Sunday, February 5, 2017

My 7 Travel Must-Haves


My recent trip to London taught me a lot on how I should prepare for future travels. Perhaps it's because it was my first time to experience below 5 °C weather,  a more sophisticated transportation system, and accessibility of great shopping deals.


I've summarized the lessons from that trip, as well as from my previous travels abroad, to come up with my 7 Travel Essentials. I'd say forget everything, except these must haves.

1. Appropriate Clothes

It's important to know the weather in your destination during your stay so you can plan the clothes that you should be bringing. If the weather is expected to be 10 °C or lower, it's recommended to bring thermal clothing, thicker jacket, gloves, and socks. Buying those abroad could end up more expensive, so it's much better to get them here, especially if there is an end-of-season sale (this probably explains why there are foreign brands that sell winter clothing in a tropical country :P).

Walked around London on a 5 °C day

If you're travelling on summer and there's no chance of rain, leave your jacket, it will just fill up luggage space that can be reserved for pasalubongs.

And don't forget to wear comfortable shoes. More often than not, you'll be walking the whole day.

Wet and all in City of York, my sneakers were still comfortable to walk in

2. Enough Cash / Credit Card

Before you leave the Philippines, you still have to pay the Airport Terminal Fee, so it's important to have enough Peso bills in your wallet. I can't count the times I've witnessed people looking for an ATM machine in the airport because they don't have enough Peso bills to pay for the terminal fee. You can also use it in case you get hungry while waiting for your flight.

And when you reach your travel destination, not all establishments will accept credit card payments, so make sure you have enough local currency bills, with USD as backup.

While you can provide an estimate for the amount you'll spend on food, transportation, tickets, and souvenirs, there might be unexpected expenses or good deals that you'll find during the trip, so it's better if you bring at least one credit card that's accepted internationally.

Sometimes, you'll be surprised with what you'll discover on your trip, so it's important to bring extra money 

3. First Aid Kit

You'll never know if you're going to have a headache, bum stomach, cracked lips or bruises during the trip, so it's essential to have a first aid kit on hand. Make sure to include the basics such as Band-aid, Betadine, and medicines (for headache, fever, colds, allergy). Cold weather can make your skin dry and make your lips crack, so bringing moisturizing lotion and petroleum jelly/lip balm is advised.

4. Luggage Weighing Scale

During our honeymoon trip to Hong Kong in 2013, we found lots of good shopping deals, but failed to consider our luggage allowance. The result, we almost missed our flight back to the Philippines since we had to process our excess baggage.

In a recent trip to UK, my luggage on my way back to the Philippines was exactly 30.0 kilograms, I almost got into excess baggage trouble again! After this incident, I told myself that I should bring a luggage scale on every trip.

My 30-kg luggage at the Emirates check-in counter in Heathrow Airport

5. Internet Connection

I really appreciated the value of having internet connection while travelling abroad during my trip to London. Google Maps was a blessing because it not only showed me the directions to my destination, it also gave me the transportation options and instructions, e.g., which train line to take, in which platform should I wait for my train, and in how many minutes the train would leave.

Having internet connection also allowed me to send updates via social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Because of such updates, I got the chance to meet some of my relatives in London who saw my posts.

6. Smartphone

Eventhough many consider DSLR as a travel essential nowadays, if you don't know how to tweak the settings based on the current shooting condition, e.g., on low light environment, most of your pictures will just end up blurry or out of focus. Honestly, given the technology used in today's smartphones, it's no surprise that the quality of photos taken are comparable, if not better, than photos taken by people who use their DSLRs like a point-and-shoot camera.

7. Powerbank and Chargers

Since you'll rely so much on your smartphone during the trip, it's best to bring a powerbank with you. The size and weight of a powerbank will depend on the capacity, so a 10,000mAh powerbank should give you the perfect balance. Unless you'll be using it to charge a tablet, it should be enough to give your phone the needed juice to last the day. Also, don't forget the charger(s) and cable(s) that you need.


I hope this list gives you a new perspective on what to bring on your next trip. Have a safe and enjoyable one! :)

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