How to Prepare for Your First International Travel

First time abroad? Here are the things you need to know.

By: Patricia Marie Prado | October 19, 2017
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Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Has the travel bug bitten you yet?

Traveling is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life. Not only will it expose you to other cultures, people, and food but it will also give you a greater sense of the world you’re living in. That’s why more and more people are investing into traveling and some even do it for a longer period of time by backpacking across various continents.

If the travel bug has bitten you but you have no clue where to start, fret not for ShoppersGuide is here to help. We’ve listed the things you need to prepare for your international adventure.


One of the most tedious things about traveling is securing your documents. There are several papers that you need to gather and sometimes it varies on what country you’re going to visit. Some require a visa, some don’t. It may be tiring to queue for your documents, but at the end of the day it will all be worth it. Here are the things you need to do to secure your papers:

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Passport: your ticket to the world!

1. Get a passport.

Your ticket to the world and the most important document you will need when traveling is your passport. The first step to get one is to go online. Visit the website of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), get an appointment, and bring the necessary requirements on your appointment date.

2. Check if you need a visa

For us Filipinos, traveling to other countries is a bit of a pain because most require a visa. In case the country you’re going to visit does require one, visit the website of the country’s embassy in the Philippines and get the necessary information you need. There are also respectable travel agencies that can help you in getting a visa in case you need assistance.

Do take note that some visa applications take longer than the others and some are only valid for a certain period, so make sure to process this as soon as possible so that it won’t affect your flight dates.

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

List all your documents so you won’t forget a thing.

3. Ready your documents to avoid being offloaded.

Have you ever heard horror stories of Filipinos offloaded in the airport? Unfortunately, this does happen. Being offloaded means not being allowed by the immigration officer to board a plane due to the lack of proper documents. Before you get angry with the Bureau of Immigrations (BI), understand that they are after your protection. Some of our countrymen do resort to illegal means so they could fly abroad, and this is why the BI is extra strict.

Some of these papers might include your passport, visa (if required), IDs, round trip ticket, bank certifications (proof that you can fund your travel), itinerary, and affidavit of support or invitation letter (if someone in the country you’re going to visit will finance your travel). Keep electronic copies or photos of these on your phone so you can access them conveniently anytime.


Now that we’ve handled the dirty work, let’s move on to actually preparing for your flight! Here are some tips and things you need to do:

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Pick your destination and book a flight!

4. Book a flight!

Of course, you first need to book a plane ticket. For the cheapest flights you can book through Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, or Jetstar. These airlines are known for being low-cost carriers, and they offer great deals from time to time. To get the best deal, you can also use the website Skyscanner to compare flight prices.

5. Get travel insurance.

Travel insurance is not mandatory, but it is important. You can get one from your choice of airline or even through your credit card provider. This gives you security in case you miss your flight, lose your luggage, or encounter an emergency abroad. Do note that some countries like those that require a Schengen Visa will require you to get insurance.

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Your insurance might take care of your travel problems, but make sure to come early to the airport to avoid the stress.

6. Book your preferred accommodation.

Once you’ve booked a flight, the next step is to book your hotel. The earlier you book a hotel the better, since the rates tend to go higher the closer you get to your staying period (this is the same with flight tickets). You can also start looking for tours if you want to join one, but you can also research and create your own itinerary. Your itinerary will be useful in looking for a hotel that is close to the places you’ll visit.

7. Be early!

On the day of your departure, be at the airport two to three hours before your flight to avoid missing it. Once you get to the airport, you’ll be experiencing queues from security, to checking your baggage in, and even to the immigration counters. Getting early will give you ample time to relax and avoid pre-flight jitters.


Mundane as it may be, packing is very important so you get the most out of your travel. Here are some points you have to consider when packing for your trip:

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Pack smartly so you won’t pay for any excess baggage.

8. Pack smartly.

Before bringing your thick jackets, do check beforehand the weather of the country you’re going to visit. Just bring the necessary items that you need so you won’t have excess baggage (plus, this will give you more room for souvenirs on your way back!).

Most airlines only allow 7 kilograms for carry-on baggage (i.e., the baggage you’re allowed to bring with you inside the plane). Anything more than that needs to be checked in, and unless you could get rid of some items to meet the limit, you have to pay for your luggage to be checked in. Paying for extra baggage on the day of your flight is much more costly that prepaying it. If in case you did prepay for a check in baggage, remember that anything more than your weight option will be considered excess baggage and also needs to be paid.

9. Bring a first-aid kit.

Do bring medicine in case you get sick on the road. This will save you from a hard time looking for a pharmacy abroad and from possible problems in finding the correct medicine, especially if clerks are not familiar with generic names like paracetamol or mefenamic acid.

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Go out fully charged and capture every moment.

10. Ready your electronics.

Make sure to capture every memory by bringing the necessary gadgets. Do not forget your power banks or extra batteries so you’ll be fully charged wherever you are. Also check if you need an adapter for your electronics. Other countries have different voltage requirements and plug sizes, so check this beforehand.

11. Check your liquids.

Airports all over the world impose a rule that passengers can only bring 100 milliliters or less of liquids, gels, creams, or aerosol for carry-on baggage. Anything more than that needs to be checked in. Also make sure to pack your liquids properly by putting the containers in re-sealable bags or taping their caps or openings to avoid leakage.


You’re almost there! After securing all your travel documents, booking necessary services, and packing your bags, here are some final steps that you will find useful when you are abroad:

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Bring your map and go!

12. Prepare your finances.

Make sure that you have enough funds for your travel. Check the exchange currency of the country you’re going to visit so you’ll know how much to bring. If possible, activate your debit and credit card for international use in case you need emergency funds. Even if you’re using a card, do bring some cash in the currency of the country you’re visiting, as some establishments might not accept credit cards.

13. Download guides and maps.

If you’re not joining a group tour, bring guidebooks or download guides or maps on your phone that you can access them offline. This will help you navigate the city you’re in so you can make the most out of your visit.

Filipino first time travelling abroad advice

Learn a little bit of the local’s language and communicate with them.

14. Learn the language.

You don’t necessarily need to master the language of the country you’re going to visit, but it wouldn’t hurt to know key expressions. Just remember phrases such as “Hi” “Thank you,” or “How much?” so you can use them when dealing with locals. Aside from easily communicating on the road, you’ll come off as a nice tourist.

15. Research!

Do your homework and research about the place you’re visiting so you’ll avoid getting lost or being scammed. Remember that you are now a foreigner in a different country and some locals do trick tourists to gain a few bucks.

After all of these preparations, all that is left to do is enjoy. Soak it all in and appreciate the country you’re going to visit. Know the locals, taste their food, and revel in their culture. Who knows, you might find a place that would make you pack your backs for good.

Did we miss any tips and tricks that other first-time travelers might need? Let us know in the comments section below!
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About Patricia Marie Prado
Patricia came from the field of business and accounting but is now pursuing her dreams of being a writer. She is a self-confessed introvert and is passionate about reading, travelling, writing, movies, coffee and God. When she's not writing, she loves discovering new coffee shops/cafe and doing TV-series marathons.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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