Traveling: Getting Ready

Dear Traveler,

"If only I am not so forgetful!" 

I often get the feeling that I left something important when I pack. I end up putting in too much instead of too little most of the time. Do you also end up doing the same? 

I even have pre-holiday nightmares where I am awakened by a dream where I left my ticket and I am already at the airport and the plane is about to leave. 

Preparation calms me down. 

And so, when preparing for a trip, I pack my bags mentally first. With my tour itinerary on one hand and the weather forecast in the other, I map out my activities for the duration of my travel, picture my room, my dress, my comfort.  Then I start listing down everything on paper and fit them on the itinerary I had in mind. If I would like to "go and be surprised" in the location I want to go...I plan out in terms of $$$. 

After I list down all I need for the trip,that is when I go to my room and pack them. The list stays with me so that I know I will not forget anything in the hotel when its time to go back. 

You see, I was born with the memory of a 70-year old and I need this to keep my sanity. I'd forget my name if my mom did not call me too often. 

Some things to consider when packing:

Should you bring raincoats or sunblock? Is one sweater enough? Do I need thermal clothes?  Including lip balm in you kikay kit is superflous in some trips and essential in others. Liquids used to protect your skin should be packed properly and always in your checked-in luggage. Never pack an umbrella in your hand-carried luggages as they will be confiscated at the airport. 

Duration of trip
For long trips, try to bring clothes you can wash, dry and use easily. Cash is very important - if not its equivalents in terms of traveler's cheque, atm or a very generous friend. 

Although a packaged tour may already outline your activities, it is still best to go online to check out how others had their trip to certain tourist spots. A simple tip from their experience may enhance yours. Knowing your timeline / schedule may also help you pack efficiently. Example: If you are arriving at the hotel from the airport too early to check in (standard check in time for hotels is at 2:00p.m.) then you should be ready to have a small bag packed inside your big bag so that you'd be ready to leave your luggage at the hotel concierge after checking in your luggage. Not doing so may mean that you'd sort out what you need at the hotel lobby  before leaving your luggage. 

Baggage allowance for the trip 
For airline baggage allowance, try to visit the airline website you are using for certain restrictions. More so if you are traveling long haul with stops using different airlines. For example, travelers flying Philippine Airlines to the U.S. should know that although they may have 50lbs allowance for their baggage, they could only check in "2 pieces-50lbs (23kgs) each piece Total of 107 in (273 cm) for the 2 pieces with no piece exceeding 62 in (158cm)" (from

In packaged tours with transfers using sit in coach, only one standard size baggage is allowed as you are sharing storage space with other passengers in the coach. Although there may be provisions for paying your excess baggage, you may still be refused if there are no available space to give. Sometimes it all boils down to being considerate. 

Papers, papers, papers
Your passport, your tour itinerary, your airline ticket, concert ticket, printed directions to a destination you checked out on the net (print them preferably in the script using the country's language), map to a nearby church, a letter, an invitation. Never leave your passport in the hotel. In some countries (I was a victim in China) riding the train to the next town may require you to present your passport (as some trains take you to the next town all the way to Shanghai!).

Your tickets. Be sure to read them thoroughly. Mindfully and with full understanding. Some itineraries/ tickets use military time. You might show up in the airport at 1PM when your flight already left 12 hours earlier. It pays to tell someone else your schedule, put them in your phone for alarm so as not to forget. 

What can't you live without? Most probably,  cameras and cellphones would fall in this category. Make sure you have your chargers, your memory cards, usb cords with you. Also, a tip may be to bring not only adapator / universal adaptors but also extension cords. Have you ever stayed in hotels where the only other socket aside from the ones behind the t.v. is the one beside the sink? 

Dress up
I myself am not a dressy person. I do not feel compelled to dress up. However, when going for a trip, try to DRESS UP. This helps your image at the airport, the way the locals will treat you, and they look good in the pictures - preserving the memory of your trip. 

Some months back, a memo was sent to us, travel agents asking us to advise our guests to dress well at the airports especially for travels to Singapore, Bangkok and when traveling long haul. This is because immigration officers end up sizing up the clients and although it seldom happens, questioning their intent for travel. Such disturbances can just spoil a perfectly planned holiday  on the onset. 

A friend of mine uses this strategy to increase her chances for a seat upgrade. It does not hurt to try. 

I need not tell you to bring your toiletries. But one other thing I do is to bring a towellette and shawl or if I can "malong". Being a budget traveler may sometimes mean you need to deal with untidy hotels or if you have very high standards, hotels that may not live up to that. I either use these to put on my pillow, to wrap myself in aside from the blankets, etc. 

This is a personal look out. Do not forget. If you are healthy, at least bring immodium :) 

I told you I over pack! :) 

However i hope that this helps you. If you are traveling in a group / family, try to share and delegate essentials that are not for personal use. This saves you space. 

Having said all these, it is only when you get to your destination will you know what you .....forgot! 

Happy traveling!