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Travel Reminder: Some Useful Travel Tips Based on Our Experience

During our travel couple of weeks ago to Bintan, Batam and Malaysia, we are learning (via hard experience) that when traveling there are several important things that we should remember. This blog post will serve as a reminder for us on what is important when traveling for our future itinerary. Hopefully this can also be useful for you guys who are also planning a trip.

We will try to make it in bullet points for easier reading.

  1. Always check the baggage requirements from the Airlines that you have booked. We learned this lesson the hard way during our trip to Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur. As we are used to travel using one cabin bag, we never check the weight of the baggage that we are carrying. We never thought to check it as in Indonesia, the airline staff never check the weight. It turned out during our trip back to Indonesia from Malaysia, in the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), the airline staff check and weigh our baggage (which exceed around 5 kg from the permitted 7 kg baggage). At the end, we must pay additional Rp 300.000,- for the extra baggage. Imagine how many chocolate that you can bought using that money? ^_^.
  2. You should always bring extra padlock which are easier to reach in your backpack. Continuing our story in point #1, since we thought we can bring the baggage into the cabin, we put the padlock somewhere that are difficult to reach. Thankfully our baggage have their built-in padlock, so we can lock them. But for next time, we will try to put our padlock somewhere that reachable.
  3. You can purchase your local train/ bus/ transport tickets in advance. What we mean by local train/ bus/ transport tickets are tickets of Monorail, Subway, MRT, BTS, etc. During our trip to Malaysia, when we reached Central Station, we quickly purchase a return ticket to LCCT terminal via the counter that expires in 3 (three) weeks. It is provide useful for us, as when we return, the ticket counter was queuing quite far. If we purchase the ticket on-the-counter, we might be late to arrive at the airport.
  4. When traveling in group and you are collecting your baggage in a hotel/ meeting point/ deposit counter, always mentioned clearly to the baggage clerk on what group you are coming from. We also learn this lesson the hard way. Our baggage was not tagged in group, and two of our baggage are left behind in a hotel in Batam when we are returning to Bandung. Thankfully, one of the group member are returning to Bandung on the next day, so we can have him bring the lost baggage to Bandung.
  5. Bring just enough clothes for your trip, especially when you only booked for cabin baggage. For example: we are huge fans of UNIQLO, and until their new flagship shop opened in Indonesia, we are often purchase them during our trip abroad. For example, Aswin when going to Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur for 6 (six) days, brings 1 (one) jacket, 8 (eight) T-Shirts, 2 (two) Batik shirt, 2 (two) long pants, consisted of one Jeans and one formal pants for the conference, and 1 (one) short pants. In Kuala Lumpur, cannot resisting to shop in UNIQLO Fahrenheit Bukit Bintang, Aswin purchased additional 3 (three) T-Shirts and 1 (one) jacket. After we went home (with additional Rp 300.000,- baggage charge), we found out that for that trip, if we are intended to purchase clothes in our travel destination, we should just bring 3 (three) T-Shirts, 2 (two) Shirts - one for conference, the other one for informal occasion/ traveling, 2 (two) long pants, consisted of cargo and formal pants for conference, and 1 (one) short pants. It will save a lot of room and weight. For learning better methods of packing, you should check @DuaRansel guide for packing here and here. 
  6. Most of the hotels local/ abroad, even the cheap ones are already preparing basic toiletries. So don't bring them, unless you have allergies or very selective to toiletries you used. Even if so, you should just bring a small portion of them using small vials that most supermarket will sells (we prefer the one from MUJI. A little bit expensive at first, but quite long lasting). 
  7. Always brings small change during your trip abroad, especially the first time you reached the airport. Sometimes we exchange currency in big number (50, 100, 1000, etc), and when we reached to the airport we realized we need to use small change to use the public transport and for tipping. Sometimes we forgot about that, and so we used to exchange them by purchasing snacks/ drinks in the airport, which is obviously more expensive than purchasing them in convenience store. 
  8. Inline with point #7, when traveling abroad, we should save the country's currency in large bills when we are returning to our country. The large bills will be used as a safety net in case we need to purchase/ pay something at the airport, such as our additional Rp 300.000,- baggage charge. The large bills if not used, can be exchanged with higher value back home, compared with the small bills. If not, at least bring extra American Dollar or Euro. We don't recommend exchanging IDR abroad, as mostly the value dropped significantly.
  9. If possible, bring extra bag that can be folded. The bag must be light and takes up small space. It would be useful for you when you goes shopping for daily meals in the country, and if needed can be used to put those gifts that your friends/ family are asking (sometimes very late) to bring home from your travel.
  10. NEVER-EVER-EVER-EVER-EVER bring any foods from your hometown, unless it is for gifts/ souvenirs for your friend in the visited destination. Some Indonesian (older generations) tends to bring items such as Sambal (traditional chili sauce), Instant Noodle, Soy Ketchup, even Rice Cooker! From our experience, those foods tends to return to our hometown, as we prefer to eat out when traveling. We are traveling, why not as well enjoy their culinary culture, instead of eating what we can have in our hometown? ^_^
  11. Be extra careful when eating raw foods/ exotic foods when traveling. Yes, salads, seafood, foreign fruit juice, and sashimi sounds wonderful and healthy, but too often we are blinded with the exotic experience and forget about our own body condition. For regular Joe like us, who are lacking good exercise, when traveling, especially on a tight schedule, our body sometimes don't act normally. They are often fatigued and tired due to constant travel, new weather condition, and foreign air condition. These conditions makes us more vulnerable. Fresh salads and spicy chili that we can easily chowed down in our hometown might trigger diarrhea. Grilled seafood that are not fresh sometimes can be gulped down easily in our hometown, but when traveling can cause food poisoning (like what happen to Alia during our last trip to Langkawi). If you will expose yourself to most of these kind of foods, it is better for you to have enough rest, acclimate yourself, and for emergency, bring medicine on your trip. You don't want to spend all your money for vacation resting in bed due to sickness, right?
We think for now, this list will provide as reminder for our future travel. Please feel free to add more points, so we can learn and become a better and cultured traveler in the future. :)



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