Tips for Traveling Moms by Renell Pacrin
During my internship, I was fascinated with the Institute’s rural development work. I have wished to go back and join the organization. It was very timely after I have earned my degree, there was an opportunity. I had the chance to be engaged in the rural development work for eleven (11) years. One of the things which made my working experience interesting is the exposure to a multi-cultural working environment. It is an international organization, with many expatriate staff from different parts of the globe. In addition to this, my job includes conduct of project activities. Sometimes, these are held outside the office and requires domestic and/or international travel.
My travel experiences at work paved the way to my interest to travel with my family. I would like to share with my family the greatness can be found and discovered when traveling. At Mima’s Homey, we are so blessed to have opportunities to travel as a family, and sometimes with extended families, as well as friends. This is one of the things to be grateful for. When I was young, a trip to the public market with my mother is most awaited every Sunday. I and my siblings takes turns. We are always excited and filled with happiness going to the public market. As simple and shallow as that, compared nowadays, leisure travel seems to be one of the necessities when social media boomed the tourism industry.
There are so many perks when you travel, like learning about local and international culture, meeting different nationalities, discovering new places (historical, world heritage, and landmarks), appreciating authentic cuisine, OTOP (One Town One Product), admiring unique artifacts, etc.. However, traveling, either for business or leisure, also have some downsides, not everything turns well as you’ve expected. While the pandemic restricted traveling for more than a year now, I would like to share few travel pointers from my personal experiences, for future reference. Some travel guidelines may not be applicable now, but counter checking to avoid unnecessary delay when you travel can save time and resources.
7 Tips for Traveling Moms
Prepare a medical certificate if you’re pregnant.
I almost missed my flight when I was held during boarding time. The flight attendant required me to present a medical certificate from my attending physician regarding my pregnancy. I am not aware of the requirements, our travel coordinator and agency didn’t gave me prior information. I was on my second trimester and have a healthy pregnancy, I can not miss my flight and cancel reservations and meeting arrangements made. The flight attendant was very helpful and accommodating. She asked me to fill-up an expectant mother’s information sheet and sign a waiver. If there are guidelines for minor and senior passengers prior to ticket issuance, expectant mothers should be considered too.
Have alternatives if you have a senior citizen travel companion.
Whenever possible, I bring along with us my mother (who is a senior citizen) to both domestic and international tourist destinations. There are considerations to be made when traveling with a senior citizen. This includes your itinerary, daily schedule of activities, and food. Visit to theme parks where you have to walk for long hours, trying theme parks’ extreme rides, zip lining, zorbing, river rafting, hiking, ATV adventure ride, and others, which my daughter enjoy most are not suited for elderly tourist. You should have alternatives. For senior citizens like my mother, with dietary restrictions, unwilling to try new and different cuisines, you have to bring/pack bread or biscuits if you are in a place where there are limited meal options for the elderly.
Get an exclusive transportation when traveling with family.
If you will avail a package tour, check what will be the transportation arrangements. There was an instance where we have spent the whole morning fetching tourists from different hotels. Half day of our tour was wasted because a coaster was used for our group. Not all guests are punctual and does not fully cooperates. Exclusive transportation arrangement is perfect, specially for a family.
Do it your own travel arrangements made me discover that my daughter is a keen observer. She reads instructions well at the age of six. We went to Jurong Bird Park on our own and boarded a train. On our way back, my daughter told me to return our used train tickets/cards so we can get a refund. Our ticket costs six dollars. We were able to refund four dollars upon returning the used cards in the bending machine. I was amazed and asked her where did she learned about it. She saw and read them in the train station and I didn’t.
Travel during off peak seasons.
It is very typical to schedule a trip during summer break and holidays. As much as we would like to grab the chance that everyone in the family is available during this period, sometimes it is not the best time to travel. Even though prior reservations has been made, most tourist destinations are crowded during peak season. We were stuck for three long hours in the immigration queue at Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport) during our Christmas holiday tour. We were left out for island hopping in Palawan because of guests influx during holy week despite prior reservations. I even made reconfirmation of our scheduled itinerary a day before. And ironically, in Hundred Islands, we were not able to find a spot where we can sit, eat, and even swim because of the huge crowd during holy week.
Do not hand carry items from the Duty Free.
If you are traveling with multiple destinations and would like to shop at duty free in the airport, particularly wine, you have to check them in. Do not hand-carry. My husband bought two bottles of expensive wine at Paro International Airport duty free shop. Our suitcases are full so we’re not able to enclose them both and include in the checked-in luggage, only one bottle. Hence, my husband hand-carried the other bottle, sealed, boxed, inside a duty free shopping bag. When we arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport, we were not allowed to bring in the hand-carried wine. With so much frustration because it is expensive and we cannot take it home, my husband unboxed the wine. He opened the bottle, and emptied it in the trash bin.
Package your fruits well.
Each time I have the opportunity to visit Mindanao, I always take advantage of the place which is hailed as the fruit basket of the Philippines – Davao. However, most of the places I have been in Mindanao, not only Davao, also have abundant and very affordable fruits that I love. They have Durian, Mangosteen, Marang, Pomelo, and Lanzones. If you would like to bring home some of these fruits, which are high-valued in Luzon, beware. When we’ve picked-up our box of Lanzones from the baggage carousel, there was a hole on it. It weighed less than its checked-in weight. And one of our participants’ boxes of Davao Pomelo, where he paid for an additional kilos of baggage allowance, has been ripped. Only few pieces of Pomelo were left.
Ensure that your car is in good condition before giving the key to the Park ‘N Fly staff.
Whenever we travel as a family, we always avail the services of Park ‘N Fly. It gives us convenience traveling from our residence, to the airport, and back. The staff are very accommodating and courteous. Once you have registered details of your vehicle, it will be saved in their database. You don’t have to present documentation anymore in your next visit. If you plan to avail their services, allocate ample time prior to your flight departure schedule.
In one of our Park ‘N Fly services’ experience, where we arrived Manila late night, we’ve found out the next day that there was a scratch at the rear part of our car. Hence, in our succeeding visits, my husband ensures that our car is in perfect condition before he hands over the keys to the Park N’ Fly staff and inspects the car thoroughly before we checks out.
Visiting places you’ve never been gives enchanting discoveries of nature, provides realization and appreciation of the life you have, and it is an exciting venue for family bonding. For the princess of Mima’s Homey, it gave her courage and motivation to independently make arrangements and travel on her own. At the age of eighteen, she traveled half the globe by herself. Whenever you have an opportunity to travel, for business or leisure, take full advantage of it. There’s always something to learn from it.Renell Pacrin, Mima’s Homey
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About the Author:
Renell A. Dela Cruz – Pacrin is a development worker (support staff) for seventeen years who loves to cook and bake. She earned a degree in Secretarial Administration and passed the NC II (National Certificate) in Bread and Pastry Production. During her free time, she bakes cookies, cakes, and pastries, mostly for her lovely daughter’s packed snacks, family occasions, and sometimes made to order. Currently self-employed, she focuses more on her spouse’ van rental business, home duties, exploring handicrafts, and taking care of the homey.