According to studies, 33% of people planned to travel more in 2016 than they did in 2015. Not too surprising since many people have “travel” on their lifetime list of things-to-do. You may have just started scheduling your first global adventures or you may have had the traveling bug in you for years. Regardless of how much of a travel veteran you are, there are still travel mistakes we all make from time to time that can be avoided.
- Assuming Passport Validation
U.S. passports are valid for 10 years (5 years, if it was issued when you were 15 years-old or younger), but that time can go by quickly, especially if you’re internationally on-the-go. Remember the expiration date of your passport must precede the date of your flight home. Certain countries require passports to be valid for 3-6 months past the date of your return flight back home. Not a fun fact to learn when you’re at the check-in counter at the airport. Make sure your passport covers you for your next destination. If you’re traveling overseas, be sure to look into entry requirements, including documentation and tourist fees.
- Throwing Your Budget Out the Window
Most travelers have an idea of the budget they’d like to spend while traveling. Since there’s always an unknown adventure or souvenir to be uncovered, it’s nice to pad the budget a little to get a more realistic view of what you will actually be spending. Plan as much as possible, but leave room for the more spontaneous (and perhaps, expensive) moments.
While it might seem like rookie travelers are the only ones who overpack, think again. Depending on the destination and specific travel plans, most people make the mistake of packing shoes they don’t need, extra changes of clothes they’ll never wear, or other miscellaneous items that have no business being in the suitcase in the first place. Traveling light makes life easier and leaves more room for anything extra you want to bring home. If you do happen to overpack or buy too many souvenirs, you can always stuff your shoes with socks and Army roll your T-shirts.
- Running Out of (Digital) Storage Space
In today’s mobile world, there seems to be less of a chance that we’ll run out of storage space on our smartphones or cameras, but it happens. And usually, it’s at the most inopportune times. Sync your smartphone up with Dropbox or a special folder in your Google Drive to make sure they’re backed up automatically. Or, if you’re downloading photos from your camera, take time to upload them to a digital folder daily, so you don’t have to worry about running out of space.
- Flashing Your Money
This includes everything from pulling out a wad of bills to flashing expensive jewelry. You don’t have to be wary when traveling, but you do need to be aware. Any valuable items should be kept stowed away, until you are in your hotel room and can lock them in a safe. Avoid being a target of pickpockets or identify theft by keeping your personal belongings safely stowed away.
- Forgetting to Alert Your Bank
Set up travel alerts with your bank before you head out on your next trip. Some financial institutions may freeze your cards if they detect suspicious activity. It may not always happen depending on where you go and what you purchase, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want to end up in a foreign country or far away from home without access to your funds.
- Being Disconnected
Unplugging while on vacation is one of the best parts about traveling. But when it comes to looking up directions, transportation, translations, currencies, and other need-to-know things instantaneously, being without our digital devices can create unnecessary stress. Make sure you carry your phone charger in an easy-to-reach place. If traveling to a foreign country, research what adaptors you may need to plug-in your devices.
- You Don’t Clear Your History
When it comes to travel hacks, this one is simple. Clear your cookies or enable private browsing when searching for the best flight deals online. If you continue to look for a flight with the hope rates will go down, airline sites will increase the price because they detect a higher need from you.
- Planning Your Trip by the Book
Whatever location you choose is probably for a specific reason. You want to relax, find adventure, the list goes on and on. It’s smart to do research before going to get a lay of the land. You’ll want to get an idea of available public transportation, exchange rates, the local cuisine, etc. However, if you only go by exactly what online guides tell you, then you miss out on the opportunity to make the trip uniquely your own. Take in as many popular sites as you want to see, but never any you feel you should see just because a guidebook says so.
- Missing Out
Maybe one of the biggest travel mistakes of all is not taking the trip. With the right planning, you can find a destination that is affordable, exciting, and worth the experience. Some people prefer day trips, while others take off for weeks at a time all in the name of travel. Don’t miss out on the joy and fulfillment exploration can bring.