Common Mistakes Travellers Make
Updated: Jan 22
If you're anything like me you will book your holiday, put it in your calendar and start the countdown, but what do we need to think about before we go? Going abroad means you need to check you are following the correct regulations and etiquette for that destination and being prepared for your trip to avoid any mistakes that could put your holiday on hold or worse stop you from going. If you book with an agent, they can advise you, if you book yourself make sure you do the research!
1) Not checking your passport expiration date
There are of course exceptions but most countries out of Europe won't accept passports that have an expiry date within 6 months. Make sure you have at least 6 months or more from the date you depart the country you are visiting. Top Tip - check you passport NOW and put the date a year into your calendar 8 months before it expires, passports can take a long time to process.
2) Not checking visa requirements
If you haven't travelled out of Europe before you may believe we can just float freely and enter any country without needing a visa, but this is not the case and will soon include Europe too, so double reason to get checking!! There are all different kinds of visas and they vary from place to place. Some of which you have to apply for in advance and need lots of details and some visas are just a stamp on arrival. Be sure to double check in advance and don't leave it to the last minute.
Top Tip - Don't get caught out paying for visas when you don't need to. Always check the foreign travel office website to see the legitimate guidelines on how to get your visa.
3) Not checking the pages of your passport
If you like to travel a lot, your passport might be full with lots of stamps and colour, but many countries require an empty page for their visa stamp and sometimes require two empty pages! Top Tip - Ask your travel agent or check with the airline who you are travelling with as they will have the most up to date information.
4) Thinking you won't need insurance?
Getting the correct insurance for your trip is very important. Seeing a medical professional in another country could cost thousands of pounds. It's not just that, insurance also covers protection for valuable items, plane delays and cancellations depending on the type of cover you take out. Top Tip - Make sure you speak to a specialist insurance company to ensure you have the right cover, generally cheap internet insurance providers make a lot of assumptions which may cause problems when you try to make a claim.
5) Organising too much
Being organised is great for some aspects of travel, especially if you are short of time. Have the logistics in place but allow free time in each place. Locally there may be something you want to see that you didn't know about or you might get a recommendation from a local to try a restaurant but you can't as you have planned too much. Top Tip - Always allow at least one day of free time in each area you go to.
6) Winging it From one extreme to the other! Don't just turn up somewhere without any plans. You can spend hours of precious time trying to work out what you want to do, trying to get the best price for a tour, wandering round the different tour shops or worse still trying to book something when you arrive and it is sold out! Top Tip - Research the area you are visiting and book a couple of key attractions then once you are there you can work everything else around these activities.
7) Not learning about the culture
I always try to do at least one thing cultural in a new place. Do you really just want to turn up, chill by the hotel pool all day and then come back home? Learning about the local culture and how others live is a joy of travelling and you can be sure to learn something new every time. Top Tip - Have your cultural experience early on in your travels, it will give you an insight to the rest of your trip.
8) Carrying food into other countries There are so many rules and regulations on what you can take in and out of different places and every country is different so it's not worth the hassle to be caught out on arrival. Top Tip - You CAN take food on the plane in your hand luggage, just be sure to eat it and dispose of the packaging before you go through arrivals.
9) Not checking the practices of an 'animal sanctuary' Always worth checking before you go. Not all the places across the world that call themselves a sanctuary are regulated, therefore, animals end up exploited. Generally anything that lets you get too close to a wild animal or are using animals for entertainment are a no go! Top tip - Look up reviews before you go to these places and if it's an ethical sanctuary check the company values and polices. If they are really a sanctuary these should be pretty easy to find on their website.
10) Not leaving your comfort zone Travelling is a great chance to try something you haven't done before. It doesn't have to be anything extreme, it can be as little as trying a new food or hiring a pedalo for the first time. Trying new things will add such extra value to your trip and make it so much more memorable.
Top Tip - Extremeness is recommend.