//Art Li and Stuff

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Travel Essentials and Tips

Art Li and Stuff - "We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us"



Hey there! Since its the beginning of the year and summer is approaching (goodbye to the cold and misty weather soon!),  I am sure many of us are now starting making travel plans.  And of course, in every vacation plans we have each of our own travel essentials or vacation must-haves and I will be sharing my own list with this post including some tips. :)

Travel Essentials

Art Li and Stuff - Travel Essentials
Sony Camera | Camera Charger | Memory Cards | Clothes |  Towels | Flip Flops | Waterproof pouches | Sunblock Lotion | Sunglasses | Sneakers | Cap
Toiletries Bag | First Aid Kit | Flashlight | Travel Pouches | Garbage bag

1. Camera - Whether its the beach, the mountains or the city, I MUST HAVE my Camera with me all the time.  I like taking pictures of the places I go to and I love sharing them.  I don't ever recall a time when I went on vacation and didn't bring my camera with me.  I don't feel complete without it.

* Camera charger -  Of course, if you're going out of town for a few days, never EVER leave your camera charger.  You'll regret it, I promise you.  Not just the charger, the battery too of course! A friend of mine had this incident when it wasn't the charger that he left at home but the battery!  And the camera that he had was a DSLR so it was heavy and took so much space in his bag and he was not able to use it.  So, don't forget to bring your battery too.  An extra if you have one and always check for your camera's peripherals before you leave.

* Extra Memory cards - The first time that I traveled to the Visayas region, I brought my sister's camera with me.  It has a memory card with 4GB of space.  There were pictures in it from previous travels and celebrations and it didn't occur to me to delete any of them.  So I was having a lot of fun in Bohol, taking photos of  the Chocolate Hills when bam!, the memory card went full.  I was in panic because I haven't taken photos to my heart's content yet and I didn't bring an extra memory card with me.  On the way to our service vehicle, I was deleting photos. -____________- I'm on vacation and I'm deleting photos on my camera instead of taking them! It was really annoying. So my advice here is to bring an extra or make sure you have enough space in your primary memory card before you leave.

2. Clothing - Packing clothes varies differently depending on your travel destination and the weather.  I, for one, like to be in comfortable clothes. When my destination is the beach, I only bring pair of shorts.  Lots of them because I'm more comfortable wearing them than jeans or leggings.  But when your going to cold places or the weather is a bit cold, definitely bring trousers to keep you warm.

I have a system whenever I pack my clothes before a trip.  I count on my head the times I will change, or shower so that I can plan ahead on what I would wear then.  I only did this after my Cebu and Bohol trip.  I brought so much clothes that I regretted it because most of them were not used.  So, to save as much space as you can (especially for those who loves to travel light), my advice here is to count the times you will shower or change during the trip.  Of course, always bring an extra (at least one) of everything (under garments, shirt, shorts / trousers) for those unexpected events.

3. Footwear - As for footwear, I always make it a habit to only bring two. One pair of shoes (the one I'm already wearing on departure) and a pair of slippers wherever I go.  I know hotels have them but I feel more comfy in my own pair of flip flops.  Again, it also depends on the travel destination.  During my trip to Cebu, Bohol, La Union, Tagaytay, I wore the same pair of sneakers as they were comfortable for my feet.  When I went to Baguio, because of the cold weather, I was able to wear my favorite pair of boots.  When I went to Puerto Galera last year, I only brought a pair of slippers since we were staying on a beach resort anyways.  So, my advice here would be, is to consider your destination when deciding which of your shoes you'd bring with you on your trip.

4. Accessories / Misc - This also varies depending on your destination.  Here's a breakdown of which accessories I bring with me on every trip

Beach

Sunglasses | Sunblock Lotion | Sarong
- Waterproof bag - This is a must especially if you plan on Island hopping.  You don't want to get your gadgets or money wet now, do you?
- Towels - I only bring towels when we're not going to stay in a hotel or resort.  Last year, my friends and I went to Sitio Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales and stayed at a Kubo (Nipa Hut) and when we went to La Union in 2012 and 2013, we stayed at a small hostel and they didn't provide any so make sure to ask the place you're staying if they provide them so that you'll know when to bring one with you.

Hiking

- Cap - I remember the time I hiked Taal Volcano last year and I didn't bring one with me.  It was scorching hot.  Its obvious in my photos that the sun has somewhat burned my skin.  So, for those who plan to hike in summer or even after that, bring a cap just in case.

- Extra clothing -  I know some already know this but for those first time hikers (like me), bring extras! Like Extra everything. Shirt and trousers and Jacket!  When I hiked Mt. Daraitan last month, it was cold and I couldn't use the jacket I brought with me on the way home because it was dirty (full of mud). :( Good thing my friend has an extra scarf and lent it to me, I was able to keep myself somewhat warm.

- Flashlights - Even when its a day hike!  When my friends and I climbed Mt. Daraitan last month,  only a few of us had flashlights and we didn't get to the foot of the mountain until dark so we had to share the few flashlights we had.  Good thing some of us were prepared. O.O

Misc

- Medicine - Bring these if you're going to stay in remote areas where there are only few stores around.  Also whenever you go camping.  My latest camping trip was in Burot Beach, Calatagan, Batangas last year.  I brought not just medicine but first aid kit too.  I read somewhere that there are a lot of sea urchins close to the shore and the kit became really handy when one of the friends had a little accident.

- Anything that is essential to your survival - Say, a lighter, or trash bags or one good example of this is what I brought with me when we went camping in Burot beach.  Because I read about the sea urchins, and me, being the careful freak that I am, I brought vinegar.  And not because I was going to cook with it but because just in case anyone of my friends get stung by the sea urchins.  So my advice here is to research a lot about your destination and be prepared especially if you're not going to stay in a hotel or resort.

 5. Personal belongings - Bring IDs! Especially when you're traveling abroad.  Identification is important in case something bad happens.

DON'T bring wallets.  I always make it a habit not to bring wallets whenever I travel.  I bring purses, small ones and several of them.  I make sure that my money is scattered in my bag so when I lose one purse, I won't panic.  This is applicable for credit and ATM cards too.

Secure your phone at all times.  Communication is very important when you're out of town.  Last December when my sweetness and a friend went to Palawan, I thought I lost my phone. >.<  I got preoccupied by taking photos and forgot that I left my phone in the car! Make it a habit to place your phone in your pocket or bring a small bag that you can carry while you're on tour.

6. Travel Bags and pouches - Whenever I travel I always bring two bags with me.  A bagpack (I prefer to travel light) and a small sling/body bag where I put my personal belongings (i.e. phone, money, camera, ID, etc).  If you bring a DSLR Carmera with you, the camera bag has several pockets where you can place your money and phone.

I also have several small pouches where I place and separate my clothes and stuff so they're still organized inside my bag.  Ziplocks can be used too especially those Zip-Lock vacuum travel bags.  I've been wanting to buy a few of these so that I can save more space inside my bag for souvenirs and pasalubong.

I also bring empty pouches with me for the dirty clothes, so they wouldn't get mixed up with the clean ones.

I bring tote bags too.  For shopping and buying pasalubong.  Just make sure you bring those that are foldable so they wouldn't take so much space too.

7. Phone(s)/Ipod/Tablet Charger - I know you can buy one anywhere but what if your hotel is distance away from the nearest mall?  I always bring my charger with me wherever I go except when camping of course, or day hiking.  My ipod charger however, I only bring it with me when I'm going to be gone for a few days and will be staying in the city.  Or when I'm going to take a long bus ride.  Listening to my music while watching the beautiful scenery by the bus window is something I really enjoy and one of the things I like about going out of town.  So, take note if you're going to use your gadget excessively, if not then you can just leave it at home.

8. Toiletries - I buy them in sachets (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste) so I wouldn't have to worry about packing and this actually saves space in your luggage.  Sometimes I buy it before my trip or during the trip.

Tips

I think that basically covers all of my travel essentials.  Now, one of the most important tips that I can give you is to pay your tours in advance.  I don't really feel comfortable bringing a big amount of money with me but as I mentioned above I put them in several purses and scatter them in my bag but still, paying your tours in advance makes you less worried.  I experienced this during my Cebu and Bohol tour.  Also during our Palawan tour.  Take care of your money and always bring extra.  Its better to have more than enough.

As for information,  I always see to it that I search what I can about my travel destination.  I get most information from travel blogs.  Sometimes, I ask friends who have already been there and they give me useful advice and tips.

I read reviews about hotels sometimes but I also know that experiences can vary from person to person.  It could be an unpleasant experience for some but is okay with you, so my advice is to give hotels a chance or better yet don't read the reviews.  Sometimes that's part of the experience too.

If you're traveling by plane, I advice you to get to the airport at least two hours before your flight.  I have a friend who didn't check the time of their flight the day before their departure and he thought that their flight is an hour later than the correct time.  And because he had to be somewhere else before departing, he came to the airport late.  The people in the airport didn't let them board the gate. Ugh! After months of waiting for that trip! -.-  So having heard this, I always make sure that I and the people I travel with come to the airport early and ALWAYS double check your flight information the day before your departure.

Speaking of airport situations, I know that many of us find it inconvenient to commute from the airport.  Take a cab or sometimes find your self stuck in the long line at the taxi stand.  Especially on the holidays, when many people around the world travel to be with their loved ones.  Some just very much prefer to drive themselves to their destinations.

Car rentals are a convenient way of doing so.  Throughout the years this industry has evolved and it has helped not just businessmen but fellow travelers as well.  I recently came to know about “Turo” (formerly RelayRides), a car rental company in the U.S.  They provide services for renters (If you're going out of town and in need of a car at your destination) and car owners (If you own a car and would like to rent it out) as well.  What a brilliant way of saving and making money at the same time, don't you think?  Turo has rental cars across the U.S. and their airport rentals are expanding.  More options for travelers like me and you.  You can learn more about how their car rental marketplace works here.  Learn more about their services by visiting their website.

If you're going to avail a rental in your next travel, make sure to book it ahead of time.  I know that car rentals are readily available at the airport but it also doesn't hurt to be early and avoid unexpected inconveniences like long lines.

I asked few of my friends about their own travel essentials and tips and mine is not too different from theirs but here's one that's pretty interesting.

Pau of Wanderingsiopau said

"I use disposable underwear whenever I travel Internationally to save space in my luggage"

"I bought a universal socket charger so I wouldn't have to worry about charging my gadgets especially whenever I go abroad"

Now that's something to consider when I finally pack up the courage to visit some places abroad.

I hope this list was able to help you out even though I know that they are common ones.  I haven't traveled that long but I'd like to write an updated list in the future.  Sharing my travel experiences here is something I would like to do for a long time and I'm just getting started. :)

Oh, and one more thing. The most important of all. HAVE FUN!  Don't let the stress of unexpected events get to you.  We travel for different reasons but I'm sure many would agree to this.  Visiting an unfamiliar place is supposed to make you experience a mix of positive and negative but always make sure the latter is a lot less. =)

Happy and safe travels!

Have a travel tip in mind?  Hit the comments box! I would love to read about it.

Art Li and Stuff - End of post signature