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12 Essential Travel Tips You Should Know

Our jetsetting columnist shares her own secrets for having successful trips. She asks her well-traveled celeb pals to give their own tips, too.

Summer's upon us, and that means one thing: Vacation! Whether it's just for a weekend or a full-blown, long vacay, we all have our own itineraries in mind--in the hopes of making the trip worth every cent!

However, as exciting as any vacation could get, the secret to any successful trip is to plan ahead! Time is of the essence, so while you’re here in Manila, here are some essential guidelines to planning your trip plus some tips from five travel stylistas.

1. Book Way Ahead

Model/actress Kelly Misa shares, “Save more money by booking as early as you can.” She adds, “It’s not the easiest since our schedules can be erratic, but if you’re absolutely sure of the date and can stick to it, you’ll end up saving so much!”

Very true! Airlines and agencies offer amazing packages for those who book even as early as a year in advance. Remember, airlines can demand a steeper price when you book flights closer to the date, due to the sense of urgency.  

2. Know The Season In Your Destination

Do your research via CNN for updated weather forecast, which will serve as guide when packing clothing and accessories. You don’t want to be caught dead traveling in winter garb to Australia in December!

3. Once You Go Black…

One way to save luggage space is to constantly mix and match your outfits in the safest and chicest color: Black! You simply can’t go wrong with this travel wardrobe staple!

4. Socket Situation

On that note, real estate maven and Luca Clothing’s Divine Lee, who travels constantly, highly suggests, “Adaptors and extension cords! Always bring extension cords! We may have too many chargers and outlets here but hotels provide minimal. That’s a must-bring!”

5. Bring A Handheld Device

Other than your cellphone, camera, chargers, extension cords, etc., this is the one thing to bring to gauge your luggage weight precisely and not by gut. Handheld luggage weights are small, light, and effective for determining either the horrid truth that you over-shopped or the wonderful news that you have room for some more. There’s nothing worse than paying overweight charges at the airport with money you saved up so hard for!

6. Ditch The Plastic

No, we didn’t mean your credit card! You may think those vacuum-sealed plastic bags for clothes, sheets, etc. that serve as space savers for homes and luggage actually work. But though they may save space, the thick plastic is dense and turns your clothes into a solid block of unwanted weight! Best to pack your clothes all rolled-up, then store underwear and smaller items inside shoes and other crevices to save space, minus the deadly plastic weight.

7. Research On Money Changers

Do your research online through blogs to know where the best money changers are or if there are any in the area where you'll be staying. St. James Bazaar co-founder and philanthropist Nikki Valerio shares, “When traveling to certain places like Turkey, there are only one or two money changers, which have an exchange limit of $100! What’s more, public markets don’t accept credit cards so cash is the only option. However, due to the extremely minimal number of money changers, they can charge up to 16% on fees!”

Her solution? “The stopover before Turkey from Manila is Singapore, so best to exchange your dollars there.”

8. All About Compatibility

As they say with relationships, compatibility is everything. Celebrity and fashion stylist Alyanna Martinez explains, “Travel with someone you’re compatible with. Before going on a long trip with someone, test your compatibility with a short one first. Nothing ruins a trip more than spending it with someone who’ll eventually get on your nerves!”

9. Be A Cheesy Tourist

Once you’ve found your travel partner, if you have any, model and StreetBeatBoutique.multiply.com’s, Valerie de los Santos says, “When visiting a place/country for the first time, I highly recommend joining a free walking tour or bike tour (which is particularly popular in Europe) on your first day. That way, you’ll be able to explore a new place, gain historical and cultural knowledge about it, gain traveling tips, learn how navigate the area by yourself, meet new people, and best of all, save money at the same time!” You can’t go wrong with that!

10. Hit The Embassy!

This practice is rarely done but it always pays to be on the safer side, especially when traveling to a country for the first time. Go to your respective country’s embassy and register, to officially let them know you’re there. That way, should anything terrible happen to you, your embassy can contact your family and provide proper aid, should local government cause any problem or give little help.  

11. Time To Go Public!

“Make use of the public transport system,” Divine suggests. You not only get to save money, but taking the bus, for example, is like taking a tour of the area through the eyes of a local. Now, what if you get lost? Alyanna says, “The best way to experience a new place is to get lost in it. You’ll never know what you might discover!”

12. Take Note

This is the one tip I personally swear by while I was working as a model in Singapore and Bangkok: Write all your expenses! From a new top to a small tip, every cent counts. This helps you stick to your budget and learn your spending behavior. Round up your daily, weekly, and monthly expenses to better study your spending habits and learn how to control or go easy on them.

Aside from these, by all means, have fun and be safe!

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