Whether you’re a seasoned traveller, or a newbie – you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way. I know I have. But most people aren’t aware that they’re making a mistake (until it’s too late.) Below I mention 10 mistakes to avoid when travelling abroad.
1. Forgetting to Deal with your Bank
When you’re travelling abroad, you want to let your bank know which dates you are travelling as well as which countries you will be travelling to. If you don’t do this, your bank could block your card under suspicion that it may have been stolen and is being used for fraudulent activities in a different country. And often times, it can be a long and painful process to undo this.
Most banks have online banking where you can access settings and provide information on your trip before you leave so that you don’t run into any problems when you are abroad. Nothing is worse than being in a foreign country and not having a means to pay for anything.
2. Not Comparing Prices when Booking Tickets
I know you’re excited for your trip, and I know that you want to book everything and have everything sorted as soon as possible. So you might want to book the first flight or deal that you see, but that may be a BIG mistake. You can end up paying 2-3 times more for the same ticket as you would if you had just taken the time to do some research and compare different ticketing websites.
I’ve made an in-depth post about how you can research, compare, and book your tickets here: How to Book your Dream Vacation.
3. Failing to Check Passport Dates
Check the passport regulations for your travel destination months in advance. Some countries require you passport to be valid for at least six months after your return. If you happen to go through customs and your passport does not meet these requirements, you may be turned away.
4. Packing the Wrong Things
Checking the seasons and the weather of your travel destination seems like common sense… yet it’s still something that may be overlooked. Be sure to check out what the weather is going to be like for the time period that you will be travelling there. You don’t want to end up at your travel destination with luggage packed with rain boots and umbrellas when it’s warm and sunny out.
I’ve made a detailed list of things you need to remember. It includes a checklist for what to pack when you are travelling abroad. You can check out this list here: Ultimate Travel Packing Guide and Checklist.
Make sure to check all the items in your carryon. Any items that are found in your bag that are not meant to be there will likely be confiscated. You can check all the airline policies on their respective websites. You can check TSA carry-on rules here.
5. Not Knowing the Tipping Policy
To avoid awkward situations, do some research on the tipping policy of your travel destinations. In some countries it’s expected to be 15-20% of the bill, and in other countries it’s already included in the bill.
If you know that the country you’ll be visiting is notorious for pickpocketing, put some effort in to ensure that you do not fall victim. There’s nothing scarier than being in a foreign country without any documents, credit cards, or phones.
Try not to wear expensive designer clothing, bags, or jewellery to avoid attracting pickpockets. Do your best to split your valuable things into a few different bags and leave some things in the hotel and preferably in the safe if you are provided with one in your room.
7. Booking Flights with Short Connection Times
An hour seems like a long time, but at an airport – it really isn’t. If your first flight happens to be delayed and you only have an hour layover before your next flight, there is a very high possibility that you will miss your connecting flight.
Airports are known for their long queues and waiting times, so make sure to check the full flight details of your tickets before booking them. This is even more important if you are landing at a massive airport where you are likely to get lost. Missing your connecting flight might mean that you have to pay extra money for another flight and even for accommodation for the night.
8. Paying for Rental Car Damage
If you’ve decided to rent a car for your trip, be sure to check for any damages that are already there before leaving with the car. Take pictures of all the damages from every angle so that you won’t be accused of causing these damages and then having to pay for their repairs.
This actually applies to almost anything that you may be renting for your trip. For example: scooters, skis, surfboards, etc. Always triple check that there are no damages, and if there are, that you document them and make whoever is renting it to you aware that you will not be held responsible for the payment of these damages.
9. Skipping Travel Insurance
We always think “oh, nothing is going to happen to me. I don’t need to spend money on travel insurance” – but sometimes, even the smallest incident will cost you a chunk of money if you don’t have travel insurance. It’s always going to be worth it – “better safe than sorry” is true in this case. Rather spend a few extra $$ on travel insurance instead of paying thousands in case of an emergency.
10. Forgetting to Learn about Roaming Charges
Only going away for a week, it won’t be that expensive right? WRONG. It could become extremely expensive if you fail to check the roaming charges in the country you’re visiting. Call your service provider and find out what your options are in terms of data roaming charges.
And that’s it for my 10 Mistakes to Avoid when Travelling Abroad list! If you found these helpful, or you have something that you want to add – make sure to drop a comment below!