SO the bonuses are coming and if you’re the traveling kind, what better time to plan next year’s travels abroad. Apart from keeping an eye on travel promos, there are a number of essentials the traveler must consider when planning. The ideal travel plan is to keep it simple, but with unforeseen circumstances and a slowly changing travel landscape, it pays to plan intelligently, reasonably and with care. Here are a few tips to consider when planning next year’s trips:
Make an itinerary
Some travelers pride themselves for their spontaneity, but truth is many of those who appear spontaneous actually do plenty of research. And doing research means going beyond online searches, such as asking fellow travelers for tips. Emailing or messaging accommodations and transport establishments weeks before the trip also helps you decide. Unless you’re getting a paid tour for the entire duration of your trip, drafting an itinerary with several options can make your travel more worthwhile and exciting. Don’t worry about not being spontaneous enough because travel itself is always full of surprises and offers spontaneity the least you expect it.
Leave your obsessive-compulsive tendencies at home. The more flexible you are as a traveler, the better. Just because you’ve drafted an itinerary with blood, sweat and tears doesn’t mean you should follow it to the letter. What if the weather doesn’t cooperate, or you figured there’s a better sidetrip than the one you’ve planned? Consider that routes you’ve planned to take during a trip could change, or new ones opened. So be prepared and expect the unexpected. What you really need when faced with these probabilities is to let your good decision-making skills come into play. Good decisions plus flexibility are key to a memorable trip.
Mind rising costs
The cost of fuel is rising again, although not back to historic highs, and the value of the peso is going down. That means there’s a chance your airfare could cost higher, especially for those you need to book close to the trip. Promo airfares and accommodations paid in advance are always the best deal, but these carry risks such as cancellations or change of plans on your part. When budgeting, consider travel inflation and keep extra cash or have accessible fund sources such as your credit card.
One of the most important travel-related concerns is safety. Most popular travel destinations around the world are generally safe, though not danger-proof. With a few exceptions, some Southeast Asean countries are just as safe — or risky — as the more developed countries in Europe. Cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok have their own fare share of petty crimes, while Paris and Jakarta are not spared of violent attacks. If you have the urge to check travel advisories, put it in the proper context, or find out what’s the reason behind the advisory. It would be prudent to always be aware of one’s surroundings without being paranoid. More importantly, secure your documents, especially your passport, cash and valuables, and keep a backup plan.
Guests need to behave. Period. When you’re in different country, be mindful of local customs and treat your surroundings and the people with respect. This behavior holds true especially at your accommodations. Some online lodging platforms like Airbnb lets hosts review their guests as well, unlike before when the review system was one-way and biased toward the reviewer, even if they actually behaved like guests from hell. So, if you’re a frequent traveler who prefers this kind of service, it pays to keep a good ratings record because good hosts want to deal with no-nonsense, non-problematic guests. Travelers, as consumers, get what they pay for. But sometimes they do get more for doing their homework or because of good karma for behaving properly or responsibly. (Freon L. Ollival)