21 Common Mistakes That International Travelers Make and How to Avoid Them
It is the dream of every traveler to have to have a carefree tour in faraway lands. Planning for travel is more than just about getting a passport and visa, buying the flight ticket, and flying. There are numerous blunders that you can make irrespective of the number of times you have traveled. Some of the mistakes can be easily avoided or even fixed if you become keener. The mistakes can simply ruin your trip.
Following are the most common travel mistakes you need to avoid:
1. Not Checking the Passport and Visa Requirements of Foreign Country
In the US, you can use a passport up to the date indicated inside the cover. However, that is not the case in all countries. Some countries demand that for any international visitor to enter, the passport must have an expiry period more than six months. Thus, if you are planning your trip, consider renewing your passport early enough. Doing it late may also cost you the eagerly awaited travel as passports take long to process. To know the visa requirements of foreign countries, you can check the Department of State Website.
2. Not Researching About the Culture
You need to master a few things about your destination country. Get to know their religion, customs, the norms, and the values that they hold dear. That will help you to avoid things that are not acceptable. For example in some nations, they do not expect you to start kissing or hugging somebody that you have just known or met. It is awkward to drive all the attention to you from the things you do that the locals may find weird. Always take the time to figure out if whatever you are about to do is appropriate.
3. Failure to Learn Key Phrases In Local Language
For you to create rapport with the locals, you need to show some effort in understanding their language. Again, not everyone knows English. You do not want to face the problems of the language barrier. The people you meet will help you in whatever you want as they become comfortable with you in their presence. You do not have to learn much. The most used phrases are enough. For instance “Thank You”,” Excuse Me”, “How Are You”, ” Washroom” and “Bathroom.” To learn the language, you can download the Duo Lingo app. The app trains you the basics of almost any foreign language.
4. Not Paying Your Bills
A huge mistake for those going on extended vacations in foreign countries. Before you even depart, you need to make plans of how the utility bills, the credit cards monthly payments, mortgage payment, and any other payments are to be settled. To deal with the problems of delayed payments, you can automate your payments. Once you have automated, the money gets deducted directly from your monthly income. That way, you deal with the problem once and for all. If you do not manage to automate, you can pay the bills in advance before you fly. If you delay your payments, you risk hurting your credit score. A poor credit rating implies future problems when trying to borrow loans or even securing a job. Maintain your credit score by making payment arrangement early.
5. Forgetting Prescriptions
After visiting your physician, you expect them to advise you on the best medications to carry on your travel. If you do not carry any drugs, you will be doing yourself a great disservice. Go and see your personal doctor to prescribe what you need for your trip.
6. Forgetting To Get Vaccinated
If you are not ready to treat illnesses from infections, you better be vaccinated against the common infections found in your destination country.
7. Not Getting Travel Insurance
As a traveler, there are many risks that you get exposed to during your tour. Emergencies do occur, and you may even sustain injuries. Travel insurance covers you against such risks. In case you get injured, then you can use it in the local hospitals. Without it, you risk paying huge medical bills, which you may not manage, to foot.
8. Not Paying For Medical Insurance
Health insurance is another important document that you need to pay for. You will be in a foreign nation, which has a different climate from the one of your home country. Furthermore, you are susceptible to various infections. If you fall ill, you only need to present the medical insurance in a local hospital and you are treated. Foreign hospitals, especially in developing countries, are very expensive. Avoid the headache of looking for extra money for the bill by buying a health insurance cover. Still, on the medical insurance, ensure that you understand what the cover entails. The best cover would be the one whereby if your condition is critical, they can pay for medical evacuation. But keep in mind that this kind of protection requires that you pay premium prices.
9. Not Calling Your Credit Card Company
If you plan to transact with your credit cards in the destination country, then do not make the blunder of not informing you Credit Card Company. If you do and they detect a transaction from a different country, they freeze the account before the transaction succeeds. That is a move meant to protect cardholders against theft. You do not wish to stand at the ATM stranded what to do next once the transaction is denied. Imagine what would happen if you do not have cash on you. That is where you start making frantic calls to your company requesting them to allow you to use the card. Save yourself the trouble. Just a simple call and you are good to go.
10. Failing to Budget
There is nothing as bad as failing to budget for your trip. Be sure to leave an allowance for an extra cost on top of the regular because you may not know how things will be. Make sure that you stick to your budget or you risk running out of cash in a foreign country if you are not disciplined enough. Always keep track of your spending either after using your credit cards or cash.
11. Not Getting Contact Information of Your Countries Embassy
Even before you leave home, you need to register at your local embassy to let them know that you will be traveling. Also, take the contacts and address with you. Emergencies occur all the time. Political problems might start when you are in another country. What you need is just to dial the number asking for assistance. If you do not have it, then there is no way they can locate where you are stuck.
12. Failure to Produce Copies of Travel Document
Before you take your flight to a foreign country, ensure that you have photocopied all the travel documents. Leave some copies with a close relative or friend and carry the rest with you. Leaving a copy at home is important as it can be used to locate you in the event of an emergency in the foreign country. The copies that you carry will help in that you no longer need to take the original documents with you. You only leave the original document at a safe hotel and walk with the copies. Even if you get mugged, you will still be safe. The originals are what you need to take a flight back home.
13. Keeping Your Cash and Credit Cards Together
As a visitor to a foreign nation, it is easy for the local to tell. Thus, you might easily get robbed if you walk in some places. Be sure to keep you cash in a different pocket with the credit cards. That way, if you get stolen and the money goes, you may remain with you cards. Again, make sure that you subdivide your cash and store it in different pockets. In fact, a money belt is another valuable item worth carrying that can help in reducing theft.
14. Ignoring Airline Luggage Requirements
Every airline has standards set for any luggage that the travelers carry. It has to meet the size and the weight for you to be allowed to take it. You don’t have to carry luggage, and it becomes a significant burden. Ensure that you carry only the essentials. As for the clothes, you do not need to worry. You can always wash them once they are dirty.
15. Carrying a Lot of Cash
You will attract thieves if you walk around showing off money. Stick to what you need for a day so that even if the worst comes to the worst, you do not lose a lot.
16. Forgetting to Carry Travel Adapter
Electrical plugs are countries rarely the same. You need a universal adapter so that you can use your electronics. If you happen to forget it, then, you can’t make calls or use your laptop.
17. Leaving Valuables Unsecured
Do not think that everybody is trustworthy and leave your valuable anyhow unguarded. Thieves are everywhere. They may pick items, and you and there is a high likelihood that you may never trace them back.
18. Walking With Valuables
Do not try to show off by walking with flashy items. If you do, you are attracting robbers. Before you even realize, you will have lost those things. If you must have those valuables with you, it is ideal to leave them safely in the hotel where you have booked for safe custody. You can always use them freely without the fear of theft.
19. Overreliance on Guide Books
Although guidebooks are necessary for guidance, interacting with the locals is better. That is the only way you get to know much of the secrets of a place. Get out of the comfort zone and speak to people. Let them walk you around. Do crazy things together and establish friendships. That is what a tour is entails.
20. Criticizing Everything
Once you get there, do not try to be a know-it-all. Don’t be condescending. Avoid talking ill of the government i.e. distance yourself from the local politics. Accept their religion and way of life as it is. Moreover, don’t try to play superior because if you do, they will hate right from the beginning. Interact with them and partake some of their rituals and daily activities.
21. Failure to Find Waived Credit Cards
Most of the credit cards companies charge extra fees for withdrawing in ATMs that are off their network (international). The rates range between 1% and 3%. Even worse is the temptation to use the currency exchange bureaus at the airport, which are super-expensive. They are a rip-off, and you should avoid them by all means. You can avoid the extra charges by acquiring a card whose international transaction fees are waived. With such a card, you can save a lot and use it for other purposes.
A simple mistake that you commit in the course of your travel can turn out to be very expensive. If you do not want to face the consequences of a silly mistake, then always exercise caution in what you do. Get the necessary documents for the travel early enough. Be insured against all dangers and you will have a superb trip.