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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Common travel mistakes to avoid


Irrespective of where you go or how you travel, you will always come across that ignorant traveller who is always louder than everyone else, continually interrupts your tour guides, talks about personal matters in front of the world, flashes away to eternity in churches and museums and is ignorant about the local cultures and heritage. If you don’t come across such a person on your itinerary, you’d better read on. That person could be you! No matter how meticulously and painstakingly you plan your vacation, there are several factors which can derail your entire journey at a moments notice. Make sure that you read the guidelines mentioned below to understand the common travel mistakes to avoid while on a holiday.

Not leaving a proper time gap between your connecting flights


Make sure that you have a window of a minimum of 90 minutes between connecting flights. It also makes sense to book connections with the same airline if your connecting flight is within 2 hours. Most travellers end up choosing the 45 minute window between flights. This might be doable in most cases and you also have to experience less lag time, but it also leaves you open to trip delays and flight cancellations. When you take into account the vast differences between gates or delays in arrival, your entire journey could be left hanging on a thread if you miss your connection.

Never plan for any sightseeing tour or cruise on the first day


Make sure that you always leave your first day itinerary completely empty. You don’t bother about jet lag, you say. But the issue is not just about jet lag. There might be those rare cases when your flights get delayed or postponed and/ or you miss your connecting flights for any reason whatsoever. In such cases, you will simply end up missing whatever you have planned on your itineraries for the first day. The most sensible travellers always leave the first days of their itineraries empty to explore the town on their own and rejuvenate themselves for the perfect holiday after a long flight journey.

Not doing a proper research about the country you plan to visit


There are a number of travellers who have a habit of being ignorant about the rest of the world and mainly rely on their travel agents and tour guides for their entire itinerary. If you really want to get the most out of your journey, you need to stop belonging to this category of travellers. By understanding and researching about the country and culture before you visit, you can actually allow yourself to enjoy a lot more than you usually do.

Applying for the VISAs/ passports too late


Most travellers already have their passports in place even before they begin to plan their journeys. However, if you are yet to get your passports made, remember that you need about 4 – 6 weeks to get your passports. There are certain countries which might also take up to 6 months to deliver your passports. Also remember to ensure that your passport has not crossed the expiry date and you have at least 6 months in hand between the expiry date and the last day of your proposed itinerary. Another aspect where most tourists make a mistake is leaving the VISA applications until it is too late. Yes, those forms might seem tiresome, lengthy and cumbersome, but if you wish to visit a country which needs you to have a pre-applied VISA, you’d best get on with the applications as soon as possible.

Over packing


We are definitely not your everyday packing experts. However, one thing that we do know is that you should only pack what sure about. The idea is to pack things that you WILL need, not things that you think you will need. Remember, the less luggage you have, the lesser hassle you go through and the lesser loads you have to carry.

Cramping up your itinerary


“There are 50 sights worth a watch at the place that I’m visiting. So I thought about spending 20 minutes at each spot and completing all 50 in my 5 day itinerary”. Is it a military routine or a holiday that you are planning. If you belong to the bracket of travellers who try to accomplish everything in a single trip, you need to get a hold of yourself. Any successful journey is not defined by the number of sights that you manage to cover, but by how much quality time you were able to spend at each attraction that you visited.

Sticking to tourist traps


Talking about common travel mistakes to avoid, this one is something that all tourists make at one point of time or the other. Many travellers prefer to stick to prefixed tours and group holidays. However, in most cases where you do stick to travel agents, you get stuck with tourist traps and the whole idea of an authentic experience simply goes down the drains. Try and explore the destination on your own and be courageous enough to venture off the beaten path. To locate the best hangouts, restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, attractions and joints in the city that you plan to visit, all you need to do is read the various travelogues, blogs, write-ups and traveller experiences that can be found all over the internet. To avoid tourist traps, remember the two golden rules – (1) If it seems to be too good to be true, you’ve probably got it wrong, and (2) if the attraction is located very close to one of the major tourist attractions, it is probably overpriced and will not offer you with an insight into the local culture and heritage.

Not leaving your comfort zone


Never spend your entire holidays within the confines of your hotel and within the limited scope that your limited prefixed itineraries have to offer. Get the most out of your itinerary by leaving your comfort zone and planning a tour to the closest town or village which allows you to experience the local customs, culture, heritage and food.

Disrespecting the locals


Yea, you might be extremely rich, a know it all or from a more developed country. But that does not give you the right to disrespect the local people of the country that you visit. There are a number of countries where the local populace does not speak English and you need to understand and respect that. Since no two places are the same, be prepared for variations in cultures, people, food and customs. By understanding a country’s customs and culture, you can actually allow yourself to have one of the most enriching and humbling experiences.

Avoiding Travel Insurance


Make sure that you spend the few extra bucks and allow yourself the luxury of feeling secure in case something untoward happens. Remember to read the fine print to be sure that your insurance covers everything that you need. Some of the main things to watch out for are lost baggage claims, overseas assistance, trip delays and cancellations and medical emergencies.


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