Miscellaneous
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6 Biggest Travel Mistakes To Avoid

Going for a long vacation or becoming a long term nomad? Make sure you avoid these self-destructing travel mistakes!

Travel writers always give useful travel tips that talk about what to do when you travel. They are all must-see and must-do lists. Go there, eat this and try that. But what about those tiny mistakes that sometimes create a momentary disappointment, and at other time, big-time blunders.

From avoiding currency exchange at the airport to avoiding carrying a traveller’s cheques, there are so many insignificant decisions that can lead to a regret a later stage. But the good thing is, with a little planning ahead, it’s easy to avoid the common travel mistakes and enjoy your vacation a little more.

I’ve made all these mistakes too, and 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. These tips will make you a savvy 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 like a museum or a theme-park) is always double the price and half the flavour as you can find at someplace more local. 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 again so they should rip them off just now, or some other monstrous reason, but whatever it is, I’ve always found that eating near a popular tourist attraction ends up in nothing but a sudden disappointment.

The best way to deal with it, in case you cannot hold your hunger, is buying some light packed food there until you can walk away and find a seemingly looking local restaurant. Because that local restaurant has regular local customers, and the chances are they’ll serve better food at a comparatively cheaper price – because they’ve regular customers.

Another great way to find quality food is by asking for recommendations from your hostel/hotel staff.

Don’t Exchange Money At The Airport

Despite people often exchanging money at airports, because it seems safer – I never advise doing so. Exchanging money at the airport gives you a 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. Though it is always a good idea to cross check their rate, to avoid any touts, visiting a local dealer to get those few hundred dollars converted in local money, never goes in vain. 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 the past and was 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. 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.

Use Hospitality Networks If Travelling On A Budget

I’ve couchsurfed, I’ve volunteered, and I plan to continue doing so in the years to come. Using hospitality networks isn’t only a great way to save money, but also for making lifetime friends along the way and introducing yourself to local cultures. And remember, couch surfing doesn’t mean you’re going to end up sleeping on a couch. I’ve slept on an equal share of couches and beds. And as per my experience, be rest assured, it’s totally safe. Though of course, you need to have your wits about your safety, if you find travelling expensive, don’t overlook them.

Here are a few more Tips on finding cheaper travel accommodation

Don’t Book Too Much In Advance

It’s a false myth that booking a flight ticket too much in advance (as early as 8 or 10 months) gives you cheaper flight and hotel prices, because it doesn’t.

As per my experience, you’ll only end up paying a much higher price if you book your flight so early. The best time period to book a flight is between 2 and 4 months because this is when pretty much every airline, in the world, start fluctuating their price chart.

For hotels/paid-trips, wait until the last moment, because nobody wants to keep their room unoccupied, or their group tour to be leaving with an empty seat!

Further Reading: How To Book A Cheap Flight

Don’t Overpack

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 results in 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 laundry while travelling, or buy something if needed. 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

Think I’ve missed a useful Travel Tip? Or a common travel mistake? Why not share it in comments below!

Filed under: Miscellaneous

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After my couple of years of corporate career, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in a backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to spend your life working at one place, and that's what inspires me to remain footloose and fancy-free for the rest of my life!

1 Comment

  1. swati bhalla says

    Hey,
    Just wanted to reach out to say “thanks” for publishing such a great and inspiring article.

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