Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Travel Tips Series: 2- Five common travel mistakes

Traveling is a learning experience. We take away new ideas, knowledge and inspiration from each place we visit and grow a bit in return. While mistakes are an integral part of any learning, there are some frequently made travel mistakes that can turn your perfect holiday into a stressful undertaking.

In this post, I will talk about the five mistakes that in my opinion are the most commonly made. I have been guilty of these at different times and I am sure many of you have too.

1. Planning too little:
Not planning for your trip can result in unpleasant experiences once you reach your destination. While it is nice to be spontaneous, it is important to know the basic information about the region of your visit. What is the weather like? What is the cultural/religious beliefs of the place, what may be construed as offensive? On what days are your target sites closed? What is the transportation system like? And so on.

2. Trying to do it all: 
Most people don't realize that trying to cover every attraction in your destination in a short span of time ultimately defeats the purpose of travel. Running about to tick off attractions from your list may leave you feeling unfulfilled and result in you not getting a feel of the place at all. After all,  travel experience is more than just rushing from one site to the next. It is about experiencing a new place. Give yourself the time to sit back and enjoy the place you are in.

3. Choosing the wrong accommodation: 
While you can always go wrong while choosing an accommodation in a place you have never been to, remembering a few things will significantly reduce the chances of a bad choice. Never take the business's website at face value - always look at travelers' reviews from third party site. Also,you should never underestimate the power of a central location when it comes to accommodation choice. A centrally located hotel may be more expensive than one in the outskirts, but you will save significantly on the intra-city transportation and will gain from the general convenience of such a location. (More on choosing accommodations in a later post.)

4. Booking too many connections:
Taking a direct transport to your destination may be more expensive than taking mutliple connections. However, multiple connections mean multiple transfers with chances of lost luggage and missed connections at each change. It is a much smarter decision to invest a bit more to get the best possible transportation option to your destination. After all, peace of mind features prominently in your ability to have a good time while on vacation.

5. Not buying travel insurance: 
I think this is the most common and also the most important travel mistake that even seasoned travelers make. Buying travel insurance at a nominal cost saves you hours of stress over lost/damaged baggage and other unplanned mishaps while on your vacation. Buying adequate travel insurance will help you focus on the travel part and not on unforeseen hurdles.

Travel for many people can be a harrowing experience, a time spent counting the days to go before the return home, a tiring and frustrating experience and a decidedly lighter pocket. Yes travel is fraught with difficulties, lost passports and missed flights, illness and frauds.  But travel need not be only these things, travel should be a refresher, a break from your everyday life. Travel should make returning home a welcome break to rest your feet for a while, before you set out on your next adventure. Travel should be everything you want it to be, filled with wonderful memories and rich experiences and amazing stories to be told to the friends and family back home.

In this post, I have listed only five travel mistakes. Is this a comprehensive list? Of course not. I myself will make many more mistakes in my travels and I will learn from them. It is the lessons learnt from mistakes that turn us from rookie to seasoned travelers.

The trick is not to make the same mistakes twice. After all, there are always new travel mistakes to make.

Till next time,
happy travels.

What are your top travel mistakes? Your top tips to avoid them? Do share in the comments below.

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