I agree traveling is meant to be fun. Matter of fact, even the sheer anticipation of a holiday can be so exciting that some us tend to overdo or underdo something or the other, which can end up making a mess of our travel experience. And we always see what we did wrong when it’s too late. (Recall Murphy’s Law? If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.)
But there’s no need to panic. Help is available — travel experts at VirtualTourist.com reveal what not to do on vacation.
“Every experienced traveler has a war story or two of missed flights, nights spent in train stations, or full vacation days at an embassy trying to get missing paperwork,” explains Giampiero Ambrosi, general manager of VirtualTourist®. “While there are always situations that can’t be avoided, this is a great checklist to help you avoid some very common blunders. The list may help you avert disaster, but remember that the biggest travel mistake of all is not to keep a sense of humor about your mistakes!”
1. Overpacking. A good rule of thumb is, if you have to sit on the suitcase to zip it up, you’ve packed too much.
2. Not anticipating passport expiration. Double-check the expiration date the day you start planning your trip and be sure to confirm that it won’t expire while you’re on vacation!
3. Leaving too little time between flight connections. As any seasoned traveler will advise, any between-connection time less than two hours and you’re really rolling the dice.
4. Forgetting time differences. Not taking into account time differences is a very common mistake travelers make, along with not realizing that some countries count time from one to 12 while others count from one to 24.
5. Not renewing prescription medication. Getting refills in some countries isn’t easy, so ask your pharmacist about an advance refill.
6. Neglecting to confirm hotel reservations. Even if you booked months ago and made a deposit, always call a few weeks before to confirm and if possible, get something in writing.
7. Not bringing an adaptor. If a day without a hairdryer is a day spent in agony, make sure to bring the appropriate adaptor.
8. Not checking to see if your ATM card works in other countries. Even if you’ve used your ATM card somewhere before, always check with your bank and keep in mind that different countries often require shorter or longer PIN numbers so ask about that as well.
9. Leaving valuables in a hotel safe. When you come back to the hotel each night, make it a habit to leave your key on the safe so when you’re ready for a final departure you’ll be reminded to have one last look.
10. Not learning how to say “help” in another language. Before arriving, learn words like “help” and “fire,” and make sure you know the local equivalent of 911.
Now, from my experience — the problem is that these tips seem too obvious. And I tend to take them for granted. “Knowing” something never worked for me, while actually “doing” it always did. Take care of the finer details, and the bigger ones will take care of themselves.