When travelling and no matter where you are in the world, it is possible to make your experience as stress free as possible just by using a little common sense. It sounds simple enough but over the years, I have seen so many people simply forget about the simplest little things as soon as their holiday (or even the planning for it) begins. Everyone wants a trip to remember for all the best reasons and not for the bad ones so use your brain and try not to make any of these silly mistakes.
Get Travel Insurance
It sounds obvious but travel insurance is an essential part of travelling. How often do you read stories of people who’ve fallen ill or had accidents whilst abroad and who have stupidly not taken out travel insurance and are now stranded overseas with no way to pay – and the bills (especially in the USA) can run into millions. I recently saw someone stupidly post on a Facebook group that they were not getting travel insurance for their next holiday as it’s “a complete waste of money” as they’ve bought it every year and never had to use it – that really is a facepalm moment right there. Check the fine print of your insurance policy and make sure you are covered for everything you plan to do on your trip and make sure to declare all existing medical conditions.
Check Your Travel Documents in Advance
Before going anywhere, make sure to check the expiry date of your passport in case you need to apply for a new one before you travel. Also find out about any visa requirements for the countries that you are visiting and if needed, apply for them in good time. If you’re a UK passport holder, use the GOV.uk website for all the official and up to date information that you need to know for each country.
Do Your Research
The amount of people I see complaining about weather and being unprepared for where they are travelling to is mind boggling. Just by doing some research in advance on Google you can find out what the normal weather is for each destination at certain times of the year. For example don’t go to Florida in July and August and complain about rain and thunderstorms or the Far East in September and complain about typhoons. Also make sure to look at when the busiest and the quietest times are to visit different countries. Be aware that if you travel during peak times, school holidays, public holidays or large events, it’s going to be busy – deal with it.
Don’t Advertise Your Travels
No matter how excited you are about your upcoming trip, be sensible and do not publish details of your travel dates and how long you’ll be away for on social media for all the world to see and hear. Nothing will invalidate your house insurance quicker than you advertising to burglars when your house will be empty.
Take Some Personal Responsibility
When booking flights and hotels, check, double check and check again (even if you’ve used a travel agent) names, dates and times and even your departure airport (it’s amazing how many people think that Heathrow is the only airport in London). Over the years I have seen so many people arrive late or arrive at the wrong airport and then get angry and shout at the staff – do not blame others for your own mistakes. Turn up at the airport with plenty of time to spare – it’s better to be too early rather than too late. Lines at check-in and security can be long and flight delays happen but be patient and do not take your frustration out on the airport or airline staff.
Don’t be careless just because you’re in a different country and on holiday. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t be “that person” and stand out from the crowd. Don’t tempt pickpockets by making yourself an easy target by flashing your money or expensive jewellery around and read up on any known scams. Tacky pink flowery suitcases might be noticeable on a baggage reclaim belt but you’ll also stand out like a sore thumb immediately when outside of airport. Basically try not to look like a tourist and that includes wearing matching t-shirts.
Remember Where You Are
Just because something is okay to do where you live does not mean it is okay elsewhere. Different countries have different laws and customs so make sure to show respect for where you are whether that be in your behaviour or the way you dress. Make sure to learn a few words in the local language such as Hello, Goodbye, Please and Thank You as a little effort goes a long way. Make sure to have an open mind and embrace the differences – that’s part of the fun and adventure of travelling.
Remember to Back Up Your Photos
Our photos are wonderful memories of moments and places we have visited so it’s always a good idea when travelling to regularly back up your photos whether it be to the “Cloud” or to a portable external drive. This way if anything happens to your phone or camera, you can be assured that your photos are safe and it’s one less thing to worry about.
Leave Places as You Wish to Find Them
I still can’t believe that this needs to be said but the old phrase of “take only photographs and leave only footprints” still stands to this day. People want to see places as they’re meant to be seen and that is without rubbish, graffiti or any “love locks” anywhere. These stupid and pathetic locks create an eyesore and cause irreparable damage to some of the most well known landmarks around the world – it’s not big, clever or even romantic in the slightest and is simply just a form of vandalism.
Have Realistic Expectations
Do not get carried away by trying to plan exactly what will happen on every minute of every day of your trip as you will only ever be disappointed if things do not turn out the way you want them to. Learn to embrace the unexpected and always have some back-up plans wherever you are going. Travelling (especially with a group of people) can be stressful so try to limit the amount of stress and always remember to take some time to relax.
Have I missed anything out? What advice would you give?
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