Culture

Atom Araullo Follows These Rules When Traveling

First and foremost: Do your homework.

Atom Araullo wears several hats: that of a journalist, a documentarian, a lifestyle show host, and an occasional movie star. His various pursuits have brought him to places across the Philippines and abroad, to the most pristine and exotic of countries such as Iceland, Norway, Myanmar, Portugal, and India.

Being well-traveled, Atom is someone who knows how to get the most out of every trip. He is worthy of an audience, whether he’s recounting a tale about one of his many journeys, or simply sharing a few travel tips—here are some of them:

Do your research.

This one’s a fundamental rule that Atom takes to heart. It pays to research on your destination. Figure out public transportation, search for dining options, learn a few important basic words in the local language, and get up to speed on the dos and don’ts of the country’s culture. If you do your homework, you’ll be prepared for any travel scenario. “Obviously, you want to know what the climate is like so you can pack properly,” Atom says. Prior research can also help you get more out of the hours you spend traveling.

Equip yourself with the essentials.

Invest in a sturdy and compact travel bag that will keep your things secure. In your carry-on, bring an extra set of clothes–including a jacket, even if you’re going to a warm place, Atom says. “Lagi akong may dalang camera, notebook, and pens. I have a small travel diary, just to remember what I did for the day.”

When it comes to expenses, Atom prefers to bring just a small amount of cash. "The rest of it, I pay with my Mastercard. That way, I avoid the risk of loss or theft that comes with carrying a wad of bills,” he says. “You can also get good exchange rates with your credit card.” However, Atom says, “You don’t scrimp on experiences. Sometimes, you have to spend a little bit, and that’s fine.”

Before your trip, check with your bank make sure your card is ready for use overseas and ask if it comes with travel insurance.

Be prepared for every possibility.

“I’m always careful about my things,” Atom shares. “I want to make sure that I don’t mess it up by being lax with my safety and security.”

Atom also recommends making copies or scans of your documents, carrying a list of emergency contacts, and checking in with family or friends from time to time. Have your bank’s hotline in case you encounter problems with your card transactions.

Atom recalls a trip to Iceland wherein he was caught exceeding the speed limit while driving on a highway. “I was in the middle of nowhere and without enough cash to pay for the ticket. I was relieved when the officer told me that I could pay this with my credit card. It was a good thing I had my Mastercard with me.”

Travel smart.

“Meticulous ako sa budget, so I make a record of my transactions for the day,” Atom says. “I also want to ensure the safety and security of my payment transactions. Ask your bank if you can get SMS alerts so you can monitor your card activities. If your card gets lost or stolen at any time, you can call your bank to block and replace this. It makes sense to use your Mastercard. It’s just safer that way, and it’s also more convenient.”

Atom knows that security is a must for any traveler. The liberty to roam at will and to explore your surroundings without having to constantly check your pockets or to look over your shoulder is a freedom we all aspire for when we travel.

“Traveling is all about the experience. You do everything in your power to protect yourself, and that way, you can focus on enjoying your trip.”

Appreciate where you are.

Travel is a privilege that we should all be grateful for, and one way to show our gratitude is by making the effort to get to know a place for what it is, and its people for who they are.

“Me personally, I like to find places where I can meet people, where people live, so you get more of a holistic experience of traveling to a new place,” Atom points out. “Makikilala mo ’yung kultura, traditions, practices. You can feel what it’s like to be a local, even for just a few weeks.”

Watch as Atom explains more about his rules:

For more information, visit Mastercard's official website.

This article was created by Summit StoryLabs in partnership with Mastercard.
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