Of course, we all make mistakes in organising our travels, but Do You Make These 21 Travel Mistakes? You really shouldn’t be making these, seasoned traveller or not. Yet, we still do.

1. Not Checking your Passport

Passport processing can take up to six weeks, so as soon as you start planning for your trip, you need to apply for a passport. If you already have one, make sure that it hasn’t expired. Remember, some individual countries require that you have at least six months on your passport before expiry before you are allowed to enter.

2. Not checking visa requirements before departure

A lot of countries will require a visa before entry. Some visas can be purchased at the airports but a lot of others need this to be done in advance, and this takes time. It is your responsibility to organise this, to check the requirements of EACH and EVERY country that you are going to and to have all of the legal documentation in order. If you don’t – you are not entering the country.

3. Not making copies of your documentation

A paper copy of your passport, visa and airline tickets is needed, should you lose these essential documents. While many people photograph them and have it on their phones, this can be problematic if your phone is stolen, and the rate of theft of phones left idly on a coffee shop table is high. Better still, leave paper copies at home and give them to someone you trust who can email them to you should you need them.

4. Not figuring out Airport Transfers

Have you given yourself sufficient time between interconnecting flights? Some airports are huge, like Dubai, and these require a period of time to get between terminals.

5. Not knowing how to get from the airport to where you are going.

What time are you arriving? What airport transfers are available? Do they run all day and all night? I can answer this for you. No. Many places stop their transfer services between certain dark hours of the night. Many people do not have a game plan to get from the airport. This needs to be pre-organized in many cases.

6. Not Booking a Place to Stay – at least for the first night.

This seems a peace of mind decision. Knowing where you will stay on the 1st night gives a little breathing space and a safety net. There is nothing worse than standing in the middle of the airport and trying to make this decision. This is a mistake that can cost you a lot of money when you are too tired to think and go with this first offer of a place to lay your weary head. Inevitably it will cost you an arm and a leg and probably be in the remotest area from where you would have liked to be.

7. Not factoring in the different time zones when booking your trip.

This is one where we have been caught, with daylight saving hours kicking in and out at various times of the year. Check in advance because if you have made transport arrangements you may find that these don’t go entirely according to your plans.

8. Not Using RFID Protectors

This is a prevalent crime where thieves can electronically scan your credit card details and empty your account of all of your travel funds. Information can and is stolen electronically by Radio Frequency Identification and an RFID protected wallet made of particular blocking material, gives you some peace of mind, though is not entirely fool proof.

travel mistakes

9. Not Calling Your Credit Card Company

Have you informed your credit card company and bank that they will see transactions being made from the backwaters of wherever? To the banks and credit cards credit, if they see unusual activity then they will cancel your card. This is good should someone have used RFID to get your money, but bad if it is you standing in the middle of Chian Mai hoping to get some money for your Thai lunch. Let them know where you are going and then they will know that it is more than likely a hungry you. Ditto, if you have been robbed, ring them immediately and have your card cancelled. Most will have a back-up plan to get you your lunch and lodgings, so check that this is included.

10. Not Checking Your Phone Plan

This is one that could cost you the family castle if you don’t check your phone plan. Ring your phone company and find out about international phone charges, and how much data usage will cost. Then check whether it is better to buy a local SIM card for the duration of your trip. Don’t forget there are other and sometimes cheaper ways of keeping in contact, like Skype and Viber…and even a postcard.

11. Failing to Research Local Transportation

Checking local transport is a significant problem as the price variations can be enormous. The last thing you want is to be wasting your travel time, figuring out the best and most affordable option to get around. Pre-plan or at least talk to local people who know what works best. Also be aware that train and bus stations often have different names to what you are expecting. The train to Ghent for example, is called Gand. Who would have thought?

12. Not Buying Health Insurance

We all know that we are infallible and that nothing will happen to us, and that health insurance is money in their pockets and not your travel account. Wrong. Hate to tell you but sometimes things do go amiss and you do not want to be paying out a huge amount in medical coverage or even worse, medical evacuation. Even more direr, for your family at least, is if you die overseas. Find out what happens if you die overseas, right here.

13. Not Setting a Budget

You need and must set a budget and then add 10% on top of that because not everything will go according to plan, and unexpected costs inevitably crop up. Make it 20% of your allocated budget and then if you are doing well, treat yourself to something fancy or start planning the next trip.

14. Not Joining an Airline Program

If you travel a lot why not get some benefits from it. Check out Airline Programs like the Star Alliance and the One World Alliance, which seems to cover the biggies, though there are probably others. Get some bang for your bucks spent.

15. Keeping All Your Money in One Place

This is a big consideration and one that also leads onto the next point, not looking like a tourist. Money belts can work for some people, but try not to make it obvious that you are wearing a money belt.

1) It says loud and clear – here is all of my money and probably my passport, just thought I’d help you out by making it as obvious as I possibly could, and

2) You look terrible. I keep my money in my bra though a Venezuelan friend has told me that this is the first place that Venezuelans will go for. How they do that, I have not ascertained. Keep money secure, in a zippered front pocket or in a thief proof packet or bag, but advertising is dumb.

16. Using a Currency Exchange or Money Changers

This is a lose-lose situation if you are changing money on the streets, as you will cop inflated exchange rates from some less than scrupulous operators. You could change at your hotel, which is marginally better and a lot safer, or use an ATM taking all precautions to be aware of your surroundings and careful with your pin number. Also, when pocketing the money you have withdrawn be discreet. You will need to pay a small transaction fee to your credit card company or the bank, but it is safer by a long shot.

17. Over packing

Yeh, yeh, we are all guilty of this but we are advocating the approach of fashion icon Coco Chanel who said, “before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Now with packing, remove more than one accessory and more than one of everything. Seriously pare down on what you think you need. Remember you can wash on the road, you can replace on the road. You can leave the kitchen sink at home. It is not a competition to look the most stunning; it is about practical solutions to walking a lot and exploring a new destination.

18. Looking Like a Tourist

When you wear a t-shirt, which screams that you are from somewhere, or that you have just visited anywhere iconic then it is obvious that you are not from these parts. It is obvious anyhow if you pull out a map or god forbid your GPS, but not shouting it from the rooftops seems prudent.

19. Not being aware of Local Customs

A little research on your destination will help you to understand some of the do’s and the don’ts in various countries that you visit. These are important to the local people, and it is a sign of respect as guests of the country that you try and adhere to these. Some countries require a more moderate dress code than Westerners on holidays are used to. Adapt. The sarong can be your greatest asset for covering a bare head and arms. Know whether PDA’s public displays of affection are frowned on and in many countries and they are, as is patting the head of a child or pointing.

20. Not being aware of Public Holidays

Not a biggie, but public holidays in some places, particularly smaller towns can render you incapable of eating or catching public transportation.

21. Trying to see and do too much

So many people see everything to prove that they have been somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you do not see everything that is iconic to a country. Take your time and get a travel balance going just as you strive for a work-life balance. Have that afternoon nap or get your feet massaged, but give yourself some down time to regroup and also to savour what you have seen and done.

Many people are not honest about their interests, likes, and dislikes. Have an honest talk with yourself about what you do actually want to see, and let serendipity have a free ride, and see what may come your way, especially things that you were not expecting and had not planned on. These make travel special and memorable.


Do You Make These 21 Travel Mistakes?

We sure have, but we think that we are now on top of it. As long as they don’t change the train station names, and they do, and as long as you realise that not everything is going to go totally according to plan, and you accept that this is ok.

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