Traveling to overseas destinations is fun and exciting, but the days leading up to it can be pretty stressful.
Yes, it can be a challenge to score cheap airline tickets and create a DIY itinerary but the stress can also come from little things, like keeping track of documents or making sure your credit card works.
Eliminate these travel-related headaches by doing these simple but tested travel hacks:
Keep your important documents travel-ready
Hard copies of your passport, visa, and IDs are a must, so these should be the first things you put in your carry-on bag. It's also prudent to have scanned and password-protected copies of these documents stored in your mobile phone.
Using multiple credit cards? Don't carry them all with you or store them in one place. Bring only a couple while you're out and about, then keep the others in the hotel safe in case your wallet gets misplaced.
Consider TSA Pre-Check
If you're constantly traveling to the United States, good news! Philippine Airlines is now part of the US' Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre-Check Program, which would allow you to avail of quick screening procedures and avoid delays.
With the TSA Pre-Check, you won't have to remove your shoes, belts, and light jackets during screening procedures in PAL's flights from LA, San Francisco, New York, Guam, and Honolulu. You also don't have to remove liquids and laptops in your carry-on luggage.
And speaking of security checks, don't forget to take them into consideration when selecting your travel wardrobe. Jackets, closed shoes, and caps and hats would need to be removed while undergoing inspection. The same goes for anything metal like belts, watches, and even jewelry.
Keep your travel essentials packed
For frequent travelers, having a travel-exclusive bag containing all your essentials - chargers, toiletries, and a few clothes - will tremendously help you pack your belongings without forgetting anything. Place them inside your regular travel suitcase so that you're always ready for your next adventure.
And once you get home, don't forget to refill and repack your toiletries so that you don't have to worry about them next time.
Save more with strategic booking
Don't let money be a stressor on a vacation. If the flight tickets are too pricey, try changing your location to get discounts. When you're booking an international flight directly from airline sites instead of aggregators, you can try using a different location as your ticket's point-of-sale - the place where the transaction is completed.
For instance, you can save thousands of pesos for a flight from Manila to Hong Kong just by changing your current location to Hong Kong.
Another strategy is to use your destination's local currency to pay for your tickets, as the price may be lower. Just don't forget to check the international transaction fees with your credit card company. And if you're booking flights for multiple people, try checking the price of one person first. You might score a promo fare for one or two persons, so better lock in that rate before booking everyone else.
Give your credit card company a heads-up
There's nothing worse than arriving in a foreign country and finding out your credit card won't work. So before packing all your credit cards and flying to another country, let your credit card company know that you'll be using your card overseas. Many companies block transactions done in foreign countries because they assume fraud. This is also the best time to ask about any foreign transaction fees so that you can consider them when budgeting.
Pack some extras
Instead of complaining about not having enough outlets in your hotel room or your baggage being too heavy, bring your own extension cord or luggage scale.
Know your annoyances and instead of complaining about them when you get to the airport or to your destination, find a solution before you fly.
Aim for an early morning flight
There are so many rewards that you can reap from early morning flights: less traffic when going to the airport, cheaper flights, and even less turbulence, as thunderstorms tend to happen later in the day, according to Emily Price from Lifehacker. You also steer clear of flight delays that tend to build up over the day, so better drag yourself out of bed at four in the morning!
Souvenirs don't always have to be pricey and fancy. Instead of visiting tourist shops, hit the local grocery store and look for non-perishable items that you can bring back to your friends and family. You can also try going to gift shops that are a few blocks away from the main tourist spots, as they often carry unique souvenir items at a fraction of the price.
Use credit cards to enjoy exclusive rewards
Instead of using cash, enjoy the convenience of a credit card and use it to avail of exclusive offers overseas. For instance, Citi offers Citi World Privileges, which allows you to enjoy shopping and dining deals from around the world.
Research local apps
Download a few local apps for some off-the-beaten-path recommendations if you don't want to end up in the same jam-packed tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels as everyone else. For instance, when in Tokyo, download the Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourists to make more sense of the city's train system. Just make sure that the app has an English translation and you're good to go.
Plan your coverage
If you're going to stay abroad for more than a couple of weeks, research your network's international data charges and consider purchasing a SIM card for tourists or renting pocket WiFi. Or you can use your old mobile phone and pop in a local SIM so that stay connected while you are traveling, minus the huge roaming charges.
Plan for the worst, but hope for the best
When you're away from home, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Keep pertinent information, such as hotel address and phone number, stored in your mobile phone. You should keep the address and contact information of the Philippine embassy on hand in the off-chance that you need it.
Whether you're traveling for business or leisure, these travel tips can help make your trip as comfortable and stress-free as possible.