MANILA, Philippines – Sure, everyone tells you there’s a lot to learn by traveling, and with budget airfare, nifty boutique accommodations, and convenient direct flights opening up, you have more reason to just book and fly.
But there are realities that come with the romance of travel and being far away from home. Right after you book your travel ticket, you might want to get started packing and planning other travel essentials—those often overlooked items that can make a huge difference.
1. Get on four wheels
Invest in a great suitcase. Four-wheeled suitcases that can spin 360 degrees are the latest travel craze among manufacturers who are all in a race to “reinvent the wheel.” And with reason, these spinners are easy to push and pull around long winding queues and expansive airport terminals without straining your arms and shoulders. You can also push the bag in front of you, if that’s what you prefer to do. As if these zingers weren’t enough, you can hoist your overstuffed handbag on these four-wheeled wonders so you don’t have to lug it. I call it a travel investment.
2. A cross-body bag with lots of compartments
You don’t really realize how heavy a bag with a camera (even a small point and shoot), a phone, a wallet, and a small makeup kit can be until you try walking around with it the whole day. Cross-body bags distribute the weight so the straps don’t bite into your shoulders. They’re also easier to keep an eye on because they can be worn in front of you (unlike a shoulder bag and/or a backpack). The many compartments make it hard for pickpockets to get their hands on your stuff, but make it a snap for you to find things.
3. Comfortable and durable shoes
After four different trips where my show sole was nearly torn apart, I realized I needed to tuck on the qualifiers “sturdy” and “durable” to comfy when looking for shoes. I’ve noticed that it’s the shoes with the soles glued on – as opposed to stitched on – that are the most prone to splitting open after continuous days of walking. Sneakers are probably best type to wear on a trip in both hot and cold weather. Have band-aids on hand for blisters or other wounds. Clear packing tape for emergencies won’t hurt either.
4. Travel insurance
Make sure you’re ready for adventure and just about anything unexpected. Traveling brings with it the possibility of mishaps, from delayed flights to weather disturbances to lost luggage. Throw in Murphy’s Law + climate change and you just might encounter all three in one trip. Weather changes, fatigue, or eating an exotic dish your stomach couldn’t handle can also make you prone to getting sick. Be prepared for anything that might happen and get travel insurance to make sure it covers the basics like medical treatment and lost/delayed/damaged luggage. For the most adventurous travelers, check for travel insurance packages that will cover extreme activities.
5. A fully stocked emergency pack
Apart from the usual, take the time to put together an emergency kit specific to your destination. A cruise would require motion sickness pills. A pack of diarrhea pills would be handy for every trip and a nail cutter with nail file is an often overlooked essential, but remember to keep it in your suitcase, not your carry-on, where sharp items might not be allowed on board the plane.
Travel safe and have fun! – Rappler.com
Photo of woman at the airport from Shutterstock
Ana P. Santos writes about sex and gender issues. Seriously. She is also a regular contributor for Rappler apart from her DASH of SAS column, which is a spin off of her website, www.SexAndSensibilities.com (SAS). Follow her on Twitter at @iamAnaSantos.