- Don't forget to pack essential medicines—colds, fever, diarrhea, allergies—and any special medicines you need for conditions you might have, like asthma or diabetes. Bring prescriptions in case the country you're visiting is strict. You don't want to get bogged down with food poisoning when you're halfway through your trip!
- Take pictures, but don't forget to actually enjoy the places you see, too. Make sure you get an opportunity to really take a look at everything with your own eyes, not just through a viewfinder or on an LCD screen.
- Do a little research ahead of time about the countries or destinations you're visiting, and familiarize yourself with the culture and the important laws. It always helps to be prepared.
- Keep an open mind, especially in countries with a drastically different culture from the one you're used to. Be respectful. You're the minority; you have to adjust and adapt.
- If you're still a student, bring your ID! Some museums and major attractions offer discounts or free entry to students carrying their IDs. It might save you a little money for some pasalubong.
- Leave the heels at home--unless there's major party-going in your itinerary! If you're going to be doing a lot of walking on your trip, it's better to bring comfortable shoes that will go with most (if not all) of your outfits. You don't want to ruin your vacation by spraining an ankle trying to walk on cobblestone streets in your stilettos! Bring one classic pair of heels, if you absolutely have to, for nice dinners or fancy occasions.
- Take note of the local culture and make sure that what you're planning to wear isn't offensive. For example, if you're visiting a Muslim country, leave the cleavage-baring shirts, shorts, and miniskirts in Manila. Dress conservatively. What's slightly manang at home could be downright indecent in another country. Following the local norms even though you're a tourist shows that you respect their culture.
- You don't have to shop for a whole new wardrobe if you're going to visit a country with a different climate. At most, you might have to buy one thick coat, but that's it. Layer the clothes you already have in your closet for warmth. That way, if the temperature gets warmer, you can strip layers. Bring good, lightweight pieces that you can mix and match, and dress practically.
- Bring photocopies of all your documents—your passports, your visas, your identification—in case your actual copies go missing.
- Be vigilant about where your things are. Don't be too paranoid, but it's good to always be conscious of your belongings, like your money, your camera, and your other electronics. It might sound over the top, but don't let go of your bag; don't put it down. It can get snatched anywhere—off a restaurant seat, off your luggage trolley at the airport while you're pulling your maleta off the conveyor—in any country you visit.
- Don't put your valuables where people can see them, even in your hotel room. Keep important things close to you (or better yet, leave them at home). Keep your gadgets tucked safely into your bag. Be discreet when you take your wallet out to pay for things.
- Don't put all your money in one place, so that if you get pickpocketed, not all of it gets stolen.
- Try not to look lost, and don't get distracted. Seasoned pickpockets work in teams and use distractions to draw your attention away from your belongings, making them easier to steal.
- Common sense is key. Don't go out alone, especially at night. Don't tell a stranger exactly where you're staying (even if he looks just like Robert Pattinson). In some cases, it's better to be overcautious. Always think of your safety first.
Ed's Note: As we speak, Regina is on her way to Egypt for their family's annual vacation abroad, where she will get to apply all these tips herself!