Traveling abroad is essential to one's life. It allows us to experience new culture, learn new things, and know ourselves better by getting out of our comfort zones. Thus, it is a great life investment because you buy experiences that last for a lifetime.
Here are the five essential things to remember before embarking on your international trip. If it's your first time to travel outside the country (Philippines), read on, my friend.
Passport, fees, taxes, and other documents
First things first - check the validity of your passport. Philippine Passports are valid for five years but if you're traveling abroad six months prior the expiration of your passport, the immigration officer will not allow you to travel. Therefore, it is wise to renew your passport before that 6-mos crucial period.
Aside from your passport, the immigration officer might ask you for additional documents such as invitations, hotel reservations, and a copy of your return flight.
Before leaving the country, you have to pay Php 2170 (550 for terminal fee and 1620 for travel tax). Yep, I heard you. It really is expensive to get out of the country! But, rules are rules.
Your $600 budget in Cambodia and Vietnam may not be enough in Singapore, even just for two to three days. It's not rocket science; first world countries have higher cost of living while developing countries have cheaper commodities. Pro tip: I bring extra money on top of my trip budget. Example, if my 4-day Hongkong-Macau trip's budget is $500, I bring an extra $100, just in case if I exceed on my personal maximum allowable daily expenses.
Itineraries and Maps
Both are essential but it is fun to get lost and get back on track after a while. It would be more exciting if you're with a group! These two serve as guides but in my own experience, I usually don't follow itineraries, that is if time permits. In fact, the memorable memories from my previous trips came from those moments when I decided to ditch the map and just walk along the unfamiliar road. In fact, I was forced to get out of my comfort zone by talking to strangers (yep, I hate talking to people whom I do not know if you're asking).
Gadgets and Universal Adaptor
Remember to charge your power banks before leaving. If you own a DSLR camera, I suggest to bring the lens that you really need the most. In my case, I only bring my 50mm f/1.8 lens because it's compact and I love its shallow depth of field. You don't need to bring all your lenses, unless if you're attending a photography workshop. Today, mirrorless DSLRs are more compact but are even more powerful when capturing photos.
Smartphones are also essential because they literally store almost anything - e-tickets and boarding passes, itineraries, internet access, social media, and a quick snapshots of your trip. But always keep in mind that you travel to experience life in new perspectives, not in front of your smartphone.
And as for the universal adaptor, it's self-explanatory.
Research and have an Open Mind
Sometimes, the things that you normally do at home might be offensive to some people. Again, it doesn't hurt to research prior your trip. In this day and age, internet is accessible to everyone! Thus, there are no excuses.