9 Tips from a Sloppy Traveler

By justine win

Ilonggos love to travel. With the wealth of churches, beaches, mountains, and whatever hole-in-the-wall secret surrounding Iloilo on both ends of Panay, we’re practically bred for it. With that said, I have a secret to tell you: I am a sloppy traveler. Yes, I admit it. I always get too cocky whenever I plan out for a travel, and it often results to what I refer as “traveler dilemmas”. Because of this, I was able to come up with a list of essential things I have to remember to avoid the same mistakes.

1. Plan ahead of time.

Yes, that’s right. I know this statement is overused, but planning does lessen the mistakes that may occur during your trip. Try to come up with an itinerary which includes the must-see landmarks you need to visit in that place and list of things you need to bring during your trip as this will help you keep in check that you brought everything important in your luggage (This is also helpful in checking that all your things are complete before heading home).

Oh and one more thing! Always be cautious of your flight schedule! There’s nothing more awful than missing your plane and paying for the rebooking fee as this amounts the same to availing a new plane ticket.

2. Always include a sweater and a pair of pajamas in your luggage.

I know this tip may sound funny because we usually don’t wear layers for our everyday clothing, but as Filipinos, we are not that inherently comfortable in cold weather. May it be that you’re staying in an air-conditioned room or not, bringing these two clothing essentials assures that you can have a good night’s sleep. This will also spare yourself from catching a cold if ever you plan on walking the streets of Singapore or strolling the shore line of Boracay in the evening. Remember, it’s a must to stay healthy throughout the travel.

3. Imagine yourself on the trip already.

Of course, how can you imagine since you’re still about to visit the place? Oh no, no, no; that’s not what I meant. What I mean to say is you need to have an idea of what you’re going to do there when you arrived. What are your expectations? What do you wish to accomplish after the trip? You need to know these things so that you will know whether your trip will all be worth it or not.

For instance, was (insert famous landmark here) really that good to see in person? Was the food of (insert famous restaurant name) really delicious? Do you need a part two of your trip, or will you swear to yourself not to visit this place again? Knowing these stuff will give you more interesting stories to tell to your friends and relatives when you return back home.

4. Make sure you slept well two nights before your trip.

I don’t know if this applies to you as well, but I find it hard to sleep a night before my trip. Maybe because I’m too excited or too nervous but one thing’s for sure, you can’t enjoy the trip if you’re all tired and sleepy. So, make sure you already recharged your body’s energy batteries two nights before.

5. Don’t overspend your time taking pictures.

Instead of pictures, take some video clips! There’s nothing more enjoyable than seeing an animated media of the places you visited with your matching voice in background, as this really captures all of your feelings during that time. I like taking selfie videos of myself as this intensifies my memories of the trip and served proof that I’ve really been there! What’s more, it’s better to enjoy the view with your own eyes rather than seeing it in your phone screen, right? So, spend less time on taking photos and more time on appreciating what’s in front of you!

6. Bring extra money with you.

Am I the only one who did not know that you need to activate your bank account “internationally” so that you are able to withdraw money outside the country? My trip to Singapore was really terrible as this was my first self-funded trip. I spent around P2,200 in the airport for the fees and that alone took a huge toll on my pocket money. I was so confident that I could withdraw any time in Singapore but I was wrong. I wasn’t able to try the joyrides in Sentosa because I was short of cash. Well, guess what? I spent two weeks hating myself after I got back home in Iloilo. From that moment on, I swore to myself to always bring EXTRA (emphasis on the word “extra”) money with me when I travel outside the country. Like what some people say, it’s okay to get lost as long as you have money with you.

7. When going to “professional” events, bring identification like calling cards with you.

One of the best things when you travel—especially when attending events and conventions—is meeting new people. Having a calling card saves you from the hassle of writing down your contact details and social sites on a paper. This is also a good way for them to remember you, especially if you are aiming to build a brand or a portfolio

8. Don’t stick to your itinerary.

Consider “getting lost” as an advantage and have fun while you’re at it! The unplanned side trips are the most exciting and unforgettable ones. What’s more, it is definitely a pleasure if you discover a good place other than the famous tourist spots that you have visited by accident and recommend them to your friends.  Just make sure you’re safe and you’ll be more than just fine.

9. Get out of your comfort zone.

You can’t say you made the most out of your stay if you haven’t tried doing something out of your comfort zone. Not into a one-kilometer stroll? Why not go for two? Not into eccentric food? Why not try the famous eccentric local food of the city? All of these add to your experience as a traveler and who knows, you might discover a new hobby or food addiction of yours!

So those are the nine tips I have to keep in mind the next time I travel. No trip is perfect and we can’t always expect everything to go our way. What’s important is we learn each time and avoid the same mistakes to happen again. Planning to travel? Why not consider my tips? Good luck and have fun.

Artwork by the author