Have you fallen for any of these traveller trip-ups? Here are eight mistakes to steer clear of.
Whether you’re a tentative traveller or a seasoned globetrotter, it can be easy to make a few missteps on a trip. Some you can write-off and smile about later. Others can put a serious crimp in your time away. But with a bit of forward-planning you’ll be in great shape to body-swerve the blunders.
Working on the theory that forewarned is forearmed, here are eight common clangers travellers might make when on the road. This blog’s not all telling-off and finger-wagging though. To lighten the mood, here you’ll also find five sweet travel apps that will pop genuinely useful on-the-go tools in your pocket.
First up: those eight goofs that can trip any traveller…
1. Making advances
Whilst it makes loads of sense to plan ahead when you’re on the move, there’s also a lot to be said for building flexibility into your itinerary, particularly if you’re on a multi-location jaunt.
Sure, if you’re heading to an oversubscribed spot like Venice, or if you’re off to an event that zings accommodation prices skyward, booking is a must. But for touring breaks, where you’re hopping from one location to the next, it can pay off when you let freedom and spontaneity chart your course.
Nobody’s saying you have to don a blindfold, pin a map and head off to where it lands, but equally, you’re on holiday so move away from the spreadsheet.
2. Roaming in Rome. Or Paris. Or Madrid…
Thanks to the EU’s new rules on roaming charges, the days of returning from many European jaunts to a letterbox-busting mobile bill are over.
So where’s the mistake? Right here: the law applies only to your regular data allowance. So be careful not to exceed it or, just like at home, charges will kick in. And because you’re abroad they’ll likely be hiked up.
Also, be aware that the change covers European Union countries only (so unless your provider states otherwise, it’s not for your city break in, say, Istanbul).
Travelling beyond the EU? Check your operator’s rates – and any deals it offers. Alternatively, you might also want to buy a local SIM card on arrival.
Will roaming rates be rising post-Brexit? The truth is that right now nobody knows for sure.
Good night, Paris! // Bonne nuit, Paris ! Thanks to @db_landscape_photographer for this amazing pic! // Merci à @db_landscape_photographer pour cette belle photo !😍🔝✨❤️👍 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Keep using #visitparis or @paris_tourisme to share your pictures of Paris and its region! // Continuez d’utiliser #visitparis ou @paris_tourisme pour partager vos clichés de Paris et sa région ! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #visitparis #paris #parisian #toureiffel #view #beautiful #amazing #photooftheday #hiver #winter #night
3. Winging your connections
We’ve all been there. The first of your two connecting flights is delayed. Landing your seat on the next plane was already a challenge – but it was do-able, all being well. But all isn’t well. And now, sat on that sluggish first flight, a minute feels like an hour and every single thing is stressing you out.
So the best advice is this: assume a delay and leave a decent gap between flights when you can. This is an especially good tip if you’re connecting in a huge airport where multiple terminals and extra security checks are the norm. Some carriers will be obliged to sort your onward plans – but vouchers or even a free hotel room aren’t much of a consolation when you could be on the beach.
4. Ignoring insurance
You’ve taken countless insured trips – and nothing has ever gone wrong. You’ve bought the policies and it’s beginning to feel like you’ve been cheated out of a lost suitcase, accident or robbery.
So it might be tempting to pooh-pooh travel insurance. Especially on shorter trips closer to home. But misfortune doesn’t discriminate. Build insurance into your going-away budget. Regular traveller? You’ll almost certainly save with an annual policy.
Find a comprehensive list of travel insurance need-to-knows at the trusted MoneySavingExpert website
5. Losing focus
The days of the post-trip trek to Boots’ photo-developing counter are over. Who killed it? It was Steve Jobs, in the Apple research lab with the iPhone. The result is that most of us are now armed with a camera 24/7.
But snapping too many shots creates the tedious chore of dumping the 16 identical portraits of that temple/deer/sunset. Instead, why not take just a couple of photos and spend the rest of the time experiencing the subject in, y’know, real life?
Polaroid’s new retro-style OneStep 2 camera, launching in October, leads the quality-not-quantity revolution. It offers the instantly printed photos the company is famous for – but they work out at almost £2 a pop. That certainly helps focus shot-selection.
6. Feeling the finance freeze
Even if you’re on your way to chillier climes, this kind of freezing has nothing to do with the temperature. Instead, this arctic blast might overwhelm you if you’re using your credit card abroad.
Card issuers keep an eye on overseas transactions and if they spy something that doesn’t add up – like you legitimately using your card overseas – they might put a pause on your plastic.
So it’s a good idea to let your provider know you’re on your travels. Also – keep an eye on those foreign transaction fees before you jet off.
7. Going by the book
Specifically, the guidebook. Guides are a good buy for grabbing broad tips about a location. But they’re not called guidebooks for nothing.
By all means check out a book’s recommendations (and you should always take a read of up-to-date safety and cultural tips). But bear in mind that holidays aren’t sold with instruction manuals. Don’t be afraid to take the tourist path less-travelled and discover your own must-sees.
This weekend’s #lpInstaTakeover is hosted by #lpPathfinders member @peekingduckco duckco who will be sharing some shots she snapped while enjoying the @edfilmfest in Edinburgh. ‘I recently spent a few weeks travelling around #Scotland, spending time in #Orkney, driving around the north coast and ending my trip at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It had its 70th anniversary this year, and the opening night was held at the beautiful Festival Theatre. It was a great three days of watching films, attending fun (and sometimes scary!) events, and exploring film locations around the city.’ Stay tuned this weekend to see more.
Enjoying un bel gelato in the shadow of the Colosseum is a fine notion. But as a general rule, you should be cautious about where you stop for refreshments.
If, from your pavement chair, you can behold a sight that looks awfully like a postcard, expect to pay for the privilege. Overcautious? In 2013 four ice creams cost four Brit tourists a stone-cold €64. A pricey view of Rome’s Spanish Steps.
Or how about the wallet-busting €101.80 a group of seven Romans (hello Karma) was charged for liquor espressos in Venice? Here, the culprit wasn’t only the location (although electing to sit down in Piazza San Marco never helps). In cahoots was a surcharge – to the tune of €42. And all for the pleasure of listening to the café’s string band. Extreme examples of course, but you get the general idea.
As an aside: tourist menus are sometimes best left alone too. Study them against the regular menu because often the tourist version is priced for… tourists (i.e. over-the-odds) and limited in scope.
Ready for a hitch-free hop? Pack these apps for an even slicker trip.
Should you take that brolly? Are those clouds shifting any time soon? I thought we were here to ski… So much of our precious holiday time is directed by the climate. Enter Accuweather.
The best-in-class language-learner is an ideal before-trip tool.
Guiding you throughout your learning journey, Duolingo covers all of the languages you’d expect – and a few you wouldn’t. Best of all, a user- friendly design makes this app enjoyable and a snap to use. Download it free for Apple or Android
A flight-booking app with a difference, Hopper’s twin mission is to give you freedom to book a flight from your device – but at the best possible price.
Transport heaven rockets through the heart of Rome2rio. This app connects you with almost 5,000 global operators to make route planning a breeze.
We finish with a bit of fun. Quik gives you the tools to create on-the-hoof videos with just a couple of taps.
Loaded with transitions, effects and music, this app effortlessly stitches together your footage and photos. The result is professional-looking clips all set for sharing. So, a slide carousel of you in a sombrero it ain’t. Zoom to the Apple version here, or Android here
The serviced apartment you’re looking for. And no mistake about it.
Of course a successful trip depends also on choosing accommodation that’s perfect for your needs.
At Dreamhouse, our fully serviced city apartments are ideal for both business and leisure travellers. Heading to any of our five cities? We’d love to welcome you. Browse our smart apartments, check availability and book – all on our website