Tag Archives: top travel tips

Coronavirus: Solving Initial Issues on Community Quarantine

As expected and in any undertaking, there would always be issues especially for something that the world has never seen before.

And in the case of Metro Manila’s community quarantine, among the problems that came out were traffic congestion, defective thermal scanners, no face masks, and social distancing issues among others.

How to Address these Issues
  • Traffic. The problem with this issue is that it has been a concern even before COVID-19 surfaced on this planet. So, if it was not solved back then, it would either be harder to solve now that there’s a threat like the coronavirus – or with “sustained effort” on the part of the police and travelers, this 5-hour endurance (WARNING: Traffic would definitely contribute to spreading the virus) by commuters and motorists would be cut into half or even a tenth of the time. For that to happen, consider the following: (a) Provincial buses should only ply up to Metro Manila borders. (b) Companies apply a 6-hour daily work schedule. To maximize productivity, companies should focus on results not work hours. (c) The whole Metro Manila should apply an every 30-minute bus and jeepney schedule at designated bus stops. (d) Companies in the whole metropolis should work on and agree on a sequenced 6-hour work schedule. Like, companies located in this area are to have an 8-3PM schedule while companies located on that area will have an 8:30-3:30PM sked and companies near checkpoints should open office from 9-4PM and so on. This way, the roads would not congest with employees going off work at the same time. (e) If an employee lives within 5 kilometers from his office, do not ride but just walk. If he lives farther, get off the bus at least 300 meters before his office. This way, these employees not only give drivers a chance to pick up other passengers but they keep fit.
  • Social Distancing. It would be hard to apply this on buses and jeepneys especially since drivers would naturally want more passengers while the latter are rushing to work. However, this only needs cooperation and discipline to make social distancing successful. (a) Employees should not leave their homes at the 11th hour. (b) All buses and jeepneys should have a “conductor.” These conductors would make sure that proper spacing is done in public transportations by stopping the passengers from riding when the bus or jeepney is already fully and properly spaced out. Violators should be penalized.
  • Defective Thermal Scanners. First, these products should be tested before being officially used. Second, if they were functioning before they got damaged, then it’s just about handling – be gentle. Third, checkpoints should have a charging area for thermal scanners that are low batt. You could even convert a “car battery” into a charger that every checkpoint should have.
  • No Face Mask. While n95 are the ideal mask, it’s only for medical workers as even disposable surgical masks (which is commonly used by the world) are out of supply. Then again, haven’t you heard that old bras could even be used as a face mask? Okay, using such could be embarrassing for the police – then use an improvised face mask made of cloth or something. The difference between a medical mask and an improvised face mask lies in its filtering properties. Being made of cloth, respiratory particles that were caught by it could still be there; thus, increase your protection by adding a perforation of 3 plies of tissue between your nose-mouth area and mask. Just change your tissue every hour or so since you are heavily exposed to people.
Having and following designated bus stops with a “15-second un/loading time” could improve traffic.

The battle against COVID-19 is very winnable. All it takes is sustained effort – and discipline.

Coronavirus: What could make a Lockdown or Community Quarantine fail

With the continued rise of coronavirus infections globally and a COVID-19 vaccine still nowhere in sight, governments just have to do what they can to contain its spread…

Either through lockdowns or “aggressive” testing. But for this article, we are to focus on lockdowns or Metro Manila’s community quarantine.

As we know, lockdowns control people’s movement within a restricted area while quarantine is simply the separation or restriction of people who might have been exposed to a contagious disease to determine if they are infected – just like what you see when you travel nowadays.

In both cases, it’s either imposed in the whole country or just a certain locality.

For coronavirus or in anything, success is a matter of sustained effort.

So with that, what could actually make a lockdown or community quarantine fail?

  1. Sustainable Effort. Many times, hopefully not in this case, governments just could not sustain the work. Let’s face it, it’s just tedious. Imagine you have to check temperatures of hundreds or thousands of motorists or people on designated checkpoints and areas for, say, 30 days. At first, the energy and even enthusiasm is naturally there but after a week or so, things could become relaxed.
  2. Corruption. And when those on the job gets kind of tired or complacent, these guys could become open to bribery or something. Like, if a symptomatic person or businessman is worried of missing out on a big deal, he could try to bribe those at the “control point” to let him slide and just get treated or quarantined right after his deal. This could happen, like, in all entry or exit points whether land, sea or air travel. No land, air and sea travel means “no land, air and sea travel” whether you are a passenger – or a shipping or airline company.
  3. Questionable Quarantine Areas. Choice of designated quarantine sites is crucial, else, you could still spread the virus. It should not be in residential or commercial areas or where foot traffic is high. It should be as isolated as possible. And if possible, those infected should be in a designated island for treatment. This is not discriminating the sick but controlling the chances of spreading COVID-19 until they get well, so life still goes on for the healthy.
  4. Lack of Health Workers. COVID-19 is a pandemic and we are still human regardless if one is a medical professional or not. This situation could overwhelm these health workers emotionally, mentally and physically. So, what are the chances that a health worker could underperform? Say, a hundred patients and only two nurses, a medical technologist and a doctor. See?
  5. Lack of Medical Supplies. Or other necessary supplies, medicine and equipments as well. After all, even the United States has issues with their testing kits. Thus, testing supplies among others should be adequate, distributed equally and replenished in a timely manner regardless if the hospital is renown or not, but depending on their need. Government and the health industry should act in unison – with one objective – to eliminate COVID-19. Pharmaceutical companies (and any entity who could gain in any way) should not take advantage of the situation.
  6. Improperly trained Disinfecting Personnel. In its simplest form, just think of this as painting a house. Paint equally with the right formula and do not overpaint one area unless you need to highlight it or so. In this case, be methodical and do not overdo or undercut your spraying or disinfecting methods. Leave no stone unturned with priority on the most vulnerable areas and places regardless of who frequents the building or locale.
  7. Lack of Discipline. Social distancing should truly be observed, wherever. Large gatherings should be cancelled. Same goes with panic-buying. More than crowd containment, hoarding rules should be strictly implemented between customers and the store regardless if the customer is rich or a celebrity. Such people would just create an imbalance in supplies as they leave little for others. More so, panic-buying only overwhelms the store where others could slip unnoticed and open up to unsuspected viral infection. Another case would be for youngsters just being carefree and unknowingly become a carrier of the virus. So is an employee trying to get to office or continue working even if he suddenly feels sick. See, those residing outside the restricted area are more dangerous than those inside the quarantine zone as they could become carriers of the virus to another locality. Thus, they should really be monitored.
Disinfecting priorities should be followed and not done based on social standing.

In all, while we can expect the coronavirus cases to increase in lockdown or quarantine areas (for being some kind of an epicenter), so long as the above factors are addressed – containment is going to be successful.

Coronavirus: Self-Care and Determining Vulnerability

Next to coronavirus, the most popular word nowadays is quarantine. And while every traveler undergoes quarantine, some malls in this part of the world has started to do temperature checks to its customers.

This is certainly good – and it should, in fact, be done in all malls, schools, churches, and terminals around the world. That’s the very least establishments and organized groups could do as a precautionary measure if lock downs or cancellation of activities are not yet done.

Still, while we already know who are the most vulnerable in our society…

  • Those 60 years old and above.
  • Those with existing or even previous health issues like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Those under medication.
  • Those with compromised immune systems.
  • Those with hypertension.
  • Those with unhealthy lifestyles including smokers, idle (no physical activity) – or even those who regularly sleep under 7 hours or more than 9 hours as these are imbalances which makes idleness (or overworking for some) even worse.
  • Those with unhealthy diets as this builds up and weakens one’s body.

The above factors actually makes just about everyone vulnerable; of course, except for those disciplined, else, lucky souls.

Coronavirus has become a wake up call for that lifestyle change to protect oneself, if not, recover faster from illnesses.

See, anyone can get infected – regardless of age or health as even a Juventus soccer player and a Utah Jazz basketball player got infected. Think about this, if athletes can get infected, how much more those who are idle?

Okay, while the young and those healthy are likely to recover better compared to the elderly, that doesn’t mean they are 100 percent sure to survive. Anything within them (and outside of them) can still happen.

After all, of all people, it’s not the rich and powerful nor the medical practitioners or even the youth that has the strongest immune systems – but it’s the athletes or those who are active and lives healthy. Notice that even those with high cholesterol (with a number suffering heart problems or even strokes) are getting younger and younger?

Start living healthy.

Take note that while testing kits are available (or at least we know they exist), testing is all it does. Testing kits does not protect you from infections or disease. It’s only an “early” warning to help you recover from infection. It’s only a reminder for you to be responsible. To self-quarantine and to make lifestyle changes.

And do not be stuck on that debate between flu and COVID-19. While “experts” say they are different, they are actually more similar than different as both attacks the respiratory area. So do not panic but just be responsible. Yes, obviously, COVID-19 kills people and that is what makes it different from flu.

Old bras for face mask: In times of emergency, creativity and boldness are key.

Remember, panic only weakens your immune system.

We are all in this together
  • As an ordinary person, focus on strengthening your immune system and not being a carrier.
  • As an entrepreneur, focus on making medicine, food and supplies available and at stable prices especially to the vulnerable and the poor. Do not allow hoarding.
  • As for business people outside the supply chain, focus on stabilizing employment and providing jobs to displaced workers. By giving everyone an opportunity, you will realize that traditional qualifications has nothing to do with one’s ability to thrive under pressure – a problem solver at the highest level – and that’s a rare gem.
  • As a medical professional, focus on helping the infected recover while protecting yourself from infection.
  • As a scientist, focus on developing the vaccine. Lock downs and quarantines can only do so much, the world needs the vaccine for assurance.
  • As a politician, focus on containing the virus by locking down your area before it becomes uncontrollable. For populated areas, let 10 – or even less – cases of coronavirus infections (check your population per sqm) be the trigger for a lock down. Community spread is lurking. Waiting or indecisiveness costs lives.
  • As for the media or even for social media, do not scare people but be truthful and responsible in reporting or posting.

Be positive and keep strong, we are smarter than any virus.

Traveling in the Age of Coronavirus

COVID-19. It’s just all over the dailies and the internet. For more than a month now, the new coronavirus has been filling the headlines…

But let not these scare you. These news are only to inform you to keep you healthy and to help contain the virus, so do not panic.

Yet that does not mean you be complacent and irresponsible.

We are aware that bats and certain animals could be carriers of viruses, thus, one, try to avoid eating exotic foods and stop the trafficking of wild animals. And two, make sure that traditional sources of animal meat you prepare for food are not sick, are clean and properly cooked.

Remember, viruses enter humans through the T-zone. Eyes. Nose. Mouth. And if your immune system is weak or you have unhealthy habits like smoking or you are unhygienic, you then become more susceptible to viruses that could cause more than just colds.

Thus, wherever you may be – traveling or not – always be mindful.

COVID-19 Basics

The problem with this new coronavirus though is that symptoms only appear after 5 days or later, thus, it could spread even before one realizes that he is infected with such. However, since vaccines and medications are still being developed, the best strategy at this time is in supportive care – like, taking in fluids and proper ventilation. In short, treat it as how you would when you have a flu as similar symptoms like coughing and fever are present.

Temperature check: First line of COVID-19 detection when traveling.
COVID-19 Prevention
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands – and if you are a health care worker, use protective equipment.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with tissue – then throw the tissue to the trash can.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid nonessential travel and traveling to outbreak areas.
  • Stay away from crowds. If unavoidable, wear a face mask.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people or be at least 2 meters away from a person showing viral symptoms.
  • Stay home and isolate when you are sick.
  • If you need to go to the hospital, call to know the procedure first so as not to overburden healthcare professionals and increase infection; then wear a face mask once you proceed.
  • A chest CT scan shows to be good in quick screening those with fever, a possible infection of the COVID-19 virus.
Face masks – unless you’re in a crowd – are rather recommended for those already with symptoms.
COVID-19 Travel Tips
  • Be aware of travel advisories and COVID-19 updates.
  • Avoid crowded places especially if it’s in an enclosed structure.
  • Travel in a private jet if you could, else, take the window seats instead of the aisles of a commercial plane if possible.
  • Avoid traveling via cruise ships.
  • Keep distance from people with symptoms. Respiratory particles from coughing or sneezing could travel about 1 meter, thus, be at least 2 meters away from the person.
  • Practice proper hygiene especially washing your hands whenever you eat, after using the toilet or holding frequently held objects and surfaces.
Death rates are actually low with COVID-19 with the elderly, else, those with compromised immune systems as the more vulnerable group.

Vacations can wait. Just make sure of the air you breathe first.

Happy and safe travels!

Top Travel Tips: How to Travel to Politically Unstable places

There are instances in life when something unexpected happens, in fact, many times. Even in what we thought was a stable situation.

Like a sudden conflict in a place we planned to take a vacation or a scheduled business trip. This can be postponed of course, but what if the conflict started when we already got to our destination that it left us confused or even stranded?

While locals may be able to instinctively cope up with the situation, how about expats and tourists? Hence, obviously, this would affect potential tourists and investors in the future.

Trustworthiness is at stake. Knowing that the government is ready to handle and ultimately resolve the conflict humanely would speak a lot about its image internationally as it translates into business and cooperation.

But speed is a factor here.

Every single day that a conflict goes by unresolved is a financial loss. Even relationship-wise, as suspicion only gets deeper. As a frank traveler though, you can say its their problem. My problem is my safety, my time and my money.

So, how do you travel to politically unstable countries or places?

It depends.

But especially consider the basics first whether you are still planning or already in the conflict area.

ONE. Is there an obvious civil war in your exact destination? If there is, then no question – it is unsafe. To even consider the idea, you should be at least 150 miles away from the war zone.

TWO. Now, if there’s no civil war, then where are the demonstrations happening? If it would distract your visit or possible work or purpose, then think twice as it may not be advisable.

THREE. If the conflict is not where you intend to be, what are the chances of it spilling over to your location? See, they may also be holding protests at airports, terminals, government offices – or even at business districts, thence, this makes any sort of visit worth rethinking.

FOUR. If you have an important business to attend to, or your planned visit is set on stone as there’s “surprisingly” no other time – then ask again. Have protesters blocked or like laid camp on terminals so as to totally disrupt flights long-term? Actually, whether airport protests are one day or one week, you got to be updated with travel advisories and give proper notification to all parties involved in your trip including your pre-booked hotel.

FIVE. Remember, wherever the demonstrations may be, things could get nasty. Therefore, it is advisable to just stay away from any such local “disturbances” and keep in touch with your embassy.

SIX. Have self-discipline. Especially since there is an ongoing conflict, stick to your business or to your itinerary. Do not be adventurous at this time unless you are so far away from the conflict area. You can still enjoy, of course, but go through the day with safety in mind.

Happy and safe travels!

Top Travel Tips: How to Protect Yourself when Traveling

Whether for business, pleasure or whatever,  we naturally do want things to go about smoothly in our travels. Yet what could assure our safety?

Here are the basics that you need to know.

  1. Do advance research of your destination from attractions and its peak seasons, hostels, climate, culture, practices, exchange rates, local cost of living and political stability among others.
  2. Be updated with your country’s travel advisory. If you have no clue about it, then the more you make sure you do tip #1.
  3. Have duplicates of travel documents. Accidental loss or damage to your travel documents could mean big trouble, thus, it would be better to prepare for the unexpected by having photocopies.

    Enjoy and maximize every single day of your travel – get vaccinated.
  4. Take proper vaccinations. More than adjusting to the time zone, sudden climate changes could get your body react negatively, so make sure you get your shots before traveling.
  5. Learn the local language. While having a translator app is good, knowing how to speak a few local lines is better than a robotic audio that may even mispronounce some words.
  6. If you haven’t got martial arts’ skills, then at least bring some self-defense items like a pepper spray – or even a Swiss knife that is not only useful for outdoors but could be used for protection, too.
  7. Consider your length of stay yet travel light and pack only climate friendly clothing, supplies and accessories. Know what’s taboo.

    Don’t just travel light, but also consider what’s “acceptable” in the region.
  8. Pack important and frequently used items in a special bag. Can you imagine the hassle when you have to dig your bag for coins just to pay a rickshaw? Or the stress you would have realizing that your phone is not even in your pocket but in the cargo hold?
  9. Bring a basic first aid kit. While there may be hospitals or health centers wherever we may go, it would be a no-brainer to bring a first aid kit with you in your travels. Like, wouldn’t it be a hassle if we had to go to a hospital just because of a tiny bruise?
  10. As much as possible, book in a hostel that is near your purpose for traveling. Proximity adds assurance to security. Makes sense?
  11. Check-in with your embassy. For extra assurance, wouldn’t it be reassuring that your country knows where you are exactly?

    Connecting with officers secures your adventure.
  12. Know where the police and proper authorities are. Accidents, petty crimes or even getting lost where you are can happen. So, knowing where you could get the nearest help would be telling.
  13. Leave valuables at your hotel’s safety vault during your stay. Does it make sense to keep bringing all your valuables when you got hotel service that offers top-notch security? Enjoy your every adventure with less baggage, with literally less baggage!
  14. Follow local laws and regulations. You can not just come in and explore some place with your ego – like, thinking you are a paying customer and that the customer is always right. Rules and laws are what makes a place safe and orderly, if you want to be safe, then follow local laws and regulations.
  15. Familiarize yourself with the transportation system. Every place or country has some kind of structure in how they go about things especially in commuting, so to make your visit more efficient and comfortable, it would be good to know not only where certain places are but also how to get there faster and cheaper.
  16. Stay in safe zones – whether it’s having fun at night or walking only in well-lit areas with decent people. While we know of some places to be of high risk, not all low risk areas are really low risk. What if you suddenly encounter an intoxicated guy in the dark? People drink but if they lose their mind from it, a low risk place could suddenly turn into a high risk area.

    Dim lights does not always mean unsafe – seeing women and children gives us a clue.
  17. Make sure of your water sources. Same goes with food. If you are really a traveler, experiencing local delicacies is a must. However, be mindful of not only what your belly can take, but if the food is really safe to consume. One clue would be – if many locals are eating it, in that particular place, then the food must be safe. As for water, it would be advisable to drink only from your hotel, a good restaurant or just buy your water if ever.
  18. Be friendly and respectful. Appreciate the culture. This probably is the most overlooked aspect of safety – and that is ‘friendliness’. No, you do not necessarily have to shake hands with everyone in sight but at least let that positive aura shine in you. Whether you need direction or help, being friendly and respectful would go a long way towards having that great travel experience.

Happy and safe travels!

Top Travel Tips: How Traveling can be Free

We know that we could budget our way to traveling the world; but do you know that you could actually travel for free??

Yes. Free! How?

  1. Couchsurfing. Probably the most popular way to travel for free is through couchsurfing. This is done by finding a place to stay or share one’s home with travelers.
  2. House sitting. This is when you get free accommodation by looking after one’s house – while the owner is out of town – with responsibilities that include general maintenance.
  3. Homestay. This is when you get a roof for the night to over a year at a local’s residence in exchange for helping out around the house, or monetary compensation whatever the agreement.

    Know more about Woofing, click HERE.
  4. Woofing. Just like homestay, in woofing you get free food and accommodation by doing part-time work for the household that took you in. This enables people to live and learn by volunteering on a variety of organic properties. Volunteers stay and help work on the land and/or home for 4-6 hours a day.
  5. Work for Accommodation. Simply put, this is doing part-time work in hostels to get free accommodation.
  6. Exchange Your Skills. This is almost like working part-time for accommodation or food where you would offer your services to, say, a hostel. The difference is that, you are not bounded by stricter time as compared to part-time work where you would likely have to report according to schedule.

    Social advocacies basically include health, education, disaster relief and poverty alleviation
  7. Volunteering Abroad. This is like working for social advocacies, conservation institutes or charity. While time may be restricted due to responsibilities, point is, you get to travel for free.
  8. Work in a Travel-related Industry. This is quite similar to item #7 albeit with more restrictions, else, freedom depending on your situation. Like, it’s restrictive not only because of responsibilities but because regulations could be stricter since you are working in a for-profit organization. On the other hand, it’s got “freedom” in a way that you get to places for free, like being a flight crew.
  9. Work in a Cruise Ship. We could have just merged this to item #8 yet we separated them both since being in a cruise ship is like the ultimate travel experience as you would only get to step out of a ship after days of travel and fun at sea.

    FFPs are especially useful if you have decided to travel fulltime.
  10. Frequent Flyer Program. This is designed to encourage airline customers enrolled in the program to accumulate points (also called miles, kilometers, or segments) which may be redeemed for air travel or other rewards. Points earned under FFPs may be based on the class of fare, distance flown on that airline or its partners, or the amount paid.
  11. Hitchhiking. Getting a free ride is certainly traveling for free. Just be decent and courteous to get cars or trucks to stop for you.
  12. Carpooling. Quite related to item #11 except that in car sharing, you are either the passenger looking for a ride – or the driver (if you own the car) offering a free ride.

    Walking: Not just free travel but adventure off the bat
  13. Walk or Cycle. One often overlooked means to travel for free is walking – or even cycling – as people nowadays equate this to just nearby errands and would not really try to go the distance with it. Yet if only one is not just trying to save money but keeping fit as well, then walking or cycling is the way to go!
  14. Camping. Just like items #1-6, this is free travel (though you actually spent for your trip) in the sense that accommodation – which is a major part of travel – has been taken cared of.
  15. Travel Blogging or Vlogging. This is either writing or recording a video of one’s travels; however, this path requires perseverance and personal savings to begin with as you would be spending a ton for a lengthy stretch before you could get the benefits of blogging or vlogging.

Happy and safe travels!