Traveling is more enjoyable and less stressful if we know how to avoid some simple mistakes. Such errors can make one's trip troublesome but are easy to avoid, if we know them. The list is quite long and I will enumerate the ones I am personally guilty of.
1. Evaluating costs separately
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Do you choose your destinations based on the airfare or hotel rates?
Many travelers have always looked at the cost of a vacation individually and are missing out the bigger picture. The cost of airfare going to other countries varies on their location. While the airfare may be cheaper for some, the accommodation are sometimes more expensive and crappy. Coming to the Philippines may be expensive if you are from the west but here you will experience the best hospitality. Enjoy your accommodation at very low prices and get the chance to try on some of the best food on this planet.
2. Waiting forever to book cheap flights
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Are you on the clock for airfare promos?
I have made this mistake in the past where I had to confer with my family or friends when we will book a flight. Eventually we have missed some opportunities. Sometimes low fares or even glitch fares last only for several minutes. It is impossible to predict when airfares are lowest so when you find a cheap fare that you can live with, just take it. It might never come again!
3. Not anticipating delays
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Have you experienced flight delays?
The influx of flights has recently caused the lag of most flights. It is best to book early flights to avoid the surge of delays. It is also good to be aware of weather patterns that may disrupt flights. When a flight is delayed or cancelled, inform the airline that you will be missing a connecting flight or schedule and get rebooked immediately before taking off. Most of the time, flights are almost full but have a few seats for standby travellers. Worst-case scenario is that you have to take care of your own expenses buy may request reimbursement. This would be better than missing your connecting flight or messing up your schedule.
4. Bringing too much
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How many bags do you usually bring for a trip?
A hand-carry bag will suffice the needs of most travelers on almost every trip unless you will be backpacking for a very long trip. I have written previously on how to pack light and I reiterate that it is much cheaper to do your laundry than checking in an extra bag. It is also much easier to carry around especially if you are moving from one place to another, which I usually do. Most people bring too much. A different attire for each day. Some even bring different sets of footwear. A wise solution is to bring clothes that have complementary colors so you can mix and match them.
5. Using travel agencies to book your hotels
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What do Agoda, Expedia, Orbitz and other booking sites have in common?
They compare many hotels at once and impose fees. While it is good to check with these booking sites to compare prices, it is still best to book directly with the hotel. Sometimes, hotels have promos that are not available with the travel agencies and most of the time rates are lower. I had the chance to save up at least twenty percent (20%) on several occasions when I called the hotel directly.
6. Being stressed just to lessen expenses
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Have you tried to save money on your trips but eventually got stressed?
I am also guilty of this mistake. Once I tried to ride the slow public transport instead of taking the cab out of the airport. I did saved some money, but it also consumed most of my time and had to endure the nuisance of transferring rides to get to my destination.
Another false move I have made in the past is arriving hungry when I could have bought food on the plane. The cost of food in the airports and airplanes are really a total rip-off but would you rather get hungry? Since then, I make sure that I have food in my bag when I have trips.
In most instances, I would usually give a tip when I am happy with the service of the hotel where I stayed. I found out that giving a tip to the bellhop or housekeeper when I arrive in the hotel merits a better service for the duration of my stay.
7. Not being able to explore much
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Have you missed some places near the landmark you visited?
I always buy maps for vacations. I would usually lay out my destinations so I can maximize travel time. Though I have laid out my travel plan and route, there were times that I deviated from it because I chanced upon interesting places not on my itinerary. Locals are the best people to ask for places to explore and food to eat while the best travel experiences come from chance encounters in the side streets or the road less traveled.
8. Not trying to learn or say basic words
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Did you try to blend in with locals with the places you have visited?
It was hard sometimes. The trick is to learn how to say these simple phrases: “thank you,” “please,” “excuse me,” and “I am sorry.” Manners is all that matters.
Do not also assume that everyone can speak English especially in the remote areas. Locals would appreciate if you try to learn their language or dialect. A few basic words could spell a big difference.
9. Complaining too much
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Have you experienced bad service from a carrier or the place you stayed?
People tend to whine so much without giving a probable solution. If you are dissatisfied with a hotel, perhaps you can ask for a discount or an upgrade for the same cost. Or when your flight needs to be rebooked, it would be better if you check your options before you talk to the staff. Just make sure those requests are reasonable. It is a win-win solution for everybody when you present solutions to company staff making their job less stressful.
10. Saving up on expenses by booking promo tours
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Have you booked a flight to somewhere for the low peak season?
I have heard of some couples and families booking a vacation to a place because it was on promo. Sure they saved up a lot on the airfare and accommodation. But when they got there, they did not really enjoy their vacation because there was really nothing much to do.
Before deciding to get that promo, check first what activities you can do or places you can visit. Are there any festivals? What is the climate on those dates? These are several factors you need to consider before you take that offer.
I hope you would benefit from some mistakes that some travelers (including me) have committed and that you may have a good experience with your adventures. I would love to hear your own experiences and we will add them to the list.