Travel writers always give travel tips that talk about what to do when you travel. They are all must-see and must-do lists out there on internet. Go there, eat this and try that. But what about things to avoid, what about those tiny inevitable mistakes that sometimes create a momentary disappointment, and sometimes, big time blunders.
From avoiding money exchange at airports, to avoiding traveller’s cheques, there are so many insignificant decisions that lead to nothing but wasted time and money. But the good thing is, with a little planning ahead, it’s easy enough to avoid these common mistakes, and enjoy your vacation better.
I’ve made all these mistakes, but it is by doing them wrong in the past, I’ve learned how to make them right today. Hence, from my experiences, I’m sharing some of the common travel mistakes you should avoid to become a savvier traveller:
Never Eat Near A Major Tourist Site
The food near any major tourist site (I’m not talking about local night-markets or weekend markets, but other places of interest for a foreign tourist) is always double the price and half the flavour as you’ll find someplace else. Even a cup of coffee is often unbelievably overcharged and tastes half-boiled. It may be because of the fact that they know the tourist visiting them is not going to revisit ever again, or some other monstrous reason, but whatever’s the reason I’ve always found that eating near a tourist site end up in nothing but a sudden disappointment.
The best way to deal with it, in case you cannot hold your hunger anymore, is buying packed food, or walking a few yards away in any direction (the farther, the better!), and finding a seemingly looking local restaurant. Because that local restaurant has regular local customers, chances are they’ll serve better food at a comparatively cheaper price – because they’ve regular customers.
Another great way to find quality food at a bargain is by getting recommendations from your hostel/hotel staff.
Don’t Exchange Money At The Airport
Despite people often recommending exchanging money at airports, because it is a safer and quicker option – I never do so. Because exchanging money at the airport gives you bad currency conversion rate.
You can never get a better exchange rate – neither at an airport, nor in your favourite bank – than what a local dealer might offer you. Though it is always a good idea to cross check their rate, to avoid any touts, visiting a couple of local dealers to get those few hundred dollars converted in local money, never goes in vein. And if you still think you want to stay away from them, try a state owned bank (I’m claiming this out of my experiences with Indian banks), than a private one. Private banks give better service, but comparatively poorer rates.
Avoid Traveller’s Cheque, Rather Carry A Travel Card
Traveller’s cheque is a thing of past, and were only a preferred way of carrying money for tourists, before the worldwide acceptance of credit cards. Also not all banks are willing to accept them today, as they offer little protection, if lost or stolen.
Rather than a traveller’s cheque, get an international travel card issued by your bank. An international travel card works almost similar to how your ATM/Debit card works, in your country. Have it linked with your home bank account and withdraw as much money as you want – at a little, and sometimes even no transaction cost.
Don’t Be Afraid To Use Hospitality Networks If Travelling Is Expensive For You
I’ve couchsurfed, I’ve workawayed, and I plan to continue using them in the years to come. Using hospitality networks isn’t only a great way to save money, but also to make lifetime friends along the way and introducing yourself to local cultures. And remember, couch surfing doesn’t always mean you’re going to end up sleeping on a couch. I’ve slept on equal share of couches and beds. And they aren’t also only for solo travellers. I’ve stayed with couples, families, as well as young college students. And as per my experience, be rest assured, it’s totally safe. Though of course, you need to have your wits about it. But if you find travelling is expensive, don’t overlook them.
Further Reading: More Options For A Cheaper Accommodation
Don’t Book Too Much In Advance
It’s a false myth that booking too much in advance (as early as 8 or 10 months) give you cheaper flight and hotel prices. No it doesn’t. As per my experience, you’ll only end up paying a much higher price if you book your trip so early. The best time period to book a flight is between 2 and 4 months, because this is when pretty much every airlines, in the world, start fluctuating its price chart. For hotels/paid-trips, wait until the last moment, because nobody want to keep their room unoccupied or the group tour leave with an empty seat. So wait for it!
Further Reading: How To Book A Cheap Flight
It can be tempting to bring everything of your comfort, but it will only make it difficult for you to haul your luggage around. Overpacking limits your movement, leaves you with high baggage fees, and only result into losing some essentials. Instead, pack your bag as usual, then take out half the clothes you originally packed. You’re anyway not going to wear them all, and in case you need something, you can always do some laundary on the road, or shop a little. It’s not hard to find toiletries, clothes and even an umbrella, anywhere in the world – and that’s pretty much all you need to survive while travelling
Further Reading: Things I Carry For My Travels
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