Travelling is a wonderful experience. It’s that one thing that liberates your soul and gives you the opportunity to learn something new about places, people, cultures and most especially about yourself. But for some people, travelling is not their cup of tea. I know how stressful it may tend to become but believe me, once you learn the hacks of it, you will be surprised how far you can go.
During our recently concluded Hong Kong trip, we experienced a lot of pitfalls that almost made this trip a failure. And since I don’t want you to make the same mistakes we did, I’ll be sharing with you some pointers from our experience that may help you plan, survive, and make the most out of your trip — especially if it’s your first time.
BOOKING A FLIGHT
There’s a surge in cheap airline tickets and promos everywhere! Make sure to patiently wait for it before booking a ticket since this will help you save a lot of travel funds. Any airlines and flight class will do especially if you’re not having a long-haul flight.
BOOKING A HOTEL
There’s so much excellent deals that you can avail in Agoda, Airbnb or Booking.com based on your specific preference. But be cautious on selecting your choice.
Research thoroughly about the hotel or inn you’re eyeing. Consider everything. Budget, space, amenities, cleanliness, location, nearby restaurants and attractions, and read reviews about it.
Not because you’re travelling on a budget, you will already compromise your security and comfortability. Remember, this must be your number one priority.
Create a list and a schedule on where you want to go. Research where to find it and how much it will cost you beforehand. It will keep you guided and help you save time, effort and money. But don’t forget to be spontaneous too. Great adventures come in unexpected experiences. Carpe Diem!
Most of the travellers say, pack light. But for those who can’t master the art of travelling light like me haha, just make sure you will not exceed the baggage limit for the luggage you will be checking-in and for the bag you will be bringing in the plane with you.
Be mindful of what is allowed and what is not allowed to be brought inside the plane like toiletries and perfumes.
Plan your outfits ahead of time and research about the weather condition too. It must still be comfort over style after all. But if you can do both, why not.
Make sure that your passport is up to date. Meaning, it is not close to expiration. You should not wait for the expiration date indicated. As indicated in the rule, you already need to renew your passport if it will be expiring in 6 months. So, if your flight is scheduled in less than 6 months, you should secure an appointment at DFA asap!
Make sure your passport is not damaged as well. If it is, have it renewed as well. This might cause you delays in the airport/immigration if you failed to do so.
IMMIGRATION DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL CARDS
After paying your terminal fee and checking-in your baggage (if any), you must give an ample time for the Immigration. Here, you must fill-up the Departure Card before you proceed to the Immigration officer for probing.
Some first-time travellers tend to forget the card when approaching the immigration officer makes them go back to fill-up the form and fall in line again.
On the other hand, the Arrival Card is already distributed by flight attendants during the flight. So, make sure you have your pen with you so you can fill-up the form right away and proceed to the immigration officer once you landed.
Always double check the details asked.
If you haven’t had your Peso changed to Hong Kong Dollars yet, there’s a money changer in the airport. But it’s way more expensive than the ones in the city proper. So, exchange enough money just to purchase an Octopus card which can also be bought in the airport.
The Octopus Card is the main mode of payment for transportation in Hong Kong. It is a reloadable card that can also be used to buy food and other merchandises in the city. The Octopus Card is at HKD 150 (HKD 100 for the load with HKD 50 for deposit that can be refunded upon surrender of the card)
There are two travel options for you to choose from when you land. You can either take the MTR from the airport to where you’re heading or take a bus-ride. We took the latter route via A21 that took us to the place we’re staying. Cab rides may be very expensive.
Aside from shopping boutiques, outlet shops, and restaurants on this side of the harbour, the best money changers can be found in Tsim Sha Tsui where you can find great barter for your peso. They can give you a rate especially if you’re going to exchange a huge amount. Just find the right money changer and learn how to haggle.
When it comes about touring, MTR is the best mode of transportation to get from one place to another. It might be tricky at first because most of the times you need to transfer from one train to another. Just be sure you bring a city map with you (you can get this in the airport), to help you get to your destination. Prepare yourself for long walks too!
If you think you can’t use your bargaining skills in any places but Philippines, you’re wrong! Hong Kong, Mongkok in particular, is the best place to use that skill at. Don’t settle for the first price they give you, chances are, the price they’re giving you is thrice the actual price. Haggle for discounts especially when you’re buying bulks. (Check my previous post on where to shop in Hong Kong.)
There’s so much to choose from when it comes to food. If you’re looking for a good place in Hong Kong where you can close your eyes, spin around, and point where you’ll be dining in, it’s at Lan Kwai Fong. You can find variety of flavors from different restaurants and bars in the area.
But for picky eaters like me who’s not used to unfamiliar taste, there’s a wide-array of fast food too that can definitely save the day!
So there, I hope some of the pointers I shared based on our experience helped you plan and survive, Hong Kong. It’s not that hard to learn the hacks of exploring the city, you just have to seize the day with whatever comes your way.
Till the next travels!