Let’s be honest, we all want a stress free holiday, but from time to time mistakes happen, the main thing is that you learn from the experience. In this post I want to highlight some common travel mistakes and how you might avoid them.
Paying for car rental damage that you didn’t cause
Before sitting inside the car you’ve just hired, take photos of every single scratch or dent, and make sure that the company do a thorough check of the car with you before setting off. Ideally, make sure that a date stamp is included on the photographs so you can confirm that the damage was already there before you set off. Never leave without a thorough check or you could be responsible for any damages that the company spots when you return the car.
Leaving your passport behind
Probably one of the more common mistakes that travellers make. When you leave the house, check that you have your passport, and check throughout the journey to the airport, through security and into the departure lounge. On entering the airplane make sure that your passport is kept somewhere secure, do not leave it in your pocket, or, it could slide out. When departing from your accommodation, make sure that you have your passport. A good idea is to create a little checklist of items that you make sure that are packed before leaving.
While I am on the subject of passports, make sure that it hasn’t expired, and that you have at least six months left from the date of return of your holiday as some countries will not let you in.
Not purchasing travel insurance
It’s essential that you purchase some form of travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday. Shop around for the best quotes, but bear in mind the type of activities that you will be participating in while travelling. Not purchasing travel insurance could lead to receiving huge medical bills.
While I am on the subject of health, if you’re British, and are travelling within the European Union, make sure that you purchase a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel, and this will ensure that you receive free health care while on holiday – but, do not make this a reason for you not to purchase travel insurance.
Lack of planning
The majority of travel mistakes happen because of a lack of planning; it’s amazing how many stories I hear about people arriving at the wrong hotel, or missing their flight because they haven’t checked their flight tickets properly. One mistake that I made was not planning my transfer from the airport – I arrived in Oslo, six feet of snow (slight exaggeration), and late into evening. I hadn’t thought about how I was going to get into the city centre, and flying Ryanair meant that the airport was miles away from the city centre. I sat on an airport bus for nearly two hours until I arrived in the city centre bus station. Because I was unprepared, I then had to wonder around late in the evening trying to find my hotel.
Not switching off call roaming
Most of us travel with our smart phones nowadays, and one big travel mistake that a lot of people make is not switching off call roaming when travelling abroad. This can result in a huge mobile phone bill on returning home. You might not use your phone, but most likely you will have apps that will automatically update, and downloading costs lots of money. Make sure the call-roaming feature is switched off, and only connect to free WiFi while travelling if you can.
Taking too much luggage
You see it all the time, travellers at the airport, taking clothes and items out of one suitcase to put in another because they have gone over their baggage allowance. Not only can taking too much luggage lead to stress, it can hike up the cost of you flight if you have to pay additional baggage allowances. I always travel light and realistically how many items of clothing do you need to travel with. If you need any items, buy them in the destination.
Forgetting to call your bank
Over the years I have lost count the amount of times that my bank card has been frozen because I haven’t told them that I am travelling abroad. Before departing call your bank and tell them where you’re visiting, and this includes your credit card. The last thing you want to happen is to be paying for a meal at a restaurant to find that your card has been rejected. At the end of the day, you want your bank to be keen with your bank account security to avoid fraud.
Items stolen due to your stupidity
I have lost count the number of times that I have seen tourists lead their handbag and other items on the floor, where thieves can quickly steal them. Remember that they’re people who are on the look out for tourists who are not aware of the people around them. Don’t leave your mobile phone on the table; leave items on the seats of your hire car.
Hopefully this post will help you avoid some of the common travel mistakes and how to avoid them.
Storm in Versailles. Photo: Radomir Rezny