Travel Tips

180 Degrees of Mt. Precipice or Mount of the Leap of the Lord. Believed to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus (Luke 4:29-30). The people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as their Messiah, tried to push the Lord from the mountain.  But he escaped them and went away.

Ten (10) travel tips for a hassle-free adventure

My initial travel tips.  Hubbie and I just came back from an 11-day Holy Land pilgrimage tour via the LP Pilgrimages. We went to so many places of great interest which I will be sharing with you, my dear lovies, in so many posts in the future.  But for starters, I want to share with you my preliminary travel tips.  These were born out of the experiences I had from previous trips and, moreso, after this most recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I find these packing and travel tips quite important most specially if you’re planning on doing a multi-point travel without a “homebase” to leave some of your stuff behind.

Our tour took us to Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Israel.  That was a respective 4-nights, 3-nights, 2-nights stay in hotels in these 3 cities.  So you can count how many times I had to pack/repack our suitcases from start to finish.  Being a person who gets antsy for not bringing everything I “might” need but wouldn’t want to burden our load with unnecessary things, this hotel-to-hotel tour is a packing challenge.

Aside from going through that packing challenge, knowing bits and pieces of information about your destination is something you have to look into.  It really pays to do your homework.  Plus making sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s on your important documents.  This I learned a lot of and I want to share these tips with you.

  1.  Plan outfits ahead… way ahead.  It was also probably because of excitement coupled with my obssessiveness that about 3 weeks prior to our trip, I have already started planning.  With the guidelines from our trip coordinator, I had an idea what clothes I needed to bring, i.e.:
    • No jeans during the tour
    • Due to the nature of the place (mostly composed of conservative Jews and Muslims), no leg-baring skirts or shorts, no sleeveless tops or plunging necklines. Plus we were going to sacred places everyday, it really required proper attires.
    • Scarves to cover my head when the specific place calls for it and to act as additional warmers at night.
    • Light long-sleeves sweaters and a fall coat.  The desert can be cold during the autumn months.
    • I opted to use sneakers.  There was going to be a lot of walking and trekking up and down, I anticipated.  Sneakers would be the best bet.  I could’ve just used one pair for the whole trip, but I brought one more with me (just because I am who I am).  But yes, just one pair will do, most specially if you’re lacking in luggage space.  For this trip, I brought a pair of black and a pair of white sneakers.
    • I reused nightwears about 2 nights each wear.  I didn’t see a need to use new ones every night. (Just make sure you shower each night to wash the day’s dirt off you before you sleep.)
    • Enough socks and underwears that you would find necessary.  Altho, honestly, I don’t repeat socks and underwears without washing them in between uses.  Your choice.
  2. Organize your outfits.  Since our days usually started at 5 am everyday to have breakfast starting at 6am and head out at around 7-8 am, it was pretty beneficial that I planned what to wear each day.  Having planned what clothes to bring, grouping my garments by the set was the next step. One set of top, pants, sweater and scarf were folded and packed inside either the sweater or the pants.  That way, i didn’t need to think about matching which item to what piece so early in the morning with only a few minutes to prepare.  I just needed to pull out the whole folded pack and I was ready.   I had to make sure that the get-ups I packed also went with either of the 2 pairs of shoes I brought.  As for hubbie, it was easier.  I just had to make sure all his pants and shirts coordinated.  It didn’t matter which one he pulled out of his luggage, they all worked together.  We packed a pair of runners.  Plus we bought a pair of black leather slip-on shoes that were light and easy to wear.  Those shoes were convenient and comfortable, no hassles with laces – a great wear!
  3. Use packing cubes.  My mom and sisters introduced me to this great innovation!  They’re a set of nylon, cloth, or plastic cubed containers that help you compartamentalize everthing you need to bring for a trip.  A set is composed of different sizes and they help you organize your luggage.  I use them to pack all underwear together, toiletries in another cube, electronic cord and cables in another cube and of course, my Beautederm products in another cube. It’s a breeze to know where your things are easily.  Trust me, once you start using them, you won’t go back to cube-less packing ever!

    A set of travel cubes is an essential part of your trip
  4. Know your destination’s outlets.  By that, I don’t mean, outlet stores.  I meant – plug/power outlets.  This was one thing I totally took for granted.  I didn’t think that sockets and plugs were different in different countries.  Lucky for us, there was one electrical outlet for the US-formatted plug in the bathroom of our hotel. But since hubbie has to bring his CPap machine, we had to borrow a plug adapter from the concierge.  In fact, the hotel in Nazareth lent us one but I had to give the front desk my credit card info, just in case we forget to return the adapter.  But when we went to Jerusalem they didn’t have one for us to borrow. That needed some creativity to make sure hubbie has his CPAP machine plugged in to aid him in his sleep. The hotel in Bethlehem lent us one – no strings attached.  As for the lone bathroom outlet in all hotels, hubbie and I had to take turns recharging our cameras and phones. Lucky for us, our tour bus was equipped with a usb port per seat.  That was a life-saver!  Do your outlet research.

    Make sure that you have the correct power adapters for your vecation venue.
  5. What’s the currency?  If you’re planning a trip to the Holy Land, they do accept dollars.  In fact, even the street peddlers will accept your dollars (you just have to be very good and careful at bargaining!)  But our pastor gave us a tip to bring a lot of $1 dollar bills.  It was a good thing that there was a bank inside the Washington-Dulles airport.  We had our money changed to 2 bundles of $1 bills.  It was convenient when you had to put in a dollar or two as donation for candle offerings inside the churches or tips to waiters at eateries.  Plus, yes, they’re of good use for dealing with the street peddlers.  But that’s another tip for a future post.   So read about your destination’s currency and how to go about sales transactions.  Travel blogs are good at this info.

    There’s approximately 3 shekels per 1 USD
  6. Get your cameras ready.  Make sure your USB drives, SD cards, and phones have enough space or bring extra storage cards.  If you’re like us and you want to see a lot of the world, going back to the same place might take time.  So you want to treasure these places and document them  as much as you can for posterity’s sake.  Load up on these babies 🙂
  7. Follow handcarry rules.  I have to stress this – Israel has very strict airport security. One of the strictest in the world!   They’re sticklers to the sizes of your containers and even the plastic bags you put them in.  They don’t even like it when you dump your toletries, medications, make-up in 1 ziplock bag.  They want you to put like items per 1 plastic bag.  Luckily, I used two pill organizers (enough for 2 weeks of pill popping) and had that in my purse.   My medicine bottles were in my luggage inside one of my packing cubes 😉  I only had my lipsense lip gloss and a small l’occitane hand cream plus a small packet of mints.  The rest of those lotions and what-nots were in suitcases.  I don’t even wear jewelry nor belts, just my watch.  Yes, I am not a fan of those security checks, altho I know how important they are.  But the soonest I get out of there, the better for me.

    A pill organizer to organize your medications
  8. Check your passports! And I don’t just mean making sure you brought it.  But check the expiration of your passports.  Almost ALL immigration/customs/passport control security will check for the expiration date and how close you are to it.  Make sure that you’re return date is at least 6 months away from the expiration date.  So if you’re travelling back home on January 5, 2019, make sure your passport’s expiration is on or much later than July 5, 2019.  NOT EVEN A DAY EARLIER THAN THAT!  I know of a couple who got that scare in Dubai en route to the Philippines when the husband’s passport’s expiration date was a day short of the 6-month grace period. The inspector had to refer to a supervisor to get an approval that they can board the plane. Had they been stopped it would mean they’d be held up in Dubai until he can get a new passport.  Again, airport security can be strict. Don’t take your chances.

    Make sure your passports are current
  9. Stick to your group.  When travelling with a group, whether friends, relatives or tour-mates, be aware of your surroundings and be aware of your companions.  No matter what you’re doing, make sure that someone in your group is within your periphery of vision all the time, most specially if you’re in unfamiliar places.  For one, it assures you that should anything happen, someone is there to know what is happening to you and could help you out.   Second, it will remind you that you only have a limited amount of time going around that specific place.  Most specially when being part of a tour, time is of the essence.  These tour groups have allotted times with particular places that if they miss their scheduled times, that tardiness might affect not just your group but the groups coming next to you.  Domino effect.  Plus it also becomes a point against your tour group’s standing with the tourist sites.  So tardiness affects a lot of people.  Plus, getting lost in a foreign country is not a joke.
  10. Have fun, make new friends. The trip in itself is memorable.  But when you share the experience with people in the trip, you get to enjoy more.  Be open to the possibility.
Our LP Pilgrimage group at Washington/Dulles Airport prior to boarding for Tel Aviv. (Photo courtesy of LP Pilgrimages facebook page)

These are, more or less, important things to remember when going on a trip.  The other travel tips will come while I share our Holy Land experience with you all, my lovies.  So for the meantime, as they say in Hebrew, “Shalom”, my lovies.

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