This is a bit different from my usual pieces, but I thought it was worth a thought anyhow. On my first solo trip abroad, I made some pretty daft but mistakes which ended up costing me money (and pride to be honest), and leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Travelling can be such a wonderful experience, so why ruin it by doing some pretty stupid, totally avoidable things.
Hopefully by sharing these common errors with you, this can all be avoided and you can enjoy your experience to the fullest (sorry I’m like one of those cheesy self help commercials now). Here are my top 10 errors to avoid whilst travelling;
1. Only take licensed taxis; this is especially important in places like New York where the first thing you see when you step off the plane in JFK airport is a queue to kingdom come for the iconic yellow cabs. You may be tempted to get into the ‘cheaper and more reliable’ (their words not mine) unlicensed cabs, which are situated directly opposite, without the queues though. However if you do take this route you may avoid the hefty lines but you’ll end up being taken for a ride (not in a good way), with trickstars ripping you off.
2. Some countries require proof of itineries like destination of hotels you’re staying at and onward flights. This is sometimes required just to get a visa (for example with China). So sometimes just winging it isn’t an option. However the hassle of actually sticking to an itinerary can often be avoided by booking hotels on refundable or easily transferrable booking sites like STA travel or booking.com
3. Get travel insurance. In the UK we are lucky to have a free at the point of entry healthcare service. This is not the case in some other countries like the USA where a minor injury can set you back thousands and thousands of dollars. Travel insurance avoids all this hassle and can be as cheap as 47p per day with STA.
4. Check what vaccinations are required for the country you are visiting. Often certain vaccinations are mandatory to enter the country, or strongly advised. You can easily google what vaccinatioms are required for different countries.
5. Make sure you know if you need a visa and if there are any visa requirements. This is blatantly obvious but can turn your holiday into a nightmare, especiallu if you arrive somewhere like Japanand can’t get in due to not knowing your hotel address.
6. Get a travel credit card. A travel credit card saves you from having to carry around ridicoulous sums of cash, it also means if someone steals it you can easily cancel it and nullify any purchases. Just make sure you have a back up in the hotel safe or safe place in case. You can also avoid the ridicoulous card fees and charges from purchases abroad.
7. Don’t travel heavy. An obvious one. Domestic airlines around the world hate hand luggage, so to avoid having to pay massive fees, and to make life generally easier, try to pack light. Essentials are sold everywhere so don’t go packing 10 boxes of toothpaste.
8. Don’t stick to a schedule. Fact, the internet cannot convey how good/bad places are quite like locals can, closures and temporary closures of tourist sotes can also be neglected online. Some of the best places I’ve been were due to not following the guide book to the letter and exploring myself. They aren’t called hidden gems for no reason you know. Everywhere will have bad reviews and often it can be tough to eliminate them im your mind. You can imagine some overweight orthodontist from Tucson, USA, writing a bad review of a restaurant merely because they didn’t have the right ketchup… in a review for an authentic Korean restaurant. I mean as stupid as that sounds just seeing a 1 star review can put you off, even if it is that ridicoulous.
9. Don’t bring enormous amounts of cash everywhere. And especially don’t flaunt it. No explaination needed here methinks.
10. Respect local religions and cultures. Not doing this can land you in some deep water with the law or merely make you look like a total dick. Period.