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10 mistakes not to make when travelling

Published February 20th, 2013

At Student Flights, we like to consider ourselves travel experts, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t made our fair share of travelling mistakes along the way. From missing our flights to packing too much (guilty), we’ve lived through the mistakes so you don’t have to. So before you set off on your next world adventure, take note of these 10 mistakes not to make when travelling. Now there are no excuses!

 

 Not buying travel insurance

We’ll say it once and we’ll say it again, TRAVEL INSURANCE IS IMPORTANT! So important that you shouldn’t travel without it. You may think nothing bad will happen to you and you’re luggage will make it to your destination in one piece, but sometimes these things do happen and then you’re left in the airport with no spare undies and a frown on your face. Turn it upside down with travel insurance. It really is worth it, even if just for peace of mind.

 

Offending the locals

You know how we feel about bogans abroad. And the best way to avoid being one is to be respectful of the locals. If you’re travelling to a Muslim country, cover up. Entering a South-East Asian temple, take your shoes off. Finishing off a meal in the USA, leave a tip. The key to not offending is to do your research before you go and when in doubt, do your best to act like a local.

 

Not budgeting

There’s nothing worse than that tight feeling you get in your stomach after viewing your scarily low bank balance. Now imagine that feeling you must get in your stomach after viewing your scarily low bank balance while overseas – it’s about as much fun as an episode of Embarrassing Bodies (re: painful). While you don’t necessarily need a Kim Kardashian amount of coin to travel, you do need to do up a budget before you go and stick to it. Do load a budget app onto your phone to help you along the way and use a currency converter as much as possible.

 

Using a credit card that charges a foreign transaction fee

Unless you don’t mind being greeted home with a hefty credit card bill, find out what international fees your credit card will charge before you go. If they are too much, consider pre-purchasing a cash passport which will let you access your money in a range of currencies at a competitive rate.

 

Packing too much

Guilty! Turns out being too prepared for all of travel’s fashion moments is a big mistake. Huge! While it’s good to be somewhat prepared (ie. a coat for Europe in winter and a bikini for the South Pacific in summer) packing every shoe known to man will do nobody any favours, not even your feet. When packing, just stick to the basics and be sure to leave a decent amount of room in your bag so you can bring home some new purchases (ie. shoes).

 

Not learning any local phrases

Thinking you’ll just ‘wing it’ when travelling to a foreign speaking country is a total rookie mistake. One that will see the locals, particularly the French, write you off as an ignorant tourist (or worse, an ignorant American). To avoid eye-rolls or being taken advantage of, make an effort to learn some handy phrases before you.

 

Getting caught out without a working phone

Urgh guilty again! And my mother will happily rant on about it for you to prove it. Turns out the line ‘I won’t need to call anyone while on holiday’ is all very well and good until you run into a travel emergency that can only be solved by calling home for a whinge/cry. Meanwhile, a gazillion dollar phone bill later and I’d learnt a very expensive lesson; buy an international SIM card. Even if you don’t plan on using it, it’s there. Also, don’t forget your phone charger.

 

Going to the wrong airport

Holy hell Batman it’s the worst feeling. Avoid the panic attacks and mad taxi dashes by always checking, double checking and checking again which airport and terminal you need to be at. AND DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!

 

 

 

Having so much to do in so little time

When planning your itinerary, always remember that the best travel moments tend to find you when you least expect them. Allocate some time in your itinerary to include nothing at all. It’s usually the spontaneous moments that you remember the most.

 

Sweating the small stuff

This is a mistake a lot of people make but don’t realise it at the time. When travelling, it’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff; getting worked up over bartering when the difference is only 50 cents, missing a metro train when the next one will be there in a few minutes, not getting the perfect shot of the Eiffel Tower. When it’s all said and done, it’s the good moments that you’ll remember. The little minutes of perfection where you took a wrong turn and ended up finding something amazing. So try and remember not to sweat the small stuff. Things are bound to go wrong along the way but the important thing is to just go with it and enjoy yourself as much as you can.

 

Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.