The do’s are easy when traveling abroad, especially the fun ones, when it comes to planning your trip. Have an adventurous spirit. Splurge on a GoPro to capture every moment. Research the local hotspots and most epic landmarks. The don’t’s, however, aren’t always the most exciting. As you prep for your excursion, consider the following mistakes that could potentially turn your trip into a disaster:
5 Mistakes to Avoid when Traveling Abroad
Waiting Too Long to Get Your Passport
It’s simple. If your new or renewed passport doesn’t arrive in time, your trip is cancelled. Filling out the application, getting your (unflattering, of course) photo taken and submitting your application at an acceptance facility or passport agency isn’t the most exciting part of preparing for your trip. But don’t procrastinate. It takes approximately six to eight weeks to process your application; however, you can expedite the process down to two to three weeks for a fee. Get started online at the U.S. Passports & International Travel where you can also see what to do if it’s lost or stolen abroad.
Skipping Travel Insurance
Traveling abroad is adventurous—because you’re exploring, discovering and you never know what to expect. But the unexpected can also become devastating. Don’t overlook the importance of protecting yourself with travel insurance in case you have a medical emergency, need to cut your trip short or lose your luggage. This insurance covers you for both medical and non-medical related accidents. Make sure that you fully understand your policy and what it explicitly covers and doesn’t cover. Nomadic Matt, New York Times best-selling author of “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day,” recommends insurance company World Nomads, which is also endorsed by Lonely Planet and National Geography.
Leaving Your Home Unprotected
Among the many security measures to take while you’re abroad; installing a security camera is one to take for your home. A high-tech HD security system monitors your property, so you can keep watch on your home, especially if you’re traveling extensively. Connect to its complementary app to view your precious belongings in real-time and from no matter where you travel.
Some may prefer to travel with the comforts of hotel resorts and cab rides, whereas others love the adventure and spontaneity of backpacking. By traveling with a large pack on your back, though, you become a visible tourist and target. Experienced travel writer Marek Bron of Indie Traveler recommends carrying a combination padlock for hostel lockers and locking individual compartments with zipper rings on your pack. Bron also suggests securing your money with a belt/money pouch, which hides your money and can still be comfortably worn.
Not Researching How to Carry Money Overseas
…because having your money stolen can be a really bad time. Today, all options (credit cards, debit/ATM cards and traveler’s checks/prepaid cards) have their benefits. For example, credits cards have the best currency exchange rate and can be used for large purchases like airline tickets and hotel bills. But make sure to check with the issuer to know about the fees applied to purchases and let them know of your travel plans, so the international activity isn’t alarming. Debit cards can you get cash in local currency, which is nice to have on hand in case of an emergency or if credit isn’t accepted. IndependentTraveler.com provides a more in-depth guide on how and why to use each option, along with tips to keep you monetarily well-prepared.