Even the most seasoned travelers make mistakes from time to time. We are human after all. And although some situations are completely unavoidable and beyond our control—like flight delays and crappy weather—you can help reduce your risk by thinking and planning ahead.
To help ensure you’re as prepared as possible on the road, here are a few top travel pitfalls to avoid, and immediate solutions for you to follow.
1) Problem: Overpacking
Solution: Pack only what you need
We can’t stress the importance of packing the bare necessities. Above all, remember to stick to the basics, and pack for comfort. You can get by with simple, mix-and-match clothing options for almost all work (and play) on the road.
As far as devices go, it’s important to bring the minimum. Why bring a smartphone, tablet, and laptop when you can get by with just one? Packing your bag to the brim not only increases its weight, but also creates potential distractions.
2) Problem: Over-planning
Solution: Set realistic expectations
Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, it’s important to know you probably won’t be able to fit everything in on a single trip. Trying to cram too much into a small trip can leave you feeling rushed, exhausted, and disappointed.
Set realistic expectations before you board the plane to ensure that you have room for the most important activities. Consider creating a calendar, or writing out what each day looks like, in order to maximize work or leisure time.
3) Problem: Waiting in lines
Solution: Buy tickets in advance
If you’re traveling abroad, or to a big city you’ve never visited before, there is probably a must-see sight or two on your list. And as is the case with most tourist attractions, you can expect time-consuming lines.
However, the savvy traveler knows that many large attractions sell tickets in advance that guarantee admission at established times. While you may have to pay a slight upcharge or booking fee, you’ll forget the extra dollar or two when you’re walking past hundreds of tourists in queue.
4) Problem: Having credit cards shut down mid-trip
Solution: Notify your bank ahead of time
For those unfamiliar with traveling out of state, in certain situations, credit and debit cards may be temporarily suspended due to ‘unusual bank account activity’. This can be a huge hassle when you’re on the road.
Call your bank ahead of time as a precaution to avoid having your cards suspended, and be sure to provide specific dates and locations.
5) Problem: Not leaving your comfort zone
Solution: Talk with the locals
Far too often, novice travelers allow their doubts to get the best of them on the road. While it’s imperative to stay safe while traveling, it’s also essential to experience new cities, cultures, and ideas.
Even if you’re on the road for business travel, it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone. A great way to do this is to have meaningful contact with local people. From your hotel’s concierge to the barista at the coffee shop next door, there are plenty of minds to pick. And for many, connecting with people is the most meaningful aspect of travel.
6) Problem: Paying change fees
Solution: Do your homework
While some airlines allow travelers to make ticket changes within 24 hours of booking, others charge penalties as much as 60 days out. Familiarize yourself with your airline’s policies before you pay unnecessary fees. If you absolutely have to make a last minute change, it’s almost always cheaper to rebook a flight.
It’s equally important to do your homework and read the fine print when you’re booking hotel rooms. To receive the best coverage, it’s important to book with travel experts. Hotel Engine offers zero change fees and free cancellations at thousands of hotels. While adverse situations will occur up from time to time, booking through Hotel Engine will reduce risk and increase your peace of mind.