Traveling is all about discovering the unknown, so be prepared for the fact that there can be a few obstacles along the way. While some of these can serve as learning experiences for you, others have the potential to ruin your trip.
Following these tips can help you avoid common travel pitfalls.
Research your destination
It’s always a good idea to research the culture and history of the destination before your visit – you’ll be in a better position to live within their traditions and laws. Additionally, in some countries, tourist attractions and public institutions, including hospitals, may be closed to visitors during national holidays. So, be aware of these dates when you’re planning your trip.
Remember to read hotel reviews on Booking, and if you are renting an apartment on Airbnb, make sure that the owner has a good rating and you will not be deceived. As for the US, a good practice is to check the owner on PhoneHistory for safety reasons.
Although spontaneity can be very fun at times, too much of it can ruin your trip. Preplanning allows you to take advantage of travel deals and find suitable accommodation within your budget. Also, some sites, like museums, actually require advance booking. Thus, waiting until the last minute might mean that you’ll miss out on the opportunity to visit.
Factor in time zones
Not taking time zone differences into account when traveling is a surefire way to miss your overseas flight, so don’t let that be you. To make traveling with kids smoother, it’s important to plan ahead and take care of any necessary preparations, for example, if you travel to Italy, apply for Italy visa well in advance. This can help reduce stress and ensure a smoother, more enjoyable travel experience for both you and your children.
Avoid a jam-packed itinerary
As good as it may sound to have a jam-packed itinerary, it will make your trip a blur – it may be difficult for you to remember the places you visited. Leave some time open in your schedule so that you can relax and enjoy the culture of your destination.
Schedule sufficient time
Many travelers miss their flights simply because security checks took longer than they had expected. To avoid this, arrive at the airport at least three hours before your departure time – two or three hours more if you’re traveling during the busiest times of the year.
Plan for layovers
Layovers can feel like they’re eating into your destination time but it’s smart to always schedule enough time for you to take a breather, eat something, and make it through security – at least 2 hours. That way, the extra time can serve as a buffer if any flights get delayed.
Double-check travel documents
At least six months before your trip, check your travel documents to make sure that they are valid and that your personal information and dates of entry are all correct. Any mistake could mean that your trip is over before it even starts, so get these fixed right away.
You also need to check the rules for your destination. Some countries require a certain number of blank pages in your passport or that it be valid for at least three to six months in order for you to travel.
Do some research to find out whether there’s a visa requirement at your destination. If there is, you need to have one before you can travel there. It sometimes takes a month or more to secure the proper visa, so begin the process early enough.
Set travel notifications
Most banks use automated fraud detection systems. It’s advisable to inform your bank about the trip, including where you’re going and when, before you leave. That way, your card won’t be put on hold when activity is detected in those areas. Some banks no longer require this information, but unless you’re sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Check your mobile plan
Imagine getting to your destination and trying to call the hotel to request a shuttle, but then you discover that your mobile phone isn’t working. What a disappointment! You can avoid this by ensuring that you check your mobile plan before you leave for your trip.
Find the best foreign exchange rates:
Buy foreign exchange from a foreign exchange shop or a bank rather than using the airport because the rates are always highest there. Even cash withdrawals at your destination would be a better option.
Packing too many items can have a number of unwanted effects: pain in your back from dragging around big and heavy luggage, a messy room, or a huge load of dirty laundry.
To avoid overpacking, start off with a carry-on bag. Add all of your necessities, and if anything is left over, only then do you size up. Stick to the bare necessities. Select neutral clothing that can be mixed and matched and is suitable for every occasion.
Carry valuables in your carry-on. That way, they’re always with you because there’s always the possibility that checked baggage could be lost.
Carrying expensive items makes you a target of pickpockets. Even though theft may not be a problem at your destination, there’s a possibility that you could lose something, so play it safe and leave irreplaceable things at home.
If, for some reason, you need to move around with valuables, be mindful. Wear a zipped pocket jacket or carry your credit cards and cash in a bum bag. Rid your wallet of cards that are unnecessary for your travel – they will only cause your wallet to be bulky, attracting thieves. Nevertheless, leaving your valuables unattended could mean they won’t be covered if stolen.
It is most definitely worth it to carry around an electronic copy of your credit cards and passports in case they get stolen. This can help you supply the information required to have them canceled or replaced.
Select local activities
Instead of eating at restaurants and cafes near popular tourist attractions, try eating where the locals do. It’s likely that the food is better in terms of variety, quality, and price. The same applies to other activities as well.
Before your trip, research your destination. Some booking websites, like Airbnb and TripAdvisor, provide a list of activities suggested by the hosts. This could give you more enriching experiences than if you were to follow the usual path of other tourists.
Admire the surroundings with your own eyes and not through the camera lens
Taking pictures can enhance your travel experience in many ways but keeping your camera glued to your face prevents you from enjoying the actual experience. It’s fine to take a few pictures but remember to put the camera down so that you can soak in the sounds, sights, tastes, and smells of your holiday!