When it comes to travel for business or leisure proper planning and forethought can make or break a great trip. After years of traveling the globe and making almost every conceivable travel faux pas imaginable, our Editors have put together a list of the most common, and most easily avoided travel pitfalls. These are the errors that can end up costing you a lot. But you can learn from our (many, many, many) mistakes.
Here are the top five top costly travel mistakes to beware of!
Not knowing in advance how much your destination will realistically cost
Budgeting for your hotel and airfare is one thing, but exchange rates, service charges, local taxes, higher costs of entertainment per region and more will take a nasty bite out of your travel budget; unless you plan. Look at menu prices in the high, medium and low ranges of popular restaurant online, prior to departure, investigate entry fees for events, parks and other points of interest and really come to understand what a region costs before you head off for points unknown. Randomly picking a budget based on costs at home is unwise.
Being inflexible on your travel dates
If you are vacationing and planning in advance, look at traveling slightly later or earlier than the high season; this can save a bundle. When traveling on business, if possible, try and avoid departures on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Midweek flights are often up to four times cheaper than traveling during weekends. Also do your research. Check various sites, follow the trends and generally be a good consumer by becoming and educated one. A few hours invested in learning how the prices fluctuate to and from your preferred destination could end up saving you a bundle.
Credit card companies don’t like unusual activity to suddenly appear on your card. Suddenly racking up payments in Bali or Ethiopia may get you flagged and your card suspended until the purchase(s) are confirmed. This is for your benefit, to avoid fraud and theft, of course, but losing access to your credit while abroad is not convenient. Avoid any hassles by calling your credit card company and notifying them that you will be traveling. Trust us an emergency long distance call from the front desk of a hotel when you’re trying to check in after an 18 hour flight is no fun and it is costly.
Forgetting to Buy a Roaming or Service Plan for Your Phone
Using a cellular phone in a different country other than your own can rack up exorbitant charges. Turning your phone on for as little as a few minutes can be shockingly expensive, it is best to check in with your provider, discuss your specific destination and a travel package or data roaming plan for voice, text and data. Alternatively, ensure your phone is in “Airplane mode” with WiFi capabilities on, and check your messages only when you can access WiFi.
Another solution: If you’re traveling for a longer period of time, buy yourself a mobile phone or SIM card in that country (if your phone is unlocked). They can be relatively inexpensive outside of North America.
Traveling Without Medical Insurance
No one ever expects an accident or sudden medical issue to arise during travel, but it is best to prepare for worst case scenarios. Finding yourself in a foreign hospital without insurance can be a big financial issue. Credit Card companies have policies, but review carefully and read the fine print. CAA and AAA in North America also offer good multiple-trip and single trip insurance. Whether on business or leisure, Travel Medical is a must-have.