Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas! The holiday season has shaped most of us to travel more, I believe that there’s a lot of you already gone gallivanting somewhere nice or still on the verge of planning when, where and how to. Basically for some, this might be your first time. As I want my blog to be more informative, I felt there’s a need for me to share these important things to do before leaving your home country. These are the few steps you need to follow before stepping onto your dream destination. Sorry if it took a while since the last blog, as some of you know I run numerous ecommerce site and online shopping is always at its peak during this season. I never had the chance to do this kind of how-to blog and this is the only trip wherein I was able to fully document every steps all along.
Before any trip, be it local or international, I make sure to have a checklist with me, usually 2-3 weeks before my flight or the least a day or two if my schedule won’t permit me to do such list. I usually jot down the things I need or have it listed with evernote app which is in-sync with my MacPro and iPhone. Nowadays its easy breezy since most smartphones have variety of travel applications that you can download for free. Make use of it and I swear those apps are very useful when planning and during the actual trip (I will have another blog on the usual apps that I find beneficial and user-friendly for your reference). These apps are very handy at all times. Aside from that, I advise you to be at the airport early enough to avoid cramming and if ever you forgot something, you have ample time to retrieve those forgotten “important” things before your flight.
WHAT TO BRING?
THE ESSENTIALS (Do not leave without these!)
Passport – The most important one! For international trip, this is a must! For local trip, a ticket and national ID will do. But for out of the country, this will serve as your primary pass next to visa. Make sure that your passport is valid and only those with 6 months validity are allowed to leave the country. If you’re a frequent traveler, make sure you have that extra pages for arrival and departure stamps. Make a duplicate or triplicate photocopy of that and have all your bags with that copy just to make sure that if ever you lost your passport in anyway, you can have a copy to show. You can also send a copy of your passport and other important details on your email, soft-copy is your best option for back ups.
Visa – if the country requires it then you need to get one. Visitors visa is as important as your passport. Also same with your passport make sure to have it photocopied as well and attach this to the photocopied passport that will serve as back-ups.
Printed Copy of your Airline Ticket / Soft-copy for web check-in – Aside from passport, it’s a must for you to bring along a printed copy of your airline ticket as you need to show this at check-in and immigration point. Another tip is to save a copy of this in your phone. This will save you a lot of headache especially if you accidentally lost your print-at-home ticket. One copy is enough for a family if you buy the ticket at once, but might as well have several copies, one in your bag and another in your check-in luggage.
Valid IDs – I usually have extra identification card with me always as this may be important if the immigration staff will ask you to show proof of your identity, they do random check at times, this way at least you have something to prove that you’re indeed the passport holder.
DSWD Clearance – If you’re bringing with you your nieces and nephews without their parents on-board, a DSWD clearance is a must! I’ll post another entry on how to get one.
Money – of course this is super essential just like your passport and always prepare to have enough for your trip. I never experience this but according to some airport to airport (A to A) incidence happens, simply because of this reason. Why they’re being denied to an entry is the luck of financial capacity to show that they can support themselves during the course of their stay. Please bear in mind that you cannot bring out more than Php10,000 of Philippine Peso in Cash with you and be sure to declare if you’re bringing more than 10,000 USD or equivalent to that money.
Itinerary – if your traveling in groups or as family some immigration officers automatically thinks that you’re in a holiday but just in case you’re traveling alone and have a random check on you this may be hard to prove. A copy of your itinerary of the things that you will do will save you from long interrogation and you can convince them that you are indeed on a sight-seeing tour and not for any matters.
Hotel Vouchers / Confirmations – this is also an important thing to bring because you need to write the place where you will stay in your chosen destination in the embarkation, arrival and departure card. This hotel voucher or confirmation will help you convince the officers that you’re indeed in a tour and not for any other reasons.
Pen / Notebook – Whenever I travel, I make sure that I have a pen and a pad or journal wherein I can doodle everything. Pen goes a long way and save you a lot of time. You need to remember that you will need to fill in few forms and cards before and after boarding.
Travel Insurance – To make your trip more safe and sure, for instance you lost your baggage or you get sick during the trip then at least you can have extra moolah to cover up those unexpected and unwanted expenses.
ADDITIONAL STUFF (Just in Case!)
Credit Cards – along with your money, this means a lot and mind you that when you booked online some hotel and airlines are asking for the actual card used in booking so having the card with you is very handy. In the case that you borrow the card from your relatives or friends, make sure to have it photocopied and a signature by the credit card holder is necessary. Also, It is more convenient to carry a small plastic credit/debit card than bulky cash.
Guide Books/E-books – We usually travel DIY so its a must for us to bring such so if you do not dwell to much on tailored trips like us and want it their own unique way this might be an essential.
Extra zip-locks – I find this useful for my liquids and for some receipts that needed to be kept.
Mileage Card – to ensure that your points will be credited, you need to show your mileage card upon check-in but this is not necessary to some budget carriers since they do not have mileage system like most prominent airlines.
DO NOT Bring any of the following;
Resume Don’t you ever dare bring resume. If they do a random check on you and end up with your credentials then they might think that you’re going there simply because you’re applying for a job or with intention to work and not for that dream vacation of yours.
Any pointed objects – I remember I have to surrender my favorite small pair of scissors. Just because I forgot to emptied the pocket of my bag before my flight to Singapore. Any sharp objects are not allowed so make sure that those are in your checked-in luggage.
Gun or explosive looking items like toys or pistol lighters – if you want hassle free trip then leave these things at home PERIOD.
Gum – if you’re flying to Singapore don’t bring any gums since these are prohibited and always check your destination on things that are prohibited in their country. Being prepared and handy at all time goes a long way and this will actually save your butt!
Porn and Pirated CDs and DVDs
Once you’re ready and you knew that you have all the necessary things that you need then its easier to breath and follow the remaining steps. These steps may not be applicable to other airports but basically have similarity and or at least this is a standard for almost all terminals here in the Philippines.
1. PAY YOUR TRAVEL TAX
This is applicable to Philippine Passport Holders only, Permanent Resident Aliens, and to aliens with one (1) year stay in the Philippines. If you have paid your travel tax to your agencies or to the actual booking in the airline office you may skip this step. TIP : You can apply for a tax reduction for kids aged 2-12 years old. Click this link for complete infos on travel tax.
TRAVEL TAX RATES
FIRST CLASS PASSAGE
ECONOMY CLASS PASSAGE
|Full Travel Tax||PHP 2,700.00||PHP 1,620|
|Standard Reduced Travel Tax||PHP 1,350.00||PHP 810.00|
Privileged Reduced Travel Tax
for a Dependent of an
Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)
|PHP 400.00||PHP 300.00|
Be sure to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight and do not come earlier since the desk are open 3 hours before the flight. You can also do web check-in or online check-in for easier and faster facilitation of check-ins. Some airport has its own printer kiosk where you can print your boarding pass. Most of the airlines accepts flyers without the need to show the credit card while there are some that are very rigid when it comes to this and needed the actual card as proof. So better ask your airlines about their credit card policy and or to be on the safe side, read the airline’s website. There are still some airlines that ask the credit card owner to fill in some form.
3. TERMINAL FEE
Before you get to the immigration or custom’s point you have to pay terminal fee. I’m glad that they’re now charging P550 since before it was P750. I just hope that they will reduce this fee for group travelers or for family who usually travel together because I remember, my family and I have to pay almost $300USD alone for the airport fee which I think this is way too much especially for the kind of airport service and facilities that we have, not to mention we have just stayed a couple of minutes at their waiting lounge. UPDATE: Beginning February 1, 2015, the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal fee of Php 550 for international flights, will be integrated into airline tickets.
4. FILL THE EMBARKATION CARD
So the humble pen becomes mighty important now as you need to fill out the embarkation card. Makes sure to fill it out legibly and properly. Note down the reason of your travel and the place where you will stay abroad to avoid unnecessary questioning. TRAVEL 101: I usually stash and keep some of this for future use and fill this paper long before I check-in to save a great deal of time.
5. PASS THE IMMIGRATION
Just hand them the embarkation card and your passport. If they ask for additional details show them politely your return ticket and or the hotel/hostel/inn where you will stay. As you can see the photo above it says that NAIA is a NO WANG WANG Zone. This simply implies that you need to line properly and avoid cutting of lines or queue barging.
6. FINAL SCREENING
After clearing the immigration, you will go to another screening and that is for security purposes, some airport usually have this screening on site at the boarding gate. You need to remove all metals on your body, coins, watch, phone, belt and shoes some airports required a very rigid screening so just proceed with the rules and go with the flow and you will be okay. TRAVEL 101: Do not bring any liquids beyond 100ML and liquid must be packed with zip-lock and be sure that all your essentials are within TSA approved. I will have another entry on this soon!
7. FIND YOUR GATE & BOARD
After passing through the security point, look for your gate. If you have ample time then you can roam around the airport and have some coffee or eat something. But if not then better be at the gate at least 30 minutes before your departure time to ensure that you wont miss your flight. TRAVEL 101: Grab some food for later, No-frills airlines serve foods that are usually expensive.
Uh Oh, there’s one more during the flight the airline crew will hand you the arrival and departure card that you need to accomplish. Make sure that you write legibly and properly again noting the purpose of your travel. You need to show this card along with your passport to clear immigration to be able to reach you dream destination. I hope that you may at least picks up a thing or two about this entry and if you want to add up or have any question feel free to comment below.
I hope this entry will help you in some ways., If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to use the comment area below. 🙂 Happy Traveling!