Traveling is one of the most exciting, yet potentially perilous activities you can embark on. If you’re not careful, you might get yourself into some sticky situations that can cost you time and money, or worse.
In this article, I’ve listed seven ways to avoid some of the major pitfalls that tend to spring up when traveling.
1. Use Online Travel Tools
There are a number of online travel tools that can help make your trip easier. TripAdvisor, for example, provides reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions.
Google Maps can help you find your way around town and into the surrounding area. Yelp can give you ratings and reviews on local businesses. And Expedia allows you to compare prices on flights, hotels, and rental cars.
Be sure to use these tools before booking your trip so that you have as much information as possible about the destination.
And if there are any changes or corrections to be made to your itinerary, be sure to do so as soon as possible so that everything goes smoothly on your trip.
2. Be Prepared
Research your destination thoroughly before you go. Do some online research, read guidebooks, and talk to locals. This will help you make better travel decisions and avoid common tourist traps.
Make a plan and stick to it as much as possible. Don’t wander around aimlessly or try to see everything on your list in one trip; instead, divide it into manageable chunks and make sure to stay on schedule so that you don’t get overwhelmed or lost.
Be careful with wallet theft overseas, thieves know how to target tourists, so be especially vigilant when carrying valuable possessions like wallets and passports around in public places. Keep them tucked away safe inside your pockets or carry them in a safe place on your person at all times.
3. Double-Check Visa Requirements Before Departure
Whether you’re headed to a new country for the first time or revisiting an old one, make sure you’re aware of the visa requirements of the destination. Double-check before departure to avoid potential problems on your trip.
If you do need a visa, be sure to get one in advance from the embassy or consulate of the destination country. You can also check with your travel insurance company about obtaining a visa before departure. If you don’t have a copy of your passport photo page, be sure to bring copies with you when traveling.
Even if you don’t need a visa, it’s always a good idea to carry proof of your identity and citizenship when traveling. This includes a valid passport, driver’s license, or another government-issued ID card. You can also bring copies of these documents with you when traveling.
Be prepared for any possible delays at customs and immigration checkpoints when arriving in a new country. Always dress conservatively and carry a few possessions with you so that security officials won’t suspect anything suspicious. And finally, never talk about money exchange rates with strangers, always visit an official money changer before departing on your trip
4. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
If you are vigilant and aware of your surroundings, you can avoid many potential travel pitfalls. Thieves and pickpockets prey on unsuspecting tourists, so it’s important to keep your wits about you.
Be especially careful in crowded areas and on public transportation. If you’re carrying a purse or backpack, keep it close to your body, and don’t store valuables in easy-to-reach pockets.
Another way to stay safe is to avoid wearing flashy jewelry or clothing that makes you a target for theft. When possible, blend in with the locals by dressing conservatively and avoiding obvious tourist traps.
By being aware of your surroundings and taking simple precautions, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a crime while traveling.
5. Be Prepared for Emergencies
One of the most important things you can do to avoid getting into trouble while traveling is to be prepared for emergencies. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Know the Local Emergency Numbers
In every country, there are emergency numbers you should know in case of an emergency. These numbers may change from place to place, so make sure to check ahead.
Have a Travel Insurance Policy in Place
Travel insurance is an important way to protect yourself if something goes wrong while you’re traveling. Make sure you understand all the coverage your policy offers and read the fine print carefully before buying it.
Plan Your Route and Itinerary Carefully
When you’re planning your trip, make sure to include details about where you’ll be staying, what attractions you’ll visit, and what safety precautions to take when traveling during peak tourist seasons. This will help you avoid any unexpected surprises while on your trip and ensure a safe journey overall.
Be Aware of Local Customs and Norms
Not all cultures are familiar with Western concepts like road signs or parking restrictions, so be prepared for some confusion or even frustration when traveling abroad. Do your research beforehand so that you can politely but firmly explain any unfamiliar rules or practices when encountered on your travels.
6. Don’t Overpack
When packing for a trip, it is important to think about what you will actually need. An overpacked bag can be cumbersome and annoying, especially when trying to travel with limited space or when carrying heavy items. Try to simplify your packing by identifying only the essentials, and leaving the rest at home.
Bring a Separate Bag for Your Clothes
If you are traveling with clothes that you plan on wearing during your stay, try to bring a separate bag for them. This way, you won’t have to pack as many clothes and can free up more space in your luggage.
Pack Lightly and Easily
When packing for a trip, try to pack lightly and easily so that everything is easy to access and transport. If possible, avoid bringing bulky objects such as suitcases or backpacks that will take up space and make moving around difficult.
Make Sure Your Luggage Is Durable and Secure
Make sure your luggage is durable and secure so that it doesn’t get damaged during transportation or while being stored in a hotel room or other location. Luggage should also be well-fitted so that it doesn’t bounce around excessively when walking or running with it, which can cause damage to the contents of the bag.
7. Don’t Over-Plan Your Trip
This might mean not packing everything you thought you would need and allowing for spontaneity on your trip.
Get Plenty of Rest and Exercise Before Your Trip
If you’re feeling exhausted before your trip, it will only make things more difficult when traveling overseas. Make sure to take regular breaks and get up and move around often to avoid feeling too tired to enjoy your vacation.
Be Cautious About Spending Money
Be cautious about spending money outside of the country you’re visiting. Many tourists unknowingly spend their entire vacation budget in just a few days in a foreign country, be careful not to do this!
Try to save money by sticking to familiar locations or shopping areas where prices are likely to be lower than elsewhere on the island or city you’re visiting.