We are in a generation where travelling has become easier. There are countries which used to be inaccessible several years ago, but now, due to the increased transportation options, we have more access to visit different provinces and even countries that we didn’t even know existed.
For some, travelling is inevitable. Work or business opportunities sometimes requires us to visit remote destinations. That is why The Travelling Foxes tapped Al Destacamento, a Former Military Officer trained by AFP to give us some important travel tips.to give us tips on how to prepare before travelling to a new destination.
Aside from his military background, Al was also a former Security Risk Officer. He is now a photographer, an explorer and agri-entrepreneur. Al still uses the travel checklist he learned before he travels to new destinations.
Here is a comprehensive checklist you should read before travelling to a foreign destination:
- BE PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, AND EMOTIONALLY FIT. You will never know what to expect if you’re going to a foreign country for the first time. This is especially true if you’re out on vacation with your family. Tourism ads are programmed to be a bit exaggerated.
- Get a good travel insurance.
- Get all vaccines. Be updated with all the vaccines you need. You can check the list of required vaccines per country in Vaccines.gov, World Health Organization or Web MD.
- Plan your destinations and activities thoroughly (how many days and nights in each place). Use Google for more information; almost everything is in the net. Don’t announce crowd sourcing in social media. PM a trusted point person who knows the place well for tips. A checklist wouldn’t hurt.
- Don’t post on social media where you are going, plane tickets, schedules, and photos of visa and passport details FCS!!!
- Invest in a multi-purpose tool/Swiss army knife.
- Have a photocopy of your tickets, passport, itinerary, a government issued IDs/company ID. Have a scanned copy stored in the cloud.
- Invest in good backpacks or luggages. I prefer covert tactical MOLLE packs with a lot of hidden pocket designs. Also prepare a waterproof bag, zip lock bags, 2 large garbage bags (good for bag waterproofing and laundry bag), condoms (last option for waterproofing-medical adhesives and small expensive electronic equipment).
- Designate a support person you can contact in case of emergency (medical and monetary).
- Find out where the nearest embassy/consulate of your country is located.
- If you have medical conditions, have your doctor issue a prescription.
- Book your hotel/hostel with near a convenience store that has an ATM machine and a money exchange counter. If there’s none, a local Western Union would suffice.
- Have a personal First Aid Kit (good for 2 persons) and know basic First Aid and CPR/BLS.
- Basic ropes skills (knot tying) sometimes would help in various situations.
- Don’t bring a laptop if not needed. Tablet with portable keyboard would do. Invest in a couple of international adaptors for electrical sockets.
- Invest in quick dry clothes ( for tropical countries), and portable rain jackets. Neutral and dark colors preferably. Bright colors only in trip activities that could be seen in emergency situations in the mountains/sea.
- I use the “my 1/3 rule in travel budgeting”. 1st 1/3 total expenses paid before departure (hotel, plane tickets, tour expenses). 2nd 1/3– extra expenses for food, additional tours, shopping money. last 1/3 — emergency funds. (medical, communication, transportation, food and lodging-not to be touched unless in dire emergency situations).
- Make sure your Credit Cards/Debit Cards are acceptable in the country you are going. Make sure to call your bank before going on the trip and alert them of your travel .Please bear in mind the service rates. Sometimes it’s better to have enough USD or EUD on hand.
- Camouflage expensive equipment with wear and tear. I put a lot of worn out look duct tapes in my camera, smart phone, and tablet/laptop in very sensitive areas and in brands names. This deters thieves from targeting your equipment.
- Bring a lot of trinkets, small souvenirs that represent your country. No religious items please.
- Bring 1 regular cheap, open line, “disposable” GSM phone with extra batteries if available.
- Bring your calling cards.
- Be attentive to the local news about your country/place your visiting 2 weeks beforehand.
- PLEASE STUDY THE RELIGION, CULTURE AND LEARN A COUPLE OF HANDY TOURIST PHRASES BEFORE LEAVING.
Have a great trip!!
Check out our next article on “24 Tips When Travelling Internationally“.