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Sometimes, it’s amusing to look back on our beginnings as travelers and realize how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. I still remember the first time I was at the airport. Yes, I was extremely excited, but I was also ridiculously lost and confused. I didn’t know what to do or where to go first. I would just approach the counter, be it for flight check in or immigration check, not knowing what to expect. Whenever the check-in staff or the Immigration Officer would ask for something, I would be like, “Oh yes, hold on, it’s somewhere here.”

Here at The Poor Traveler, we always provide useful tips especially for complicated situations like how to apply for a visa, how to secure a travel clearance, or how to avoid being offloaded. But sometimes, it’s the little things that we tend to forget.

If you’re a travel newbie, some seemingly trivial things make a big difference. A simple act can mean a smoother travel experience. We’ve compiled some easy travel tips that you can do for a more hassle-free journey. Here they are.

  1. Flying? Ditch the belt and wear stretchable pants. Belts can be a hassle especially if you’re running late and you’re rushing to your boarding gate. You can choose to wear stretchable pants instead of using a belt to get through those security checks faster.
  2. While you’re at it, wear slip-on shoes too! Some airports require that you remove your shoes when clearing security checks. Skip untying and tying your shoelaces every time if you wear slip-on shoes or sandals.
  3. Not enough space on your luggage? Roll your clothes to get more space. This one’s classic because it’s effective! This technique in packing gives more space and reduces wrinkles and creases on your clothes.
  4. Catching the last train or bus? When checking in your bags, ask the airline personnel to mark them as fragile. Bags and items marked as fragile are stacked on top of the pile. Plus, you’re 100% sure that your bags will be the first to be sent out of the carousel and be able to catch your ride.
  5. Take a photo of all your travel documents! Then, make a separate folder in your gallery for these. It can get annoying to whip out your passport, flight tickets and hotel bookings when filling out needed travel forms. Having a soft copy of your passport and visa also makes it easy to get a temporary replacement in case you lose them.
  6. Take home travel-size hotel toiletries. We’ve read in a certain article that hoarding hotel toiletries is actually good for the environment. Excess toiletries like shampoos, soaps, and lotions are not recycled and put to waste by most hotels. You can help reduce this waste by taking home your used and unused toiletries and reusing them on your next trip.
  7. Having a problem with limited sockets in your hotel room? Check the TV. Usually televisions in hotels have two or more USB slots that you can alternatively use to charge your gadgets.
  8. Bring a power strip! A power strip is a series of electrical sockets that allow multiple electrical devices to be powered from a single source. It is different from an extension cord in a way that it also acts as a surge protector and shields your devices from unstable and erratic power flow. Be sure to check if the power strip you’re getting has this feature. Also, do research on the voltage requirements and local laws of the destination where you’re heading before you go. For example, cruise ships don’t allow these onboard.
  9. For mobile power on the go, get yourself a power bank with at least 20,000mah. This device can pour in extra juice to your smartphone or tablets anytime without the need of an electrical socket.
  10. Put fragile and delicate souvenirs in an old eyeglass case. This protects them breakage. Pringles containers work too! Don’t forget to ask the airline personnel to mark them as fragile.
  11. Bring your own refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water from convenience stores. If you have your own bottle, you can just refill them at your hotel or hostel or at a restaurant. In many destinations especially in Europe, tap water is potable. There are also drinking fountains around. It helps you save money and the environment. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone!
  12. Inform your bank before your trip if you plan on using your ATM card! The ATM is often the best way to get local currency. You’ll get the real-time exchange rate that your bank offers. Some international ATMs may charge a certain amount to withdraw from their machines. So if you can find an ATM that charges the lowest for international transactions, find one.
  13. Download the MERALCO MOBILE APP! Sometimes, when traveling, we can’t help but worry about the chores we left at home, especially if you live alone or you’re in charge of the bills at home. But often, many of these errands can be done online using an app. For example, MERALCO now has its own MERALCO MOBILE app, so you don’t need to worry about how to pay for your electric bill when you’re outside the country. You can view your bill on your phone and even pay online and have access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even when traveling. You can also subscribe to paperless billing!

    This post is brought to you by MERALCO.

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Liz Mondragon
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