Before traveling to Southeast Asia and Europe like any other traveler, I had done my research to find the best places to eat, places to visit, etc. Of course, keeping in mind my budget as the journey could take as long as 6 months to a year. Without considering all the possible mistakes, in most cases, I had often made many travel mistakes unknowingly.
Commonly, there are a lot of dos and very little don’ts, which we read or hear before heading to our journey but what about the travel mistakes to avoid and things we shouldn’t do. This may end up leading the travelers into more debt, disappointments, and missing out on opportunities. On the bright side, we can learn from our mistakes, but we can easily avoid these mistakes and save all the unnecessary trouble and time.
That’s why I will share the top 10 don’ts to help you prevent making mistakes.
Let’s get one thing straight, we don’t need to carry extra baggage. As human beings, we love to carry baggage with us materialistically or emotionally. STOP! You will be saving money and mental sanity. The whole point of traveling is to feel free and light.
When I started traveling, I brought 2 checked luggage and 1 carry-on luggage. Luckily, I was able to leave them with one of my family members who happened to live nearby my first travel destination. That didn't come free as I had to pay for standard shipping, but I figured in the long run, this will save me a lot of money.
We all know while traveling for a long period of time we tend to bring things with us that we absolutely don’t need and we fully convince ourselves to feel prepared for any situation. It is best to pack light luggage because many airlines tend to provide different baggage allowances. In fact, if you buy something on the go, it will be cheaper, because it will cost more if you exceed the baggage allowance.
Not checking visa requirements and passport issues
Personally, I learned the hard way. After booking my flight, it did not occur to me that I had to check for visa requirements in order to enter a foreign country, turns out I did need a visa to enter!
4 days before my flight, I applied for a visa online, and 48 hours later, I received a notice of approval with required documents, passport size photo, and US cash in hand on arrival for visa immigration. Whether you are Canadian or American always make sure to check for visa requirements. Give yourself at least 3-5 business days to get the visa approval.
Some countries don’t allow a longer stay depending on your passport, if your passport is about to expire in 6 months, before even booking your flight make sure to get your passport renewed ASAP! Keep in mind that most airports also check the condition of your passport. If your passport looks rundown, you may want to keep the extra scotch tape.
Traveling without travel insurance
First, make sure that travel insurance is one of your top priorities. You never know what can go wrong, we usually go with a mindset as if what the worst thing that can happen, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
There are many options online to obtain your travel insurance, and it is usually recommended to contact your bank as they may offer travel insurance packages.
Not informing your bank about your travel plans
One of the mistakes from my travel experience was not informing my bank about my travel plans. Not that I often use bank cards to withdraw cash, but every time I had to pay a handling fee of 15-20 USD. You would rather use the money for travel than give it to the bank. Generally, your bank can provide you with the best prices and overseas travel services to help you avoid paying withdrawal fees.
Grabbing local currencies at the airport
When you arrive at the airport, there are many ATMs/ cash machines, but depending on the location, you may not be able to use your credit card to withdraw cash. Before leaving the airport, conduct an online study on exchange rates and contact your bank advisor. It might be advisable to take out cash from your bank or from the departing airport before your departure.
Not carrying your travel documents
Traveling to an unknown country for a long period of time can be uncertain and unpredictable. It’s always best to make extra scanned and digital copies of your passport, ID’s, Visa, credit cards, and other documents. I hope you don’t end up losing or having your passport or wallet stolen but it’s imperative to have backup copies of all your important documents.
Sometimes, you may encounter hotels, hostels, or even rental locations, asking you to keep your passport until you check out or return the transportation. Please make sure to never give your documents away for security reasons, sure you can let them take a photocopy or a picture of your passport or ID for their own security, but if they are adamant on keeping your passport or ID until checkout then maybe, it’s best to look for another hotel or rental location.
Not getting a local sim card
If you travel for a long time, it is recommended that you temporarily cancel the phone package in your country/region, so that you will not lose your original phone number, and you can still communicate via WiFi. When traveling to different countries, you can easily get a local sim card at the airport.
Not carrying travel adapters
Not all travel adapters are compatible in many countries, as there are 15 different types of plugs around the world. Before investing in multiple adapters make sure to do your research first and it’s better to invest in a versatile adapter. Some plugs may be less powerful, and it may be a wise decision to choose a universal adapter with sufficient power. My personal favorite is the Ceptics World Travel Adapter Kit.
Taking local taxis
Taxis in foreign countries can be overpriced, especially when you don’t speak the local language. Oftentimes the taxi drivers can take you for a long ride without even realizing they drove you around twice. Avoid taking local taxis and don’t get mistaken by drivers pretending to work for Uber or Grab. Finding the right application (such as Uber) or using public transportation would be ideal.
Sticking to your comfort zone
When traveling abroad, make sure to interact with local people, because they will tell you the best itinerary and food, which may not be listed in your itinerary. This will give you a better perspective of the people living there and help you be street smart.
If you're traveling as a digital nomad, it’s imperative to network with other like-minded individuals as it can help you get more work and move forward in your profession. Not only it will help you find clients and work through networks and referrals but also a chance to make new friends on a personal level.
Traveling abroad can be challenging and especially given the current situation it won’t be the same. Many safety measures will be taken into account. Once it’s normal to travel again, be more aware, use a checklist, get all your documents including your medical certificates, and more importantly don’t forget your passport!
Writer - Gargie Kejriwal www.fromylens.com