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Traveling This Summer? Here's Your Family Vacation Survival Kit
  • We're all looking forward to a long weekend this coming April 12. But anticipate a long ride (and practice patience!) as our national highways become congested with those going home or spending their rest days at the provinces. It's the same news for those going overseas. 

    Philippine Airlines (PAL) has advised its passengers to be at the airport at least four to five hours before departure. Whoa, right? Long lines at the immigration counters are expected because of staffing issues caused by an ongoing salary dispute involving employees of the Bureau of Immigration, reports Cosmo.ph. If your flight is at 8 a.m., according to PAL, you should already be at the airport by 3 a.m. As of this writing, no news yet when airport operations will go back to normal. 

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    You need to prepare if you to give your four-day vacation a good start. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    1. Have double the entertainment
    No matter where you're headed, expect to be in transit for a long time. Bring double (or even triple) the distraction to keep the kids busy and your car trip tantrum-free. Storybooks, toys, art materials, songs, even a few shows, and movies -- bring them all. Here is a few travel-friendly entertainment we suggest: 

    T-Mato Fishing Game (P430, ages 2-7) develops your child's fine motor skills by letting your child catch a fish with fishing rod, which has a magnet. As he "catches" them, count with him!  Available at Pumplepie.com 

    The Carry Me series of stories from the Bible (P245 each, ages 3 and up) has a die-cut handle that makes it convenient to carry anywhere. Available at Pumplepie.com

    Find more of our favorite handy board books here

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    2. Double (or triple) the snacks as well. 
    Food keeps everyone -- children and grown-ups alike -- happy especially when you're stuck in a car or plane seat. Pack the family’s favorites and a few new tasty treats to keep things interesting. Don’t forget the drinks too. Here are some bring-along snacks we love right now:

    Cerelac Nutripuffs (for babies 10 months old and up) is made with whole wheat and also comes in Banana Strawberry. Available in major supermarkets. 

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    Honest Junk Super Gummies (P70) are fat-free, preservative-free, low in sugar and sweetened with natural fruit juice. Flavors include calamansi, mangosteen and more. Available at @HonestJunk on Instagram.

    Snacks from Real Food, a one-stop healthy food shop. Real Food is located in Molito, Alabang.

    Find more of our to-go snack picks here.

    3.  Pack emergency gear and essentials
    Prepare for mechanical problems and emergency situations. Don't forget a first aid kit, a car tool kit, an extra tire, emergency items like a reflective triangle, and more. Find a full list of emergency car essentials for moms here

    Top Gear Philippines likes the Buffalo Auto Emergency Kit which you can get at Handyman stores for P1,200. The 29-piece set comes with a hardshell carrying case and includes jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, screwdrivers, pliers, cotton gloves and more. You also need to make sure you have a car jack and cross wrench with you. These are tools you'll need to change a flat tire  and are must-haves for every first-time car owner, says Top Gear Philippines columnist Andy Leuterio.  

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    4.  Be ready with road information sources and hotlines
    Know what to expect even before hitting the road. Find out the traffic situation by checking the social media accounts and websites of national road agencies and major tollways. Here are a few:




    Save or screenshot this list of emergency numbers on your phone too:
    National Emergency Hotline

    North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) hotlines
    (02) 3-500
    (02) 580-8900

    Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) hotlines

    Traffic Control: 0920-96-SCTEX (72839)
    Trunkline: (02) 362-2246 / (02) 362-9997

    Skyway System hotline
    (02) 824-2282

    South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) hotline

    Hotline: (02) 824-2282, (02) 7763909
    Customer Assistance: (02) 888-8787

    Landline: (02) 825- 4004
    Call and Text hotline: 0942-822-8489

    Happy travels!

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