A Safe Trip
So you decided it's time to go traveling. Perhaps vacation will soon be here, or perhaps you are tired of working and decided to have the break of your life. You've saved up some money, or maybe you just have a credit card. You've got a fancy SLR camera or maybe you've got an acoustic guitar. But if you want to go somewhere you've never been, meet fellow travelers but also meet the locals, and just generally do whatever you want, when you want then you've come to the right place, Cebu.
When traveling, the odds are in your favor that you will have a safe and incident-free trip. However, crime and violence, as well as unexpected difficulties, do happen. In the hope of helping you avoid serious difficulties during your visit to Cebu, Cebutravelsite.com has prepared the following travel tips.
Thank you for taking the time to become an informed traveler. We wish you a safe and wonderful journey!
THINGS TO ARRANGE BEFORE YOU GO
As much as possible, plan to stay in hotels (that have more elaborate security. Safety experts would recommend booking a room from the second to seventh floors above ground level to deter easy entrance from outside, but low enough for fire equipment to reach.
Because take-off and landing are the most dangerous times of a flight, book non-stop flights when possible. When there is a choice of airport or airline, ask your travel agents about comparative safety records.
Have your affairs at home in order. If you leave a current will, insurance documents, and power of attorney with your family or a friend, you can feel secure about traveling and will be prepared for any emergency that may arise while you are away. If you have minor children, consider making guardianship arrangements for them.
Make a note of the credit limit on each credit card that you bring. Make certain not to charge over that amount on your trip. You don't want to get arrested for innocently exceeding your credit limit. Ask your credit card company how to report the loss of your card from abroad. Some 1-800 numbers in your country might not work here, but your company should have a number that you can call while you are here.
Dealing with the Airline
When making your reservations, inform your travel agent or the carrier of the following:
- Assistance that will be needed while flying and at the airport;
- Type of disability and equipment used for mobility, such as crutches or a wheelchair;
- Request for a manual or electric wheelchair to be stored and brought to the airplane door/gate upon arrival;
In all cases, ask that your needs and requests be documented as part of the reservation and take down the name of the agent. That way, if there is a problem, you will have a clear record of what you requested, in the event it is necessary to take your complaint to a customer relations office.
It is to every traveler's advantage to know the policies of the airline before arriving at the airport. Arrive extra early to allow plenty of time for any last-minute problems to be administered.
Health and Insurance
If you have any condition that might develop complications- especially if you are pregnant, check with your doctor before you go abroad. If you experience complications, a medical evacuation might still take several precious hours to arrange. Talk to your physician about the activities you have planned and your general physical condition, any immunizations that might be needed, and medications, whether prescription or over the counter, that you might need for your trip.
Several private organizations provide listings of physicians abroad to international travelers. Membership in these organizations is generally free, although a donation may be requested. Membership entitles you to a number traveler's medical aids, including a directory of physicians with their overseas locations, telephone numbers and doctors' fee schedules. The physicians here in the Philippines are generally English-speaking and provide medical assistance 24 hours a day. The addresses of these medical organizations are in travel magazines or may be available from your travel agent.
If you take prescription medication, make sure you have enough to last the duration of the trip, including extra medication in case you are delayed. Always carry your prescriptions in their labeled containers because airport authorities may have strict narco-trafficking laws and might be suspicious of pills in unlabeled bottles. Bring your prescription information and the names of their generic equivalents with you just in case.
If possible, drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled for 20 minutes. Be aware of ice cubes that may not have been made with purified water. Vegetables and fruits should be peeled or washed in a purifying solution. A good rule to follow: if you can't peel it or cook it, don't eat it.
Diarrhea may be treated with antimicrobial treatment, which may be prescribed or purchased over the counter. Travelers should consult a physician, rather than attempt self-medication, if the diarrhea is severe or persists several days.
Find out if your personal property insurance covers you for loss or theft abroad. More importantly, check on whether your health insurance covers you abroad. Even if your health insurance will reimburse you for medical care that you pay for abroad, normal health insurance does not pay for medical evacuation from a remote area or from a country where medical facilities are inadequate. Consider purchasing one of the short-term health and emergency assistance policies designed for travelers. Also, make sure that the plan you purchase includes medical evacuation in the event of an accident or serious illness.
Service Pets and Equipment
Service Dogs: Travelers should be aware that there are restrictions on service dogs traveling through or arriving in the Philippines. If you intend to travel with a service dog, be sure to check on possible restrictions on quarantine and vaccination requirements with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Find out what other documents are needed, including international health certificates, rabies inoculation certificates and if the documents need to be translated. Talk with your vet about how to travel with your dog and how travel will affect the dog. You may also want to ensure that hotels will accommodate your service dog and that there will be an adequate area for the dog to relieve itself.
Equipment: If you require a wheelchair, scooter or other equipment, consider having a maintenance check done on it to ensure that everything is in working order before you leave. You may want to research the availability of wheelchair and medical equipment providers in the areas you plan to visit before you depart on your trip.
What You Can Pack:
Not much! You probably won't really need it unless you're planning on staying for good. If you forgot something, you can usually get it in any mall or sidewalk store so don't worry about it. Safety begins when you pack.
Always try to travel light. You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, but never leave it unattended.
Passport: Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen.
Medicine: To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of the Philippines in your state first.
Clothes: To avoid being a target, dress conservatively. Don't wear expensive-looking jewelry. A flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. As much as possible, avoid the appearance of affluence. It's very easy to bring a lot more clothes than you will need. Considering you will be coming to a warm place: decent shirts, shorts, pants (khakis work well), sandals, a pair of running shoes (for all athletic/hiking occasions), bathing suit, and towel or sarong (sarongs make great towels/ bedsheets/ clothing and are available here in almost all flee markets) Don't waste your money on fancy travel clothes unless your attending some formal acquaintance, cotton works great, is cheap, and can be discarded if ruined. A good outfit to have would be these polyester clothes designed for travelers. They had lots of pockets, the pant legs and sleeves zipped off, and are supposedly easy to clean and quick drying.
Toiletries: bring all your favorites, but don't bring extras unless they are really uncommon. It may sound crazy, but shampoo and toothpaste are sold everywhere. Contact lens wearers may need to bring extra supplies unless you will be in major cities. Bring a spare pair of glasses and your prescription.
Camera: If you're a shutterbug, an SLR with an extra lens or two would be great but any digital camera and a disposable waterproof camera could come in handy. Lugging around a tripod for night shots and when you want to be in the picture can also be a good idea.
Travel Guide: Pretty critical, really, to a successful trip. You've got to find one that suits your budget and style, and some are just better than others. Regardless of where you are going, it's actually worth the time to spend an afternoon in the local bookstore reading some of the guide books until you find one that is well regarded and fits your style.
Other Travel Gadgets:
- Travel alarm clocks are nice when you have an early morning plane, ferry or bus to catch or want to watch a sunrise.
- Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for your trip and plan a place or places to conceal them. A waterproof money pouch that can hold your passport and travelers checks that fits under a shirt or as a thin fanny pack is quite useful and adds some security. As much as possible never leave this pouch and take it off only when sleeping or showering. Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. Or when you don't need to carry these or that much leave your passport, cash and credit cards locked in a hotel safe.
- A small flashlight can come in useful.
- A Swiss Army style knife can be occasionally helpful when outdoors.
- A small chain and a small lock for securing your bag when sleeping on public transportations. Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. If possible, always lock your luggage.
- A traveler's backpack with padded straps, internal frame, and rugged construction would be advisable and is certainly more comfortable, but hardly a requirement for budget travel. No matter what kind of bag you carry, you'll want a day-pack for sightseeing and short hikes.
- Consider getting a telephone calling card. It is a convenient way of keeping in touch. If you have one, verify that you can use it from your location(s). Access numbers to overseas operators are available with the local telephone company. Better yet find out your access number before you go.
In general only a few are useful because it isn't used very much and is more likely to get lost than break.
Other Travel Gadgets:
What You Must Leave Behind:
Don't bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave it at home:
- valuable or expensive-looking jewelry,
- irreplaceable family objects,
- all unnecessary credit cards
- Social Security card, library cards, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
A Few Things to Take & Leave Behind:
Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver's license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one photocopy of this data with family or friends at home; pack the other in a place separate from where you carry your valuables.
Leave a copy of the serial numbers of your travelers' checks with a friend or relative at home. Carry your copy with you in a separate place and, as you cash the checks, cross them off the list.