We can all make mistakes when traveling. It’s Murphy’s Law… if something can go wrong, it probably will!
However, a travel adventure doesn’t have to be one disastrous event after another, as some mistakes can easily be avoided. A little bit of forward planning is sometimes needed, as well as a quota of common sense. It’s not to say that everything will be smooth sailing – part of the travel experience is riding the highs with the lows – but life can certainly be made a lot easier when steps are taken to navigate past any potential blunders.
So, what are these mistakes we are talking about? Well, we will list a selection of them below. You might be able to relate to some of them already. Keep them in mind the next time you’re planning on traveling, and do what you can to prevent them.
Mistake #1: Failing to save enough money for your travels
When traveling, there are some essentials that need to be paid for. We are thinking of flight costs and hotel expenses, for example. Most people add these prices into the equation when working out their travel budget and save up accordingly. However, it’s very easy to run out of money when traveling, as there are hidden costs we can forget to factor in. We are thinking of such things as the tourist tax that some hotels add to the final bill, as well as the international roaming charges on the phones we use. Then there are ATM fees, the cost of meals, and transport costs when getting from A to B in the countries we are visiting. Needless to say, the costs will add up.
To avoid this mistake, it is important to put money aside for any unexpected expenses. Months before traveling, you should save as much as you can. You might also want to raise money, be that through crowdfunding if you can give people a reason to support your trip, or through a low rate loan that won’t cripple your finances. We are thinking of the loans provided by Plenti, for example.
When abroad, it is a good idea to travel frugally when possible. We have some ideas here on how to save money when traveling, so have a read for some useful tips.
By following such steps, you shouldn’t run out of money within the first few days of your travel adventure, and you won’t have to panic when you realize you don’t have enough for the flight back home.
Mistake #2: Leaving the airport with the wrong luggage
There’s a common reason why our bags sometimes disappear from the airport carousel. It’s because other people have picked up our luggage by mistake. This isn’t the only reason but it’s a blundersome error that you might be guilty of too. Yes, the bag might look like yours, but when opening it up in your hotel bedroom later, you will quickly realize your mistake when you discover items that quite clearly aren’t yours.
To avoid this mistake, there are a couple of things you can do. For one, you should always check the contents of the bag before you leave the airport. If you realize you have taken the wrong bag, you should notify airport staff. Of course, there will probably be a tourist running around with a panicked face, so if you hear somebody shouting “somebody has taken my bag,” you could always own up to your error.
Secondly, make your bag uniquely identifiable. You can do this with a brightly colored name tag or a piece of ribbon. There are some other tips here on how to make your luggage stand out. This way, the chances of you taking the wrong bag should be slim, and the same applies to any other tourist who could otherwise take your bags by mistake.
Mistake #3: Failing to read up on local laws
You might be a law-abiding citizen in your country, but what about elsewhere? If you don’t know local laws, you could easily do something that could land you in trouble with the police. When such an incident occurs, you might be able to get away with what you have done with an apology. But in worst-case scenarios, you might have to spend a night (or longer) in the country’s jail.
We aren’t talking about major crimes either. Chewing gum in Singapore could land you a night in jail, as the country banned all gum substances in 1992. Why? Because of the money that had to be spent on gum litter. In Venice, you could be fined for feeding pigeons. Selfies aren’t allowed with the Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. And if you were thinking of packing your Winnie the Pooh t-shirt when traveling to Poland, don’t! The country issued a ban on the character because he doesn’t wear pants!
These are some of the weirdest laws from around the world, but when you have worked out your travel destination, commit to more research on the country in question.
Mistake #4: Not learning the lingo of the country you are traveling to
You don’t need to fluent in the language of the country you are visiting. It would be pointless learning the entire works of Shakespeare in a different lingo. However, you should still learn a few basic phrases. If you don’t, you might struggle to communicate effectively when away. Such things as ordering food and directing cab drivers could become difficult for you. You could run into trouble if you didn’t know how to ask for directions to certain places. And you might offend local people if you failed to say please, thank you, or excuse me.
Learning a language can be a difficult thing to do, but it’s still worth taking an online course before your travels. Alternatively, purchase a dictionary that covers various words and phrases, or download a translation app on your smartphone. By taking such steps, you will find it much easier to communicate when you’re away.
Mistake #5: Packing way too much stuff
The last thing you want is to be without an essential item when you’re away. We are thinking of such things as your phone charger, your medications, and your visa documents. But there are some things you probably don’t need to cram into your bag. We are thinking about multiple pairs of shoes, outfits that you are unlikely to wear, and your entire book collection for your days on the beach.
When you pack more stuff than you might need, you could incur airport fees. You could damage certain items too if they are packed in tightly. Then there’s the fact that your bags will be very heavy to carry around with you, which will be a nightmare when you’re running to a time limit when moving from A to B.
Remember that there will probably be shops in the area you are visiting, so there will be some items you can buy when away. Your hotel room might be equipped with certain items too, such as a hairdryer and an iron. So, lighten your load before you travel, and pack as little as possible. If you find yourself unscrewing the kitchen sink from your wall to pack into your bag, you know you have gone a little too far!
Mistake #6: Forgetting to buy travel insurance
We say ‘forgetting,’ but it might be that you simply don’t bother. After all, why opt for another expense? Well, you should consider the expense an essential one, and the reasons why tie into this article. If something does go wrong while you’re away, your travel insurance might cover you.
The right travel coverage can help you replace the contents of your bags if they go missing or are stolen. You can get reimbursed if you need to return home early. Some insurance policies include medical cover, which will be essential if you become injured or fall ill during your time away. And if your travel company suddenly files for bankruptcy, you will be able to recoup many of your expenses.
Check out this list of reasons for buying travel insurance, and then ask yourself: Do I really want to be without it? As we said at the beginning, things can go wrong, but if you’re insured, you will experience less personal and financial stress.
Mistake #7: Over-filling your itinerary
There will be much you want to see and do when you’re away but you shouldn’t over-fill your itinerary. If you do, you will have no time to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the place you are visiting, as you will be too busy rushing around in an effort to tick off your ‘to do’ list. As a result, you might miss out on something incredible, and that would be a shame if you were on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Create an itinerary by all means, but leave room for exploration. This way, you will see things you might otherwise have missed, and you won’t burn yourself out trying to do everything. Prioritize what you consider essential, and then enjoy the unanticipated opportunities that might befall you while away.
Thanks for reading, and happy (mistake-free) travels!