The thought of an upcoming break or adventure abroad is enough to enliven anyone. But in all the excitement of packing, it’s not difficult to neglect some important fundamentals. Amongst the exploration and indulging that most of us enjoy on holiday, it’s easy to disregard vital advice. To prevent yourself from getting caught out, here are the
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Whatever the outcome of Brexit, the British passport is considered one of the strongest in the world. This means it is accepted without a visa in most countries around the globe.
However, it is easy to assume we can travel anywhere, whenever we like, without completing any admin ahead of time. But some countries require visas ahead of time, some you have to pay for on arrival to your destination, and some countries require a minimum number of blank pages in your passport to account for stamps.
Don’t get caught out; check the entry requirements for your destination well before you travel.
Packing too much is one of the travel mistakes that many of us have made. We expect several smart evenings and so pack a few too many extra shirts or dresses, only to fall in love with the local street food or in-hotel service. We think we will need additional documents to prove our visa is legitimate, whereas just our passport will do really.
Of course, it is good to anticipate the things we will need on our trip. But just know that your initial checklist is likely too long. Leave behind those extra pairs of shoes, keep documents digitally instead of physically, and consider leaving the big camera at home if your phone will do the trick.
Basically, unless you’re absolutely sure you will need it, leave it at home!
This is one of those travel mistakes which is easy to understand and comes with experience. When we book our flights with a stop along the way, we trust the airline has factored in giving us enough time to depart one plane and board the next.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case!
To avoid sprinting from one gate to another, take a moment before you buy your tickets. Make a note of the change over time and then check with the airport to assure yourself this is enough. If there is any doubt, hunt for a flight with a longer stopover.
Trust us, it’s not worth starting or ending your holiday with this stress!
We have explained before the value of travel insurance and why disregarding it is one of the travel mistakes you should avoid. Firstly, while it is not usually a legal requirement for entry into a country, it is for some. Secondly, while no one wants anything bad to befall them on their holiday, having travel insurance at least will ease some of the burden by ensuring your trip, items, or money are protected.
UK banks are so good at spotting anomalies and fraud. Many can lock a credit card as soon as any kind of suspicious activity is detected. This includes a thief snatching a card and then fleeing overseas before they can be caught.
However, these automated bank systems aren’t sophisticated enough to know whether it is a thief abroad with your credit card…or you! Therefore, using a card abroad without telling the bank first can, in many cases, result in a locked card. The next time you try to use it, you might find yourself a little red-faced when the teller hands it to you back disappointed.
The best way to save yourself any awkward interactions, or being caught out when suddenly you can’t pay for something, is to call your bank before your trip and tell them where you’re going and when you will be back.
This mistake is actually easier said than done. It is common sense not to keep all of your important documents in the same place. If the one back carrying your passport, money, phone, accommodation information, ID, etc. gets stolen, then suddenly you have no way to prove who you are or contact anyone to help you.
It may seem inconvenient or counterproductive to carry multiple bags or divide items between different pockets. But you’ll be glad you did if something important ends up going missing.
This travel mistake is especially common on big trips or when you are going somewhere very far away. It’s tempting to think, ‘This is the only time I’ll be here. I’d better make sure I don’t miss anything’. Another common belief is that it’s easier to book something back home, in the UK, where you understand everything. It may be harder or more chaotic after you arrive.
However, this results in a strict travel agenda which doesn’t allow for any spontaneity and flexibility. What should be a relaxing trip or an exploration turns into a race to try to keep up with all the events and activities you have pre-paid to do.
Ironically, not only is this stressful, but you will end up missing out on other things. You may have to turn down invites to hang out with nice people you have just befriended. Or move on to the next place before you are ready.
With the age of the internet, booking hotels and transport and buying tickets is easier than ever. So, take your time and go with the flow.
When we’re in a strange place, surrounded by people we don’t know who are speaking a language we don’t understand, the tempting response is to keep our heads down and walk quickly away until we are somewhere familiar. This might result in staying on the hotel grounds for an entire trip and only stepping foot outside to go to the beach or attend a tour.
But bonding with the locals is one of the best ways to get to the heart of your holiday destination. Most foreigners with the confidence to approach a Brit abroad usually speak some English and are just curious to know about you and what you think of their country. In return for your conversation, they will often share the best places to eat, hidden gems most tourists don’t know about, and where to find cheap and quality souvenirs for loved ones back home.
Losing a passport or money is highly inconvenient, but few losses are more profound than our photos. After days, weeks, or even months of capturing some of life’s most magical moments on camera, to lose or damage the device or the memory card feels utterly devastating.
Don’t let it happen to you! Take a few extra minutes at the end of every day to back up your photos to external or online storage.
And the last of our top travel mistakes…
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in a new, foreign land. Perhaps the food is different, the crowds are intimidating, or you struggle with the local language. The easy option is to stay in, eat the same food you recognise from home, and only speak to other tourists.
But it is when we challenge ourselves to go above and beyond our usual limits that we discover things about ourselves, make new friends, and experience activities and moments we never would indulge back home. You don’t have to do anything extreme either…just say yes to your holiday destination and its treasure and enjoy what comes with it.
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