Even the most meticulously planned trip can be subject to mistakes, but with a little insider know-how, you can avoid making these common mistakes. Stick to the guidelines below, and you’re more likely to have a trip that’s memorable not for lost luggage and rushed sightseeing, but for the thrill of discovering a new place and savoring it.
Choosing close connection time between flights
Please don’t make the mistake of choosing connecting flights that are just 30 minutes to 1 hour between each flight. You may miss your flight or even experience baggage loss. Leaving a window of at least 2 hours between connecting flights will significantly drop your chances of those two things happening. Having only 45 minutes to connect between flights might seem okay, because you feel it will help you cut the amount of time spent hanging out at a boring lounge, or food court, but it’s often not enough, especially in large airports where the gates could be far apart. Don’t rely on airlines to do the math for you.
Not checking your passport or Visa Pages
One of the mistakes first time travellers make is not checking their passport or visa. Before you think about travelling overseas, you need to check if your passport is up-to-date and if you are going to a country that requires a visa for entry, then you need to apply for a visa. Always check your passport if it has at least 3 blank pages. This is due to countries that require that a passport must have a certain number of blank pages to be given a visa. You also need to prepare your documents before you apply for a visa. This is an important step and a pre-requisite to getting your visa approved. For more on that, check my article on Preparing documents for an overseas trip.
Passport processing takes about four to six weeks, so as soon as you start planning for your trip, apply for a passport if you need one, or make sure the one you already have hasn’t expired. Plus, in certain countries you need at least six months’ worth of validity remaining to enter.
Not checking the distance between the location of your hotel and the city center
When you’re visiting a city, sometimes booking a more expensive hotel that’s in the center of where most of your itinerary revolves can be a better financial decision in the long run than staying out in the outskirt and spending money and time on transportation. Use the saved time to explore or just relax in your hotel room. Particularly if you are going to a country that’s usually hot in the day time you might need to go back to your hotel room and rest before going out later in the evening. That’s not easy to do if your hotel is a 30 to 45 minute bus ride away. Plus, if it’s a family vacation, taking kids on a longer unfamiliar terrains or buses with stops will increase the possibility that you’ll have a frustrating visit.
Trying to do too much in one trip
Allot a minimum number of hours to things you want to do and give enough space and rest to each activity. A lot of people say, ‘I just want to do just one night in whatever and one night in so-and-so. Slow down! By the time you either load all the bags into the car, drive, and park, you won’t have that much of a day left. The same goes for multiple activities. Make time for resting.
Not being honest about your interests, likes, and dislikes
There’s no shame in wanting to eat in a local restaurant rather than dining in a downtown restaurants or preferring to check out the local Museum rather than going to the Cinema for the latest film. Before you plan vacation activities that others insist you’ll enjoy, sit down and think about what you want your trip to be, then follow your own itinerary. Many people plan the trip they think they would love rather than the trip they actually want. If you rarely set foot in a cinema, why plan a trip there especially when you know you won’t be keen about it? It is even greater danger when relying on recommendations from people with very different tastes. Your trip and your experience should be based on your own desires.
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