Basic travel tips

I’m off to Shanghai tomorrow. I’m very excited! It’s my first time to visit China, and I am eager to see what Shanghai has in store for me. This is also my first time to travel to a place in Asia where I actually know some people, and I’m glad that I don’t have to be the designated tour guide for a change. I’ve been to a lot of places with my family and friends, and it seems that I’m always the one in-charge of planning our routes and plotting itineraries. It’s a relief to get a break from that travel routine.

Before leaving for Shanghai, I’d like to share some basic travel tips for anyone who wants to discover a new place on their own:

  • Research, research, research! I must say that this is a key task that one should do before going to an unfamiliar place. There are lots of travel sites that offer valuable information about a certain city. Some are experiences shared by travellers themselves. My favourite resource is Wikitravel. It has helped me discover new places easily, and I was able to avoid scams and dirty tactics of locals prying on tourists in some countries. Description on the site is very detailed for key cities, so expect to navigate like a local when you get to your travel destination.
  • Bring essential documents. Of course, the passport is a given. Other key documents include a return ticket and a map to the hotel translated in the local language. For my trip to Shanghai tomorrow, I already had a friend write the key destinations in Chinese on paper.
  • Plot your itinerary ahead. List down all the places you want to see for the day, see how far it is and take down the opening and closing times. It would help you maximize the day, especially when you plan to visit historical places and see local shows.
  • Wear flat shoes. For short trips, the schedule would usually be cramped with lots of tourist places on the itinerary. Expect that a lot of hours would be spent on walking, so wearing comfortable shoes is a must.
  • Take a small medicine kit with you. When I was in Thailand once, my friend got allergies from the shrimps in the Thai food that we’ve been eating. We went to a pharmacy, and since not all Thais speak English we were directed to their colleague who was able to converse a bit in English. We were lucky we were given the right medicine. It’s best to bring your own medicine for minor ailments to avoid a less than desirable outcome.

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