Travelling is difficult, but everything usually feels right once on a plane, liner, or train.
But are you good to travel as long as you’ve packed your bags, your cash is ready, and your passport and visas are prepared? No, I do not believe so. Here’s a quick reminder of some travel do’s and don’ts to keep in mind to ensure your holiday goes smoothly!
Here are five tips on how to regain your travel smarts:
- When in doubt, use cash
Avoid using your credit cards if you are not shopping at high-end stores. Depending on where you are travelling, card readers may not be readily available, and you need to watch out for card skimming and credit card scams. Instead, ensure you are safely carrying enough backup cash with you to buy souvenirs, meals and pay for activities. Think about buying a belt bag or other hidden money holder to stash your cash near your body.
- Keep it offline
Many folks wish to keep family and friends within the loop while on their adventures by posting it on Facebook or Instagram. While it’s cool to share your travels, returning home and finding your home robbed is not fun, thanks to an online ‘friend’ who saw an opportunity. To avoid this, send updates to those closest to you via private message.
- Hold onto the important stuff
Do not pack your passport, cash, travel documents, valuables or other ID in your checked luggage and keep your carry-on handy at all times. In addition, make copies of your passport, driver’s license and wallet (such as credit cards). Take one with you when going out and leave one at the reception. These will be available and handy for a loss or theft.
- Use the hotel safe
Hotel safes are not perfect, but they are more reliable than your suitcase. Once you leave the bedroom to go out for the day, lock up your valuables. Unless you need your passport to cross into a definite country, keep it locked at all times and carry a photocopy with you or another photo ID, like your driver’s license, to use for identification.
Taking the danger of losing your valuables or passport overseas isn’t worth the convenience of keeping them on you.
- Connect to a secure WIFI
When travelling, chances are high that you need to connect to the Internet. Coffee shops and internet cafes are convenient but not always safe.
Look for secure networks that require a password to connect (i.e. WEP, WPA and WPA2). If you prefer to do some quick research or respond to emails from an unsecured WIFI network, log out from your account before shutting down.
Here are some common travel mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Not sticking to your budget
A reasonable budget can make travelling more resourceful and open up new opportunities. That same travel budget may be a constraint for someone else. Being realistic and budgeting for unexpected extra expenses is essential for successful travel. Don’t let a single travel blunder ruin your well-earned vacation.
- Not notifying the bank early for overseas transactions
Many banks will flag the use of your credit or debit card overseas as “unusual activity” and place a temporary hold on it if you forgot to notify them that you will be travelling abroad.
- Not backing up photos
Given the number of places you’ll visit, meals you’ll eat, and rooms you’ll sleep in, it’s not uncommon for travellers to leave possessions behind.
A lost camera is unfortunate, and losing photos is even worse. However, developing the habit of backing up your photos every day and keeping your hard drive in your luggage reduces the likelihood of this occurring.
- Cultural insensitivity
If you’re visiting a country known for its strong religious beliefs, it is best to learn what is considered “normal.”
Clothing, statements, and gestures can be considered offensive in certain places and times. Learning what is accepted will allow you to have a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience.
- Don’t bring too much stuff
The ability to pack what you need is an ancient wisdom that appears to be born only from travel mistakes or tips from more experienced travellers.
Laundries are available in some form wherever you go. You might be embarrassed to wear the same outfit twice in a row at home, but no one will notice when you’re on the road.
A good travel tip is to pack first, then half. You can also purchase clothing and accessories at your destination, possibly at a much lower cost. You’ll be glad you did when trying to fit that bag into an overhead locker.
Pack your belongings and prepare to go wherever you want. Just don’t let your dream holiday turn into a nightmare!
Planning ahead of time alleviates much of the stress associated with travel, resulting in more happy memories to share with friends and family.
Remember the tips on how to regain your travel smarts and avoid the common mistakes that travellers make.