Travel Mistakes You Will Want To Avoid
It’s the summer of 2021, and people are venturing out of their homes and beginning to enjoy traveling again…it’s so exciting!
But don’t get so excited that you make mistakes that can take some of the fun out of your adventure, cost extra money, and often waste your vacation time
Take a few minutes while you’re planning and preparing to ensure you make as few travel mistakes as possible.
Mistakes that can cost you money…
- Not purchasing travel insurance – It may feel like just one more thing to empty your wallet with, but travel insurance can be economical, and it can save you if something happens and you can’t go on your trip or if something happens while you are on your trip. Keep in mind, your personal health insurance may not cover out of country health emergencies.
- Do not try to figure out travel insurance by yourself – you will need a travel professional to guide you through it. Not only is it too complicated to understand, but coverage varies with the age of the individual the the cost of the trip.
- Not informing your credit card company – It’s always wise to let your credit card company know that you will be traveling and using your card in different areas…otherwise your card could be flagged and you may not be able to use it because the usage is out of the ordinary.
- Not booking your hotels or rental cars in advance of your travel – If you haven’t made reservations, you may find that when you arrive at your destination that there is no where to stay or nothing to drive available. Especially right now, as travel is opening up again, people are booking in advance and cars and rooms are booked.
- Not planning for emergency or extra travel funds – There are always hidden costs that creep in while you travel, some that won’t allow you to use your credit card. You may not need to access these funds, and that’s great, but if you do, they will be there waiting for you and you won’t be caught off guard. I highly suggest you shop around for a credit card that doesn’t charge a change fee. Keep one card clear to use in an emergency. Take about $30 in $1 USD to leave as tips for housekeeping or cab tips or at restaurants. Check the exchange rate whether it is good or bad in the country for US dollars. Tip accordingly.
- Not having local currency – I never advise anyone to use ATM’s in foreign countries. The exchange rate is horribly high and many times the machines are broken and you waste a whole day trying to exchange money. The best thing is to go to the money exchange booth or office at the airport, if you want some local cash. In many countries now, US dollars work fine. Don’t depend on banks in the cities to do exchanges. If all else fails, most hotels will do exchanges. Try to keep the exchange at a minimum so at the end of the trip you aren’t left with a pile of foreign currency that will lose money exchanging it back to US.
- Not taking care of your valuables – Never put any valuables in a back pack or a purse over your shoulder. I have watched videos of thieves who are so quick cut your bag open and take out your wallet and passport. Also, in crowded elevators or events, your bag is an invitation for thieves. It’s best to have a wallet that is on a string around your neck and under your clothes. Figure at the beginning of the day how much cash you may need, roll it up with a rubber band around it and keep it in your pocket. The rubber band will hang up someone if they put their hand in your pocket. If you are traveling with others, try to watch each others backs for potential pick pockets. Some countries that have gypsies who will try to sell you table clothes and distract you and even take money out of a shirt pocket and you don’t know it.
What you can do to avoid mistakes that affect you personally…
- Covid can still be an issue – If you’re traveling out of state, or out of the country, be sure to check for quarantine restrictions, mask mandates, testing or vaccination requirements. No matter what your beliefs on this topic are, if you want to travel, you’ll need to know what to expect and how to be prepared.
- Will your cell phone work – Check with your cell phone company to see if your phone will continue to work internationally.
- What’s on your feet – Wear shoes that are not only comfortable, but well-broken in…wearing brand new shoes is a recipe for sore feet and blisters.
- Have you planned too much – You can plan too many activities and excursions for your vacation, and you will get worn out and enjoy yourself less than you could have if you had allowed some downtime for relaxation. If you finish your trip and there are still things and places you wanted to see but didn’t get to, it’s a great excuse to plan another opportunity to visit there.
- How heavy is your day bag – Many people like to carry a large purse, bag or backpack as they go on day trips, tours or excursions, and they’re great to carry a water, a snack or other essential items, but don’t overpack them. Your back, your shoulders and your arms will thank you…and you’ll have a much more comfortable and enjoyable time.
- When does your passport expire – Save yourself a great deal of worry and frustration…check your passport early in the trip planning stages to make sure it doesn’t need to be renewed.
Make copies of your passport and keep them in different places. If your original is stolen, go straight to a US Embassy and get a new one. It’s best to have your passport on you at all times in a pouch under your clothes. This is your tie to the United States. Never ever allow anyone to take it. If someone wants to use it for ID, give them the copy, not the original.
- Taking care of your health – Be sure you have prescriptions and OTC such as sea sick remedies. I recommend Bonine because you can take it when you feel queasy and it doesn’t make you sleepy. Wrist bands also work very well. Take 3 oz. paper cups – one for each day, use with bottled water for taking meds or brushing your teeth. Never swallow tap water no matter what they say about it being purified. Make sure you are the one to open the sealed bottle. If you ask for water on an airplane, do not accept it from a pitcher or an open bottle. The water tanks are full of E.coli. One sip of tap water can ruin your vacation. Never drink water from a gallon bottle left at your door. I’ve been sick 3 times while traveling and you want to die. Never eat fruit from a basket left in your room.
- You should take 2 levels of sickness meds. The one you will use the most is Pepto-Bismol, preferably the chewable ones and if needed chew them every 1/2 hour till you are better. Then you need a prescription for the times when you are really sick and nothing else works.
Talk with your travel agent for other pieces of great advice that will make your trip a great experience.
I am a seasoned traveler and travel agent…My specialty is vacation travel, and I love to give personal service, and be the warm hands you hold from the beginning to the end of your trip.
Contact me, together we can plan the vacation of your dreams.