Authored by Daniel Hogan
Whether you’re traveling for the first time, or you’re an adventure fanatic, we all make blunders that can ruin our trip. According to research, over 30 percent of adventure travelers report being disappointed with their experience, but this is usually due to silly mistakes that could have been avoided.
Many people think that they are too savvy to fall for the following mistakes, but with so many decisions to make, and so much organization, slip ups are inevitable at some stage; after-all, we’re all human!
So we’ve put together a list of the most common travel mistakes, and how to avoid them. You might be surprised at how many of them you’ve made!
7 Common Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
So you’ve booked your trip and budgeted for the adventure, having set aside some extra cash for spending while you’re away. But when you arrive at your destination, your budget starts falling apart.
You realize you forgot to cater for additional costs like tipping your tour guide, the hotel’s resort fee, and perhaps you didn’t realize that the airline charged bags separately.
Travel comes with many hidden costs, and it’s very easy to blow your budget if you’re unaware of these. These can be as simple as having to pay for water at the airport gate (they confiscate your liquids at security), forgetting you have to pay for hotel parking, or not realizing that you have to pay gratuities.
You can avoid this by asking questions before you book, reading the fine print of a reservation, and making sure you’ve done a thorough job of budgeting out your itinerary. And it never hurts to travel with some money set aside for “in case of a rainy day”.
Travel comes with many hidden costs, and it's very easy to blow your budget if you're unaware of these. Click To Tweet
Traveling Without an Insurance Policy
If you can’t afford to pay for travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.
A travel insurance policy is the most important thing to have before going on a trip; it’s one of those things that you never want to understand the value of but, if you have to, you don’t want to regret having brushed off its importance.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for a week, a year, or even just a day, the fact is, you never know what could happen.
Having an international travel insurance policy which covers health and medical is absolutely essential. But a good policy will also cover you for things like trip cancellation, lost luggage, or emergency evacuation.
Before embarking on your journey, research your options and choose a travel insurance policy. If you never have to use it, that’s fabulous, but if you do, unplanned situations can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.
If you can't afford to pay for travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.Click To Tweet
Failure to Research Airport Transport
Although it may not sound as important as having a travel insurance policy, failing to check the accessibility of transport from the airport on arrival can become really expensive.
It’s normal to assume there will be an information counter once you get to your destination, but depending on the place you’re visiting and the time you set foot on the new destination, there may or may not be someone there. So it’s absolutely essential to research this before you travel.
For instance, in many South American countries tourists are constantly ripped off (and sometimes robbed) by taxi scams, and it can be difficult to figure out which transport is legitimate if you don’t already know that you need to head to the blue counter before the exit.
In Melbourne, Australia, the airport is a good 50 minutes away from the city (depending on traffic), and it’s actually cheaper to rent a car for a weekend than pay for a taxi both ways (though there’s a cheap city bus too). So make sure you do your research.
#Travel tip: failing to check the accessibility of transport from the airport on arrival can become really expensive.Click To Tweet
Misplaced or Lost Luggage
Unfortunately, lost or misplaced luggage seems to happen too often especially at the airport. In fact, research shows that over 6 percent of luggage in airports doesn’t reach its destination.
Although it takes time for the luggage to be retrieved, 9.9 times out of 10, it’s found and returned to you within 24 – 48 hours. But what do you in the meantime? Imagine misplacing your entire tactical backpack, clothes, travel documents, etc. It’s often a massive inconvenience.
While you only have limited control over something the airline is responsible for, you can mitigate the risk by carrying your essential items (electronics, medications, travel documents), as well as a spare change of clothes in your carryon. Or you could avoid the potential of lost luggage completely by only traveling carryon!
Make sure that you have tags on your bag which clearly list your name and contact details (phone number, email, address), and it’s a lot easier to identify your bag if it’s unique – try telling the airline agent that they’re looking for a bag which is “black”.
A good tip too is to make sure you have plenty of time between your connecting flights. You might be able to run to the next gate with 20 minutes to spare, but your bag has to get off the first plane and onto another one in that time too. Short connections are a major contributing factor to luggage being left behind.
How to completely avoid the airline losing your luggage? Pack light and travel with only carryon!Click To Tweet
Being Unaware of Thieves and Scams
Cons and scams operate in every city, and naive and trusting travelers are often a favorite target. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to get mugged when you visit Europe, but if you’re traveling in a new environment, you need to research common travel scams, and be aware of your surroundings.
Whether it’s a person with beautiful eyes posing as a beggar, a waitress offering a meal with a relatively hiked price, or a cabbie raising your fare, it’s important to be alert, and always be aware of what’s going on around you.
While some scams are common worldwide, they do tend to differ from country, so do country specific research. Watch out for thieves, especially in congested areas and on bus lines in tourist’s joints. Keep your credit cards, passport, and cash in a safe place, and not in your back pocket.
NEVER give out your credit card information over the phone unless you’ve called them – a trending scam is to call a hotel desk and ask to be put through to a room, to then impersonate the front desk and ask for your credit card again.
Scams operate in every city, and naive travelers are often a favorite target. Always be aware of your surroundings. Click To Tweet
Picking the Wrong Travel Partner
Picking a travel partner is a massive decision which can make or break a trip. Choosing the wrong person to travel with can make for a disastrous trip, and cause irreparable damage to your relationship.
Sometimes this means having to say no to family and friends. I’m sure you love spending time together, though some people make better friends than travel companions.
We’ve all got that friend who we love to death but would never live with. Travel is the same thing. Tell them that you love them, but that you value your relationship too much to travel with them.
If you’re not keen on traveling solo, choose a travel companion wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time in each other’s company, often in confined quarters, so choose someone who you won’t need to escape. Their idea of a vacation and definition of adventure should mirror your own. And make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to budgeting.
Keep in mind too that the more people you add to your trip the more complicated it will become to put it in action. And try to choose someone who is flexible. You’ll probably want some alone time during the trip, so pick someone who is independent and can do things on their own without your presence.
Choosing the wrong travel partner can make for a disastrous trip, and cause irreparable damage to your relationship.Click To Tweet
Not Changing Currency Before Leaving
It can be really hard to figure out where to change your currency – do you do this beforehand at your local bank, wait until you get to the airport, or wait until you land in your destination? After-all, no-one wants to get ripped off with currency exchange rates.
But you should organize cash before you land, as it’s likely you’ll need some as soon you arrive at your destination. Most countries accept credit card nowadays, but you might find yourself needing some local currency to pay for things like public transportation or gratuities before you can find an exchange.
So, check your pockets before departing from the airport. Getting money from an airport’s ATM usually gives you a better exchange rate, but make sure you’ve researched the currency exchange before your trip.
So, how many of these mistakes have you made?
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