Travel can be a very exciting thing. Whether you’re exploring a brand new destination, or returning to a location that you hold close to your heart, a vacation can be just the thing that you need to revitalize your mind and body and leave you feeling both healthier, and happier. Unfortunately, travel also comes with a number of unique concerns that you need to think carefully about – from staying safe on vacation, to making the flight process as simple as possible.
It’s common to make a few careless mistakes when you’re exploring the unknown – such as failing to use a TSA lock or forgetting to pack your favorite sandals. However, some mistakes can quickly turn your trip into a waste of time, and money – leaving you to wish that you had simply stayed at home.
Here’s hoping that a few of the following tips will help you to make the most out of your next vacation, and avoid some of the most common travel mistakes.
1. Packing Too Much
This is perhaps the simplest, and most familiar way to create problems for yourself on vacation. Pack too much and you’re left with the choice of removing your TSA lock at the airport so that you can leave some valuable items behind or paying more for your luggage. On top of that, even if you do manage to squeeze through security with a heavy bag, you could find that you’re left with no space to store those souvenirs you desperately want.
Instead, make sure that you only pack what you need – and what you know you’re going to use. If you’re unsure about something – simply leave it behind. Remember, you can buy a lot of common items like toothpaste, sandals, and beauty products at your location – so leave unnecessary weight behind and save the space.
2. Rushing Through the Airport
It doesn’t matter how many times travel articles and experts recommend that globetrotters ensure they’re at the airport ahead of schedule – many travelers still think it’s okay to turn up for their flight at the last minute. Remember, even if you are using a TSA lock to keep your luggage secure and make moving through airport checks easier – there are still plenty of roadblocks that could hold you up on the way to your destination.
Don’t take the chance, and rely on the fact that everything needs to go smoothly just so you can find your seat on your chosen flight in time. Get to the airport an hour or two ahead of schedule, and have plenty of time to sit around, or explore the duty-free stores.
3. Getting Too Ambitious
It’s perfectly fine to have a strong idea of what you want to do when you’re on vacation. You might even be visiting a specific place simply because you want to check out a local tourist trap or enjoy an event nearby. However, try not to pack your days full of too much stuff. Instead, be flexible, and don’t be afraid to change your plans because of money, or weather requirements.
If you can, try to factor additional time into your schedule so that you can prepare for potential delays and moments when you might simply need to head back to the hotel for a rest. After all, you don’t have to try and see an entire country during a single visit – and planning to do that will only leave you feeling unaccomplished.
4. Forgetting to be Careful with Money
Budgets exist for a reason, and one of the most common travel mistakes around involves forgetting about the money you have set aside – and using cash consistently to fund last-minute opportunities. Think of your budget as a way to experience your destination creatively, and authentically – rather than as a restriction to a good time. In advance, make sure that you design a realistic budget that you can both comfortably stick to – and pad slightly with “just in case” cash for unexpected expenses.
At the same time, keep in mind that staying safe on vacation is all about keeping your valuables safe. For most people, this means using a neck travel wallet or waist money belt to secure their cash and credit cards out of sight. You’ll also need to inform your bank of foreign transactions that you may be making so that your cards aren’t suddenly canceled as a result of “unusual activity”.
5. Being Careless with Documents
From the moment you receive your flight itinerary, bookings, and other documents, you should be double-checking them for errors. Always make sure that you know exactly what’s going on with your travel plans, and keep yourself updated with changes or updates that might impact your vacation.
At the same time, remember that you should always make copies of important documents before you travel. This means keeping a hard copy of your IDs, passports, travel insurance policy, and credit cards, alongside a digital copy of all of the above, which has been password protected. In the case that you accidentally lose some essential documents, your copies will speed up the renewal and recovery process.
6. Failing to Do your Research
Finally, no matter where you’re heading on vacation, the aim should be to create the best memories and have the best experiences possible. Although there’s something to be said for taking an adventure as it comes and opening yourself up to unexpected opportunities, doing your research can help you open the door to some amazing moments and events. Get as much information as you can about wherever you’re going in advance, and use that knowledge to make some decisions about your trip. The more you know – the more chances you have to discover something truly incredible.
Remember, be safe, but take chances. Dare to explore beyond the tourist trails and uncover things that are rarely done or seen. Create experiences that can’t be offered in a standard guidebook, and don’t just follow what other people are doing.