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6 Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling

©istockphoto/Starcevic

©istockphoto/Starcevic

You always want your trip to be perfect, and with a little planning and common sense, it will be. Here are just a few tips on how to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Forgetting to Research
Don’t just book a hotel, research it. In these times with the internet at our fingertips, researching is a breeze. If you’re booking a hotel, check out their website and read some reviews. Keep in mind that bad reviews probably won’t remain up for long on their own site, so use Google or another search engine and look it up. Tripadvisor.com is a great source as it is loaded with thousands of reviews. Read quite a few as some people will complain about anything, but if the majority of reviews are good, then you’re good to go. Make sure the location is conducive to your plans, the rooms and views are what you desire and the service is up to your expectations.

Going With the Flow
Some folks prefer to wing it on vacation, but if you have a group of people or a lot of things to do, poor planning can cause problems. If you want to do that sailboat excursion, you may find it was booked up last week, so a little planning will get you on board. Some museums require reservations and fill up early. We once missed out on a museum we wanted to visit in Italy because I figured I could get a ticket once we were there; don’t be like me.

Cramming Too Much
Sure, there is a lot to see at your destination, but remember: this is a vacation. Trying to do too much can run everyone ragged. Picking one or maybe two excursions or stops in one day is usually plenty. Chances are, once you get to an interesting site, you may want to spend more time there than originally planned anyway. If there are so many things to do and places to go that they won’t all fit in, well, that just gives you an excuse to return.

Over or Under Packing
If you are checking bags and you’re just going to one resort, then pack to your heart’s content. If you’re moving around a lot while on vacation, do you really want to haul all that stuff around? There are numerous packing tips available on the internet, so look them up and get some good advice on packing. If you’re going to the beach or pool every day, you may want more than one swimsuit so one can dry while you’re wearing the other. If you need medications, bring them all. If there is a chance you may get indigestion, bring your Tums. You can’t anticipate every scenario, but if you are prone to accidents, bring some Band-Aids or a small first aid kit.

Shopping ‘Til You’re Dropping
Some people go on trips just to shop while most of us will do some shopping while there. While haggling over prices is commonplace or even expected in some locales, don’t let it consume you. Odds are you’re buying the item because it’s special to you or already a good deal. Haggle for the fun or custom of it but don’t get bent out of shape over the price. If you see something you like, buy it. Don’t wait because you hope to find it cheaper up the street, or you may end up regretting it. Don’t shoot your budget either, or you’ll regret that too. Smart shoppers are like smart gamblers: set a limit you can spend and then stick to it.

Are You Sure You Want to Insure?
Opinions vary on whether you should buy trip insurance or not. If you are traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season, you may want to insure your trip. The chances are slim your trip will get cancelled or you will get stranded, but it does happen occasionally. If you are an adventurer and will be climbing mountains or doing any extreme sports, you may want medical insurance as well. If you get hurt, you will appreciate having insurance that will fly you to a hospital back home. If you do go the insurance route, read the fine print and make sure it covers you for what you want to be covered. Some generic policies only cover your hotel or flight, or have many restrictions, while others will cover every aspect of your trip.

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