Oops Moments – they happen to the best of us, right? Well, here are 21 common mistakes travelers tend to make which can absolutely be avoided. Read on and smarten up!
1. Booking connecting flights too close
There are few things in life as painful as waiting at an airport in transit. But yes, it’s definitely better than missing your connecting flight! Seems like a no-brainer but ensure that you space out your flights and account for a buffer in case of regular delays.
2. Failing to check and double check flight dates and times
Oh, the horror of booking a wrong flight and not even realizing till it’s too late! Check, double check, triple check all your reservations – hotels, tours, flights, buses- everything. You just can’t be too safe in this regard.
3. Bigger cities have more than one airport. Be aware
Miss Wanderlust remembers missing a train from Delhi a few years ago because we landed up at the wrong station! Big cities have multiple airports and railway stations. Be absolutely sure when you book, especially if you are taking connecting flights.
4. Not factoring in time zones while making schedules
Here’s another mistake that’s easy to make – do remember to factor in time differences (including Daylight Saving Time variances) while making your schedules.
5. Exchanging currency at airport kiosks
Conventional traveler wisdom will always tell you to NOT exchange money at the airport kiosks (as their sole purpose for existence is to rip-off travelers). However, make sure that you have at least a small sum of local currency on you before leaving the airport. It may be very challenging to later find a money changer in a new city.
(I remember one time when my dear friend Vrisha and I were left penniless in Malacca, Malaysia because we failed to convert currency. It was quite harrowing!)
6. Not backing up photographs ever so often
We’ve all experienced horror stories of misplaced cameras, thefts, or a nasty virus destroying all your beautiful travel pictures. Get smart – back your images up as often as possible.
7. Not being aware of bank charges for overseas transactions
Different banks have different rules, procedures and charges for overseas transactions. Check with your bank to avoid an unpleasant situation later on.
8. Overdoing the packing
Those endless pair of delicate heels? Well, you probably won’t need them. Nor will you need those hiking boots (unless you’re really roughing it out, sneakers should suffice). Don’t carry more than one book to read and go easy on the toiletries. Bulky towels are a strict no-no. And unless you are travelling to the Polar regions, one over-sized jacket is usually enough.
9. Over-dependence on guide books
Guide books are great, no doubt, but there’s no need to make them your Bible. Over-dependency on guidebooks means that you won’t explore and uncover the place for yourself. Believe me, there’s so much joy in that! Read: Why Every Beatles Fan Must Visit This Tiny Little Shop In Delhi
During a recent trip to Connoor, we chose to take the road less traveled and this is where it led us!
10. Completely packing up your schedule
Sure everyone wants to make the most of their time in a new country – but packing in your schedule from morning to night definitely is not the solution. Give yourself the flexibility to randomly go out exploring that mysterious church you saw last evening, or grab a coffee with some new friends you’ve made on your travels. As we love to say, ‘The best plans are unplanned!’
11. Clicking so many pictures that you forget to enjoy the moment
I have a problem with people who are so involved in taking photographs and videos that they forget to enjoy the moment. Believe me, the view you are furiously trying to photograph looks much better without a camera viewfinder blocking your vision.
12. Believing the silly stereotypes
What you hear about a place from the media or politicians is probably only half true. Leave behind the baggage of stereotypes – the baggage will only weigh you down.
13. Not making copies of important documents
Just in case, make photocopies of all important documents (crucially your passport and visas / cards). Keep a scanned copy handy on your email address as well – you never know what could happen.
14. Not checking your phone plan
Telecom service providers can be fairly roundabout about international phone plans, specially data. Do your due diligence so you don’t shell out a small fortune just to keep in touch. A good option is usually opting for a local SIM.
15. Not writing down important details
The hotel you need to be at, do you know the address? Well, even if is on your phone/ email / tablet, you should keep it noted down as well. The truth is that technology can breakdown, electronic devices can drain out and networks can fail to connect. You don’t want to be stranded in a new city, do you?
16. Letting valuables out of your sight
Never. Ever. Ever let your valuables out of your sight. They’re called valuables for a reason. Your passport, for one, needs to be on you at all points in time when you’re traveling, or locked away safely in a locker/ safe.
17. Not doing any research
Yes, it sounds very glamorous to ‘go with the flow’ but some bit of research is necessary. Else you stand the risk of wasting your valuable time in a new place, trying to figure things out instead of actually doing them. Plus, some experiences need pre-booking or have only limited seats. You’d have to miss out, wouldn’t you?
18. Not interacting with the locals
Always remember that you are the guest – respect local customs and traditions. Spend time getting to know the locals better, initiate a friendly conversation whenever you can. You will be surprised by what you could learn about the country and culture!
Arvind Dev / Miss Wanderlust’s Pick: The Best Travel Photographs
19. Picking food options you would anyway get back home
You are in a new country for a reason. If you are going to opt for the same food options that you’d anyway get back home(yes, burgers and fries), what is the point? Be adventurous and eat as the locals do!
When Miss Wanderlust visited Japan – I was hell bent on eating the local food, even when the menu cards were only in Japanese. So meals were ordered by pointing at random items on the menu card at whim!
20. Carrying all your money in one place
Don’t carry all your money in the same place. Keep a small stash of emergency money hidden away somewhere in your luggage in case you get pick-pocketed. If there are two or more people traveling, divide money among yourselves. Even kids should always have a bit of cash on themselves, just in case they get lost!
21. Not carrying a converter for plug points
A lesson I learnt the hard way – always carry your own converter. Not being able to charge your phone or tablet could leave you crippled (how then would you shoot those delightful travel selfies?)
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