Five common travel mistakes

Failing to plan your trip properly, travelling at the wrong time and running out time to organise your passport are just some of the common travel mistakes many people make each year. Today, we help you avoid these simple but potentially big blunders so that your tip is as enjoyable as possible.

1. Trying to see everything
Try not to be too ambitious about how much ground you can cover – remember that you’re supposed to be on holiday. Planning to visit five countries in 10 days or booking back-to-back tours is not only exhausting, you’ll also just be skimming the surface of the destination. By all means, take a tour on your first day and check out the main tourist traps, but when you’re done, spend time getting to know the destination. Meander through galleries, eat where the locals eat and wander the streets, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. Your experience will be richer and fuller if you take your time and you can always return later to continue exploring.

2. Not planning properly
While over-planning a trip can easily backfire, don’t aim to be so spontaneous that you neglect to do any research. Find out how much time others have spent at a particular place and whether they felt that was not enough (or too much). You don’t want to budget two days in a city that really needs four. And vice versa. It can be tempting to think that once you’ve arrived at your destination, a floodgate of experiences and opportunities will open up for you. For the most part, how you plan will dictate the types of experiences you will have.

3. Bad timing
Unless money is no object, planning a holiday during peak season and booking flights at the wrong time can cost you dearly. Do some research about the ideal time to visit your desired destination and, if it works in with your plans, try to book your holiday during off-season dates. It’s also worth knowing the best and worst times to book flights. Taking these steps means you can secure the best deals and not have to contend with hoards of tourists getting in the way of your holiday snaps.

4. Misjudging customs
Regardless of which country you’re entering or leaving, going through customs at the airport is a pain. A person can grow weary waiting in line at passport control, removing their shoes, belt, watch and jacket and being persistently questioned about the nature of their visit to the country. All of this takes time. The first thing you can do to reduce the stress of customs is to arrive at the airport with more time than you need. That way, if there’s a delay or something goes wrong at check-in, you still have that buffer. Also know ahead of time what you can and can’t take into a particular country by checking government travel websites.

5. Applying for your passport last minute
Around the time you book your flights, check to see when your passport is set to expire. By law, you are required to have at least six months’ validity remaining on your passport at the date of departure to enter a new country. If you must apply for or renew a passport, remember that it takes approximately three weeks to receive a new one. You will be required to fill out a New Passport Application form, prove your citizenship and pay the application fee. If you do leave your passport until the last minute, you can arrange to get one in a hurry by paying extra for the priority service.

What’s the biggest travel mistake you have made?

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