Avoid travel disappointments by being prepared

How often have we heard of travel stories laced with disappointments, regrets, mishaps and bloopers, and about things just going wrong during vacations? Such incidents are usually unexpected but most of them can be avoided by wisely planning your trip ahead. Here are some travel tips to help you have a fun and stress-free vacation.

Online travel services

Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at Vysehrad Castle, Prague
Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at Vysehrad Castle, Prague

If you’re booked with a travel agent, be sure to connect with their authorized representative through their official company email or website. Be wary of emails that offer you discounts and deals on travel packages unless you’re sure it’s from a trusted company. Do a bit of research, read customer reviews and get recommendations from friends, when signing up for online travel websites and services.

To be updated with the latest airfare promos, sign up for your favorite airlines’ newsletter by email or subscribe to their Facebook or Twitter updates. Most of my etickets were purchased after getting airline promo alerts delivered to my inbox.

Fun on the road

Bacolod to Cebu bus trip via Don Salvador Benedicto
On the road: Bacolod to Cebu bus trip via Don Salvador Benedicto

Road trips can be tiring and boring; stack up your fave music on your iPod or mp3 player so you can enjoy your time on the road. Driving through different locations means going through some areas with no radio signals, thus your car radio can’t pick up some stations all the time. So it’s best to load your music player with songs that put you in the right mood for your road trip.

Traveling with kids

My nephews and niece putting on some royal costumes at the Moominvalley stage at the Moomin Museum in Tampere, Finland
My nephews and niece putting on some royal costumes at the Moomin Museum in Tampere, Finland

If you’re bringing your kids along, remember to have them carry an identification tag, e.g. their info inscribed in a rubber bracelet, necklace pendant, scannable tag or similar, with contact numbers. Traveling with kids can be challenging – they are always excited during trips and tend to run around and possibly get lost, thus it is best to have them wear basic identifying items so they can be easily recognized and reunited with their parents or guardian.

For instance, at the Royal Flora Festival 2006 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, all the kids were made to wear stickers with their names and other info to easily identify them in case they get lost. It’s scary to think of losing your child during travel, but to be unprepared makes it even worse.

Prepare and orient your child ahead of the trip if it will be a first time flight experience. It’s important to assure the child beforehand and dispel some fears by talking about airline safety and proper in-flight behaviour.

My cousin Bea on her first plane ride
My cousin Bea, enjoying her first plane ride

Set a positive mood on your kid’s part before the flight to build their confidence and even excitement. This prepares the child’s mindset about riding a plane, thus avoiding tantrums and anxiety during the actual flight. It also helps to bring along their favorite toys, activity books or snacks to keep them occupied.

Choose the best in-flight seats

Top view of Amsterdam showing a series of windmills representing the country’s green energy advocacy
View of Amsterdam from the plane’s window showing a series of windmills representing the country’s green energy advocacy

Long-haul flights can be stressful, but you can plan ahead for a comfortable trip by choosing your plane seat. Most airlines offer advanced booking options for passengers to select where they want to be seated at additional rates. For instance, Cebu Pacific offers their Seat Selector add-on service with Standard and Premium seats at Php100 and Php200 respectively.

Choose a seat by the aisle if you need to go to the restroom frequently, and choose a window seat for an undisturbed flight with a nice view. During our recent flight to Laoag, we were assigned the last row of seats at the back which made our trip an uncomfortable one. Fortunately the flight was only for an hour, so it was manageable.

Personalized trip essentials

Berlin landmarks and tourist attractions: One day tour
Berlin day tour: the World Time Clock and the Park Inn Berlin at Alexanderplatz

Bring your own set of trip essentials to keep yourself more comfortable during the flight – a small pillow or blanket, a music player and other items that you think can make your trip less stressful. Most airlines provide some comfort items but having your own set will make your flight extra cozy, and you might need these at the waiting lounge.

If you’re on a restricted food diet, bring along your prescribed snacks/food and drinks packed properly in airport-approved containers. Even if you’re not on a diet, it’s wise to bring some favorite snacks and drinks; munching on familiar food helps, in case the inflight meals fail to satisfy your taste buds.

Being prepared

Punta Bulata White Beach Resort & Spa at Cauayan, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Just for fun! A jump shot by the shoreline at Punta Bulata Beach Resort

Cramming for a trip is a big no-no for seasoned travelers. Vacations can be ruined when one is not prepared. Plan your travel ahead and have a well-defined trip itinerary so you can prioritize the people you need to spend time with and the places you wish to visit based on your personal preferences. A well-planned trip ensures a truly memorable, fun and stress-free vacation experience.

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