I’ve been flying solo lots of times, but they were only trips from Manila to Bohol (my province) and back. This time, I’m sharing five tips I’ve learned from my trip to Davao, my first ever solo travel.
- Research. Get to know the place in advance by reading reviews on the best places to go to, as well as the registration fees. This will help you decide which places to forego if you have limited time & budget. Some places require you to pre-register so you might consider that when planning your itinerary. Remember to check Google maps when planning your itinerary. My mother also gave me a physical map that she got from her trip to Davao last month. It will save you time and money especially if you don’t have a private vehicle. Don’t rely on it solely though (see tip #3). Some blogs share their itinerary with details on how they got there (whether by commute or hiring a taxi), how much they spent, the food they ate. Those were very helpful as well.
- Be early. This applies on your trip to the airport and in your tour. Being early in the airport allows you to choose the window seat (for the mandatory picture of the sky, haha), and provides you extra time if there are any problems with your baggage. I chose the 6:40 am flight to Davao and the 5:45pm flight back to Manila so I can have more time to explore the place. For the tour, you can cover more places when you are early and have a better view of the place if there are less people.
- Ask the locals (security guards, police). As mentioned in tip#1, don’t rely solely on Google maps. Places may appear near, but it’s actually far. I initially planned to walk from San Pedro Cathedral to my hotel, passing by People’s Park. That’s 29 minutes walk per Google maps. It may seem far for you but I actually walk 30 minutes everyday from Paseo de Roxas to Park Square, and I meant to hit 2 birds with one stone. Good thing I asked the guard at the church and he told me that I better ride a vehicle. He started to give me the directions but stopped midway and advised me to take a cab instead. While on the cab, I realized it was quite a distance. To be safe, ask directions from security guards or police.
- Get the plate number of the cab or the name of the taxi driver. The place I went to was generally safe, but it’s always good to take extra precautions. I didn’t do this everytime I rode a taxi but I definitely did this when I hired a cab for my tour. There was no ID hanging on the mirror of the taxi (most taxis have) so I respectfully asked for his identification card and he willingly gave me his driver’s license. He wasn’t offended since I explained to him that it was my mother’s request (it was, really).
- Update. I don’t mean your social media accounts (but it can also be, haha). The info you got from tip#4 wouldn’t be useful if you don’t share it to your loved ones. Constantly update them where you are so they’ll know that you’re safe.
And lastly, enjoy! This is a given, so it’s not included in the list. I will be sharing details of my Davao trip in a separate blog soon. I’d like to know the places you’ve traveled to on your own. Feel free to share your experience or additional tips in the comments section below. Adventure is out there! 😉