Just when it seems you are all prepared, you encounter a few unforeseen circumstances while on vacation. Whether you are a luxury or budget traveler, imperfections have their ways of seeping into even the perfectly planned vacations.
Have you ever spent hours on the phone trying to get help from a live person while stuck at an airport 2,000 miles from home? Or ate at a restaurant in a foreign land, just to find that it doesn’t take your credit card and you are out of cash? Or worse yet, spent hours listening to a sales pitch about a vacation property you absolutely can’t afford?
We have identified 7 travel mistakes to avoid immediately. Here they are:
Not Buying Travel Insurance
Without travel insurance, you may be at risk. For example, if you attempt to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but have to be evacuated from Arusha, Tanzania to your home in Boston for medical reasons, you may have to pay $20,000 or more. All of those expenses will have to come straight from your pocket if you’ve traveled without proper travel insurance.
A travel insurance with evacuation coverage will cover all the expenses for emergency medical transportation and emergency medical coverage.
Travel insurance isn’t just for adventure travelers. It can provide benefits for a number of situations that may occur before or during your next trip. According to Allianz Travel Insurance benefits may include:
- Trip Cancellation Protection
- Trip Interruption Protection
- Emergency Medical Transportation
- Emergency Medical / Dental Coverage
- Lost / Stolen / Delayed Baggage Coverage
- Travel Delay Coverage
- Missed Connection Coverage
- Rental Car Damage Protection
Falling For The Timeshare Sale Pitch
Every year, families taking road trips to Orlando may be tempted to follow advertising signs with words like, “stop by and get free dinner or free Disney World entrance tickets”. Those who follow the signs may end up spending more than half a day learning about timeshare properties instead of enjoying hours at the pool.
Have you been to one of those? We have. Not once, but two times! Why? We love getting free stuff. Some families think it is worth it but others don’t. Some families end up purchasing timeshare properties they hardly use or don’t have the cash to pay for.
Timeshare presentations are great for families who are on a tight budget, have the time to spare and are actually looking to invest in timeshare vacation properties. But if you fall into one of following categories of travelers, don’t go to the presentation:
- You have toddlers or kids below 13
- You are taking a short family vacation and can’t spare precious time
- You can’t resist a “good offer” and don’t have the money to pay for a timeshare property
Booking Flights With Short Connecting Flight Times
Short connecting flight times recommended by airlines may not be a big problem. Usually, if you miss the connecting flight on the same airline or with a partner airline on the same ticket, you can easily get on the next flight if there are multiple flights per day to your destination. It is the airline’s job to get you from Point A to Point B.
On the other hand, you’ll have a problem if you are holding two separate tickets with two different airlines or with non-partner airlines. But regardless of whether you hold one ticket or multiple tickets, missing your connecting flight means trouble. If you need to attend a meeting or you already paid for a non-refundable tour, you won’t be able to make up that lost time. Worst yet, if you are going on a cruise your cruise ship may have already sailed off without you.
If possible, book your flights with one airline or with partner airlines and allow ample time to connect between flights especially during peak season and in big airports.
Staying Too Far From The City Center Just To Save A Few Bucks
We have done just that to save $200 for two nights in London! Have you?
It is not worth staying at a hotel one-and-a-half hours away from the London city center. It may not be a problem if you are traveling solo or with older kids, but getting young kids ready for train rides to the city and going up and down the underground station can be a problem in a foreign country.
These are three disadvantages of staying too far from the city center (from our own experiences):
- No pick-up available from tour companies. We had to make our own way to the city center to join a day tour.
- Traveling with two young children on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) was easy but time-consuming and at times troublesome.
- Unable to visit places of interest in the evening since we had to rush back to the hotel.
Underestimating Travel Costs and Getting Into Debt
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
For example, a family of four from Boston planning a trip to Orlando:
It is more economical to drive from Boston in Orlando.
The estimated cost of driving each way is $99.33.
Bringing Old Large Denomination Bills Instead Of Clean New $20 Bills
Always bring clean and new $20 bills with you when traveling overseas. In countries like Tanzania, Russia and China, old bills with writings or dirty marks are not accepted by money changers. $20 bills are more acceptable compared to $1 bills and $100 bills.
Being Insensitive To Other Cultures
The best ways to avoid this problem is by learning about the people and cultures of the country you are visiting. Follow the rules when in places of worship, palaces, museums or sacred places. Never wear tank tops and shorts or short skirts even when it is hot and humid. These are attires are only meant for the beach.
Do you have any travel tips to help us avoid travel mistakes? Please share.