Planning a first trip or even her 10th is quite an organization. The budget, the papers, destination, period… It often appears that the same mistakes are repeated, time after time.
We will help you here to organize this wonderful journey, which we hope… will probably make you want to organize many more.
So here are for you the top 10 mistakes to avoid on your first trip.
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1- Not paying enough attention to the opinions of other travellers
Essential if you don’t want food poisoning to ruin your holidays…
Customer reviews have truly revolutionized the world of travel. They even transform everyday life regarding the quality of the services offered to you.
When planning a trip, even if it is daunting, always take the time to check travellers’ opinions about the hotels and restaurants you want to visit. Read their comments about the activities you want to do.
Don’t stop at the general score. Dip in the comments quickly. Some of them are a real gold mine of information and tips, especially regarding activities: secret corners, pretty walks, etc….
Here are some good sites for customer reviews: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, or simply Google Maps.
One special matter : Always, always, ask about the best time to take that vacation
It’s the summer holidays and you have a fixed idea, a country that calls you, a dream still unrealized: Thailand! Hop, the tickets for Bangkok are taken. And once there, disaster! In Asia, it is the rainy season. And yes, it is often better to visit between November and March to enjoy the great Thai climate. So make sure you know before you choose your destination.
2-One embarrassing mistake: the custom of tipping!
Ah, the tip! What are the local customs?
It varies greatly from country to country. In North America, it is customary to leave a nice tip, 10-15% of the score.
In Scandinavian countries however, such as Denmark, it is outdated, even insulting, to leave a tip. This means that the boss does not pay his employees well.
3- Going with the wrong shoes when travelling
Of course, you will not go on a world tour with a pair of ballerinas! But people usually underestimate the importance of choosing walking shoes.
So they bit their fingers throughout the trip!
Our advice is therefore to understand the importance of leaving with shoes that are both comfortable and safe, for all types of terrain.
You probably don’t know what you need for a trek in Indonesia. You don’t know that you would have to climb miles through a jungle of intertwined roots.
A trek in the Himalayas is another story. The trail would often turn into a pile of slippery stones with sharp edges.
So you must anticipate. Why?
Because once there, especially in Asia, it is very difficult to find your preferred shoes brand. In Indonesia, nothing. And in Nepal, Pokhara, or Kathmandu there are dozens of trekking equipment stores, but most sell counterfeit ones!
Tip: Choose easy to remove shoes. Wearing shoes that are easy to remove before the security doors will save you time and avoid getting angry people behind you. So put on a skirt, forget those high heels that take you 10 minutes to move and take ballerinas or shoes that are easy to put on. Or pants with an elastic waistband… not very elegant but practical.
4- Be careful with the phone bill in your trip ….
Be careful, the columns of all the newspapers are not enough to tell all the misadventures of travellers overwhelmed by « roaming » fees amounting to thousands of dollars. Because they thought it was good to download a film while travelling abroad. Check with your operator to make sure that your calls and internet connections are priced correctly to avoid unpleasant surprises.
If in doubt, at least, disable data abroad on the smartphone!
You will thank us later.
We all have friends who, as soon as they are abroad, post great pictures of the Eiffel Tower or a beach in Punta Cana on Instagram. It’s tempting to do the same thing, but beware of the big bill. A friend visiting Montreal was surprised to receive a 1600$ bill the following month. The advice is to deactivate the data abroad if your telephone operator is not crystal clear about the cost per minute, or per Giga.
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5- Storing your shampoos, perfume bottles any way
What a nice surprise when you open your suitcase, and discover that your tube of toothpaste has decided to spread over your belongings during the trip.
A word of advice, make sure (check twice) you have closed your various hygiene products before putting them in your suitcase.
Are you a maniac?
You can also increase safety by adding a little tape to the caps.
The best thing to do is to isolate these different products in a separate bag. So that your shampoo, perfumes and other soaps do not party with your shorts, t-shirts and other underwear!
By the way, be sure to respect the 100ml rule!
If it may seem unfair not to be able to carry a 500ml bottle of Chanel No.5 and a bottle of champagne in your hand luggage, that is the security rule. Observe the liquid limit. To avoid crying over your luxury perfume or sparkling bottle, be careful!
6- A travel insurance?
Why insure me? I am young and healthy. I’m going to Bali or Paris. Certainly, you are covered by your sun card if you break your leg because of a missed big air…. But it does not cover the ambulance or the difference in cost of hospitalization in British Columbia. Abroad, accidents are never controlled. A $60,000 air ambulance bill is not uncommon.
Oh… My credit card travel insurance will pay… unless you have an outstanding balance, you didn’t buy the entire trip with the card or you paid with… the other card in your wallet! And what is the limit on the value or duration of the trip?
Let’s get real!
Travel insurance companies can offer you protection in the form of a package or more personalized protection. These insurances cover medical emergencies and offer you travel and baggage protection as well as life insurance.
Important: many people think that their family is covered automatically. Wrong: Check it out: your spouse or children may be not living with you, they are over 18, you are over 65 or 70, you are retired and your insurance covers health, but not cancellation or luggage…
7- Failing to notify your bank that you are going on a trip abroad
Nothing is more frustrating when you are abroad than being blocked by your bank. AKA no longer having access to your accounts. Believe us! Believe us!
We have already made this mistake. And we swore that it would never happen again.
Before taking off, notify your bank and credit card provider that you are leaving. Even better, tell them where and for how long. Many financial institutions allow you to do this online; this is a precaution you can only congratulate yourself on.
8- Not changing money at the airport
You need to get local money as soon as possible. In many countries, taxis, public transport, local markets and other small vendors only accept cash.
Getting local currency before leaving the airport is therefore generally a good idea. Bonus? you will also have immediate access to the gifts and souvenirs you promised to bring back to your friends and family.
By the way, Be Aware of these 20 Mistakes To Never Make At The Airport. Yeah pretty annoying results might happen.
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9- Not checking your flight itinerary… double checking-triple checking
« I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that my flight was Wednesday… but it was actually Tuesday… ». It may sound stupid, but we all know someone who has made a mistake on the day of departure, or even on the day of destination.
One of our team did that mistake, not once but twice!
Important! Carefully check all flight data before validating your flight ticket booking online (spelling of passenger names, date of birth, etc.), then again a few days before departure.
10- Choosing accommodation away from the city centre to save money
Yes, there is no comparison! The hotels on the outskirts are much cheaper than those in the centre. However, it is also necessary to take into account in the final equation, the cost of transport as well as the time spent in it! You will spend a much better time getting lost in pretty alleys (for 0$) than driving from point A to point B in a city bus crowded at 3$.
In addition, by staying in the city, you will have nearby bars, restaurants and shops. Nothing will prevent you from coming back to your room to change or take a nap…
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