Traveling abroad requires a lot of planning and research to prepare for a trip abroad. Of course, it’s a wonderful and exciting adventure. But there are times when traveling can be stressful if something is forgotten or overlooked. You can’t always prepare for every curveball that gets thrown at you when traveling, but knowing these seven general travel mistakes can certainly help to avoid a few of them.
Not checking visa information
Many countries around the world simply require visiting tourists to carry a valid passport for entry. However, there are still many other countries that require securing a visa in advance. If you do not have a visa upon entry, you will be denied entry! Remembering to check the visa information is very important.
The rules are different depending on the issuing country of the passport. Some countries allow you to purchase a visa when you land at the airport, but others require you to have the visa one month in advance. Check the government website for their visa information for your country. Be aware of e-visa scam sites. Always purchase your visa from the official government website.
Not reserving airport parking
Airport parking can be such a hassle! The airports charge way too much, and there are usually not enough parking spots. Many airports charge upwards of $30 per day for on-site airport parking. This really adds up if you are taking an extended vacation. However, you can usually find off-site airport parking options for a quarter of the cost. You can even reserve airport parking online to guarantee your parking spot and to lock in the cheapest rate.
For example, San Diego Airport charges $32 per day for the official parking garages. You also have to drive around to find an available parking spot, which wastes precious time before your flight. Off-site San Diego Airport parking costs around $10 per day, and your spot is reserved for you when you arrive.
Overpaying for plane tickets
Buying plane tickets at the right moment is so important to save money and not overpay. How do you know the right time to buy? Most experts agree that three months in advance is typically the best time, and Tuesdays usually have the lowest prices. You can simplify the process even further by downloading an app that tells you exactly when to buy your tickets. The Hopper app uses historical data to calculate when it is the best time to buy for a specific destination. Just input your information, and it will tell you to either buy now or wait for prices to drop. The app will give you an update when you should purchase it.
Using your cell phone without a plan
Cell phone roaming charges are incredibly expensive, so it’s very important to know exactly what your plan will be for using your phone abroad. Some cell phone plans include an upgrade for international usage. Contact your provider to see if this is an option. Another option is to purchase a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination. In order to do this, you need to know if your phone is unlocked or not. Be aware that most countries only use GSM phones. The United States is one of the only countries to use CDMA. If you are using a CDMA phone, then you will not be able to purchase a SIM card abroad. You can easily purchase a cheap, unlocked GSM phone online.
Not knowing your electronics
When traveling abroad, it’s very important to know if you need to bring a converter for your electronics. Different countries have differently shaped outlets, so you need to make sure you purchase the correct converter for the country you will be traveling to. Do not assume your hotel will have one for you.
Another important item to note is that only certain electronics can be used safely with converters. Check the cord of your electronic device to see if it says, “110/240V.” If you see this, then the device is safe to plug into a converter. Cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, and handheld devices typically have this and will work fine abroad with a converter. Other devices, such as hairdryers and flat irons, usually only have “110V” or “240V” volts. In this case, do not plug the device into a converter. If you do, you risk breaking the device or starting a fire.
Running out of phone battery
You will use your phone a lot more when you are traveling than you normally do at home. When you are traveling, you are constantly taking pictures, looking at maps, and googling for more information about your destination. This will drain your battery very quickly. Bring a portable phone battery with you, and make sure to keep it charged. It would be really difficult to find your way back to the hotel if your phone dies!
Underestimating Jet Lag
Jet lag is an unfortunate side effect of travel, and it must be taken into consideration when traveling. Do not plan activities for when you immediately arrive at your destination. You will be dead tired and will most likely end up skipping the activity—plan for your first day to be nice and slow with plenty of time for rest. Have a few restaurants in mind near your hotel because you will be very hungry after a long flight. Also, it’s important to give yourself a day when you return to relax before going back to work.
What travel mistakes have you made, and how can others avoid them? Let us know in the comments!
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