeliner, Lipstick, Lip balm)
• Lotion (moisturizer, sunscreen etc.)
• Mini mirror
Gadgets have been a part of our lives now due to the convenience it brings us. Having them gives us a sense of security because it connects us with the people close to us. Top it off with a wifi connection and it’s true bliss! You can immediately have the information you need at hand.
>> MUST-BRING GADGETS
• Travel adapters (universal travel adapters, octopus adapters) THIS IS A MUST!|
• All your gadget’s charger and cables (cellphone, cameras, iPod, iPad, laptop etc.)
• Selfie stick
• Laptop (if you want to or if needed)
• Headphones, earphones
You never know what will happen or if you will suddenly get sick during your trip so you should have a medicine on hand. This is a must for people with allergies and those who get ill easily may it be due to weather, the flight and etc.
• Medicines (for diarrhea, allergies, headaches, fever, etc)
• Hand sanitizers, alcohol
As an adult we all have our own bills to pay, responsibilities to consider and home to prepare before our trip. One must not leave their home not double checking the plugs and door locks. After our travels, our body is so tired that one may get too lazy to do stuff and just rest. When you live alone, this is a mandatory task that must be done whether you like to or not.
>> PRE-TRIP DUTIES
• Pay your bills in advance
• Check all items in your fridge that may expire while you’re gone
• Turn off and unplug all your appliances
• Make sure to keep all your valuables safe
• Ask someone you trust to check your home once in a while if you will be gone for a long time
• Make sure someone knows where you are, what your itinerary is and etc.
• As a double precaution, double check that all your doors and windows are shut tight and locked;
• The same goes for all the water taps in your kitchen, bathroom, and lawn
• Photograph the inside of your room if you really want to make sure that everything is in the place where you last left them
• Call your bank and let them know what countries you will be traveling to so they won’t turn off your credit card. Since they might think there may be a fraud going on with your account or something.
• Check in online
• Print all tour confirmations, bookings and etc.
TRAVEL IS FUN!
Traveling is FUN right? Once you get past all this packing stuff all will be smooth and well! I wish to travel frequently and I’m just amazed at those people who usually do. Don’t they get stressed with all this packing stuff?
That’s it for this post on what to bring when traveling! I hope this post on “what to bring when traveling” will be helpful for your travels. Packing can get quite messy so I really love a good checklist to easily slash things off. Comment below if you think I missed any and I will add it here. Help me make this post better! Ciao~
PACKING IS FUN, YEP…
What other stuff do you usually bring when traveling?
- Once, I brought with me my PSP that I didn’t even get to play while on the plane.
- Do you have other stuff you can recommend I add to the list? Let me know
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The name’s Fiorucci (pronounced as Fee-yoh-ru-chi), I’m not Italian but I can eat pasta for a whole week…or a month…or more. Hop on my story as I travel the world ‘one destination at a time’ while juggling with my full-time work, freelancing and building my own business to gain freedom from this monotonous corporate society.