Top Tourist Mistakes and How Not to Make Them!
Each year, millions of people venture out of their comfort zone to take what they are planning call, “the trip of a lifetime.” Quickly, many discover that this wonderful experience has morphed into a disaster! To save you time, money and pure embarrassment, we have compiled a top 5 list of common travel mistakes, and how you can avoid them this holiday season!
1. Not booking enough connection time between flights.
On my recent journey to Argentina I had to grab a connecting flight from Denver International Airport to Newark NJ in order to then be connected to Buenos Aires. I planned for what I thought would be a comfortable 45 minute wait time until my next flight upon arriving in Newark; I could not have been more mistaken! As my plane landed, I realized I had only 25 minutes to find the next terminal and get on my flight! This was extremely stressful as I had never before visited the Newark Airport and thus had no sense of direction toward my terminal, nor did I give myself enough time to use the restroom or grab water/any other necessities before my next 10 hour flight.
Lesson: Leaving a comfortable window of at least an hour between connecting flights will dramatically reduce any chance of missing your flight, or more importantly, having your luggage lost in the transfer. “Having only 45 minutes to connect between flights may seem doable, but its often not enough, especially in large airports where gates could be far apart. Don’t rely on airlines to do the math for you either,” says Sally Watkins, travel agent at Century Travel and Cruises in Austin, TX.
2. Delaying your passport application process
This is an all too common mistake many first time passport applicants make, and it can make a dramatic impact on vacation plans! Typically, passport processing takes around 4 to 6 weeks. It is generally a good rule of thumb to double check around the time that you are planning your trip for passport requirements or to reapply for a passport if yours is expired. We recommend going to Travel State Passport.com for more information on specific countries and regions.
3. Underestimating the location of your hotel from the City
When booking a hotel for your vacation, it is important to consider the location of that hotel, in relation to the proximity of the main city. More often than not, it seems that forking out the money to stay in the middle of the action can be more beneficial and cost effective than opting for the bed and breakfast in the suburbs and wasting time and money on hotel transportation. The time and money spent on costly and lengthy transportation could be much more wisely used toward lounge time by the pool or for tasting foreign delicacies at exclusive restaurants.
4. Doing too many things at once
For major cities like Rome, London and Paris, you should generally allot for a minimum of 3 days to sight-see. Trying to fit all of the iconic landmarks and bakery stops in tourist destinations such as these leaves everyone in a panic and stressed-out mode, which is exactly opposite of ideal on a vacation. The same can be said for planning out activities. Give yourself some extra room for overlooked obstacles like parking, walking around, and waiting in lines! “In Rome, for example, planning to see the Vatican Museums, the Coliseum, and the Forum in the same day is overkill, Watkins says. Really seeing the city via strolls and serendipity can be invaluable.”
5. Being dishonest about your likes, dislikes and must-see list
During my trip to Argentina, my friends and I spent one afternoon going through a travel guide and voting on what we wanted to see and do each day. Some of the trips we had in mind were multiple-day excursions and were pretty costly. To make sure that everyone was happy with the destination, we voted on where the majority wanted to go most, and decided to split our group into two, in order to see the places that were important to us, but were not necessarily a group hit. In the end we liked being able to see each other’s photos and talk about the funny moments we shared rather than making someone miserable by dragging them along. The most important thing to remember here is the infamous quote, “your trip, your experience.” After all, you don’t want to be The Holiday Cheermeister without any cheer!