(1) Choose comfort over vanity, especially when it comes to footwear
I learned this the hard way when we climbed Mt. Batur in Bali. For some reason, I didn’t realize that we were climbing a mountain and did not bring appropriate footwear. So I had to rent a pair of hiking shoes which were way too small for me. On the way down, my feet hurt so much that I could barely walk. Our tour guide had to get his motorcycle to fetch me and bring me to the shoe-rental place. 😐
(2) Be careful of people who may be after your money
This means be careful of possible thieves. Always keep an eye on your possessions, or be extra paranoid like me and put a lock on your bag. Also, when dealing with moneychangers, be wary, especially if they offer exchange rates that seem too good to be true. In Bali, we had a bad experience with one such moneychanger who somehow managed to swipe some of the bills he gave us, even under our watchful eye.
(3) To get a great shot of a famous tourist place takes effort
Tourist spots are usually crowded with people all vying to get a shot without someone else’s head in it, so it takes some maneuvering, timing, and a lot of patience, really, to take a good shot. But don’t lose heart, because it can be done. Sometimes.
(4) Always take note where you’re staying in case you get lost
I know this sounds like something everyone should automatically do, but sometimes you don’t because you’re with someone else whom you think you’ll always be with anyway, or if you lose him, you can call him, right? But what if you don’t only lose him, but your phone as well?
This actually happened to me in Puerto Galera many years ago. My phone got stolen, then later on, I was parted from my friends. This was around midnight and I had no idea where we stayed – the only thing I could remember was that the house was right next to a makeshift jail they had made for a poor insane person. So when I approached an authoritative-looking lady for help – this was all the information that I could give them.
It took a while, but she finally found a kid who knew where an insane man lived. She told him, “Kid, bring this lady to that place. Now if that’s where she lives, good, leave her there. If not, bring her home with you and let her stay the night so she can look for her friends in the morning.”
You should have seen the look on the poor kid’s face at suddenly having this huge responsibility on his shoulders. 😅 Luckily, the place turned out to be the right one!
(5) Bring an extra lightweight foldable bag for extra storage
My friend Kes taught me a useful tip when we were traveling in Europe. She taught me to put all my laundry, souvenirs, and other items that I wouldn’t need anymore during the trip, into my extra foldable bag. So whenever I opened my luggage, the things I didn’t need would not be in the way. It’s very helpful when you’re going to several places and can’t unpack your things in a hotel.
It also helps to use packing cubes, so that all your stuff is organized and not a huge mess whenever you open your luggage.
What about you, what are some of the things you learned while traveling? I’ll be headed to Edinburgh and London in September, any specific tips for that place?