You may have seen this list on MSN several weeks ago, but just in case you missed it, here is important information to avoid some pitfalls on your vacation. Whether you’re taking your first adventure abroad or your passport is bursting with stamps, you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes so you can actually enjoy your trip.
1. Packing the wrong shoes
We realize that high heels may be sexy and elegant; however, when on a European adventure or any destination that involves any amount of walking, they are not ideal. The cobblestone streets and walkways of most European cities as well as the rain forest of Puerto Rico (or anywhere) do not lend themselves to anything but comfort. An investment in a good pair of walking shoes is a must.
2. Assuming your cell phone is automatically ready for international use
Call your cellphone service provider to check their international plans. We’ve all seen the real time pictures of our friends standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or some other sought-after travel destination. Each company has their own policy for international travel, which may include purchasing a special plan for the month of your trip or buying a local SIM card to make calls when you’re in another country. Alternatively, download wireless traveler to your phone to call home for 2 cents a minute using wi-fi. Don’t get stuck with a $1,000 charge when you return home. .
3. Neglecting to visit your local travel clinic
Some destinations may require vaccinations before being allowed to travel there. If you’re going to Africa, South America, or some countries of Asia, check with your physician or travel clinic for any vaccinations you may need. Travel clinics provide a range of preventative healthcare services, including up-to-date vaccines, medication for traveler’s diarrhea, altitude sickness, and insect repellents to keep you safe on your trip. The CDC recommends going to a travel clinic four to six weeks before your trip to allow time for any recommended vaccines to take effect.
4. Forgetting to let your bank know you’ll be taking a trip
Even though my credit card company said we didn’t have to notify them of our travel plans, it is still a great idea to do so. There’s nothing scarier than being locked out of your bank account when you’re in a foreign country without access to your funds. Many banks and credit card companies allow you to do this online by setting up a travel notification; this is one step you’ll be glad you remembered to do.
5. Overlooking travel insurance
This is a no-brainer. Trust us. We’ve had to use this. This extra cost gives great peace of mind for very little cost. Can you afford to lose the cost of your vacation if you have to cancel? In addition, this protects you should you become ill or injured while on your vacation, as well as for medical and emergency services, travel and baggage protection, and accidental death (which hopefully you’ll never need).
6. Packing your medications in your suitcase
If you’re traveling with necessities like medications, make sure those items are easily available in your carry-on. In the event that you get stranded during a long airport layover or your luggage gets lost, you can breathe just a little easier knowing that you’ll be able to keep your health on track.
7. Failing to exchange currency at the airport or bank
We recommend that you pick up some local currency as soon as possible. In many countries, cabs, public transportation, local markets, and other small vendors are cash only, so exchanging currency before you leave the airport is a smart move. Plus, you’ll typically get a better exchange rate there than you would elsewhere. As an added bonus, you’ll have cash on hand for those must-have souvenirs you’ve promised to bring home to your friends and family
8. Forgetting to lock up your valuables
Whether on a cruise or a land-based vacation, your room or cabin will have a safe. Use it for any valuables. Better yet, leave your valuables at home.
9. Ignoring the signs at the beach
“Nude Beach to the right. Nudity not permitted to the left”
You may see this sign while traveling in Europe or the Caribbean. Don’t get caught at the wrong beach. As one beach-goer puts it, “It’s awkward being both the only clothed person at a nude beach and being the only nude person at a clothed beach.”