Traveling around the world is one of the most amazing experiences that you will ever have in your life. It gives you the chance to explore people, places, and cultures that you’ve only heard about and grow as a global citizen. However, if you aren’t careful, you can make a mistake (or two) that will give you a huge headache or possibly even ruin your trip. Here are the top six travel mistakes and how to avoid them:
Not Informing Your Credit Card Company That You Are Traveling
If you are visiting another country, it is imperative that you let the credit card company know. For security reasons, credit card companies flag transactions made on foreign soil and if you don’t let them know the dates that you will be gone, they will freeze your account. You should also ask them if they charge a foreign transaction fee. If they do, use a credit card that does not have the fee or use a bank that is part of the Global ATM Alliance – no ATM fees for partner banks.
Not Buying Travel Insurance
Although your insurance might cover a small portion of expenses (health or otherwise) on the trip, it is important to have travel insurance if you are going out of the country and protect your investment. You should buy the insurance as soon as you pay for the trip and look for a plan that covers delayed or lost luggage, medical emergency assistance, and trip cancellation.
Failing to Check the Dates on Your Passport or Visa
This one is perhaps the most devastating mistake you can make when you travel abroad. Double check that the dates on your passport and/or visa are good. Sometimes countries require visitors to have 6 months of validity on their passports before they visit and it can take 6-8 weeks to process a passport. However, there is an expedited process available for an additional fee if you absolutely need it.
Overpacking or Not Packing the Right Stuff
It is incredibly tempting to bring outfits for every occasion, but you should exercise caution when it comes to packing. If not, you can get hit with baggage fees or have trouble hauling your heavy luggage around. Pack your bags with 5-10 key pieces that can be mixed and matched throughout the trip. This will give you creative style and help save on laundry when you’re away from home.
Not Soaking Up The Culture
When people travel around the world, they have a tendency to stick to tourist hotspots and their hotel without really diving deep into a country’s heritage. You have to experience a culture first-hand when you travel abroad; you just have to. You don’t have to do much, all you have to do is sample the local cuisine, talk to the locals in a few phrases of their native tongue, and look for places off the beaten path. If you do that, you trip will become so much more than you think.
Not Checking Your Cell Phone Plan
Another thing people don’t always remember to check is the data on their cell phone plan. Some companies have data roaming fees that can add up so double check with your cell phone company. If it turns out to be a problem, one solution is to turn off your data when you get on the plane, leave it in airplane mode, and keep it that way throughout the trip (you’ll still be able to connect to Wi-Fi). If data is that important to you, buy a local SM card or an international plan.