International travel leads to new experiences, life long memories and a significantly more open mind. Unfortunately however, when certain mistakes are made, it can also lead to a hell of a lot of headaches. And considering the cost of airfare, those headaches are rarely cheap.
Should you be heading off into the great unknown in the near future, there are a number of things that you just shouldn’t do. Here are six simple ways to turn a dream trip into a bit of a nightmare.
Bring the Wrong Person
Choosing a travel partner is tricky. What makes a great travel partner is completely different to what makes a great drinking partner. Just because you enjoy going out at the weekend with somebody, that doesn’t mean that you’ll enjoy travelling half way around the world with them.
Travel has a habit of making relationships crack. Minor arguments can become pretty heated when you’ve been on a train for ten hours. And when you spend twenty four hours a day in somebody’s company, minor bad habits can begin to seem like pretty serious personality flaws. Choose your travel partner wisely. And don’t be afraid to travel solo.
Ignore the Seasons
It’s not just where you go but when you go there that counts. Thailand is beautiful but not during monsoon season. Venice is peaceful but not in July when there are more tour groups than gondolas. Before heading anywhere, think about the climate, think about the crowds and think about the prices on offer at that time of year.
Try to See Everything
A little bit of ambition can take you a long way but there is a line. If you try to fit too many cities into your trip, you can easily wind up not really seeing any. Don’t underestimate how much travel can take out of you. And don’t underestimate how long it takes to really experience a city. Though the ideal number is debateable, I generally refuse to visit more than two cities per week.
Blow Your Budget the First Week
Nobody embarks on a long trip expecting to run out of money half way through but it’s a pretty common occurrence. Those nights on the town tend to add up and before you know it you’re making that embarrassing phone call to your parents pleading for enough money to get back home.
Should you want to avoid this faith, the first step is come up with a realistic budget. How much money do you have and how frugal can you genuinely expect yourself to be? It doesn’t matter how much pasta you eat, you can’t get by on fifty dollars per day in the likes of Tokyo and Helsinki.
Once you’ve come up with a realistic budget, it’s then just a matter of sticking to it. Eat where the locals eat, party in the hostel and take full advantage of those free breakfasts. It’s amazing how fast those dollars can go flying out of your wallet when you’re not keeping track.
Lose Your Passport
Though you cannot completely protect yourself from pickpockets and chance, a little bit of care can go a long way towards keeping your valuables safe during your trip. First off, purchase a money belt and use it wisely. Keep in mind that money belts are only as useful as they are hidden. Keep your lighter and lipstick elsewhere.
Secondly, always take advantage of the lockers in hostels. Many backpackers like to believe in the rules of the road but the reality is that you are sharing a room with strangers. All it takes is one bad apple and your camera is no longer in your possession. Speaking of cameras, always back up your photos!
Get Food Poisoning
Finally, there’s good old fashioned malaria. If you want to turn a tropical paradise into absolute hell, getting sick is probably one of the easiest ways of doing so. Though in most cases, you’ll only be out of action for a few days, those days tend to be pretty rough. And there’s just something about being sick in a foreign country that rubs most people the wrong way.
If you plan on visiting countries in which vaccinations are recommended, always take the time to get them. Needle pricks aren’t enjoyable but they’re significantly more enjoyable than the alternative. And regardless of where you go, pay very close attention to what you are eating and drinking. International cuisine is one of the joys of travel but not when it lands you in hospital.
Mike Johnson is a veteran travel blogger and has spent a lot of time traveling the world. He recommends a visit to the Isle of Wight holiday parks to have an awesome travel experience.