Common Traveller Mistakes

Most, if not all, travellers have gone through their fair share of travelling mistakes and mishaps. We’ve all been there – purchasing the wrong train tickets, overpaying for transportation, and probably getting scammed to state a few. However, these mistakes shouldn’t hinder you from exploring the world. But, to ease your paranoia a little, here’s a quick list of common traveller mistakes that you need to watch out for.

1. Relying heavily on apps for navigation

Technology has definitely served us and made our lives so much easier in so many aspects. And although we can count Google Maps or Maps on iPhones as great tools for navigation, using it somewhere unfamiliar can definitely put you in a pickle. We’re sure you’ve been victimized by Google Map’s unreliable arrow cursor one time or another, so it might be best to ask a local for some directions!

2. No hard copies of important documents

More travellers are relying heavily on their mobile phones to keep important documentation – such as scans of their passports, flight and hotel bookings, and activities to name a few. Though we can definitely agree that this is the sustainable way to go, we have to acknowledge the implications of not keeping any hard copies of important documents with you on hand.

For one, several establishments, airports, and accommodations still require printed copies of reservations and bookings. Also, in the unlikely instance that you lose your mobile phone during your travels, you will need to provide hard copies with you at all times, as well.

3. Having an Ambitious Itinerary

It is important that in creating your itinerary, you are realistic and consider factors such as traffic, tour or visiting hours, transportation and allocated time for rest. Trying to cram as much as you can in one visit won’t be satisfying, but tiring – and you wouldn’t want a sour end to your trip, would you?

4. Forgetting your budget

When you’re travelling, it’s easy to get lost in the moment and absentmindedly spend nearly all your money in one place. Be sure to keep track of your expenses (at least nightly) while you’re on holiday to stay within your holiday budget. However, don’t make your budget too rigid so as to make room for unexpected expenses and the occasional indulges.

5. Not researching about local tipping culture

Tipping culture varies everywhere you go, so it’s best to do a quick google check on whether where you’re going has a strict policy regarding it. For instance, in the US, customers are expected to pay 5-15% of their bill as tip for their server. However, in some places in Japan, tipping is actually considered rude and insensitive.

6. Flaunting all your valuables and branded goods

Many tourists tend to dress to impress and bring their most treasured goods and gadgets during their travels, however they don’t realize that oftentimes, flaunting these things in public can make them an easy target for pickpockets who are wandering around.

7. Forgetting to check phone data plan

I’m sure many of us have fallen victim to these “unknown data roaming charges.” Before you fly off to your next destination, make sure to turn off your data roaming settings if you don’t intend to use your data when travelling – especially with its ridiculous costs. Instead, purchase a pocket WiFi or a local SIM and cut down your expenses!

8. Forgetting to inform your bank about your travels

Surprisingly, many travellers are unaware of this until their debit cards get cancelled in an attempt to use it abroad. Be sure to call up your bank regarding any upcoming travels so they do not block it off when they start seeing foreign transactions on your account.

9. Not checking time in between connecting flights

Probably one of the biggest boo-boos many first-time travellers experience is booking their connecting flights too close to each other. Some might think an hour or two is enough time for their transfer, but they fail to take into account possible delays, the distance of their arrival and departure gates, and security lines.

In the event that the only flights available have a short transfer time in between, the best option is to book connecting flights by the same airline. This way, they can accommodate you with no problem in the event of delays or cancellations.

10. Exchanging currency at the airport

Money Exchange counters at the airport have the reputation of having the worst rates, so make sure to exchange your money for local currency before flying so you have cash for transportation and initial spends. If you’re keen to exchange your money for local cash, you’ll have a better chance of getting good rates outside the airport!

11. Dismissing Travel Insurance

If you’re set to go on a long haul holiday, it is important that you purchase travel insurance. Typically, your travel agency or airline will be able to provide this at an additional cost. Travel insurance usually covers trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, and travel delays. Inclusions may vary per travel insurance company.