7 Common Travel Mistakes to Avoid
Travel is back! According to Reuters, the travel and tourism industry’s GDP is expected to hit $9.6 trillion this year, returning to its pre-pandemic level. Travel is exciting and enriching whether you are jetting off to Paris with the hubby for your anniversary or taking the family white water rafting down the Colorado River. Travel enhances our lives. And you want your travel experiences to be great ones. But even seasoned travelers can face issues and mistakes happen. Here are 7 common travel mistakes to avoid to help ensure your next trip goes smoothly.
7 Common Travel Mistakes to Avoid
There is nothing worse than lugging heavy travel bags through the airport when you are in a hurry. It’s easy to overpack, you want to be prepared for every scenario but trust us you can get by with less, we promise. Instead of maxing out your suitcase, pack only what you need and know you’ll use, not what you think you might use. If you find yourself in need of something buy it from the locals. Chances are it will be cheaper and you’ve supported the local economy. Here are things that are better left at home:
- Jewelry and valuables – Leaving your expensive diamond ring, earrings, necklace, or Rolex watch at home is better than risking losing them. In addition, if you’re trying to save money by bargaining, you don’t want to appear like a wealthy tourist.
- Extra toiletries – Pack just the bare essentials and buy as you go. Utilize travel sizes when you can. It’s also a good idea to keep your beauty routine simple when traveling. If you’re flying carry-on, remember that you’re limited on the size of the liquids you have.
- Extra gadgets – Unless you need them for work, consider leaving them at home. A backpack can quickly become cluttered with extra chargers, cables, and other accessories needed for each gadget. Try to consolidate them to use a single or a couple of universal chargers, if possible (probably USB), to reduce the clutter. Items such as electric toothbrushes, book lights, portable DVD players, coffee makers, etc… should be left at home.
- A pillow – Pillows take a lot of space and most airlines and trains offer pillows for free to use during your flight.
Once you are fully packed, take another look and try to reduce the load a little bit more.Traveling with too much luggage can be a real hassle, especially if you have to move around frequently.
Not Researching the Local Culture and Customs
The world would be a very boring place if we all had the same customs.To understand what you are getting into it’s important to research the local culture, customs, and any potential risks. This will help you to better understand your destination and make informed decisions while you’re there. Some things to research:
- How to dress – should knees and shoulders be covered in public?
- Do we remove our shoes when entering someone’s house?
- Is tipping a part of the culture or is it an insult?
- How to eat – Do people eat with their hands?
- What side of the road do we drive on?
The joy of travel is to embrace other cultures and learn from them. You don’t want to visit a destination that is exactly like home. What’s the point of visiting if you are going to ignore the local culture or eat at the same restaurant chain you find in your own homeland?
Ignoring Travel Warnings
Travel warnings and alerts issued by government agencies and organizations should always be taken seriously. They are there to keep you informed and safe, so be sure to check them before you book your trip. Pay attention to what locals say; put into consideration and evaluate their advice. Who knows, maybe their advice will save you from getting robbed.
Skipping Travel Insurance
While all travelers hope for the best when going on a trip, it’s possible for unexpected outcomes to ruin some or all of your vacation. Spending a few dollars on travel insurance will offer you protection from unforeseen dangers. You could end up losing thousands of dollars if you do not have adequate coverage to cover emergencies or unplanned costs. A good travel insurance policy will cover not only medical emergency expenses, but also lost luggage, trip delay/cancellation, accidents, thefts, and stolen passports, among other things. Read your travel insurance policy’s fine print to fully understand the exclusions and inclusions.
Not Budgeting Properly
Budgeting is a critical aspect of travel planning. It is important to research the cost of living at your destination, including food, transportation, and activities, and to plan accordingly. This will help you to avoid overspending and ensure that you have enough money to enjoy your trip.
Over planning does not allow for flexibility to relax and immerse yourself in the local culture. It also doesn’t allow for time for any work around with possible delays. When planning your trip use the time it takes to get from point A to point B, not the distance. Factor extra time for possible delays as well as time to rest. Wouldn’t you rather spend an extra night in a quaint Irish town, enjoying the friendship of the local pub residents then hopping on a train to join yet another group castle tour? Remember the joy of travel is to get lost and to create new experiences.
Not Making Copies of Important Documents
Have a hard copy of your documents (passport, IDs, travel insurance policy, credit cards) with you, and a digital copy safe (if possible, as a password-protected .pdf) on a “secret” email account you can easily access.
In case you unfortunately lose your original documents, copies facilitate your identity verification and quicken the renewal process.
By avoiding these common travel mistakes, you are on your way to a successful trip. Happy travels!