Girl with suitcase standing on a road.

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7 common travel screw-ups to avoid

Published July 20th, 2016

Now you can't say we didn’t tell you! Sometimes it’s the most obvious things you’re first to forget. And sometimes you’re just too damn busy being excited to care. But before you leave the country – rookie traveller or not – be all over these pointers like a rash so you don’t commit some of the most common doozies on the road.

Mad-dashing it to the airport

Love the adrenalin rush of a mad dash? Or just notoriously late? Either way, the one time you DON’T want to be racing the clock is on your way to the airport. Really. Many a flight has been missed thanks (or no thanks) to bad traffic, accidental sleep-ins and dodgy friend pick-ups who never arrived. Always allow plenty of time so any potential disasters remain ‘almost-disasters’ – ie. epic stories to tell later about that time you nearly missed your flight.

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Not flicking the switch

What switch? The one next to the words ‘data roaming’ on your phone. Ah, yes, THAT switch. It’s an easy mistake to make. And potentially a very expensive one too. The kind that could drain hundreds – even a quick thousand – from your spending money funds if you don’t know the ins and outs of your mobile phone contract before you land in a foreign country. So always check in with your service provider before you go and know how and when to flick the switch. 

Being too loose with your moola

Being a daredevil with your cash is never a good idea. Whether it be drinking over budget, getting carried away with souvenirs or just planning a holiday that stretches longer than your dollars will, it pays to be realistic when it comes to precious, precious moola. An emergency stash = brilliant idea! Plus, be sure to keep the parents on side so they’ll cooperate should you need bailing out.

Braving it without travel insurance

This one’s a big no-no. Errrybody needs travel insurance. And again! Errrybody needs travel insurance. Thinking you don’t need it (or forgetting) can spell absolute, holiday-ending, life savings-draining disaster. Sure, nobody PLANS to trip over, face-plant and break an arm while getting off a train in Japan. Or get mugged in Spain during a long slurp of tasty sangria. Or excitedly disembark the plane only to greeted by zero luggage. But it’s happened. The only thing that’ll come to the rescue to the tune of millions of dollars need be? You know it. Travel insurance.


More travel tips right here:

11 things you can do in the USA for 1 dollar!

Ways to make money while travelling

How to survive long-ass bus trips


Packing to the brim

We know. It’s hard to imagine which hat you’ll want to wear once you’re on deck on your Croatia sail boat. But you need to pack wisely. Pack only what you really need and know that you’ll actually use. The regret doesn’t kick in any harder than when you’re lugging that mother of a suitcase up a hill to your hostel in hilly Cinque Terre. Anything else you can simply buy as you go. Think of it as a ‘practical’ souvenir.

 

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Mucking up post-midnight flights

Sooooooo, your flight’s at 12.30am on Monday 25 July. What time are you going to the airport? Think about it. Think about it. Bonus points if you’re thinking you should get there around 9.30pm Sunday night! That’s right. NOT Monday night! Always quadruple-check the day/date of any flight time that’s ANYWHERE within the date-altering vicinity of midnight to be sure as sure you don’t muck it up!

Not backing it up

No, we don’t mean two nights out in a row (but that’s a good point too). While you may lose a few of those memories, the ones you don’t want to go MIA are the ones on your camera or phone. So in case of a dropping/ drowning/ losing/ getting stolen/unexplained random act of digital defiance incident, back up your pics on a USB, hard drive or cloud service as you go. Trust us – those memories are keepers and you’ll want them to last a lifetime!

 

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Tijana Jaksic

The one thing Tijana always knew she wanted to do was travel to experience other cultures around the globe. She has danced with locals in the streets of Cuba, bartered for too many scarves in the markets of India, and traversed the wonders of Europe from the castles of Edinburgh to the mosques of Istanbul. Writing about this incredible world only ever makes her list grow longer, and one day, she hopes she'll even make it to Antarctica.