I know many people have been affected by the ongoing travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government due to the surging cases which continues to plague our country. We all have family, friends and reasons to go home, however hospitalization rates are up and we are on the brink of concern. We need your help to advocate and push for the quick response of the Moderna vaccine to be deployed to the Philippines. The Philippine government has signed an agreement with Moderna for 20M vaccinations which will help our country resume normalcy for the economy and for our people.
We are asking for your participation in writing to your elected officials to help our cause.
By writing letters to Congress to authorize and expedite the deployment of the vaccine we can help so many Filipinos deal with the affects of the pandemic. The original target for distribution was June -July, but we are hoping with your help, we can have those vaccines by the end of April.
Thank you for your support and please pray for the Philippines.
Legislators rely on letters to find out what constituents and advocacy organizations are thinking. Letters can play an important role in establishing a relationship with a legislator, explaining an organization’s policy position, and eliciting a response from the Member of Congress.
April 2, 2021
The Honorable (insert senator’s name)
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable (insert representative’s name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Senator/ Representative [INSERT LAST NAME],
This letter is to request assistance for the COVID-19 emergency that is now occurring in the Philippines. There are close to 5 million Filipino Americans with close ties to their relatives in the Philippines; and also 300,000 American citizens residing in the country. The hospitals are full and there is a dire need for therapeutics, ventilators, preventive education, PPEs, disinfestation, protocols, and vaccines.
We believe that your leadership in the US Congress plays a key role in helping with an international, US led, comprehensive anti-pandemic effort and humanitarian aid for the Philippines.
We are also writing both the majority and minority leaders for a non-partisan appeal to the US Senate and the House of Representatives. Specifically, our goal is to expedite the release, instead of June-July, of the 20 million Moderna vaccine doses, that the Philippine Government has paid for. The urgency of the situation, as
expressed by Philippine Ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel Romualdez, is to consider an initial export release, by the US Government, of five to ten million vaccine doses by this April. Your support will save lives in the Philippines.
Use your own words. Personal letters are most effective.
* State the topic you are writing about, and your position on it, in the
* Use personal experience or concrete examples from the member’s state
or district to make your case.
* Be polite, positive, and constructive. Don’t plead, and never threaten.
* You can also draw attention to an issue by writing letters to the editors
of local newspapers. Members of Congress always read letters in their
hometown newspapers. Write a clear, concise message (less than 200
COMMUNICATING WITH THE WHITE HOUSE
Sometimes you may want to call or write the White House to register your opinions. The Administration uses calls and letters to the White House as a gauge of public opinion. Communicating with the Executive Office can be as important as calls and letters to Congress.
- When writing to the White House, the proper salutation is ―Dear Mr. President. The address is:
- The President
- The White House
- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
- Washington, D.C. 20500
- If you would like to call the White House, you can use the White House
- comment line at 202-456-1111 or leave a message with an operator. The
- fax number is 202-456-2461.
- You can also e-mail your message using the following email address:
- You may want to ask to speak to the specific staff member who covers
- the issues about which you are calling. They are often very difficult to
On March 16, 2021 The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases released a memorandum circular temporarily suspending the travel into the Philippines of Foreigners and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who are non-overseas Filipino workers (non-OFWSs).
This includes any Filipino who is not a Philippine national or dual citizen and those under the Balikbayan program.
On March 15, 2021, the Philippines recorded 5,404 new COIVD positive cases, which is the highest report of positive cases in the last 6 months. Unfortunately, the transmission of the virus has spread due to noncompliance to public safety measures which includes public gatherings, the movements of persons and the delay of detection and isolation of infected patients.
In addition, a new Philippine variant of the COVID virus has been detected and a press release was issued by the DOH which was issued on March 13. Also included in the report was 59 new positive cases for UK Variant, 32 cases of the South African variant and 1 case of the Brazilian case.
To contain and control the emerging cases, all agencies were directed to limit the number of inbound international passengers/ arrivals to only 1,500 a day and to temporarily suspend the entry of Foreign nationals and returning overseas Filipinos who are not OFWs. All Airlines have been closely monitoring the situation and are currently adjusting their flight schedules to adhere to the mandate.
This mandate will begin on March 20th and will be upheld until April 19th, 2021.
Exclusions of the mandate are:
- Holders of 9(c) visas
- Medical repatriations and their escorts duly endorsed by the DFA-Office if the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
- Distressed returning Overseas Filipinos duly endorsed by the DFA
- AND Emergency, humanitarian and other similar cases approved by the NTF-COVID 19
The Consulate General has advised that there may be more upcoming updates regarding the suspension for Philippine nationals. Although the mandate has been imposed, there are concerns about the legality of not allowing Philippine citizens to enter the country.
Information continues to evolve, and I will continue to share credible information once verified and confirmed.
To continue receiving updates and credible information, kindly join our FB Group Balikbayan Travelwise and learn about all the existing protocols, guidelines, and restrictions. Please join our Facebook Group – Balikbayan Travelwise
The Balikbayan Program as instituted by Republic Act 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174) was launched by the Philippine Government to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow and revenues that they generate.
The program allows visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year for foreign passport holders, with the exception of restricted nationals. It also includes a kabuhayan shopping privilege allowing tax-exempt purchase of livelihood tools and providing the opportunity to avail of the necessary training to enable the balikbayan to become economically self-reliant members of society upon their return to the country. The program also intends to showcase competitive and outstanding Filipino-made products.
Who are considered Balikbayans?
- A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year
- A Filipino overseas worker
- A former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in one of the following countries and who comes or returns to the Philippines: Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
The Balikbayan Program also extends to immediate family members (spouse and children) of the Balikbayan, who are nationals of one of the countries above, and travelling together with the Balikbayan. The program allows visa-free entry into the Philippines and visa-free stay or a period of one (1) year for Balikbayans who are former Filipinos and/or the immediate family of Balikbayans who are from the above countries.
How can I I avail of the Balikbayan Program?
Former Filipino nationals who wish to avail of the program must present proof of former Philippine citizenship such as old Philippine passport or Philippine birth certificate upon arrival at any Philippine Port of Entry. In cases that their spouses and minor children travel together with them, they must present the following:
- Old Philippine passport or Philippine birth certificate for the key claimant;
- Marriage certificate for the spouse;
- Birth certificate for the child; and,
- Foreign passport with a validity of at least six (6) months beyond the intended stay in the Philippines.
Accompanying family members of the Balikbayan should bring appropriate supporting documents:
- For the spouse: copy of marriage certificate
- For each child: copy of birth certificate
- For adopted children: copy of adoption papers
According to the Bureau of Immigration, the Balikbayan Privilege can be availed of by the foreign member of a balikbayan’s family EVERY TIME they enter the Philippines with the balikbayan (former Filipino/dual citizen) and not only once a year.
Former Filipinos and or their immediate family who are nationals of countries not found on the above list will need to secure a visa before going to the Philippines.
What are the benefits under the Balikbayan Program?
(a) Travel Tax exemption;
(b) Visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year, for a foreign passport holder;
(c) Duty-Free shopping privilege of up to US$2,000.00 (US$1000.00 as arriving Balikbayan and US$1000.00 as arriving passenger) provided that:
(i) Shopping must be done within two days upon arrival;
(ii) Duty free shopping privilege can be availed of only once a year; and
(iii) Purchases must be made personally by the Balikbayan.
Those who are admitted as Balikbayans are given an initial stay of one (1) year. They may extend their stay for another one (1), two (2) or six (6) months provided that they present their valid passport and filled out the visa extension form and submit it to the Visa Extension Section in the BI Main Office or any BI Offices nationwide. An additional requirement will be ask for Balikbayans who have stayed in the Philippines after thirty six (36) months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals who are not traveling with their Filipino spouses and/or children still allowed entry so long as they apply for the appropriate Philippine visa?
Answer: Yes. Foreign spouses and minor children not traveling with the Filipino principal will be allowed entry to the Philippines as long as they obtain visas, pursuant to FSC 36-2020 and FSC 42-2020. The Filipino principal should be in the Philippines
Are foreign spouses and children who have no visa-free privileges still required to apply for visas even if they are traveling with their Filipino spouse or parent?
Answer: Yes. Foreign spouses and children who are not visa-free under E.O. 408 should obtain visas even if they are traveling with the Filipino principal.
Are foreign minor children of Filipino nationals who will rejoin their Filipino parents in the Philippines required to apply for visas, as opposed to adult foreign children traveling with their Filipino parents but are no longer required to apply for visas?
Answer: Yes. Foreign minor children rejoining their Filipino parents in the Philippines need to obtain visas prior to their travel into the country. Adult foreign children, on the other hand, traveling with their Filipino parents may enter visa-free if they are eligible under EO 408.
How long can the balikbayan and their foreign legal spouse and children stay in the Philippines?
Answer: They shall be admitted with one-year validity of stay from the date of arrival.
Do foreign children of Filipino parents refer to unmarried children only? Or does it also cover married children?
Answer: Balikbayan privileges cover both married and unmarried foreign children of Filipinos or former Filipinos.
For balikbayans who are unable to present old Philippine passports or birth certificates, will they be allowed entry just by showing in their foreign passport that their place of birth is the Philippines?
Answer: They shall be asked to present the following: 1) Copy of previously issued or expired PH Passport 2) Copy of birth certificate 3) Previous immigration arrival stamp with Balikbayan status
Do marriage certificates and birth certificates issued by foreign governments need to be apostilled or authenticated?
Answer: Yes. Documentary proof issued by foreign governments needs to be apostilled or authenticated as previously requested by the BI.
For those who are dual citizens by birth (e.g. born in the US to Filipino parents), are they considered balikbayans and would therefore only need to present a copy of their Report of Birth (ROB) to be allowed entry? Will the Bureau of Immigration accept the ROB as proof of Filipino citizenship?
Answer: The BI requires the presentation of the Identification Certificate, valid Philippine Passport, or Certificate of Re-acquisition and Retention from dual citizens, per its SBM-2014- 045 dated 30 September 2014. Children who are dual citizens may be issued a travel document with the Report of Birth as an attachment. They should present a Philippine passport upon exit from the country.
“The goal of a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”– Sam Walton
We Are a Member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors)
The American Society of Travel Advisors was established in 1931. It is the world’s largest and most influential travel agency trade association. Travelwise International has proudly been a member of ASTA for over the years and we look forward to many more.
Our Expert Staff
The expert staff here at Travelwise International will make sure all of your needs are met. Our travel advisors have travelled to over 50 countries just so they can share their firsthand knowledge and genuine understanding. Over the past 30+ years of business, our advisors continually develop and educate themselves with up-to-date information on travel, health guidelines and travel restrictions.
You are not just a number in some database. Here at Travelwise International, you are an extremely important client that will receive the utmost care and personalized attention that cannot be replicated online. It all starts with a complimentary consultation with an experienced travel advisor to find out exactly what you’re looking for. They will pay attention to your preferences and interests to make sure the destination you choose is the one that’s right for you. Then the dedicated team here will work with you on perfecting your itinerary until it becomes the dream vacation you imagined.
The support does not end when you book your trip. Travelwise International will continue to be there for you before, during and after travel. Prior to leaving, you will be supplied with detailed travel documents including tips for traveling so you can be prepared for any situation. When you travel outside of the United States, you want someone that you can contact if you encounter any issues. We advocate on your behalf when dealing with airlines, hotels and transfer companies.
The Best Prices
Please know that we will find you the same (or better) pricing as what you may find online, with no hidden fees. Plus you get the bonus of our exceptional customer care service as well as years of travel experience. Booking with an agent can also save customers from making costly mistakes. According to the American Society of Travel Agents, customers saved an average of $482 per trip when they booked with a travel advisor.
Travel Perks & Upgrades
Booking with us has its perks too! By being a client of Travelwise International; you’ll be eligible for possible upgrades, amenities and other VIP bonuses. No matter if you’re planning a quick getaway or a complex multi-stop itinerary, our expertise will save you a ton of time in research and planning. You can sit back and enjoy your trip, with little to no stress!
Here are the most updated arrival procedures for entering the Philippines.
BEFORE YOU FLY AND DURING CHECK-IN
1. As early as 3 days prior to your departure, register and accomplish the Electronic Case Investigation Form and save the confirmation e-mail and QR code at https://bit.ly/MNLPHRedCrosseCIF
2. For land-based OFWs, create/update your account on the OFW Assistance Information System (OASIS) at http://oasis.owwa.gov.ph/
3. Upon check-in, sign the Declaration and Waiver Form presented by our check-in agent, indicating that you are healthy and fit to travel.
DURING THE FLIGHT
4. Accomplish the Health Declaration Form and Arrival Card.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
5. Upon arrival, listen to the briefing conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
6. Undergo a temperature check, submit the Health Declaration Form upon deplaning, and proceed to the designated waiting area. For OFWs, fill out the Project Care Slip.
7. Wait for your turn to proceed to the verification and barcoding booth.
8. Present the QR code sent to you after accomplishing the e-CIF.
9. You will be given six (6) barcode stickers. One (1) barcode sticker will be placed on the back of your passport.
10. Proceed to the Swab Test booth and hand the remaining five (5) barcode stickers to the tester. 11. Undergo the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test for free.
12. Help Desks are available at the waiting area for passengers who do not have smart devices/phones. Charging stations are also available.
13. Clear with immigration and submit the Arrival Card.
14. Proceed to your respective desks for your quarantine hotel assignment:
- For non-OFWs proceed to the DOT desk. You will be assigned a quarantine facility for free designated by the Philippine government. Depending on room availability, you may be assigned at the following quarantine facilities/hotels:
o NCR: Nice Hotel Monumento, Chill Hotel Monumento, Nice Hotel Arayat, Nice Hotel Mac Arthur
o Region IV-A: Canyon Woods, Canyon Cove, Chateau Royal, Summit Ridge
o Region 3: Apollonia Hotel
If you do not wish to stay at your assigned hotel, you can choose your own accredited hotel suitable for stringent quarantine and at your own expense, including your transportation from the airport to the hotel. Click here for the list of accredited hotels suitable for stringent quarantine.
After arranging your hotel and transportation, fill out the Affidavit of Undertaking and ensure that this has been signed or stamped by the hotel verifier.
Note: Hotels suitable for stringent quarantine are designated facilities to those travelers coming from high-risk areas or vessels as identified by WHO, and those who exhibit flu-like symptoms as identified by the health officer at the airport. These are different from hotels suitable only for mandatory quarantine.
- For land-based OFWs and your dependents, proceed to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Desk. Present the same QR code from the e-CIF and submit the OWWA Project Care Slip.
- For sea-based OFWs and your dependents, proceed to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Desk.
15. Claim your baggage at the designated carousel and clear with Customs Check.
16. Exit the terminal and wait for your shuttle/bus that will take you to your assigned hotel. If you chose your own hotel, submit the Affidavit of Undertaking before exiting the terminal. You must also arrange for your own transportation.
AT THE QUARANTINE HOTEL
17. Check in at your hotel and wait for the release of your test results. For those who tested negative, it will be sent by the Philippine Red Cross to the e-mail address you have provided when you registered. The timings on release of test results are not definite and may be shortened or extended.
18. Your accommodation and food during your stay will be shouldered by the Philippine government, unless you chose and arranged your own hotel and transportation.
19. If you test positive, the BOQ shall contact and transfer you to a designated facility/hospital for further medical management.
If you test negative, For passengers originating from the listed countries: COMPLETE YOUR 14-DAY MANDATORY HOTEL QUARANTINE before clearance.
Once completed, present your test result together with your medical certificate to the assigned quarantine personnel at your hotel.
For passengers transiting through the listed countries: Present your test result together with your medical certificate to the assigned quarantine personnel at your hotel.
Please complete your 14-day quarantine at home. For a hard copy of your certificate, printing services will be available at your hotel.
Countries with Additional Travel Guidelines:
7.China, including Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions;
20 United Kingdom
Present your test result together with your medical certificate to the assigned quarantine personnel at your hotel. Please complete your 14-day quarantine at home. For a hard copy of your certificate, printing services will be available at your hotel.
20. Once you are cleared, you may contact your relatives to pick you up and bring you home.
- For non-OFWs further transportation to your final point of arrival will be at your own arrangement and expense.
- For Land-Based OFWs, you may coordinate with OWWA or use the OWWA Uwian Na portal for further transportation needs after your final point of arrival.
- For Sea-Based OFWs, you may coordinate with your Local Manning Agency (LMA) for further transportation needs after your final point of arrival.
Want more information?
Fore more information or to keep updated with the most recent travel restrictions and health guidelines, join our community here.
Travelwise International is compromised of an elite team of highly experienced industry insiders who specializes in different aspects of the business – and every area of the globe. Our team of consultants offers high touch, personalized service to ensure that every trip is not only seamless, but exceptional. Amd we have personal relationships with local experts on the ground in every destination that help guide our up-to-the minute recommendations so that every experience is tailored to suit your specific travel style and needs.
Who We Are
Travelwise International has been a leader in the travel industry for over 30+ years. We have been serving clients and organizations through all the changes in travel and in our world, and we will be serving them far into the future. We are travelers. We know that all vacations are not created equal and that the clients that seek us out want exceptional value, but also unrivaled experiences and access to see the world in the way they want to see it, and we can make that happen.
The professional advisors are travelers too! We travel to explore new destinations, to experience new resorts, to enjoy a relaxing cruise, but mostly we travel because we love exploring this wonder-filled world of ours. Travel advisors that travel not only have first-hand experience in many destinations and have walked the halls that you might be looking at, it really makes a difference having an advisor that understands the ins and outs, hassles and exuberance of the whole travel experience.
Buying Power and Access
Travelwise International is a member of the renowned and respected Travel Leaders Network. This is the largest travel organization with over 14,000 professional travel advisors and over $10 Billion in aggregate sales. This not only gives us tremendous buying power and leverage, but it also gives us high-level contacts and access to exceptional travel options unavailable to the traveling public.
Exclusive Cruise Programs
We have a robust cruise program available to all of our clients with Amenities and Benefits on hundreds of sailing per year. Many of these include one or more of the following:
- Exclusive Private Car-and-Driver program – choose from a four or eight-hour private experience for your clients in some of the most spectacular ports. Give them the gift of sightseeing at their speed not “group speed.”
- Prepaid Gratuities
- Private food and wine events
- Hosted Sailings with a Private Welcome Reception
- Shipboard credits
- Onboard and onshore exclusive events
- Group Rates
Destination Specialist Program
We have developed relationships over many years with local travel providers in destinations around the world. We have learned that we cannot be an expert at everything and with how fast the world is changing, we will never be able to keep on top of all the new experiences that cities and countries have to offer. Our relationships allow us to have a local expert, on the ground, in countries all over the world. Need a dinner reservation in a hot new restaurant in Rome? Looking for sold out theater tickets in London? Our local contacts are there to provide all of these amazing contacts and experiences for our clients. Now you can work and build a relationship with your Travelwise travel advisor AND have an expert everywhere you travel.
SELECT Hotel and Villa Program
Explore our SELECT Hotel Program with over 1,100 of the finest Hotels, Resorts, Lodges, and Spas throughout the world. Enjoy exclusive amenities available to all of our clients. These vary by property but provide great value for our clients. Amenities almost always include Daily Breakfast, in addition to a combination of other valuable extras, such as a Resort Credit, Complimentary Transfers, Welcome Bottle of Wine, etc. Clients are also offered upgrades, early check-in or early check-out based upon availability. More importantly for us and our clients is the VIP treatment they receive when staying in one of these beautiful hotels and resorts. Click here to learn more, search through the list of hotels and explore the added amenities.
Te cater our services to acknowledge the new traveler. We find solutions to provide you an experience from the planning to the execution.
Let’s be honest, 2018 wasn’t the best year for aviation, but it doesn’t mean that you should stop flying. You will just need to make sure that you are flying on one of these safest airlines ranked by AirlineRatings.com.
AirlineRatings.com compiled an annual list of the safest airlines based on specific criteria that include: “audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies; government audits; airline’s crash and serious incident record; profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives, and fleet age”.
With no surprise, Qantas leads the way with another straight appearance as the Safest Airlines for 2019. Since 2013, Qantas continues to demonstrate an amazing record of innovative designs and process to improve overall operations and safety. As the world’s oldest air carrier, Qantas continues to lead the way with innovations such as the automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System, and real-time monitoring of its engines using satellite communications.
THE TOP SAFEST 10 AIRLINES 2019
- Air New Zealand
- Alaska Airlines
- All Nippon Airways
- American Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- EVA Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Scandinavian Airline System
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin group of airlines (Atlantic and Australia)
THE TOP 10 SAFEST LOW-COST AIRLINES IN 2019
- HK Express
- Jetstar Australia / Asia
- Thomas Cook
AirlineRatings.com rates the safety and operation of 405 airlines using their seven-star rating system. Today, it continues to be used as a pillar for recognizing industry standard for safety and product rating in aviation. The AirlineRatings.com team is one of the most experienced and well respected editorial teams with over 50 international and national awards.
When flying it is important that you maintain healthy habits to avoid catching any unwanted disease or bacteria. Here are a few tips to alleviate the stress of flying.
Make sure you wear comfy clothing that does not constrict blood flow. Try using stretchy or loose pants. Wear clothes that can be layered in case of temperature changes from aircraft to airport. Invest in compression socks to battle deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. Avoid alcoholic drinks when flying. Lower oxygen levels and increased pressure can cause accelerated effects like light headedness, dysphoria and aggressive behavior. For every hour you are flying, drink at least 250ml of water. Cabin pressure and dry, recirculated air can drain moisture from your skin, but drinking plenty of water will help you look fresh and alive once deplaning.
TIP: Chop up some carrots, celery, cucumbers and beets and store them in a zip-lock bag for quick snacks. Dried fruit, energy bars and unsalted nuts are great for traveling.
SANITIZE YOUR AREA
The number of people who travel on a plane can reach the hundreds in a short period of time and lots of bacteria can be passed on. Ensuring that your personal area is clean can greatly reduce your risk. Always carry sanitizer or portable wipes to disinfect your tray table, armrests, seat belt and seat.
GET YOUR SLEEP
Flying takes a toll on your body and it is very important that you get enough rest before traveling. Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system and can make you more prone for diseases. Make sure to pack early and prepare all of your belongings to avoid late night free-for-all.
If your flying through multiple time zones, start readjusting your clock a few days prior to your flight. Slowly incorporating changes in your schedule will help you adjust quicker on arrival.
BYOB – Bring Your Own Blankets
Airlines have made huge improvements to there inflight service by providing free text messaging or access to media platforms to watch movies, tv shows and stream music, however in terms of comfort you’ll need to prepare. Air temperatures can fluctuate from take-off to cruising and it is recommended to bring a blanket to keep yourself comfortable throughout. Avoid bulky and heavy fabrics which can be overbearing. Try a Cocoon CoolMax Blanket for a portable yet warm design.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT DVT
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops in a deep vein, usually in a leg. Sometimes these clots can break away and travel through the bloodstream to vital organs and can cause severe injury or death. Possible risk factors include prolonged physical immobility, blood-clotting disorders, family history, cancer, obesity, heart disease, pregnancy, recent major surgery, smoking or age. Many DVTs do not produce any symptoms. But symptoms could include pain or swelling and redness of the affected area.
While preventive measures are still uncertain, passengers can wear loose clothing, regularly change leg positions, occasionally walk the cleared aisle of the plane when allowed by the flight staff, avoid crossing their legs at the ankles or knees, or wear graduated-compression stockings to help reduce risk. Keeping hydrated and performing the exercises below can also help.
The sun is out and it’s that time of the year when we all can’t wait to leave the house and stay out all summer. Day trips, outdoor adventures or even an oversea vacation – we all have been pent up through the winter and just can’t wait to be free.
As you make your plans it is important to be prepared to avoid any health and safety risks. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for those long-awaited trips and to keep you and your family safe.
Find out details about your destination – Do some research about the places you plan to visit and acquaint yourself with new and important health risks. If you are traveling abroad, make sure to check travel.state.gov or https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel, for vital information about required vaccinations, travel advisories and possible diseases.
Get a check-up– It is always recommended that you pay a visit to your health provider and get a routine check-up before you travel. Make sure you are in tip-top shape and that you are up to date on vaccinations like measles and influenza.
Prepare a first aid kit – Make sure to pack an emergency travel kit that holds important prescriptions and medicines that you may need while traveling. Pack basic supplies like bandages, alcohol, hot/cold compresses and gauze. Don’t forget to pack a copy of your health insurance card as well.
Be SMART – If you are planning a trip oversees, make sure to register with the US Embassy or Consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get the latest updates and alerts before and during your trip. This also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or a family emergency.
Prepare for the unexpected – Make copies of your travel plans and documents with a family member and/or upload them to a cloud-based storage system in case you lose them while traveling. Verify that your health insurance covers medical care abroad – most plans don’t, so be sure to get travel insurance. Travel insurance covers health and medical expenses while offering a wide variety of additional services like travel delay, lost baggage and lost passport service.
Be careful what you eat and drink – Always make sure you know how your food is handled. Contaminated food or drinks are the easiest way to spread diseases which can cause traveler’s diarrhea.
- Always eat food that is cooked through and served hot.
- Always drink bottled water, sodas and drinks that are sealed.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are washed with safe water and that you have peeled yourself.
- Avoid ice that is made with tap water.
Protect yourself from the sun – Double check that your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. I always recommend Blue Lizard, which is a mineral based sunscreen that uses natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Read the label and reapply as needed.
Prevent insect bites – Always use insect repellents especially in developing countries to prevent you from serious diseases. Use an EPA-registered insect repellant with one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
Always buckle up and choose safe transportation– Nearly half of medical evacuations back to the United States are the result of a car crash, and a medical evacuation can cost upward of $100,000.
- Don’t ride motorcycles. If you must, make sure to wear a helmet.
- Avoid overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or vans
- Be alert when crossing the street. Know local traffic laws to avoid collisions.
- Always wear a seat belt and lock your doors.
AFTER YOU RETURN
Keep a close eye on your health – Symptoms can arise after you return home, so make sure to watch yourself closely. If you begin to feel ill, see a doctor immediately and inform your doctor where you have been and what you did during your trip. This will help your doctor when giving you a diagnosis of possible infections from other countries.
Whether you are fortunate to have an extended layover in Hong Kong or are embarking a cruise from its ship port, with its delectable cuisine and massive number of skyscrapers, intertwined with the ancient and modern China, you can cover much of the city in a short period of time and stay within whatever budget you might have. The great thing is that Hong Kong allows visa-free entry from over 150 countries from 7 days to 3 months; check with your local embassy to see if your country is one of these and how long of stay you are allowed. Also, even though the first language is Chinese (Cantonese to be exact), the second official language is English, which makes it very easy to communicate and explore the city. The street signs and directions are also translated to English as well as Chinese character. Unlike mainland China, the internet is not censored so you can stay in touch via social media as you will and use other commonly used applications such as Google Maps to help you get around.
The most important decisions to make when traveling to Hong Kong is hotel accommodations. You can choose from the downtown area (also known as Hong Kong Island) or stay across the Victoria Harbour on the landlocked portion called Kowloon. Staying on the island can be pricey, but you will be in the heart of the city. Hong Kong Island is known for being the historic and economic center of the city.
If you are looking for a more authentic experience, try staying in Kowloon. You will have the best view of the iconic skyline and enjoy the nightly Symphony of Lights show. Kowloon is also known for luxury shopping, parks and hip new neighborhoods. If you are on a budget or in transit to a cruise ship, Kowloon is must!
Getting around Hong Kong is fairly easy with alternate options by taxi, railways, and trams. Regardless of where you stay, Hong Kong’s vast railway system can get you practically anywhere, you can get from the airport to downtown in 30 minutes. You can find discounted tickets online to save some time and money, and send them to your smartphone for boarding. Taxis are readily available, which are all metered, clean, and fairly affordable. NOTE: Hong Kong drivers tend to all drive fast to get you to your destination (which isn’t always a bad thing)! Be careful not to confuse the tram and subway routes because they have similar routes in certain parts of the city.
After you have made your way downtown and worked up an appetite, when in Hong Kong, you dim sum. Not only is it part of ancient Chinese tradition and a great way to excite your palette, it is also fun and an affordable experience. Dim sum restaurants are located throughout the city and will set you back on a few dollars per order (most orders contain 3-5 pieces). Another must have treat can be found on many street corners – fish balls. Small, deep fried or boiled bites of deliciousness, covered usually in a curry sauce. Quick and cheap, this option for on-the-go eating can easily satisfy your hunger while exploring. They are served throughout the day, so you can start your day or end a late night with them. Another staple in Hong Kong cuisine is barbecue. Roasted goose, chicken and pork can be found everywhere from the small local street shops to fancy sit down restaurants. Combined with rice or noodle and some vegetables, it is a complete meal that won’t leave you hungry.
One of the most visited areas is Victoria’s Peak which overlooks Hong Kong from atop a mountain side. Located on Hong Kong Island, you must conquer the 45-degree tram along the mountain side to see spectacular views from above. Check out Tian Tan Buddha (or big Buddha) statue located on Lantau Island, which is easily accessible by train or by ferry. TIP: Opt to take a 25-minute gondola ride to reach the statue aboard the Ngong Ping 360. Touted as one of the top ten amazing cable car rides in the world, you’ll enjoy scenic landscapes on your journey to the town of Tung Chung.
If time permits, you can make your way to Stanley Market, where you can find anything from little hand-made trinkets to top-shelf electronics. A must-see attraction for souvenirs as well as anything else you might be in the market to buy. Finish your day by enjoying a nightly light show on the city’s skyscrapers glamorously lit up at night. Since 2004, the Symphony of Light has become the signature icon for Hong Kong, showcasing the vibrancy and glamour of this international city.
There is never enough time to see all that a city has to offer however if you are tight on time a lot can be accomplished during a quick trip to Hong Kong. Purchase a day tour or half day tour to see some of the city’s iconic sites to maximize your time. If you are flexible and willing to venture out on your own, it is very easy to plan your own itinerary, but keep in mind some of the places are not as close as you think. Save yourself some time and money by booking things in advance but leave some room for spontaneity.