This article was published on November 24th, 2019
It’s fairly common for anyone to make mistakes when exploring new territory. However, that doesn’t mean you have to fall prey to every one of them. HomoCulture has put together some tips and guidelines that have been devised to ensure that you avoid the most common travel mistakes so that you will have the best traveling experience yet.
1. The Overly Ambitious Traveler
We all know at least one person like this: they want to do everything and go everywhere in a city, timetables and scheduled be damned. A word of advice we suggest is to be as flexible as possible. You never can be certain of how the weather will be upon arrival, and you may have to worry about a shortage of money that you were not anticipating. No matter how ambitious you may be, it is probably impossible to see the entire country on your first visit. Take solace in that you can always return and for now, cross it off your bucket list.
2. The Over Packer
A great rule of thumb is to pack your bags, and then remove a pair of pants and a couple of shirts. This way, you are sure to pack only what you need and what you will definitely use. If you need anything else additional, you can buy it once you arrive, and it may even cost less. And after you’ve packed everything in, try again to reduce what you take along with you.
3. The ‘By The Book’ Traveler
A little spontaneity never hurt anyone, and for those that prefer to use guidebooks to dictate where and how they travel, our suggestion for you is to let books inform you, but ultimately not define how you take on a destination. It is important to interact naturally with the locals once you are in a locale as this is the best way to experience a city properly and get a true feel for your surroundings. There are always gems to be found that cannot be found in a guidebook.
4. Respect the Budget!
While traveling, it is normal to splurge on things here and there, but you should try as much as possible to stay within your budget. Be creative with where you go and how you spend, but also set aside a bit for unexpected expenses. For long-term travels, consider transferring money from one account to another to better track your spending habits.
5. Back Those Photos Up
How displeased would you be to travel and then get home thinking you had all of these amazing photos, but then you find out they cannot be retrieved? Or even worse, your camera is stolen? Don’t let this happen to you! Back up photographs in the cloud each day of your trip and then transfer them or upload to an FTP site or external hard drive. Being able to hold on to your memories via photos is invaluable. That being said, we would even suggest backing them up in two locations!
6. Flight Shenanigans
In order to make sure that no flights are missed, be vigilant with your transit times, any connecting flight info, and distances between terminals if necessary. Also be sure to include any possible delays into the mix, including customs lines, flight delays, and traffic.
7. Holding on to Vital Documents
You should always have your documents in a secure place, and you should always double-check any reservation sheets and documents to ensure there are no errors, whether for hotels, train or bus rides, flights, etc. You should also check that your name is spelled correctly on all reservations as this is a common mistake bookers make. Furthermore, have a copy of all your most important documents saved on a secret email to protect yourself for any unexpected emergencies.
8. Consider Travel Insurance
Depending on how you travel, it may not be a necessity, but if you are the type to travel with lots of expensive items, then buying insurance can give you an added layer of security in case something happens like a medical emergency or lost luggage. Before signing up for any insurance, however, read the fine print carefully to make sure that the insurance you are procuring actually covers you in case you really need it.
9. Notify Your Bank
No one wants to have their debit or credit card cancelled due to unusual activity, but it happens more than most people are aware. Once you know the dates of your travel, notify your bank beforehand so that they will be alerted as to the countries you are traveling to. Additionally, your bank may have foreign branches where you will be able to reduce ATM fees.
10. Exchanging Currency
Have just enough cash on you until that first ATM run once you reach your destination. And, if at all possible, avoid airport kiosks, since the fees are usually far higher.
Don’t be the stereotypical culturally ignorant traveler. Instead, take two minutes on your smartphone and research as much as you can, ask the locals you encounter about what the city has to offer, and you will be well on your way to having a wonderful, unforgettable experience.