I really enjoy entertaining questions that are travel related especially whenever I get questions from 1st time travelers.
As a frequent flyer with a very busy schedule, convenience and safety come first. It took me years of trial and error before I finally came up with a hassle-free travel formula that works. Though I’m still on the look out for upcoming gear and ideas to help me travel more with ease, for now, I believe this is the tried and tested formula that really works for me:
7. Go for Medium Sized Luggage
Before, when I was still using small luggages for my stuff, I would find myself going home with a lot of extra shopping bags (nakakastress). Switching to a bigger luggage was the trick. When buying a luggage, go for size medium or large (depending on how long you’ll be away), and be sure you have a lot of extra space so you can place all your pasalubongs there when you come back. Ideally, you should only have 1 check-in luggage and 1 hand-carry, so you don’t need to drag along extra stuff around the airport.
Tip: Luggages are expensive here in Manila, so I always buy luggage at Kuala Lumpur Airport because they are always on sale (50-70%off). I recently bought this Arnold Palmer medium sized luggage for only 2,400php. A luggage at this size in here in Manila would cost at least 6,000php, so it’s really practical to buy in KL.
6. Bring Universal Socket and Extension cord with USB slots
Truth is, most hotel rooms have limited electrical sockets. So if you have a lot of gadgets to charge, best to bring with you your own extension cable with usb hubs, so you can charge them all at the same time, and you won’t need to bring all your bulky chargers anymore. Saves you a lot of luggage space too.
This for example is something that I bought recently at only 899php. Works perfectly!
5. Invest in Anti-Theft Bags
Most thieves roam at touristy spots (for very obvious reasons), so for added security, best to invest in bags with anti-theft features like Pacsafe that have added lock features and anti RFID, so your credit card info won’t be stolen. Losing your passport, ids and money in a foreign country is an ultimate travel nightmare, so better be safe than sorry.
4. Buy Internet Data Sim card as soon as you arrive in your country of destination
Staying online, is a necessity nowadays, so the moment I arrive at my country of destination, the 1st thing I do, is buy a local 4G data sim card so I can stay connected throughout the trip. I never rely on free wifi spots or even enroll on those expensive roaming services provided by our local networks.
Roaming rates charge up to 600php per day, while if you buy a local sim, your 600php will be equivalent to 3 days. I usually allot extra 1,000php max to buy a local 4G sim. I highly recommend you do this too.
3. Book your hotel ahead and use hotel apps for flawless bookings and exclusive promos
I always, always prefer hotels over hostels because #1: I’m not comfortable in sharing a room with strangers and #2: I wanna make sure my valuables are safe.
Whenever traveling, it’s a must to book your rooms ahead because it’s more expensive to be a walk-in guest, where they charge you with regular published rates. Best if you have a preferred hotel brand that have branches globally, so you can earn membership points and loyalty rewards. Best of all, travel becomes hassle-free when you stay in your trusted hotel brand, because you’ll someone feel more safe and at home.
Furthermore, recently I realized that booking via official hotel apps gives you added perks and discounts like what I experienced with the AccorHotels App when I recently booked my stay at Novotel.
2. Use Web Check-in Service to avoid long lines at the airport
Save yourself from long boring airport check-in queues by using your airline web check-in feature. Here, you can even pick your preferred seats (with additional cost) and even purchase inflight meals at lower cost.
This is also ideal if you live far from the airport… In case you arrive late due to traffic, you don’t have to worry about long queues. If you have a luggage for check-in, you can just go straight to their BAGGAGE DROP counter instead of a regular counter to save a lot of time.
1. Use your credit card or call your bank for international cash withdrawal service
I used to be stressed over this matter for years, because I usually waste a lot of time in finding a money changer in the city where I’m in. NEVER ever have your money changed at the airport because the rates are really low.
Here’s what you can do:
- Have your money changed here in Manila, so you can have ready cash once you arrive. Try going to Sanry’s or your trusted neighborhood money changer.
- Use your credit card for major purchases so you don’t need to bring lots of cash
- Be sure your ATM is a member of CIRRUS so you can perform international withdrawals. It comes with a minimal charge of around 200php per withdrawal, so be sure to estimate how much you need, so you only need to withdraw once or twice. Before your flight, be sure to call your bank first, to have it activated.
“How much pocket money should I bring?” is probably the most common question that I receive from readers.
My answer to that is, better to always bring extra. For a 3-5 day trip, I usually bring around 200USD. If you intend to shop, then definitely bring more! For Europe trips, travelers are advised to bring a daily budget of 100 Euros. It really pays to save up and bring extra cash if you wanna go shopping in Europe, coz your favorite branded items are obviously way cheaper there, than if you buy them here in Manila.