Many travel bloggers write plenty on ‘what to see or do’ when travelling and highlight all the ‘must see’ attractions.
However think of this…. what about all the mistakes travellers make that lead to lost time, wasted money and possibly missed opportunities. For everyone it is easy to mention all the “do’s” but with common sense the “dont’s” need to be equally mentioned to safeguard against missed opportunities.
In this new world of digital know-how and the use of the conventional methods (travellers cheques or booking early) are becoming an out-of-date method and people are missing out on obtaining the best travel plans to maximise their plans.
Below are a few “dont’s” – follow these pointers to reduce the common mistakes leading you to cheaper, smarter and longer travel.
DON’T EAT NEAR A MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION:
Generally the food and drink near a major attraction will be twice the price and half the quality you could find elsewhere. Restaurant owners are not interested in the trivial issues of consistency towards a tourist as tourists will only be interested in having ‘the most amazing pasta or pizza’ with views of Paris’ Eiffel Tower or Rome’s Colosseum. Lets face it you do not often see locals dining at these venues. A good ‘rule of thumb’ is to dine where the locals do.
DON’T EXCHANGE MONEY AT AIRPORTS:
You will get the worst exchange rates. If you want to collect foreign currency at the airport why not order it online then collect at the airport. The rate is not great but it is a much better deal than exchanging at the airport itself.
DON’T USE TRAVELLERS CHEQUES:
Travellers cheques are cheques issued by the bank for a predetermined value that allows the bearer to exchange the cheque for cash or payment anywhere in the World. In a World before worldwide acceptance of ATM’s and plastic cards it was the very best way to access money.
DON’T USE BANK CARDS WITH FEES:
Like everyone I do not enjoy giving the banks my money. That’s why I hold a credit card that has no fees if I use it for payment of goods or at the ATM. Like any credit card though use it sensibly to avoid the late charges or missed payments when you return home. I own a ‘No-Fee’ MasterCard and I use it when I’m overseas. Not only am I not charged on goods I purchase it is also insured.
On an additional note, I sometimes purchase items from overseas in the comfort of my own home and I use this card again to avoid exchange rate charges. Its an all round winner at home and overseas.
DON’T SKIP ON TRAVEL INSURANCE:
You’ll hear me drum on about this all the time. It may seem like an unnecessary expense but it is something I NEVER forget. Travel is all about the unexpected and you never know what will happen. As I always say “Its best to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”. Travel insurance protects you whilst overseas… break a leg, burst an eardrum scuba-diving, you lose a bag/passport, your flight is cancelled. Be careful of the small print – there are various levels of cover. Ensure you choose the right level of cover for your trip.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO THE BIG SITES:
No matter where you are in the world there will always be ‘blind’ spots that can reduce the chances of finding a deal. While no website is 100% efficient avoid sticking to the big sites like Expedia or Kayak. Use other sites like Skyscanner, travelsupermarket.com and Momondo.
DON’T TAKE TAXIS:
This is where most of your budget can be wasted. Aim to use public transport. Not only does it give a different perspective of the place you visit but it offers some views you may have missed. Only hail a cab if you have negotiated a fair price before you get into the taxi.
DON’T BE PENNY WISE BUT POUND FOOLISH:
Watching your Pennies is all well and good but if you decide to walk for an hour to save £1.50 on a bus fare is the place you are getting to worth it?? Likewise is saving £60 on a flight worth it if you have to connect somewhere and arrive tired and drained?? I ALWAYS prefer to spend more on a direct flight to save myself grief down line.
DON’T BOOK TOO EARLY:
I know it can be tempting when you are in the ‘heat’ of the moment and becoming all excited about future travel plans but refrain! In this age of digital technology the ‘early bird’ does not always catch the worm, nor, the days of last minute deals really work anymore. Wait until you are 3-4 months away from when you want to travel. Airlines base there fares on demand.
DON’T FORGET THE TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE:
I am often amazed how many people do not even consider this place. If I can find one close by to where I am staying or along the route I will pay them a visit. These centres are packed with leaflets, maps and displays dispensing invaluable information on the local area, tours, eateries, festivals, self-guided walks and discount vouchers.
The people that work there are paid to help you out and quite often if they are locals will offer some worthy advise about getting around.