Friday, November 04, 2016


Education is the best investment. And one of the best ways to get educated is thru travel. Sure there are easy ways on getting that much information online about a certain place, their food, their culture and their norms but it is more of getting educated about yourself: your reaction, how much awareness you have and how much of an understanding you allow yourself to gain when you personally get immersed.

Last weekend, I traveled 7,233 miles to attend a writing conference in pursuit of the education I heeded from the Writer's Digest Community. In addition to the phenomenal weekend that opened me to a breakthrough in writing, I figured out 9 KEY POINTS EVERY FREQUENT FLYER SHOULD KNOW for somebody to just get on a journey.

1. BE ON TIME - No matter if your Pontius Pilate or Donald Trump, no flight schedule will adjust to you. Understand that airports differ from one another. Sometimes they are too big you need to ride a train to get to your boarding gate just like in Hong Kong. There is a reason why they encourage you to arrive 3 hours before your flight and that is to anticipate long immigration lines, flight schedule adjustment (they might have moved your flight earlier) and traveling to your boarding gate. Anything could go wrong in between checking in up to going onboard so just anticipate anything that may happen.

2. KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT - Planning your vacation in terms of needed visas, weather, time difference and terminal fees will save you from a lot of hassle and wasted time.

3. HAVE ENOUGH MONEY CHANGED TO THE COUNTRY'S CURRENCY BEFORE STEPPING OUT OF THE AIRPORT - The answer to the question when is the best time to have your money changed is any time before stepping out of the airport of destination. Whether you will be picked up from the airport by your family or friends, you'll go in a tour or you'd be backpacking, it's better to be safe than sorry.

4. BRING THAT DOUGHNUT! - This may be much preferred by the people flying long flights and economy. This doughnut makes wonders man, it is a necessity. Unless you're flying or business class, then don't bother.

5. BRING A BOOK - Just so when the other forms of entertainment break down, at least you're covered. Writers bring their laptops, androids or pen and paper to put creative juices to work. But yeah, emphasis on the book, it would be of great help if you'd read something about the country you're going to visit. May I suggest the following:

a. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code - for those who wants action and mystery (Italy)
b. Chinese Cinderella - if you are bound to somewhere in China
c. Happiness Project - for a motivational and humorous read
d. anything about Steve Jobs if you're on a business trip
e. Free Love - for those who are to visit Samoa in the Pacific

6. KNOW A LITTLE BIT OF THE LANGUAGE - It would be remarkably impressive and a lot helpful if you know how to communicate to a local of the country you're visiting to be able to maximise your trip. When a willful person tries to learn about a country's culture and ways thru communication, it may resonate to a local's soul and maybe reciprocated of genuine respect.

7. SAFETY - This could be an umbrella term for everything that pertains to the safety guidelines being introduced by the flight attendants in front of you by the isle. Pay close attention to these demonstrations because you'll never know what may happen. This is part of you being cautious and alert. Don't just see this off because every time you fly, it gives you an invisible privilege for being the nearest aid the person beside you would cry for when the time of need comes.

One of the initial heed for caution is when your flight order asks you if you want insurance to go with your ticket purchase. It's always better to have paid that minute amount of an insurance to assure the family you have left behind will be sufficed of the finances needed if ever you get into a possible critical moment. This is highly advised to the people who serve as the breadwinners of the family.

Have the sufficient vaccination before entry to any destination. Usually, travellers think of this the least but it is necessary. It wouldn't hurt as well if you'd know what weather to expect. Your hand carry can just hold as much so it's necessary to know what kind of jacket to bring.

Recommended Vaccination
Central America
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria
South America
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria, Yellow Fever
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria,
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B , Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria,
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Meningitis

If you need to be with a trusted local in visiting a foreign country for the first time and you have minimal understanding of how is the living situation there,  (because sometimes tourist books could be deceiving), by all means do that. Most especially with third world countries. I came from one and undeniably, the city could get a little bit too much to somebody whose new to traveling.

Be careful with your identification documents. NEVER entrust to anybody your passport, identification cards and anything alike. If you see somebody else had left his or her identification documents, point it to a staff from the airport or an official avoiding any messy accusation that may later involve you on how it became lost in the first place. You don't know if it may be a planted modus operandi. So as much as you can, do not touch it. In addition, your luggage should be directly checked in with a  lock. Your hand carry also needs protection from shoplifters.

Lastly, KEEP THE DAMN SEATBELT ON when the secure belt light is on. Go back to your seat as soon as you finish doing your business in the toilet.

8. SHOW RESPECT - Consider yourself in need of an aisle seat if you are the kind of person who wants caffeine and booze. These drinks produce not just water but toxins that your body may choose to eliminate, hence, the need to always go to the lieu. So, politely ask if the ground attendant could book you for this seat. When you are at the window seat, make sure you leave space for others to see thru it and don't block the window with your entire head with high belting enthusiastic exclaim because of excitement. Learn how to share and be considerate of other people.

Also, there are rules in shutting those windows and opening. Usually, when taking off and landing, it's encouraged to be put open to get a better view when doing touchdowns or upon taking off. This is exhilarating to do in the evenings most especially when you are flying out of the city of lights and Hong Kong because of its beautiful skyline.

If you have food that you would want to eat along your meal, make sure it wouldn't be too stinky, smelly or odorous that may affect the entire airbus. Again, just be considerate. 


Recheck your seat with the help of the flight attendant that expects your by the entrance before alighting on the airbus. So many people go to a seat that was not assigned to them in the first place thinking that they can get away with it. Emphasis was put on this but yet again, don't give away your identity. Your seat is your address while you're in the airplane. Once a seat is assigned to you, that's your identity to be tracked of the meal you requested, the comfort you requested for (whether along the isle or beside the window) and if worse comes to worst, a crash would happen, figuring out whether it's you or not who were affected by the crash will have to be based on your seat.

When you wanted to recline your seat, please don't go all the way to show consideration to the person behind you unless it is an empty seat. Don't forget to put it back to the original position in taking off and landing.

When you put hand carry baggage up in the overhead bins, make sure it's properly placed. Because chances are, if it weren't, the person under it would suffer from a head or neck injury once the luggage would fall.

Some of the economy seats limit your ability to stretch. Long flights make you tired of not doing so. The problem comes with the one in front of you stretching like crazy with their seats down too much. Well, just politely go out and walk around. Drink coffee by the flight attendant station at the back or stretch those calves with that much space by chatting over peanuts.

There are still a lot that may have not been included here so, that being said, please shout out the 10th item that should be included in this post thru the comment box.

Wrapping it up, leave the glass half empty. Open up yourself to opportunities that you may find beneficial to your learning while traveling. You are a limitless entity. Safe travels and get lost! You don't have an idea where to go next? Mark August 18-20 2017 in your calendar. This is another Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference which will happen in New York!

Related posts:
1. CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES - you might be wondering why they give out the cheapest flight.

2. HOLIDAY TRAVEL - a set of ensembles that you may want to check out in flying with style.

3. 10 THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG - if you are planning to visit Hong Kong, check out this guide if you must.

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