Planning a trip can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding process, but it can get pretty stressful too. There are just so many factors that you need to consider, and all of the researching and booking takes a lot of time and energy. Because of this, it’s quite common to make a few mistakes, even if you’re an incredibly experienced traveller. Some of these mistakes won’t cause too many problems, and some can easily be fixed, but others will result in frustration, extra costs, and may even ruin your trip entirely. When you start planning your next vacation, try to avoid making these ten mistakes.
Not sticking to your budget
Regardless of where you’re going or how long for, you need to set yourself a budget to stop you from running out of money before you get back home. Unfortunately, this will only work if you actually stick to it. Because of this, it’s important that you take a look at your financial plans every time you make a purchase. If what you’re buying costs too much, you should look into cheaper options. You also need to set aside some extra money, in case there’s some kind of emergency.
Booking flights way too late
Unless you’re planning a last-minute holiday, you shouldn’t buy your plane tickets just before you leave. Last minute flights cost a significant amount, so much so, in fact, that they would use up a large percentage of your overall travel budget. You should always try to book your flights as early as possible, as prices tend to be cheaper the more in advance you book them. This is especially true for popular destinations during high seasons.
Ignoring the tight layover times
Years ago, airlines didn’t sell tickets with short layovers, as they knew the stress and chaos it could cause. Unfortunately, times have changed, and it’s now up to you to check how long your layover is and decide whether or not you’ll have enough time to disembark, get through airport security, and everything else you need to do along the way. It’s always best that you have a safe buffer between flights so that you don’t end up stranded in an airport somewhere.
Failing to plan an itinerary
Whether you’re a fan of winging your trips or like to have a solid schedule, you should always plan a rough itinerary of things you want to do on which days. This ensures that you get everything done that you want to and don’t miss anything out. It also means that you can book tickets in advance. For some attractions, like the Zoo in Amsterdam, you can buy cheaper tickets online. This means you’ll save money, so you have a bit extra to play around with.
Trying to do too much
Although you’re going to want to see and do as much as you can while you’re on vacation, you should avoid cramming too much into your schedule. This is incredibly counter-productive, as it means you won’t have enough time to really enjoy the experiences. It will also lead to stress, exhaustion and mistakes, which could potentially ruin your entire holiday. It’s much better to have a list of a few key things you want to do, and then another one of things you’ll do if you have any spare time.
Assuming you don’t need insurance
Not buying travel insurance is a mistake that most people make when they go on vacation. They assume that, because they’re healthy, they won’t get sick, and so don’t need the protection. However, travel insurance covers you for so much more than this. If you had to cancel your trip for some reason, it would mean that you don’t lose all of your money. It also protects you if you lose your luggage or break your camera. It’s also really cheap, so you’d be silly not to buy it.
Forgetting to check your passport
What many inexperienced travellers don’t realise is that simply having a valid passport doesn’t mean you can travel between counties. In most cases, your passport needs to be valid between three and six months. If yours isn’t, you won’t be allowed to board your flight, costing you a lot of money. Because of this, you need to ensure that your passport is valid for the required number of months, and that, if it isn’t, you get it renewed as soon as you possibly can.
Not checking your phone plan
Never give someone a call, send a text, or use your data abroad, unless you know that your phone plan allows it. This is incredibly risky and could lead to some nasty data roaming charges. You need to contact your phone company and find out if your contract covers you when you’re travelling. If it doesn’t, you may want to buy an international plan. Alternatively, you could keep your phone on airplane mode and connect to Wi-Fi when you can.
Sticking to traditional accommodation options
Hotels, B&Bs, and hostels may be popular among travellers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best options. Sure, they’re easy to book and well-advertised, but that doesn’t really mean anything. There are so many more possibilities you can choose from, including private apartments, homestays, and even Couchsurfing, so be bold and consider trying out something a little different. You never know, you might find something you really like.
Packing way more than necessary
Once you’ve packed your bags, you should go ahead and take out half of your clothes and put them back. Trust me, you won’t need them all. I know that it can be tempting to bring options for every occasion possible, but it’s not necessary and can leave you with some pretty high baggage fees. It also means you having to struggle with an incredibly heavy bag, which will become frustrating incredibly quickly. You need to learn to pack light if you want to avoid any extra stress.
Even the smallest of mistakes can put a damper on your trip, so remember the ones listed above and avoid them when you can.