Share your travel hacks

Discussion in 'Travel' started by eag, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. eag

    eag Active Member

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    I've noticed a lot of muggers are frequent travelers. Care to share any helpful travel hacks and tips you practice during your trips?
     
  2. hitme64

    hitme64 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    The less baggage the better. You don’t need to bring so much stuff if you’re actually going to buy.

    Bring all your essentials with you at all times, passport, cash, credit cards, flight details, meds, additional ID. Forget that hotel safe. Use a secure bag or pouch. Like Pacsafe.

    Use credit card for big purchases. Cash for small ones. Don’t tip if you have to. Especially taxis.
     
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  3. penmanila

    penmanila The Pinoy Penman
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    I take pics of all important documents and store them on my phone.

    Pics as well of addresses, maps, just in case I can’t make a live onlinr connection.

    I always carry a spare unlocked phone.

    Since 1999, I’ve been using a free app called Metro (regularly updated) for using the subway or metro in any city I visit.

    I just withdraw cash from the ATM. Higher rates of course but more convenient and easier to track.

    I don’t convert local currency back to dollars or pesos, but keep it for my next trip. Always good to land with taxi fare in local money.

    I always take out travel insurance (on Pacific Cross, for ease of use) for long trips.

    I always check Google about local tipping practices.

    I always look for cheap or good flights on Skyscanner.com.ph and book my hotels on Booking.com. Remember that in booking flights or hotels, cheapest doesn’t always mean the best bargain. Times and locations matter.
     
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  4. porkypork

    porkypork Active Member

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    -Since we love eating, wether we travel for business or pleasure, we make sure we try the places/restaurants that the locals flock instead of consulting tourist apps. We usually ask our hotel concierge/staff (never the taxi driver 'cos they get commissions/free meals if they bring tourists to certain diners) what's a good place that serve local food.

    -If traveling in groups of 4 or 5 pax, sometimes, it's cheaper and faster to take a cab instead of using their railway system.
     
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  5. isaak

    isaak Active Member

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    When traveling with kids, especially in crowded places, always make them wear bright colors (shirts/jackets/caps/backpacks) so you can easily spot them when they get separated from you. Print contact details and put them in their pockets. Instruct them that should they get separated, stay in one place so that it's easier for you to look for them.

    These proved useful in our last family trip to Japan where I was the one who got separated (haha), but my kids knew where to look for me because they knew I would be staying in one place as we agreed.
     
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  6. hitme64

    hitme64 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Never, ever count your cash in public, especially in Italy and East European states where the incidence of theft is very high, and when using your credit card, limit showing it around other people (I tell you there are really some nosy people in Greece who even ask how much you’re charging to credit)
     
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  7. porkypork

    porkypork Active Member

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    Never really knew about how blatant thieves are in Europe until when I was an adult. I guess it's mainly because I grew up looking up to white people (blame it on mass media). I was shocked to see videos posted online about theft in Europe, either through scamming you, or blatantly getting your stuff off of you.
     
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  8. imart

    imart Active Member

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    • Use web check-in
    • For the aviation worms like me, i use flightradar24.com not only to track aircraft for plane photography but practically saved me lots of time upon learning that the usual Delta aircraft from Narita to SIN didn't fly as scheduled, allowing me to book another airline so I could make it to my connecting flight
    • Bring shampoo in sachets. Antibacterial dishwashing liquid too.
    • Place sim cards and a paper clip inside an SD card case. Make them accessible while at cruising altitude.
    • Anti-bacterial wet wipes to disinfect the tray tables although it's mentioned somewhere that this lessens the fire retardant component.
    • A fully functioning pen
    • Fill up disembarkation card as soon as possible
    • Bring big paper bags or grocery tote bags for excess baggage
    • Hand-carry the (heavy) chocolate bars
    • Bring extra tshirt in the hand-carry for changing especially during bad weather (heat and heavy rain)
    • A long charging/data cable
    • Fully charged portable power banks
    • Bring a pack of chocolates / candies for the cabin crew for the hardwork and tell them not to broadcast about it
    • If you're volunteering/paying for a seat near the exit row, double check the aircraft seat map (seatguru.com) and ensure that it's a reclining seat. Some aircraft have 2 seat rows near the exit row where the recliner function on the front row has limited recline or completely disabled.
    • A checklist of things that you forgot to bring in previous trips
     
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  9. rflores

    rflores Well-Known Member

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    I've been traveling local more than i do overseas lately, and usually solo. :)

    "Joiner trips" have become prevalent these days. For those who aren't familiar, usually an organizer sets up a tour to a set destination, usually over the weekend. They take care of the van, the driver, the tour guide, the accommodations, the boat, the food, and filling the rest of the seats in the van/s. All you have to do is coordinate with them, make a deposit and be on the meeting location on time. Good to try and see if this fits you. They are way cheaper, because you share the expenses with a group of people. If you get lucky meeting a nice bunch, it's a good idea to keep in touch for future travels. You'll be most likely be with people who are also traveling solo. There are FB groups that are famous for these like, DIY Travel Philippines. I've done that a couple of times for the past few years already that I have gained several travel friends whom I now travel with every now and then, so I don't have to participate in "joiners trips" anymore.

    When I have to I use the CouchSurfing app. Also something I don't use as much anymore, because there is an FB version of this already.

    Pack light. Only the really needed ones. That heavy pants, do you really need it? Jewelries, really? Use an all-weather shoe and pack a light slipper in your bag.

    Bring a bag for used clothes. Bring a smaller bag for your most essentials for when you roam around the place. Would help if the bag is waterproof so it can protect your stuff in case needed.

    I usually have a list of stuff I want to do, try, go to, and structure them so that they are going to happen in a certain chronological/geographically possible order, but I try to lessen this list so I have lots of free time for when I just wanna relax or do something spontaneous.

    Take a peak at where the tourists are, but visit where the locals go to, too. Either can teach you different things you may want to experience.
     
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  10. macmacoy

    macmacoy Active Member

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    - Get free membership of hotels and airlines beforehand. Sayang ang miles and points.
    - Save an offline map of your destination. I use Google Maps. Mark/star important locations like your hotel, places of interest, and nearest train stations.
    - Bring laundry soap or powder.
    - Know how strict the destination airport is when it comes to max baggage weight, most of the time they are stricter than NAIA. I had to repack when I was in Heathrow even though I have 2x23kgs baggage allowance because my single check in luggage was over 23kgs. That is the same stuff/weight I used outbound but no questions asked in NAIA.
    - If your time and interest permit, you can max your layover time. I was able to spend a weekend in Bangkok and Dubai with planned "layover" of business trips. Transit visa is sometimes free.
     
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  11. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm..what I do:

    1. wear regular people clothes upon arrival in Manila. The richer-looking you are, the more chances of being flagged down by customs, looking for some merienda money. :confused:

    2. Be rude to strangers out in the streets. It could be misdirection with their accomplice looking to pickpocket. Ignore and just continue walking. :mad:

    3. Download local restaurant reservation apps. Easier to score a table in popular restaurants. :LOL:

    4. Never ever store your precious things in checked luggage. Always handcarry. o_O

    5. Before arriving at the airport, remove and store all metallic objects in your handcarry bag. Easier to get through security scanners. Put your laptop on top of your bag. Some airports require you to take them out for screening. :(

    6. If you use luggage with zippers, fix them in place to the handle with zip ties. Tamper indicator. (y)

    7. If you are in a large group, always set a specific time and place to rendezvous (before going your separate ways). Phones could be lost or there’s no data or wifi signal. Being lost is no fun. :barefoot:

    8. Buy all your theme park or amusement tickets or museum passes online before leaving Manila. Less time lining up and more time for fun. :p

    9. Always know where the nearest PH embassy or consulate is located. Write down the contact details and keep in your wallet. Be familiar with the requirements to get an emergency travel document in case of lost passport or if you require legal assistance. :cry:

    10. If you are planning to buy really expensive stuff (watches, jewelry, gadgets etc.), buy them on the day before you leave for home. Much less chance of being stolen. Room maids can be thieves too. :cautious:

    11. Dont bring in fruits, meats, cooked food etc. specially into the United States. Forget the pasalubongs. Just treat your relatives to a nice local restaurant to show your gratitude for hosting your stay with them. Not worth the fine and trouble. o_O

    12. Book hotel rooms in the lower floors. Less time going into and out of your room in busy hotels. :cool:

    13. Minimize going out (parties, malls, crowded places etc.) a few days before an overseas trip. The last thing you want to be is to get sick just before travel. :sick:

    Finally, be on on your best behavior by respecting local customs, traditions or cultural practices. We are guests and ambassadors of our country. No throwing of taho on policemen.
     
    #11 raypin, Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  12. macmacoy

    macmacoy Active Member

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    For local solo/duo travels:
    - Sometimes touring on a motorbike makes more sense, of course this is if you know how to drive one. I have roamed Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, and North Luzon Loop on a bike with my girlfriend.
    - Manage the activities you want to do and the things you need to bring. Pack wisely. Pack light and you might regret not being able to do things that you want to do because you did not bring the things you need, e.g., tripod, snorkel, board, tent, or cook set.
     
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  13. pandecoco

    pandecoco Member

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    Travel light: bring only 7 days of clothes/ stuff for a week or 6 months of travel; and no pasalubongs!!!
     
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  14. tweek

    tweek Active Member

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    Make a checklist of items you are bringing or what you want to bring back.

    When buying electronics it is often cheapest to buy from the US or HK and have it shipped back by freight forwarder. Japan is the cheapest places I've found Apple products and give full GST refund at the airport.

    You can compare prices online or request for a quote via email before travel to secure stocks. Same applies to clothing brands like Uniqlo.

    If you plan to bring a DSLR or mirrorless camera consider bringing a pancake lens. This makes some digital still cameras somewhat pocketable.

    Keep a backup of your travel documents, ID, credit cards and other docs you need for your trip in the the cloud.

    Be aware of where the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate is located and their contact information.

    Get a VPN for your smartphone and other devices. Not all hotspots at airports or hotels are trust-worthy.

    Use your credit card predominately with cash only being used when necessary.

    Divide your cash in you wallet, carry on, phone case and maybe your check in.

    Bring enough cash to eat on.

    If you intend to shop for clothes then bring enough outfits for first few days before your shopping day.

    Bring a check in bag big enough to stuff in all your purchases.

    Get travel insurance. Don't be like this couple who ended up making the DFA shoulder over a million pesos in expenses to retrieve their corpses. DFA is stretched as it is in keeping track of tens of millions of OFWs


    Encode a PIN onto your credit card. Some EU countries allow you verify payment via PIN.

    Use flights.google.com cheap flights

    Try to keep loyal to an airline network to garner points to get access to their lounges. It beats staying in the public departure area especially in NAIA.

    Bring extra zip lock bags. Larger the better

    Try to get a prepaid SIM card of your destination before leaving the Philippines. It is so you don't have to stress out looking for one upon disembarkment.

    When you buy food items as your pasalubong buy at the local supermarket. Do not buy at the tourist trap or the convenience store. If you're buying a lot talk to the supervisor or the manager of the store if they can give you a box and packing tape to pack these items into. This is assuming you want to bring that much items.

    Bring a USB charger that can charge multiple USB devices at a time. Really useful when you have to share 1 power outlet among many travelers

    Bring a power bank with more than 2 USB charging output ports.

    For the love of God don't go looking for steamed rice in a country whose staple isn't steamed rice or else just stay at home and photoshop yourself onto a photo of the Eiffel Tower to post on Instagram. Heck, don't look for tinola while abroad. Expand your pallet and be educated on what the locals eat. You can have your fill of adobo when you get back anyways

    When traveling for 3 weeks consider packing a clothes for 1 week and wash the rest 2x during the trip.
     
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  15. hitme64

    hitme64 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Important hack of all: Be security conscious when in another country.

    Important because it could mean your life if you aren’t aware of the people and surroundings around you.

    In 2016, Our group of seven people were almost harassed and mugged in Brussels by a gypsy gang who followed us from the train station to hotel to night spots. I already spotted them, two in fact, when they were surreptitiously eyeing our luggage and cameras. The wife of my classmate actually talked to one of them asking for directions to our hotel. Big no-no! I said we need to use Waze for that or call the hotel. Then when we came out of the hotel I saw them again and they were more. They actually tried to converse with us during our walk in the town square thinking I didn’t recognize them because they actually changed clothes. I finally told the group we were targetted and possibly going to be mugged so we split the women up and hied a taxi for them and told the hotel we were transferring to a new hotel. Then we guys walked in different directions, buddy-buddy, to split the gang up. When we got confirmation our wives had transferred to another hotel we each took a cab to different hotels near the vicinity of our hotel and when the coast was clear we walked to our new designated hotel.

    We didn’t report it to the police because 1) we weren’t sure whom to point to, and 2) we saw one of the gang talking to a policeman earlier at the train station. We aren’t mathematicians but damn we can add this one up so easily.

    Sometimes it’s the wives that think we’re being paranoid but better that than sorry later on.
     
  16. eag

    eag Active Member

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    It was mentioned above to email copies of your passports, visas, and travel docs to yourself. I also email pics of my credit cards to myself. In case they get lost/stolen while traveling, you have a pic online so you still know the card number when you need to report it.
     
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  17. jessec

    jessec Active Member

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    I always tell my family to be extra paranoid during trips to Europe, specially if there is sudden gathering of street performance in tourist areas or even a commotions. The name of the game is distractions don't be easily distracted.
     
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  18. eag

    eag Active Member

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    Here's a tip I haven't actually tried yet. When canvasing cheaper booking rates and airline ticket prices etc, turn on and use a private browsing tab.
    Some sites will increase prices for destinations and tickets you've searched previously. At the very least it may stop all the ads coming up based on your recent searches.
     
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  19. 11Finger

    11Finger Member

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    - I usually create a dummy email account and forward my personal email to that account. That way if I only have access to a public computer I can check the dummy email account instead which is safer. Delete all emails in the dummy email after travel.

    - save a copy of all your travel docs online (I use evernote) and also print an extra copy.

    - if you are going to use your phone overseas might be a good idea to "prepay" your bill so that it won't get cut off
     
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  20. hitme64

    hitme64 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    There’s no need for you to actually learn another language to communicate with other citizens of a foreign country. The universal language is still, guess what, sign language. And English. But I found talking with my fingers and hands better suited for our Euro friends and sometimes with our Asian neighbors. Just point and point, gesticulate, twirl and twist and they’ll know what you are talking about.

    Trust me.

    But it helps knowing a little French and Chinese ;)
     

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