traveling abroad

I have never traveled abroad before and I am planning a trip to the Philippines in January. I will be arriving in Cebu and taking a ferry to Bohol. Upon my research on the internet, that seems like the typical tourist trip taken.

Of course, my research and my inquiries have turned up even more questions about traveling abroad that I can find answers for. For one, how safe is it to travel to the Philippines? I have discovered that kidnapping does indeed happen there and that theft and robberies are commonplace. Of course, being a smart traveler will help safeguard against dangers, but there is no guarantees in life either. In order to be a smart traveler, I felt I needed to write this blog to hopefully get some tips on traveling abroad from the more experienced than myself.

Here are some additional concerns that I do have, that I have heard from some other people...not sure how true they are or not. Any other things I should watch for would greatly be appreciated.

...My first hold over will be in South Korea. (I was told that I would have difficulty making it out of that airport because they are huge and very busy and that the signs will be written in a language other than English). That really does not make sense because it is an international airport. But, I have never been there so I don't know for sure.

...This leads to another concern. I will be traveling by myself...and of course being new to this experience, I myself am also responsible for any language barriers. Not everyone I am going to need to associate with will know English. How do you communicate or deal with situations like that?

...I was also told that security at airports look for people who are nervous and will take them for questioning. Sometimes that questioning can go bad really quick, especially if there are language barriers. There is a good chance I will be a little nervous at times being an unseasoned international traveler. Any advice about that?

...I was also told to be very careful in international airports, especially the Philippines about employees slipping things in your luggage and then asking for money from you to not report it. I was told to not have luggage with pockets on its outside and if you can, wrap your luggage. Also, don't help anyone carry their luggage because this is how drugs get transported and if you get caught carrying that luggage, of course you will be responsible for its contents.

...Also, are there any tips on getting great airfare rates?

...Anything else that a new international traveler should be careful with or it would be helpful if it is known about?

Thanks all for your advice.

Comments (104)

Hey Johnnywave
Promoting Tourism has been a part of
every Filipino ....Cebu ,El Nido in Palawan are the most places where tourist visit.
If you travel alone best you can do is just an extra careful like in every place there are good and bad.Keep your baggage sealed properly.Nowadays NAIA is better then before handshake Goodluckcheers
Johnny, traveling is one of the most exciting part of my life. I will never stop traveling just because of the drawbacks and or possible bad encounter that can happen.

Just as high is the excitement associated in the adventure of traveling, can also be the level of trauma one can encounter if there is not enough information gathered before the trip is done.

You are doing a great job in researching and also asking questions to those that have been in the specific places you will go to. I am from the Philippines and while it has been a long time since I visited the country, I know for a fact that it has gone better through the years. For one thing, Makati in Manila is like San Francisco and or Sydney. Most of the area is inhabited by international travelers being the seat of foreign and international businesses. You are safe there but other places it is really bad. Like in our country, you go to Brooklyn in New York, or Chicago, Illinois, or Oakland in California and guess what, your chances of being a victim of robbery or anything bad is high.

Now Manila and Cebu is a tourist laden place, very crowded and I don't personally recommend but if the beach is your preference then it does offer a very good sandy white beach to your content. To be safe, you might as well go to Hawaii and or Florida.

Anyways, Baguio would be my recommendation and then drive an hour to go to the pristine beaches of La Union. That is 400 miles north of Manila.

By the way I am going there next month. Weather wise it is one of the best time to go until February. Not too scorching hot and neither is too wet.

Anyways what you mentioned about luggage, yes be careful. Everywhere in the world, you are advised to keep an eye at your bags for that reason.

Best option is to stay in the five star hotels. Your safety is very high. Less likely to be victimized.

Good luck Johnny and wishing you a safe and joyful adventure.

SRcheers
Johnny_Sparton
Hello YS,

You are correct, there are no perfectly safe places on this planet, and I am trying not to come across as just pointing out any dangers specifically with the Philippines, it is just that I am traveling there.

Thank you for your insight...greatly appreciated.

wave
Gayyem hug
I was a tourist guide in my younger days
and mostly some western european likes to visit Banaue Rice Terraces and Sagada.
Mountain hiking would be another option Johnnycheers
hmmmm I am too from the Pholippines Johnny handshake
JS. I try to do so each year in winter, and have mostly settled on the Azores, and Mainland Portugal. Nice folks, low terrorism history, and as the poorest Western EU country, a relative bargain, even when compared to much of Asia, which sadly, ain't what it used to be in many of these ways. Also a stepping point for the rest of the EU, which I used to live/study in, and once loved, but am now reluctant to return to, also for similar reasons. (See blog on Europe and suicide). For me, the only real advantage of the land of Tagalog is the relative ease of finding a GF or wife. This goes along with many liabilities, which I only choose to expand on in my private CS Mail. Keep you wits about you when walking about evenings, as well.
Gayyem, I am aware of the fact that with all the other countries in Asia, I am sure that our country holds the highest record of safety in comparison to even Mexico and or Turkey where I have been into many a times.

Tourist are generally the target of robberies anywhere in the world and it is for the right reasons. They are vulnerable because of ignorance and lack of guidance. My suggestion is to have a tourist guide and that takes away the chances of being a victim.
Johnny_Sparton
Hello SR,

The plan is to go to Alona Beach in Bohol and perhaps a drive to Danao Adventure Park.

You too, stay safe with your trip as well. I am assuming that you will be getting back before January. If you don't mind, I would like to hear any experiences you have with the trip that you think would be helpful for me.

Thanks.

wave
Johnny_Sparton
In addition SR, that is what I heard too...I would be better off staying at a very high end hotel for safety reasons. However, I heard that you do not want to do any electronic banking from their computers. I guess there is some sort of scam going on, even with the high-end hotels. It is better to use your own computer or smartphone.
Agreethumbs up gayyem having a tourist guide would help in anyway especially if its their first time....
wine
Johnny_Sparton
That is great, some natives of the Philippines....no better way of getting great advice than from people who have lived or live there. ....very much appreciatedhandshake
Excuse me Johnny whom u are addresding SRconfused
Crazyheart38
Hey John,

don't worry too much, you'll be fine. Cebu are Bohol are very beautiful like my Island Negros much safer than Manila and Mindanao.

I don't think you have to worry when you're in South Korean airport, how long are you going to wait there? During your waiting hours, just ask around, there are staffs there that can speak English for sure and just watch our for your flight schedule so you don't get to miss it.

Once you are in Philippine airport, get cash in Philippine currency, in the section where you claim your luggage, there's a window there for money changer but not much, just enough to get you to where you're going. Many helpers there will try to offer help but will expect payment, you don't need it, just be firm about it.

Is someone going to pick you up from NAIA? or are you going to be in a connecting flight to Cebu? If so, you'll just have to stay in the airport and wait for your flight, many staffs there are fluent in English, you can ask for direction as to where to go in the airport...and look for other tourist going to Cebu too, there will be plenty.

From Cebu airport, is anyone going to meet you? If you taking a Ferry, best to enroll in some swimming lessons starting tomorrow laugh Just avoid interacting with other passengers, be courteous but not overly friendly...stay sober!

Travel light if you can
careful with water...buy bottled water
mosquito repellent
be firm with beggars, plenty everywhere in Philippines specially those who target tourists, if you can spare some pennies have them ready in your pockets, do not take your wallet out in the street...when you're in public places, travel light.

My BF went for a work trip in Philippines a month ago, he wasn't able to fully do his work, he spent his days in bed there, sick from water and mosquitoes...if you're sensitive and not used to places like this, staying in decent hotels will be your best option.

search for a "farecompare" website, it will give you lots of cheaper options to travel.

You can still call me if you need more info.hug
Yes but whoever told you that staying in high end hotels give you more chances of being a victim is not true. For one thing being a non Filipino looking person is already a high tick of being victimized but staying in the five star hotels are better. When a taxi takes you anywhere (I assume that will be your mode of transportation), the hotel itself will have a record as to who gave you the ride. While from there, you are on your own.

Johnny be careful of the prostitutes too, I heard from my friend that he got robbed being lured in by one of the highest paid prostitute and took him to the place where he was robbed and almost killed. No valuables should be carried with you. Passports are most important for you to safeguard. I lost my passport in the 90s and it was claimed that there is about $35,000 dollars in value attached to our US passports. Be very careful. It took me 4 weeks to wait for my papers to get sent back there. Make sure you make a copies of your travel documents and take a picture of them on your phone.
Crazyheart38
let me know when you're travelling there...I might go home in January...I used to hang out a lot in Cebulaugh
Johnny_Sparton
Hello VI,

Indeed, there is a risk of becoming involved with some Filipinos that have ill intentions and motives. I have done some studying of the potential problems in becoming married to one. There are several horror stories to be found on the internet that I have read.

To be honest, many of the same horrors can also be found with marrying women of any country...including the U.S.. It boils down to trying to identify any signs of a person's true intentions...which can be very difficult if not impossible until the intention is finally revealed when it is too late. Taking one's time and asking appropriate questions can possibly help against getting involved with the wrong woman.

At least...that is what I got from thing....a person has to do their due dilligence....and can still be wrong.

We are living in a very crazy and dangerous world these days.

IMO

Thanks V

wave
Crazywave
Yeah we can have our own agency for the holidaysapplause
hug
Gayyem, me. That was my old profile from 2011 to 2014. Stands for Sunday Rose. I had to kill that profile with respect to my ex boyfriend with whom I have so much good memories shared with him. My love and ex is from Australia. He was the most exciting person I have ever been with. Well it was first Windy weatherly and then Sunday Rose. I wrote about 300 poems for him of which I deleted them all without a single copy. I now regret and wish I saved them.bouquet
Johnny_Sparton
In addition V.....it is up to us to try and find somebody to include in our life that is trustworthy. For whatever that means.

but...everyone needs to be careful
aw okthumbs up teddybear gayyem
Johnny_Sparton
I have to run for a few....will be back on.....
Johnny life is full of adventure. I can assure you, I have more people with great life and still married to the same person as they first did 30 to 40 years ago. Bad marriage is a part of life regardless of whom you are married to. I have many friends who are married to the same race (white) who has more horror stories to share than those mix marriages from different countries.

Life is how we make it. Take the bad from the good and the adventure is priceless.

I was married to the same man for 30 years and until today he is begging me to remarry him should I change my mind. He is pure Irish. Born in California sired by his dad from Dublin.
Hello ading, nice to see youteddybear
Gayyem thats full of love storyhug teddybear
Johnny_Sparton
Hello CH,

Great advice. I also heard that the ferries are not 100% safe with them having issues. Much of what you have informed of is what I have read about. Okay...no pulling out a wallet on the streets. I know also you need to be careful with the use of your phone in public. From what I hear, snatch and grab is very common there. Sadly, for that theft to be that common, there has to be desperation....and desperate people do desperate things. :(

...including kidnapping.

Regarding sickness, I already got my Hep A shot....maybe I should get the other one that was suggested too. I forget exactly which one it is, but it helps against a mosquito spread illness.

From what I have seen with the airplane ticket, I would be flying into South Korea. From there, I would fly into Cebu and meet my lady at the airport. I read we should get a taxi from Cebu to the port and take a ferry to Bohol's capital city...then take a bike to Alona Beach.

Thanks for all the information.

wave
Johnny_Sparton
SR,

I have never heard that about the passport value...and great advice about making copies and taking pictures. Hmm, that is something totally new to me.
Johnny_Sparton
...agree SR about life being full of adventure. thumbs up

I don't mind a little risk, but I like to try and calculate it if possible.
Yes gayyem, one of the most high profile connection done through this site in the years of 2011 to 2014. We still have so many couples that got married from this site and they are still married. Ladybee from Ireland to Robert from Ohio, Nu and Oriental Koru (New Zealand and Australia) Paloma and Eric (New Zealand and India), Ayhra and Elo (California and Australia), I would have loved my connection to have lasted but still, it was one of the most beautiful love and adventure I had in my 67 years living this life. No regrets, just great memories. At least for me.hug

I wish you the best Johnny. Since you are already connected, I am sure she will do a good job in helping you not to be a victim of these robberies and or bad encounters.
Yes, report it to the embassy right away and if you have copies of those documents, it is much easier and faster to reprocess your papers. With me, my ex had to send me copies of my licenses (I did not make a copy of my passport and it was a pain to retrieve the number).

Now with them on file on your phone, there will be no need for anyone to assist you other than the officials in our embassy. Still a lot of investigation involved to make sure there is no fraud involved that stems from the suspicion that you sold your passport. As weird as it is, they will assume you sold it for money. Published in the Time magazine about the horrors associated to these very maddening plight. Google it and it will give you documented stories about passports being sold for that much.
gayyem isn't that wonderfulthumbs up
I remember witnessing meet up in the airport twas lovely "kilig" they are both now in the states....that was the time it was my first time to ride on a ferry boat going to Leyte and visit "San Juanico Bridge"wine
Johnny_Sparton
SR, you are right....she has been extremely helpful up to this point. Thank you....wish you the best of luck on this site too.
Yes gayyem. Exciting life and you and I are going to meet soon. teddybear
Never been to the Philippines but general travel advice - take at least two copies of your travel insurance and keep them in different places, ditto your passport and if you can get certified copies of your passport fairly easily, go for that - I had mine stolen in Germany and the British embassy wasn't really interested in me having a copy unless, they said, it was a certified copy. The one thing a non-certified copy did do was give them a reference number to check. Keep the backup in a waterproof container in case of water damage (or your bottle of shampoo bursting in your case. Happens.)

Do you drive? It is worth considering an international driving licence even if not planning to drive on holiday, because it is an alternate proof of identity and they aren't expensive. If you are in any situation (even as a witness) where officials such as police are demanding ID, try to give them that rather than your passport, as officials can sit on documents for weeks.

If you have to take any kind of medication, make sure you have more than you need and, again, keep the spare in a different place. If your suitcase is lost, your cabin luggage will have what you need, and vice versa. However small your cabin bag, make sure you have a change of underwear and travel-size toothpaste and brush. Delays happen without warning and are irritating enough without feeling grubby into the bargain.

Worth having some local currency on you before you arrive - the equivalent of around $50 should tide you over until you can reach a bank or ATM.

I think it's cute you were expecting all airports to have English signage. Most do use pictograms for luggage, taxis, trains, etc. Get a phrase book and memorize useful words like "exit" and phrases like "I have the trots" which is not something you want to mime in a busy pharmacy. laugh

Most holidays are 100% trouble-free. If you are prepared for the tiny percentage that go wrong, you'll be fine.
Johnny_Sparton
Hello Legs,

Excellent and thank you! Yes....I was expecting the world to be speaking English everywhere. lol

As with much other advice here, I have taken notes.

Again, thanks so much.

wave
mollybaby
Hi Johnny, going to meet the family? grin

I haven't read the comments so I presume you've been given all the advice you need.

I often travel solo and it's absolutely fine once you use common sense.
Johnny_Sparton
Well, not the whole family this first go round....but eventually, I would love to. That is what I am trying to do here...improve my common sense. I have been known to use the wrong logic at times.

Nice to see you again Molly. Hope all is going well with you.

wave
well id say is important to have a couple of credit cards as I got a skock one time with machine saying no funds I only had one since then always 2 and like most say just use your head can be different when language is a problem
mollybaby
Johnny, I don't know if you've ever lived in a big city. But you automatically know where you can go, where to avoid. It's the same the world over.
Stay in public areas, don't stand out, don't look showy, and remember 99% of people are good
Johnny_Sparton
Hello JJ,

Thank you for the great tip. I was actually just going to plan on using one also. Okay with the language...common sense seems to be the remedy.

wave
TokyoRogue
barisaler_pola: "Looking for a Georgian lady 30+"(meet us in the profile reviews)

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