When traveling or going on an adventure, are you the strict-type Weekend Warrior who tries to do things as “by the book” as possible? Or are you the type who just goes out there freely, going YOLO and just seizing the days ahead? Whatever the case may be, take note that there are things that we should always remember when going out there and sometimes, things just doesn’t go according to our plans and, as the old adage goes, we’d rather be safe than be sorry.
From the time I graduated from college in 2010, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to travel from time to time and then eventually to a monthly basis, either with just friends or with family. My travel experiences may not be enough but over the years, I have compiled for myself some guidelines that I follow whenever I’m traveling. I call these “guidelines” and not “rules” as not to sound too stiff/strict. I’m putting them here in the hope that new travelers and Weekend Warriors can get a thing or two from them. You don’t have to follow these strictly but they might just come in handy when the time comes.
Always tell someone what you’re up to
This one is pretty basic and is a MUST, for your own sake. Whether you’re going away for a day, an overnight weekend getaway, or be gone the whole week, it’s best to tell someone where you’re going and for how long you’ll be gone. Even if you’re just going to the local resort nearby or climb a mountain outside of town or wherever, telling someone where you will be is as important as actually being there. Tell your mom, your brother, your pad mates, your best friend, I don’t care who, but just tell someone. That, or leave a note. And yes, don’t forget to tell them who you’re going with. Why? So that authorities will know who to look for in case you’ve gone off the radar. Remember the movies 127 Hours and Into The Wild? You get the idea.
Always bring cash with you
This is the dumbest thing ever. It’s so dumb that it doesn’t even have to be stated, but I’m stating it here. You should always have cash with you, no matter what. Why? Because it’s the language that everyone understands. Even if your mom, or your best friend, or your fiance, or whoever you’re travelling with tells you that they got you covered and they’ll be spending for you, still, you must ALWAYS HAVE CASH WITH YOU. I can’t stress this enough. And when I mean cash, I mean REAL IN-YOUR-HAND COLD CASH. So no, the money in your ATM doesn’t count. And I also mean ENOUGH CASH. There’s a pretty good reason why immigration officers in the airport check if you have enough money WITH AND FOR yourself when you travel out of the country. The same goes when you’re travelling locally. Again, always have cash with you. Imagine you and your partner travelling together and they have all the cash and in the middle of your travel, you argue and they decide to go somewhere alone to cool off. Now what?
Always bring something extra
Extra clothes, extra money, extra charger, extra everything. You never know when a spare set of change clothes comes useful, like when you decide to stay a day longer in a place, or when you’re stranded. So instead of strictly packing 3 sets of clothes for a 3-day travel, make it 4. Instead of bringing one big towel for yourself, bring two medium ones. This happened to us last year when we went canyoning in Badian, Cebu. Two of the members in our group didn’t have trek shoes nor sandals and what they had were those fancy flip flops. Good thing Maan and I brought extra sandals, otherwise they’d really have a hard time enjoying the activity.
Remember Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. A lot of times travelers get into so much hassle because they weren’t prepared, insisting that “oh no, that’s not gonna happen.” BREAKING NEWS: it will. Or maybe it just did. Or is about to. It’s not being pessimistic nor paranoid, but it’s being prepared. You don’t want to ruin a good weekend just because you were so excited for it that you actually forgot to prepare contingencies. Always have a PLAN B or C or D in case things don’t work out. Do you know why cars have a spare tire in the trunk? Exactly. Change your plan, but don’t change your goal.
Travel light if and when you can
Okay, I know I said you should always bring something extra, but 6 sets of swimwear is just too much for a 2-day out-of-town island hopping adventure. Or three pants for a 5-day international trip. That’s just too much. You don’t have to bring your entire closet, but only what’s necessary. Instead of bringing three pairs of jeans, bring one pair of jeans, an extra shorts, and of course, the shorts that you’re already wearing. Instead of bringing one big towel, bring a medium-sized one and a small-sized one. Not only this reduces the weight of your baggage, but having a medium-sized light weight backpack will keep both hands free (since you don’t have to bring a paper or eco bag) and you’ll be able to move faster when rushing from one terminal to another.
And oh, don’t forget to leave some excess unnecessary emotional baggage behind. It’s not fun traveling when you’re carrying those.
Have your first-aid kit ready
This should probably be on top of the list. Travelers who have maintenance medicines know this and don’t take this for granted, especially the ones with heart and lung problems. The worst thing that could happen to you while you’re on vacation in a foreign country is spending your vacation in their hospital. Even just spending a day in local clinic could ruin your entire trip. You don’t have to bring the entire pharmacy, just the basic ones. Stock on pain relievers and supplements, especially when you’re away for a long time. But more importantly, don’t forget to always bring your first-aid kit with you. I remember when we went to China, my sister was hit with dysmenorrhea after we visited IKEA. She didn’t have her medicine with her as she left it in our hotel. What happened next was almost two hours of agonizing pain for her while lying on my mother’s lap in a sidewalk bench because the pain was so unbearable, she couldn’t walk.
What about you? Do you have a personal set of guidelines that you keep in mind when traveling? Feel free to share in the comments below.