It doesn’t matter if it’s your first, long-awaited trip, or your hundredth. We all make mistakes on our travels and adventures. It’s what makes us grow as travellers as we learn from our faults. But some amateur mistakes can definitely be avoided, and this guide will help you avoid making them.
1. Overpacking or underpacking
Overpacking or underpacking is one of the most, if not the most common mistake every traveller will make. Getting all excited to wear your newly-bought clothes might cloud your judgement on how many pieces you’re actually going to wear. On the other hand, being complacent and only bringing just a handful of clothes won’t do you any good either. Striking the right balance is the goal for any trip!
2. Procrastinate packing to the last minute
Boy, aren’t we all guilty of this. Regardless of our excuse — if we were too busy with work or we haven’t bought a luggage — it’s never a good idea to leave packing to the last minute. We’re bound to miss out a couple of things on our checklist if we do, and it’ll affect the trip one way or the other. It’s best to do it gradually, if not early, and double-check so you don’t forget anything.
3. Being complacent overseas
Sometimes it goes without saying, but sometimes we forget. Being a tourist in a foreign country automatically makes one a target for thieves and pickpockets. It’s inadvisable to keep your valuables out in the open, like leaving your phone and wallet on the table even though it’s right next to you. Always take extra precautions for your belongings when travelling, and stay alert and updated about the crime rates of the country you’re travelling to.
4. Forgetting to exchange money
There are so many things to think about when travelling, that sometimes currency difference can slip one’s mind. It might not be a huge issue since getting cash out using foreign cards is quite common nowadays. Forgetting to change cash is one thing, but losing a sum of amount from the tourist exchange rates is another. Try to prioritise this before leaving your home country.
5. Over-planning activities
It’s exciting to fly across the globe, isn’t it? We’d want to see everything, experience all the country has to offer. Keep in mind that it is a well-deserved holiday, so having a bit of a breather here and there to relax is important. Planning a full-day schedule for every day of your trip without any room for the bathroom is out of the question.
Be sure to plan accordingly, and keep in mind of your flights, travel time, possible delays and any other similar aspects. While it is good to want to make the most of your time there, make sure you book enough transit time in between your flights and places.
6. Not checking visa requirements
We might overlook the most important factor of entering another country: eligibility. It’d be such a disaster if, after getting so hyped for your trip, you realised you had to apply for a tourist visa but didn’t? Be sure to check the visa requirements based on your own country’s passport. While some countries offer visa when upon arrival, most require an advanced application which can take from a few days to weeks.
7. Using expensive data plans/data roaming
Another common mistake that is very likely to slip our mind is not looking up roaming options and data plans in advance. In situations like this, we’d just settle for what the airport stores have to offer and paying tourist prices or end up subscribing last minute to our data roaming plan which can cost a bomb for some. There are countless of other options like a local tourist SIM card and portable WiFi, so keep these in mind!
8. Saving money at the expense of time
Don’t be penny-wise but pound foolish. Why take an 8-hour bus ride instead of an hour train ride just to save a few bucks? Although saving a few dollars is understandable, don’t forget that time is also money, as you’ve flown all the way there to experience the country’s best, not their expressways.
9. Not buying travel insurance
Never overlook travel insurance! Not only does it give you an ease of mind, but you’re also not going to lose any more cents than you should. Flight delays and baggage loss are more common than you think, so save your heart the additional heartache of losing your stuff by having the travel insurance cover the cost.
10. Taking taxis all around
Taxis’ main targets are usually tourists. It’s a given, as a foreigner you’re not familiar with local rates and such, giving them the chance to charge you higher than it’s supposed to be. Don’t give them the opportunity to scam you of your money. Look into other transportation services in advance like Grab or Uber, if it’s available in that country.
11. Staying on the beaten path
The touristy areas and tourist attractions are the most obvious places every traveller initially adds to their itinerary. It’s great to see the widely advertised and hyped about places of that country, but these areas are often always crowded regardless of the day and time, and surrounding shops are pricier. Take a few turns off the main road to get the most authentic experience of the country, surrounded by locals instead of tourists.
12. Racking up travel debt
Travel costs money — we all know that. While it may be a priceless experience to travel, it’s not worth racking up a travel debt. Your travel adventures are outlets of relief, not an additional worry. Set a budget and don’t exceed your financial limit.
13. Travelling without researching
Impromptu sounds great and all, and sometimes it works out, but it’s not a good crutch to lean on. Doing research in advance saves time looking up places to visit when you’re actually there. Little things like knowing the country’s plug type or requirements for private servers can save you a heap load of hassle on your trip.