Famous Scottish poet Robert Burns said it the best: ‘The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley’ – or, loosely translated, you can plan all you want but the chances are you’re going to get something wrong. This is especially true for travelers planning a trip. Rarely anything goes as planned and it’s important to know the most common mistakes travelers make so you can try to avoid them. If you’re planning a trip right now this quick list might just prove to be a lifesaver.
Wherever you’re going, the chances are you are going to over-pack. Nip it in the bud and only take the essentials – your hotel has a hair dryer and an iron, there is really no need for you to lug yours around with you.
2. Not taking enough to plan everything
This goes for everything from applying for a visa to leaving enough wiggle room between connection flights. Aim to have at least two hours between your connection flights so you can make it without rushing through security. Also, keep in mind that the visa process can take six weeks or more, so plan ahead.
3. Relying on travel guides
This is the undoing of many travelers. Travel guides are sadly often written by people who never fully explored the country you’re visiting. Instead of relying on their faux expertise get your information from the locals and ask them to recommend places and events that you should visit.
4. Not buying insurance
Insurance cost is minimal but it will give you a piece of mind. Make sure that it is inclusive and that it covers everything from lost baggage to medical emergency. It’s better to fork out a couple of dollars at the start than a couple of hundred dollars in a pinch if something unexpected happens.
5. Forgetting to let your bank know about foreign transactions
If you’re not big on travel, then your newly acquired travel expenses will look suspicious on your credit card. Usually, your credit card will try to contact you to clear the air. However, in some cases, your account could be suspended immediately until everything is sorted. That is why it’s a good idea to notify your credit card company about your travel plans in advance.
6. Failing to see the one thing you wanted to see
People often make compromises during travel. These compromises can be based on cost, weather, or any number of other reasons. If you’re traveling to Egypt just so you can see the pyramids don’t let the cost deter you – cut corners somewhere else but visit the areas you’ve set out to see.
7. Changing your money at the airport
Or worse yet, back home. Exchange what you need to get yourself from the airport to your destination and then find an exchange office with decent rates. Never exchange too much money on airport kiosks – most of the time the exchange rate is a blatant rip-off.
8. Inviting people to rob you
Try not to flash your shiny possessions around when you’re traveling – keep your laptop in your backpack along with your Kindle and your smartphone and take that Rolex off. There is no point in advertising that you might have money as you never know who is watching.
9. Sticking to touristy things and advertising that you’re a tourist
Walk off the beaten track and visit places that are not built for the purpose of being a tourist trap. You will have a more memorable experience and, what is more important, you will also get better deals and see things that most tourists miss out on.
10. Not sticking to your budget
Splurging is ok – within limits. You made a budget for a reason and that reason is that you still have to live, eat, and pay rent when you get back home. Not sticking to your budget can put you in serious financial trouble so keep that in mind.