1. Research about your destination.
Whether you’re traveling within or outside the country, it’s important to know what to expect once you arrive at your destination. What dialect or language do the locals speak? What’s the prevailing culture? Are there any dress codes you should take note of? Doing your homework doesn’t only make you aware, but it also shows respect for the place you’re headed to.
2. Have a list of institutions that you may need to contact in case of an emergency.
Create a list of contact details of hospitals, police stations, and if needed, the Philippine Embassy in the country you’ll be staying in. Have one copy of it on your phone and another in a separate notebook. Not to be praning, but a lot of things can happen when you’re on your own, and this is just added padding to your security.
3. Let your loved ones know where and how to contact you.
Supply your family with your travel details and itinerary, including hotel bookings and transfers. Moreover, also give them scanned copies of your passport and other IDs so that in case you lose them, it’ll be easier for you to process for a new one.
4. Tour light.
Taking public transportation in a foreign place is lots of fun, but sadly, buses and trains are usually pickpocket hot spots. Discourage petty criminals by carrying a small bag with only your essentials, and don’t put anything in your back pocket.
5. Be discreet.
The way you look probably screams “TOURIST!”, so you may need to put a bit more effort into blending in. Try not to wear anything too fancy such as eye-catching jewelery when walking around a foreign city. If you’re carrying your expensive gadgets with you, put them in a nondescript bag that won’t make their value too obvious. You make still look like an expat, but at least you look like one that has street smarts.
6. Always have a map with you.
And we don’t mean the map on your mobile phone. Have an honest-to-goodness physical map of the place you’re visiting and always have it with you. You’re never sure when you’ll have working internet or mobile signal, so it’s a must to have something to rely on when you find yourself lost.
7. Respect local customs.
As the saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. There are many tourists who get into trouble simply because they refuse to act accordingly in a foreign place. Respect the culture and the customs of the province or country you’re visiting and abide by their laws. Having fun doesn’t require stepping on other people’s toes.
8. Be courteous.
A nod, a smile, and a “good afternoon” can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Showing a bit of kindness can actually make people more willing to offer help should you need it.
9. Trust your instincts.
More often than not, your intuition is right. If you find yourself in a situations you don’t feel comfortable with, walk–or better yet, run.
PHOTO: Instagram @stocksnap