Everyone makes a few mistakes here and there when they travel – especially when you first start out. And whilst sometimes these mistakes turn out to be good things, like when taking a wrong turn leads you to an amazing off-the-beaten-track restaurant, other mistakes can almost ruin your holiday. So your trip doesn’t turn into a disappointing, money-wasting experience, here are 5 biggest travel mistakes, along with easy steps you can take to avoid them.
5 Biggest Travel Mistakes
Amongst the 5 biggest travel mistakes, overpacking is the easiest to commit. It’s easy to fall into the trap of packing everything in your home but the kitchen sink for your next trip, but do you really need all that stuff? If you’re going on a Caribbean cruise, you probably won’t need a thick jacket, just like if you’re renting a motorhome to travel around Florence you probably won’t need a ball gown. Think carefully about what is likely to actually happen during your holiday and pack sparingly. If you need something you don’t have when you’re away, you can probably pick it up there anyway.
Under-estimating the time you’ll need in between flights
Giving yourself enough time to get off the plane, pick up your bags, check into your next flight, get through customs and board the actual plane is easier said than done – especially if you’re dealing with an unfamiliar airport. Even if you think you know how long it will take you to do all this, you still need to factor in time for possible delays, unforeseen problems (lost luggage, for example) and time differences between countries.
Not having a visa
If you’re travelling somewhere exotic, there’s a good chance you’ll need a visa. Whilst some visas can be picked up in minutes for free when you arrive at the airport, others take literally months and lots of cash to get your hands on. Before I visited India, I lost many evenings filling out forms, having photos taken and spending wads of cash on couriers to safely transport my documents to India for me. But at least I didn’t get turned away by immigration as soon as I set foot in the country!
Using your mobile phone as if you were at home
Mobile phones have become such an important part of our lives that it’s easy to forget that you can’t just pick them up and use them like normal when you’re in a foreign country. If you simply can’t be without social media when you’re away, sign up for a solid roaming plan before you go and know the limits! But if your phone isn’t glued to your hand and you want to save some cash, only use your phone for taking photos – or emergencies – when you’re travelling.
Not buying souvenirs when you first see them
We all love a bargain and have had it drummed into our minds that we shouldn’t buy something when we see it for the first time because someone else two steps down the street is probably selling it for half the price – but this isn’t always the case. If you see something you like and it’s going for a reasonable price, buy it! This way you won’t have to waste time scouring the shops for hours, trying to remember where you first saw it or worse – feeling sad because you missed the chance to buy the Buddha statue you’ve always wanted.
Do you have anything to add to our 5 biggest travel mistakes and tips on how to can avoid committing them? Let us know in the comments below!