Whether you’re traveling for 6 days or 6 weeks, you want to come back home with the fondest memories.
You probably have a “To Do List” for your trip, which is as long as your arm! Yet, many of us neglect the things you shouldn’t do…
Paul and I have been through some heartache in our travels… which have cost us money and time, let alone making us stress to the eyeballs!
So I’ll run through 3 mistakes and travel tips to help you avoid them.
So let’s begin…
Travel Mistake #1
You Rely On Reviews TOO MUCH
You’re definitely smart if you do research on your proposed destination. Yet, you could run into trouble… especially if you rely too much on certain reviews, and info from other travelers.
Don’t get us wrong… We check out reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare, Hotels.com and Skytrax. We also look at other people’s blogs to get travel reviews.
Yet, you should take these reviews with a grain of salt. Why?
Everyone’s Travel Experiences And Expectations Are Different
For example… a backpacker who has been toughing it out with rugged camping in tents, may find a 3 star hotel luxurious. Yet, a traveler who often stays in at least 3 star accommodation, may find that same 3 star hotel disgusting.
So the reviews may not be relevant to you and your travel style.
If you do check reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, remember to read the negative reviews too. You can filter the reviews by traveler rating… including Excellent, Good, Average, Poor and Terrible.
Make sure you check out a variety of reviews. Scan the reviewer’s profile… see if they’ve contributed a couple reviews, or hundreds or thousands of reviews. We’d place more weight on those with many reviews.
More recent reviews and photos are generally better too… As a restaurant may have gone under new management, or a hotel may have had a refurbishment, for example.
Also, in TripAdvisor, we generally give more weight to the “Traveler Photos”rather than the “View all photos option”…
We’ve found that the “View all photos” includes photos from a hotel’s professional photographer, for example. So of course, they won’t include pics of moldy bathrooms… or cockroaches in dirty restaurants, or broken gym equipment in hotels!
Yet, real travelers will report the good and the bad.
Travel Mistake #2
You Don’t Check Visa Requirements
I learnt of a couple who had a horror honeymoon, because of a BIG mistake they made.
This couple had booked their honeymoon for Vietnam. At that time, they needed a Visa to enter the country, and there was no Visa On Arrival scheme then. Despite trying to plea their case, telling the officers it was their honeymoon… they were unable to enter the country!
So the money they spent on accommodation and activities went down the drain.
This was a very expensive lesson for that couple, and not the best start to their married life!
So here are some travel tips regarding Visas…
If we decide on a place to visit, we check Visa requirements on government sites… or official websites of the country we’re interested in going to. Yet, in some cases we’ve found that these sites don’t have current information.
They also may not have the answers to your queries… even if they have a frequently asked questions section! Further to that, it may not be translated into English. Or if it is translated into English, it may not be the best.
What’s also helpful sometimes is reading people’s blogs, or talking to other people. We find it useful for learning about other’s experiences, so it can help us to plan. However, be cautious though… as the information may not be relevant for your circumstances.
When checking Visa requirements, we’ve found that it’s best to contact the Consulate or Embassy.
I hadn’t been to the USA for decades, and I thought I had everything ready to rock ‘n roll. Yet, about a week before my trip… Paul asked if I needed a Visa for the USA. I hadn’t even thought about it!
When I looked it up, at the time the requirements for Australians were a completed and approved ESTA. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to get approval… otherwise I would’ve been stranded!
So make sure you check the requirements even days before you need to leave.
You Book EVERTHING Before You Leave
You might think I’m a little crazy, suggesting that you research and plan for your trip… Yet now I’m recommending you DON’T book everything in advance. Confused? Let me explain…
If you’re on a short trip of say a few days… then you may want to make the most of the little time you have by having almost everything planned. This way it’s more convenient for you, and possibly less stress.
However, if you have more time and flexibility… it can be cheaper and better to book activities or tours when you get to your destination.
That’s because there are plenty of companies who won’t make it onto first page of Google. So when you’re researching or looking up things to do, you’ll have to be looking at page 3,428 of Google Search!
Plus, when you go to foreign countries where English is not widely spoken, some companies won’t have detailed information. That’s because they rely on foot traffic or word of mouth in the local area.
It’s then easier for them to sell their products or services face-to-face. So you may get cheaper prices, or you can get add ons at no extra cost… That’s because negotiating face-to-face is generally easier.
Remember though, if there’s something you don’t want to miss out on it’s best to book early.
For example, on a trip to New York I bought my ticket to walk up to Statue Of Liberty and to her crown. At the time bookings were going like hot cakes. And I didn’t want to run the risk of missing out, so I booked months in advance.
So I hope this blog post has helped to give you travel tips to avoid making mistakes before your next holiday.
What travel mistakes have you made and learnt from?
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Note: All of our reviews and comments are our opinions and no-one else’s. Even if we receive complimentary goods or services we share our opinions honestly.