Vacation Better: How to Avoid the Worst Traveler Mistakes

From losing passports to getting taken for a ride by local hustlers, there are many unfortunate events that can quickly derail a vacation. Fortunately, it’s easy to sidestep those landmines if you educate yourself, and make smart preparations. If you don’t want your dream trip to devolve into a nightmare, do your best to avoid the following travel faux pas.

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Failing to Plan Ahead
Waiting until the last minute to book your airline tickets can be a costly miscalculation that’ll reduce your recreational options later on. Do some research before you buy and storyboard your trip on a day-by-day basis. Plan your vacation for the off-season to take advantage of heavy discounts on everything from lodging to food.

Getting Stranded without Cash
Nothing is worse than being cut off from your funds in a strange country. Before you leave, be sure to notify your bank or credit card company that you’ll be away from home so they don’t put a hold on your accounts. Furthermore, be sure to convert some dollars into the local currency.

Losing Your Identity Documents
If you lose your passport on the road, getting back home is a hassle. Make a photocopy of it before you leave so you can head to your country’s embassy and have them issue you a replacement. Make sure your copies and original documents are kept safe. You might want to leave the originals at home in a safe while your copies always stay on you while traveling. In addition, check the entry and exit requirements for passport expiration in the country where you’ll be vacationing.

Becoming Lost on the Road
While most phones boast GPS and turn-by-turn navigation nowadays, their maps aren’t infallible. Buy physical maps that are current if you’re going to be hitting the road as a backup precaution. Be sure to buy a country-specific phone charger if need be. Finally, always take out rental insurance if you hire a car and be sure it’s from a company you can trust.

Sticking out like a Sore Thumb
Looking like a tourist is something to be avoided for a few reasons. One, it increases the likelihood you’ll be taken advantage of by unscrupulous merchants and con artists. Furthermore, you’ll get a less authentic travel experience if you’re viewed as a rube by the locals. Dress in a conservative, generic manner to avoid sticking out.

Stay Safe & Have Fun Out There
Whether you’re enjoying tours in Punta Cana, or walking the Great Wall of China, the advice outlined above should be applicable to any trip. If you can manage to avoid committing these major mistakes, your next vacation should go off without a hitch, and provide you with a lifetime of memories.

“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information about tours go to or contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

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