By: Sarah Zonio
My first trip outside the Philippines was when I was 7 years old, flying to Dubai. I was wearing my Barbie boots, carrying a Barbie backpack, and hugging my favorite snoopy and bear stuffed-toys. My mom and I were running in the airport, security after security, removing my boots and putting them back on again, because we could already hear our names being paged.
A Favourite Childhood Travel Memory
“Calling the attention of Ms. Sarah and Ms. X Zonio, please proceed to Gate 5. This is your final call.”
Seriously. How irritating could my first travel be?
Finally, huffing and puffing our lungs out, we made it, just a few seconds before the aircraft closed its doors. You must be wondering how could this happen to us? For various reasons, I must say:
One, we didn’t anticipate the traffic going to the airport.
Two, we had a lot of luggage. Way a lot!
Three, it was both our first time to travel to Dubai, so the documents were pretty confusing.
Four, we underestimated the “smallness” of the airport
Five, we were too confident we’ll have just enough time to wait for the boarding, and not have any problems with the immigration, not taking note of the “3 hours before ETD” rule
Although it was a not-so-nice first travel experience, it is my favourite childhood travel memory. Looking back at everything, it definitely taught me on how to be a better traveler. One of the few things that I’ve learnt were:
One, travel light. Yes, you have 30kgs of baggage allowance. But honestly, if you don’t need all that 30kgs, it’s alright! Pack only the things that you need to bring and leave some extra space for the souvenirs you’ll be bringing back home. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not filling up the 30kgs baggage allowance. Trust me, it’s easier that way.
Two, wear comfy clothes. If you want to look fashionable in the airport, cool. Just please don’t sacrifice comfort for fashion. If you think you won’t make it to the aircraft wearing 6-inches heels, then don’t. There are other ways in looking beautiful in the airport. Stay comfy.
Three, anticipate the traffic. Don’t get too comfortable thinking you’ll make it to the airport at 5 when your ETD is 6. Even if you do, you never know how long the queue might be, or whatever may happen at the immigration. Plus, don’t you like it when you can stroll around the airport at your own pace instead of running around trying to make it through the final call? Eh.
Four, double check and triple check your documents. Before leaving for the airport, make sure that your passport, visa (if needed), and other documents are with you. Scan through them and familiarize yourself with each document. So if asked, you’d know what to say.
Five, always be prepared. Even if it’s summer in the country that you’d be traveling to, you can’t predict the temperature of the airport or the aircraft. So bring a light sweater just in case. You don’t want to be like me, looking for a sweater at the last minute in the airport because it was freezing.
Overall, traveling will always teach us a thing or two that we can improve on with ourselves later. Take note of the good and bad, and make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes again. But then again, enjoy! There’s nothing more fun with traveling than to make mistakes, meet new people here and there, and to share these stories to everyone else back home.
Huge thanks to our guest blogger, Sarah Zonio, for sharing this story with us:
Xam (or Sarah) is an aspiring travel writer and travel presenter. She was born in the Philippines, but raised in Dubai. Xam is constantly curious about what’s on the other side of the world, and that is why she promised to not stay in one place far too long. You can read more of her work at To Infinity And Beyond.
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