We all make mistakes, but mistakes made abroad can often add up to take more weight from our wallet than perhaps we'd like. Worldwide travel isn't cheap, so inadequate planning or making mistakes which could have easily been avoided can often cost more than the trip itself. Here are the top ten most expensive travel mistakes made by travellers across the world.
Using your phone on roaming rates
Today's reliance on social media, instant gratification, the internet and various forms of entertainment have meant that we have to take our gadgets and phones everywhere - including the beach on holiday. It's more of a habit than a luxury now, and many people take the free Wi-Fi and great 3G signal at the airport and overseas for granted. This turns sour as soon as you step foot onto foreign territory, however.
Remember the case of the British teenager who checked Facebook so many times on her phone whilst on holiday that she unknowingly racked up a £2,907 phone bill? This doesn't have to become a travel mistake that you make - check with your mobile provider about international rates and packages you can buy which will entitle you to a certain amount of calls, texts and internet usage for as little as £2 a day.
Changing flight reservations
Plan your trips carefully and with precision. Before buying your airline ticket, make sure the dates you have selected do not clash with other important events or trips that you have to attend to (or are unable to avoid even if you would like to). Otherwise, you'll have to pay dearly to change the dates on your tickets. Re-booking fees and the fare difference between your old ticket and the new one are sometimes much higher than you might expect - some were known to pay for an entirely different, new trip.
Losing your travel documents
Your travel documents should be guarded with your life! Your passport, visas and plane tickets are the few things you shouldn't lose whilst on your holiday - the repercussions are usually serious and very expensive. You can be subjected to security risks, especially for things like identity theft, as your important and personal details can be found in these records. It will also be a waste of travelling time if you need to spend a few days trekking to the relevant places to obtain replacements or forms for the replacements. Costs also mount up when you have to report things missing to the relevant embassies, consulates and authorities. Make sure to keep these travel documents secure and keep copies so you won't have a problem getting them replaced later on.
Not taking out travel insurance
When you're planning a trip, it might not be the most obvious 'essential' item to pack, but travel insurance comes with a huge amount of underestimated benefits. Whilst there's nothing wrong with thinking positively about things when you're travelling, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Falling ill or having an accident abroad can leave you in an unknown hospital with people you might not necessarily understand. Chances are, medical expenses aren't part of your budget either, so having an accident and having the travel insurance to seriously soften the blow of the huge foreign medical bills makes paying that little premium the best holiday investment you'll make.
Carrying excess luggage
Whilst it might seem like we should take our entire wardrobe on holiday with us, it's something which can lead to excess costs out of our budget - something which is easily avoidable. Airline restrictions and regulations limit the weight and number of set luggage you can bring with you when you decide to travel. Make sure that your belongings are within the limits set by your airline - you don't want to be the one person repacking your stuff at the check-in counter for the whole queue to see, have to leave some precious personal possessions behind or worse, have to shell out excessive extra baggage fees. Plan your wardrobe and pack your bags wisely!
Not notifying your bank of your trip
The increase in credit card fraud, along with the increase in technology and people travelling means that identity thieves have upped the ante. As a result, credit card companies are becoming very cautious and suspicious when it comes to credit cards spending unusually large sums of money abroad. If you plan on going overseas and using your card extensively, make sure you give your bank or credit card company advanced notice so that they don't suspend your card when unusual and potentially fraudulent purchases are made with it. You might not like being embarrassed and stuck with a declined credit card.
Booking your flight too early
We know you're really super excited about your trip, but there's no need to buy your tickets several months in advance. You don't even have to be hugely competitive about it, just shop around with a few airlines a couple of months before you need to go (prices are hugely discounted then) and if you're a bit more of a thrill seeker, you could even leave it until the last minute (not literally) and save hundreds of pounds (literally).
Failing to book your accommodation
As travellers are becoming more and more adventurous, we often hear of backpackers and long-term travellers exploring new places. However, whilst going wherever the wind takes you sounds like the stuff of dreams, and for the majority of people who do it, it does work, the spontaneity can often backfire with impractical decisions. Ideally, you don't want to be wandering round an unfamiliar city late at night when you are exhausted and hungry without anywhere to put your feet up and (safely) take a kip. Out of desperation to find somewhere, you could end up splashing your budget on a more expensive hotel when all the affordable ones are booked up. If you want an adventure but don't want to lose out on more cash, book your accommodation for the first night a week or so in advance so you can buy time to scout out the area for cheaper - or, just book in advance.
Trying to fit everything in
Touristy places are the best money-makers. The people who are responsible for them also know full-well that they have something they can sell- and not for cheap- on their hands, and they will do so. It's understandable that whilst you're in one part of a country, you might as well tick off all of the things you want to see, but usually these main attractions charge a lot more for the same view that you could get somewhere else. Before embarking on your trip, do some research online and look for alternative spots you can visit with the same outcome - you might have to compromise here and there but you could end up saving a good amount of money by not paying 'tourist rates'.
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