Even the most experienced travellers overlook some things: a soon-to-expire visa, a photocopy of their passport, travel insurance. No matter what it is, to err is human, but making mistakes during a trip can seriously derail a long-awaited vacation. Here are four of the worst mistakes people make when traveling and how to avoid them.
Forgetting money matters
Even if you’ve booked for a package tour that includes rides to and from popular tourist spots, you will most surely need local currency for buying souvenirs, paying for tea, buying a snack at a small store or the haggling that gores on at the local flea market. Many travellers fail to get some local currency as soon as they arrive at the airport, where they can get better exchange rates. Remember that many places, even those frequented by tourists, don’t accept credit cards. Speaking of plastic, don’t forget to inform your credit card company that you may be using your card abroad so they don’t flag the transactions you make or worse, freeze your account.
If hotel room prices worry you, a little bit of research through price comparison websites can help you land a good deal. You can also search online for discount codes for hotel stays and package deals that often include lodging, meals, and tours on the dates you’re visiting.
Thinking that 45 minutes is enough of a connection time between flights
It’s usually not, especially in airports the size of a small country. Sure, you dread the long wait you’ll have between flights, but what if your flight gets delayed and you still have to check in your baggage, plus the gate to your connecting flight might be miles away? It’s important for you to make sure there’s enough time between connecting flights—an hour and 30 minutes at least—so you can reduce your chances of losing your luggage or missing your flight, or both.
Overstuffing your itinerary
If you try to do too much all in one trip, you’ll end up stressing yourself out and not really being able to experience a place or appreciate the sights it has to offer. Unless you’re doing a leg of an adventure race, it would be a good idea to slow down, look around, and immerse yourself in the local culture instead of scuttling off to one landmark after another. Make time for simple pleasures (such as people-watching in a café, or strolling around the market) and simply wandering around. It will make for a richer and more memorable experience—you’ll also have the opportunity to venture off the beaten, tourist-trodden paths and into more authentic local haunts and other hidden gems.
Booking a hotel far, far away
Making reservations at a hotel that’s far from the places you’re planning to visit in an attempt to save money can actually incur you more expenses and eat up your travel time in the long run. You’ll end up spending money on transportation, especially if your only options are cabs and rental cars. By booking a hotel that’s right in the heart of the city or at least near the spots you want to check out, you’ll be able to spend more time exploring. The closer you are to the places you want to see, the sooner you’ll be able to rest after a full day of walking around, and the easier it will be for you to get access to stores selling souvenir items and little hole-in-the-wall hangouts.