Wouldn’t it be great if there was just a button we could push to make travel easier, smarter, and safer? We all have our bag of travel tips and tricks and I would like to share a few of mine. Some of them you probably all know, some are absurd and some are seemingly silly… but one day I guarantee you, they will re-emerge from deep within your consciousness to save your day. (I promise not to gloat when that day comes!)

1. Scan the send

Instead of just scanning copies of passports, visas, tickets, send it to your email account where it can be accessible anywhere (instead of just saving it in your laptops or iPads… and oh, photocopies simply would not suffice!)

While traveling in Scandinavia, a group of friends got mugged — their bags, luggage, laptops, wallets were all stolen! With their digital files gone, they had to make an overseas call so that copies of their travel documents can be faxed/emailed to their hotels!

2. Ice, ice, baby

Put an ICE (In Case of Emergency) sticker - any plain label sticker will do - at the back of your mobile phone, listing the name and number of the person you want to be contacted in case of emergency. While most of us have our ICE contacts stored in our address books, our phones usually have passwords and cannot be accessed. Don’t forget to spell out In Case of Emergency, as people in some countries might not be aware of this.

{Note: Actually, this is a survival tip.}

3. Get insured

One of the essentials when travelling overseas is getting a travel insurance. By availing of one, you are covering yourself against travel-related risks such as lost luggage, cancellation fees, and overseas medical costs. Having a travel insurance lets you enjoy peace of mind even if some things go wrong. For the ideal plan coverage, you should consider the length of your trip and stay, and what exactly would you like to get covered.

4. The embassy address

I don’t mean the now-defunct hip bar at The Fort. I mean the address of the Philippine Embassy or Consul in the country where you are visiting. This will be handy just in case you lose your passport or it gets stolen. Even if you are able to retrieve copies of your travel docs from your email account (see tip #1), you will need to get a temporary passport so you can travel back home.

5. Luggage label

Do not put your home address on your luggage. It’s like advertising to potential thieves to go to your house while nobody’s home (or worse, while the kids are alone). Instead, just put your business card with your mobile number, especially if it’s a business trip. If it’s for leisure, your mobile should suffice.

6. Pac-a-parka

Ladies, get one of these. I find these parkas more practical than umbrellas since it leaves your hands free to carry or do other stuff. They fold up into a small little bag which can double as a pillow when you travel. I got mine from Topshop (but they also have it in Marks & Spencer) and they come in cool colors and prints! Cost of investment is about Php 2,500.

Traveling is meant to be fun, and one of the secrets to an enjoyable overseas travel is preparation, which will help you avoid last-minute stressors and let you enjoy the experience better. No one is born a savvy traveler, but with this simple guide and by adding in your personal experience, you can work your way to continuously improve every travel-preparation that you’ll have in the future.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Peter Nguyen

Tania Makalinao

Tania is a well-traveled Events Manager, who shared travel tips based on her personal experiences.