grab your pass­port—we’ve got you cov­ered.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Contents - “We rec­om­mend trav­el­ing light, which lets you skip the lines and long wait at the carousel.”

Your Tick­ets are booked, your hotel reser­va­tions made, and you’re this­close to your very own Eat, Pray, Love mo­ment. But trav­el­ing is hard enough in it­self, what more if you’re go­ing solo. Our handy­dandy guide cov­ers ev­ery- thing from what to bring to why you shouldn’t stay away from the street food, so pack your bags and get ready for an ad­ven­ture. Your trip is go­ing to be epic.

never for­get

Trav­el­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally? Don’t just dou­ble check if you have your (valid) pass­port with you be­fore head­ing to the air­port, but also make sure it passes all the cri­te­ria for whichever country you’re go­ing to. Keep in mind that you may not be al­lowed to en­ter or

exit cer­tain coun­tries if you’re flying less than six months be­fore your travel doc­u­ments ex­pire. Some coun­tries also ask you to leave a cer­tain num­ber of blank pages on your pass­port be­fore you’re granted en­try, so know what the re­quire­ments are. If you’re trav­el­ing any­where that re­quires a visa, be sure yours is valid and, if it’s on an older pass­port, bring both ex­pired and valid pass­ports with you. Keep­ing it do­mes­tic? If you’re flying, you’ll still need an ID (prefer­ably govern­ment is­sued). In both cases, to be safe, make pho­to­copies of ev­ery­thing.

Check out of check­ing in

Chances are you’ve over­packed. We rec­om­mend trav­el­ing light (i.e. mak­ing do with carry-on lug­gage), which lets you skip not just ex­or­bi­tant fees, but also the long wait and lines at the bag­gage carousel. Don’t pack any­thing you wouldn’t wear back home, and you’ll prob­a­bly only need as many out­fits as the num­ber of days you’re on va­ca­tion, plus an ex­tra en­sem­ble. Some peo­ple swear by do­ing laun­dry in their hotel rooms (though some es­tab­lish­ments frown upon the prac­tice), and if you plan on do­ing the same, think about tak­ing quick-dry­ing fab­rics and bring­ing a laun­dry line along. As for toi­letries, de­cant liq­uids and gels into 30 ml bot­tles, la­bel them, and make sure they all fit in a quart-sized pack­ing cube or dry bag.

Be a girl scout

A phone charger is a mil­lenial’s fig­u­ra­tive um­bil­i­cal cord, so don’t for­get yours. Bring along a power bank and a travel plug adapter, and you’re golden. Other things that will come in handy when trav­el­ing in­clude a mini-sew­ing kit; hair ties or rub­ber bands; a large scarf, ma­l­ong, Turk­ish towel, or sarong; a few me­ters of string or twine; a col­lapsi­ble water bot­tle; a com­pact eco bag; a large Zi­ploc bag or two; and some duct tape. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, es­pe­cially if you’re do­ing the back­pack­ing thing. Trust.

Cash it in

When trav­el­ing, cash is king. Have enough on you to pay for ev­ery­thing plus enough to cover an ex­tra day or two. Don’t keep all your money in one place, and put your wal­let in a bag you can keep in front of you (read: not a back­pack), or one of those scarves or belts with hid­den pock­ets. You can even em­ploy the clas­sic Pinterest hack of rolling up cash in an empty lip balm tube.

Tit for tat

If you have to ex­change your pesos for the lo­cal cur­rency, try not to hand over all your cash at the air­port, where rates tend to be much higher—ex­change just enough to get you out of the air­port and to your hotel, and look for op­tions from there. Cer­tain banks also al­low you

to with­draw cash from in­ter­na­tional ATMS us­ing your card, but be aware that fees can range in the hun­dreds of pesos for this ser­vice.

nutri­tion facts

The lo­cal cui­sine is one of the best parts of trav­el­ing. For all the fla­vor with none of the tummy trou­ble, head for the stalls with the long­est lines—if it’s good enough for the lo­cals, it’s worth trust­ing and it’s good enough for you. Din­ing solo? Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the bar—it helps calm the anx­i­ety of be­ing at a ta­ble on your own. It’s also worth re­mem­ber­ing that servings at some restau­rants are large enough for two peo­ple, which trans­lates to two meals for you.

drink to that

Be wary of strange peo­ple of­fer­ing you mixed drinks or open bot­tles of beer. Watch how your drink is be­ing made, and keep an eye on any­thing you or­der or con­sume. If you fall into a scam­mer’s trap, you might be asked to pay much, much more than you bar­gained for, or be charged for things or ser­vices you didn’t avail of— so if the thought of this ter­ri­fies you, don’t be afraid to shell out a lit­tle more at a rep­utable es­tab­lish­ment; it’s a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

stay safe

A ba­sic rule: fol­low the law, what­ever your des­ti­na­tion. It could mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween the best va­ca­tion ever or need­ing to call a lawyer. An­other thing to keep in mind: Much like visas, there are coun­tries that re­quire visi­tors to present proof that you’ve had cer­tain vac­ci­na­tions. This means they re­tain the right to turn you away at the bor­der with­out them, so get your shots from your trusted doctor at home. Travel in­sur­ance is also an of­ten-over­looked as­pect of any va­ca­tion, but if you travel more than once a year, it’s worth con­sid­er­ing shelling out for.

the bot­tom line

Don’t for­get why you trav­eled in the first place. It’s easy to lose sight of what made you pack your bags and dis­cover the great un­known—and all on your own, at that!—with all the plan­ning and re­search­ing and wor­ry­ing you’re bound to do, but don’t stop re­mind­ing your­self to keep an open mind and heart to ev­ery­thing you’re go­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence. Take the time to re­ally take things in, and not just doc­u­ment them for the sake of the ‘Gram. Trav­el­ing can only make you a bet­ter per­son: it’s an ed­u­ca­tion that broad­ens your hori­zons. Get to know the lo­cals, the cul­ture, and the des­ti­na­tion it­self, be­cause there’s so much to learn. Few experiences can com­pare to see­ing the world on your own, and even if you only planned to dis­cover a new town, city, or country, you’ll re­al­ize that, along the way, you’ll dis­cover your­self, too.

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