Sunday, March 13, 2016
Now that I am turning 26 and be facing a lot more life changing decisions, I give you the best of learnings learned through my 7days travel in a foreign country, South Korea.
1. Secure your dollar prior going to the airport or you'll find yourself get scammed (yes, I almost bought @50! Whew!) by the very people working in the airport. So prepare for your pocket money 5 days before the flight so you can still compare from different offerings. Note: You are buying $ when what you have is your own ccy BUT they will quote you with rate for selling. Yes, it is how business works. Most likely it is a 0.50 difference and buying is lower than the selling. So exchange with the lowest possible rate or get frustrated like me. 😑 TIP: BDO may offer the lowest but you should have an account with them (w/c I don't have) and travel documents before they can sold you their $. So go for bank like EAST WEST, no need to be an account holder and just provide at least 2 IDs; OR with lesser hassle go for Western Union! They sell $ slightly higher by 0.20 vs. local bank rates. 🤔
2. Prepare at least 1/4 space from your luggage because that space reserves for the ones you left behind. Hahaha
3. Make it a habit to pack some snacks so you will not starve waiting for your flight in the airport. This will also save you from buying the overly priced snacks in the airport or in the foreign country you are staying.
4. Follow your guts. To put it simply, go for what you think is the best route when going back or to the airport of course back it up with couple times of research. You can't just be following what others have told you to do.
5. Make a screenshot of your itinerary and a photocopies because gadgets may not be useful if it's dead right?
6. When you are the type who shops aimlessly (like the one talking), bring only 3 day sets of outfits because you know, you want them badly to be worn! This is also a form of excuse that you are actually on a hauling! Haha!
7. Don't be shy to ask around for directions and to take your pictures. Make it brief and say your thanks (in their local language) afterwards.
8. Don't make a very tight itinerary that you have forgotten the very purpose of your travel, chill out/refresh/relax... Or you'll see yourself exhausted and disappointed because itineraries are not as always being followed. Ok? So chill.
9. Find a hostel that offers slightly different from the others. My point? Look for what's not the usual breakfast (toasted bread and jam); Look for a hostel which offers free laundry and a hostel that loves and appreciates the reason why you're in solo backpacking because most likely they will be more accomodating. You can see that in the reviews of their ads in agoda and hostel.com
10. Take selfies with people. It will be a great experience if you can ask the people you've just met and who have been a good help to you for selca i.e., your landlady; roomates and the residents.
11. Talk in their native language. Because that way they will not be intimidated by your english and/or accent when you're actualy seeking help so no matter how awkward it may sound -say your greetings first then continue your english then give your thanks back in their language. They will find it cute and COOL that you tried.
12. Get as much sleep during your stay because your body should also be set on a vacation mode. Sleep more than 8hrs.
13. Allot time in going to far places especially if that requires you to follow schedules. (This is more like a reminder for me)
14. If you take selca or video when others' are "maybe" watching, be confident! Stay shameless because it will be part of the unforgettable memories I tell you!
15. Stay connected with family and friends back home or even those not home. This will help you not to feel lonely in case you're self pitying since you don't have a companion. Remember, you are just away and technology is there to fill in the gap.
16. Experience the ones you have researched to be awesome! Especially the FREE ones!
17. Give out some treats for the family and friends who have been your constant companion virtually while you were having a great time with your solo adventure. Spread good vibes!
18. Make a list of things you want to purchase before flying off to the foreign land! This will save you from hoarding so much.
19. Bring lotion. This I have forgotten during my trip like whattttt I may be using the popular CC Cushion but underneath my clothes it is all so dry skin.
20. Kill time in a nice and trendy cafe. This is killing many birds with one stone because you get to pay for the drinks but you get to have wifi access/ alone time/ good air conditioning and a perfect place to take a picture.
21. Make time for researching before you say goodbye to your country of residence. This will ease your fright on going solo.
22. Turn on your spotify and listen to your songs of choice. This way you may find friends in your dorm.
23. Prepare your outfits before sleep. This will already guarantee that tomorrow's itinerary will be a success with rainbow colors!
24. It is always customary to follow rules or *values set by the country/city you are in so OBSERVE the locals on how they finish their food, do they bring to the trash bin and segregate the food wastes from the kitchenwares or do they take off they're shoes whenever entering a restaurant or a home. And if you aren't so sure, it will not hurt you asking anyone especially if your motive is to obey the their practices.
25. Don't monitor your expenses on a daily basis because that would only turn into not so cool trip. Better if you can set a separate budget (which I mean in cold cash) for food ($10/day); accom ($10/day with free breakfast, yes this is possible in agoda!); transpo ($5/day) and for shopping and fees you intend to go to i.e., entrance fees to theme parks or museums.
26. Make the best out of it! Go YOLOING!