Even the most seasoned of travelers know that they can always improve on their getaway game. And for the rest of us, perfecting our vacation-going methods can often seem like a never-ending game of trial and error — in which we all too often seem to be learning the hard way.
So, whether your vacation crew is filled with veteran vacationers or travel tenderfeet, consider these five common mistakes travelers make, along with our tips on avoiding them:
Taking Too Much Along
Many of us tend to pack clothes for nearly any scenario we may encounter on a trip, then return home with a suitcase half-filled with laundry that simply never left the bag. Not only is this a recipe for the especially laborious lugging of luggage, it can also lead to added baggage fees on flights. To keep the load manageable for your week-or-longer trip, consider packing five to 10 articles of clothing that can be layered or mixed and matched to create a diverse array of outfits, then plan on doing laundry on the trip if needed.
Missing the Mainstays
Especially when staying at an all-inclusive resort or committing so heavily to relaxation that you rarely step foot off of your resort property, it can be easy to miss out on the attractions and eateries that make a destination unique. To get the most out of your trip — and to ensure you get a true taste of the town — do a bit of research on the top attractions in the area and the region’s signature cuisines, then be sure to include those experiences in your vacation itinerary.
Booking Tight Flights
We all know that flights can get delayed based on weather conditions and other factors outside the airlines’ control. And when a delay is substantial enough, it can lead to a mad rush through an unfamiliar airport in an effort to catch a connecting flight. Especially when making connections in larger airports, be sure to build in a safe buffer between your flights — a layover of at least two hours is suggested for the biggest of airports with multiple terminals — to ensure that you don’t miss a crucial connection.
Leaving the Credit Card Company in the Dark
Credit card companies are always making efforts to protect their cardholders from fraud. And for this reason, they’ll often freeze consumers’ accounts when they see unusual activities such as purchases in out-of-the-ordinary locales — and especially if the transactions are in foreign countries. To prevent any potentially troublesome holds on your credit card, be sure to inform your credit card company of your travel plans before you head out, especially if you’re traveling abroad. And while you’re speaking with them, it’s also a good idea to find out if they charge foreign transaction fees on out-of-country purchases, just so you’ll know what to expect.
Trying to Pack Too Much Into the Trip
Sure, you want to see all the sights when you visit a new destination. But one sure way to make a trip stressful is to try to do too much in too little time. While making plans for your vacation activities, be sure to account for downtime so that you can work in some rest and relaxation — or even to further explore any hidden gems you may discover along the way.