14 Biggest Travel Mistakes To Not Make – When travelling, it’s not unusual to find yourself making a careless mistake now and then. You are after all, exploring an environment that you are unfamiliar with. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or this is your first big trip, you will probably benefit from the following list. With just a little bit of planning, you can cut down your chances of making mistakes and have the best vacation possible.
1. Booking Without Comparing Rates
If you’re one of those people who just books on impulse, basically just the first good deal you see, you are likely paying more than you could be. There are so many different travel sites on the internet, and by spending just a little bit of time researching and comparing, you will quickly learn just how much prices canvary – and you’ll be able to find the best deals – which are probably better than that first one you saw. To keep it simple, compare at least 3 sites like Travelocity, Expedia or Priceline.
2. Booking Your Trip Way Too Early
So you and your friends decided to finally take that trip to Paris next summer. But wait! Don’t rush to book your trip just yet. Of course you want to make it real by booking everything right away but this can be a mistake and you could end up paying more. It’s best if you book your flight 3-4 months before you plan to travel.
That’s around the time when airlines begin to increase and lower their rates based on demand. When it comes to cruises and tours, this is where you will want to wait until last minute- that is if you want to pay less. Since boats and tours have to fill up their spaces, they offer amazing last-minute deals,because it’s still better for them to make less profit than no profit at all on those empty seats.
3. Not Reading Reviews
Yes, I know that these days most people do read reviews online, but you would be surprised to learn that there are still many who don’t – they just head over to the closest travel agency and book everything there, based on the advice of a travel agent. Don’t make this mistake – do your own research! Read reviews online.
See what former guests have to say; check out photos of the rooms. Because by not doing this, you could find yourself arriving at a place that is far from what was promised – and you probably don’t want to stay in a bad neighborhood or sleep in a bed with bedbugs, right? You don’t have to stay at the best hotel in town, but where you stay is kind of important,and at least checking it out online can save you one big headache.
4. Traveling In Peak Season
By definition, this is the period of highest demand, and it varies by destination. Travelling during the peak season means larger crowds just about anywhere you go. And even worse, you will be paying about double what it would cost you in the low season. Unless you enjoy crowded beaches and waiting in huge lineups to see attractions.
You may want to consider travelling during the low season, or even better, the shoulder season- directly before or after high season, when the weather is still good, but there are much fewer people. It will not only be cheaper, but you will also have a more enjoyable time.
5. Thinking The Only Thing You Need Is A Valid Passport
There are many locations you can travel to with a simple passport, but then there are those where you will need a Visa – places like China, Nigeria, or Russia to name a few. Of course this depends not only on the destination, but also where you are travelling from. While you can get a Visa in many countries upon arrival, there are often documents you need to fill out before you arrive – and without these, you can’t get a Visa.
Then, another important thing to note is that many countries require a passport that will remain valid for at least six months after your departure date from the country. Make sure you don’t let this one slide. Check to see if you need a Visa or a new passport well in advance.
6. Skipping Travel Insurance
This is one of those things that many people tend to overlook – because well, most of the time you won’t make use of it. But, you really never know when you may need it. It could be a small slip and you break your arm or some other unforeseen circumstance. Travel insurance will have your back and protect you while abroad. It usually doesn’t cost much and it will protect you should there be any medical or non-medical emergencies. Not having insurance could end up costing you thousands, so don’t skimp on this. Seriously!
7. Forgetting To Contact Your Bank Before The Trip
It only takes a few minutes but could save you from being stuck in a foreign land without access to money. Some banks will completely block your account if an overseas charge is made. It is flagged as suspicious. And of course this is usually a good thing, but not when it is you trying to access your funds, thousands of miles away from home. When you call your bank to let them know that you will be travelling, you should also ask about their foreign transaction fees to avoid any bad surprises.
8. Not Having Copies Of Your Documents
You don’t think it will happen to you – losing your wallet, fanny pack or whatever you carry. And getting robbed? Nah, that won’t happen to you, right? Well, the thing is that either of these can happen to people all the time. No matter how careful you think you are, you should carry copies of your important documents. These include copies of your ID, passport, travel insurance, and credit cards. Of course you’ll want to pack them separate from the originals.
9. Failing To Find Out Roaming Charges
These charges can rack up very quickly, unbeknownst to you. You arrive at your destination and you excitedly call your friend or spouse to let them know you arrived – and before you know it, you’ve been on the phone for half an hour. That single call could cost you a hundred dollars or more. By simply finding out what’s covered by your phone plan, you can avoid any additional charges.
If you find out that you aren’t covered, then it’s best if you switch your phone settings to airplane mode before you board the plane. This way, you can still use a Wi-Fi connection wherever available without accidentally using your data. Now, if you do think that you will need to use data on your trip, consider purchasing an international plan – or you can even buy a SIM card once you arrive.
10. Exchanging Currency At The Airport
Sure it’s fast and easy to exchange currency at the airport. However, it’s also worth noting that you will get the worst possible conversion rate for your money. Now, it’s ok to exchange a few dollars to use for a taxi if you must, but the best thing to do is to actually take care of this before you leave. You can check rates of various banks in your area to find the best, and then head over to get the currency you need.
11. Eating Near Major Tourist Attractions
On your trip, you are more than likely planning to visit at least a few of those amazing spots you’ve been hearing about and dreaming about seeing in real life. But any food place, be it a restaurant or food stand, is going to cost double the price near any major attraction.
And since these places know that people aren’t coming back, they usually don’t worry too much about the quality or consistency of the food they serve. Besides, most visitors just arrived and don’t know much about the local foods so it doesn’t matter anyway. They’re just excited to be there and see the attractions.
To most, it’s far more amazing to eat a ‘sub-par’ burger in front of a famous landmark than eating a delicious one at their favorite burger joint back home. Try eating in a ‘non-touristy’ area where the food will actually be amazing. It has to be, otherwise nobody would go back. Yes, you will have to walk a few blocks, but the food will be much tastier and cost a lot less.
You can also ask locals about good places to eat. By the way, the same is true when it comes to shopping for just about anything near a major attraction. Stores will always have higher prices. Don’t be lazy. Take the effort and stroll off the beaten path. You’ll surely find the same T-shirt for a third of the price.
12. Not Packing A Travel Adapter
There are 15 types of electrical outlet plugs used around the world, and if your choice of destination uses outlets different than the ones your country does, you won’t be able to plug in anything in without an adapter. You can use USB ports for many things, but we all know how slow those charges can be. In some cases you may not be able to charge at all depending on the power needs of the device. Amazon offers decent universal travel adapters for around 15 to 20 dollars.
13. Not Taking A Power Bank With You
Most places you go will have somewhere to charge your devices – except when your battery is at 10 percent…. that’s when you won’t find anywhere to plug in and charge! You probably already know how that goes…But imagine you are hiking in the wilderness somewhere and you get lost – and then realize that your phone is almost completely drained.
It sounds like a horror movie, but it can happen. You can easily avoid a scenario like this by taking a power bank with you. It won’t take up much space in your backpack and can come in very handy.
14. Planning Too Much For A Single Trip
Assuming you aren’t just heading to a resort with a bunch of friends for a week of intoxication and partying, you will likely plan a lot and will want to see and do as much as possible on your trip. This sounds great, but if you plan too many things and fill up each day from morning tonight, you could end up finding yourself stressed out and exhausted.
Not to mention, when you pack too many things into one day, you can’t even really fully explore and enjoy anything. It’s ok if you don’t visit every single place on your list in one trip. You can save some for next time. Travelling is not only a lot of fun, but a great way to learn about different cultures and gain new insights of the world.
With a little bit of preparation, you can ensure that you don’t make any of the mistakes on this list. And sure, while some things are beyond your control – such as flight delays or bad weather- the more prepared you are, the less can go wrong! And that’s a good thing.
Do you have any crazy travel stories where things went wrong but perhaps could have been avoided? Or do you know any other mistakes people make while traveling? Share your story in the comments below, so we can learn from each other.