Even experienced travelers make big mistakes on the road sometimes, and while they may not always be serious, they can put a real damper on a trip you may have spent a long time planning for and dreaming about. The tips below can help you avoid those mistakes and make your next trip the best one yet.
Not Budgeting Correctly
Budgeting for a trip is easier than ever, with up-to-the minute information readily available online and plenty of accounts by travelers who are eager to give you an idea of what they paid for various things. Despite this, it’s still possible to budget wrong and not save enough. Maybe you’ve created an unrealistic budget, or maybe you didn’t build in provisions for emergencies. Maybe you planned a month-long trip but forgot to include the fact that your expenses back home would still need to be paid, such as your rent. It’s important to build a margin of error into your budget and save up more than you need for your trip. You should look into creative ways to save as well, such as student loan refinancing. It just takes a few minutes to find out if you can get a lower rate, and this could mean years off your loan as well as lower monthly payments. You can put the difference away in your travel fund.
Neglecting Boring Admin
While caught up the excitement of new places, people and sights, you might forget that there are a few tedious but necessary aspects of travel that you should attend to so that you don’t get any nasty surprises on your trip. If you’re leaving the country, be sure to let the relevant financial institutions know so that they don’t freeze your debit or credit cards. You should also make sure you know what the foreign currency charge is. Get travel insurance to cover things like cancellations and lost luggage, and make sure your health insurance will cover you as well or buy travel health insurance. Make both hard and digital copies of such important documents as your passport, insurance policies and other important documents. Make sure the information on all your travel documents and tickets is correct and that you supply any necessary information to airlines well in advance of your flight.
All of the above points have to do with being prepared, but be careful that you build some flexibility into your plans as well. A vacation that is scheduled from the time you get up until bedtime may begin to seem like more of a job than relaxation, and overplanning also takes some of the fun and spontaneity out of travel. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and try an interesting-looking restaurant that isn’t in the guidebook or take a recommendation from a local.
Getting Your Timing Wrong
From trying to do four cities hundreds of miles apart in seven days to forgetting about time zones to not leaving enough time to get to the airport and get through security, little mistakes in time can throw your entire trip out of joint. It’s best to assume everything will take longer than you anticipate and build yourself a generous margin for timing errors alongside your margin for budgeting errors.