In this busy holiday season, the last thing you need are problems when you travel. Even if your trip is perfectly planned, making a few bad decisions can ruin a vacation. Here are the things you DON'T want to do!
Decline travel protection on an expensive international trip.
It’s okay to skip trip insurance on certain types of vacations, such as inexpensive weekend getaways or domestic trips where you’ll have easy access to medical care if you need it. But on longer international trips, travel insurance is almost always a smart idea. To decide if you need trip insurance, consider the following questions: Have you spent a large amount on nonrefundable air, rail passes, and/or trip deposits? Is this money you would lose if your plans change? Will you be traveling to a place where quality medical care isn’t easily available? Are you traveling during a time when weather could disrupt your plans, such as a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should seriously consider travel protection. It may cost less than you think, but it could save you thousands if your trip goes wrong.
Taking a risk to take a selfie.
Everyone wants to get the perfect picture for Facebook or Instagram, but would you sacrifice your life to do it? A recent study discovered that 259 people died while taking selfies between October 2013 and November 2018. The most common causes of death were taking photos on railroad tracks, getting hit by waves on the beach, and falling from ledges. Use common sense when taking vacation photos. Risky places like windy ledges, rough seas, and active train tracks aren’t worth the photograph. Maintain a safe distance and live to travel another day.
Not checking passport and visa requirements.
Imagine planning your trip for months, flying 12 hours across the ocean, and then discovering once you arrive that you don’t have the visa you need to enter the country. It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare and it happens more often than you think! Always check this immediately after booking your trip so that you will have time to renew your passport or apply for a visa.
Arriving for a cruise or tour on the day it departs.
Many travelers are tempted to schedule their flight to arrive the same day their cruise ship or bus tour departs, usually because they want to save money on an extra hotel night. It's understandable, but you’ll regret that decision if your flight is delayed and you don’t arrive in time to meet your group. If your ship leaves without you, you’ll probably have to buy an expensive last-minute flight to meet up with the ship in its next port of call. For a bus tour, you might need to take a cab or public transportation to catch up with the group. Do you really need the extra stress? Schedule your flight to arrive at least one day early. This will give you some extra time to explore your departure city if your flight does arrive as planned.
Not checking for bedbugs.
To spot bedbugs in your hotel room, carefully examine the mattress, box spring, and headboard for bugs or their droppings as soon as you arrive. While you check, leave your bags on a hard surface where it would be difficult for the bugs to hide. If you see any sign of bedbugs, immediately request a different room. Once you get home, wash your clothes with a laundry additive that kills bedbugs, just to be safe.These creepy-crawlies can move quickly and can crawl onto your clothing or suitcase from an infested hotel and crawl off right into your home.
Not getting your shots.
The one thing you never want to bring home from a trip is a potentially fatal disease like typhoid or malaria. Fortunately, there are vaccines and medications available to prevent many diseases that are common in other parts of the world. Start by researching your destination on the CDC website, which will offer a list of recommended vaccines as well as general health information. Depending on what you find, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor, who can administer vaccines, prescribe anti-malarial drugs or other medications, and offer advice on other items you might want to bring along.
Most travelers want to see as much as possible in their destination, but that often results in feeling constantly rushed, without enough time to actually enjoy what you’re seeing. Instead, try identifying a small number of attractions and seeing them thoroughly instead of racing from one to the next. You can also commit to getting around by a slower means of transportation, such as walking, biking, or public transportation. Try blocking out free time in each day’s schedule that can be used for whatever sounds appealing when you’re there- like a long lunch or a stroll down an interesting side street.
Booking a tight connection.
Flight search sites sometimes show connections as tight as 30 minutes, but it's never a good idea to book one of these itineraries. At best, you’ll find yourself running between terminals to make it to your gate. At worst, even a small delay on your first flight could mean you miss your connection entirely. You’re much better off allowing 60 to 90 minutes for a domestic connection and at least two hours for an international one, even if it means paying a little more.
Sacrificing safety to save money.
There are places where it makes sense to trim expenses on vacation, like packing lighter so you don’t have to pay checked baggage fees, or booking a vacation rental with a kitchen so you can make your own meals instead of eating out. And then there are parts of your trip where scrimping isn’t the smartest thing to do—especially when it comes to your personal safety. Walking back to your hotel late at night to avoid paying for a Lyft ride or staying in a bad neighborhood because it’s cheaper might save you a few dollars, but these activities come with real risks.
Follow these easy tips and you'll have a much better chance of avoiding any disasters on your vacation. Generally speaking, most of the world is safe for travel, so get out there and enjoy your trip with confidence!