Friday, 10 March 2017

7 costly travel mistakes

Every traveller needs to stop making

To err is human. But sometimes oversights can cause a huge financial blow to more than just your travel budget. Steer clear of these costly travel blunders with these economical alternatives and insightful tips that won’t leave you high and dry before the big trip.

1. Booking flights too early
Last minute tickets purchases will no doubt cost you. But getting them two years in advance doesn’t equate to cheaper flights either. In fact, you’re more likely to miss your flight than make it if you booked too early. Not only is that a huge inconvenience, more money is wasted on cancellation fees and having to purchase another set of tickets.

What you can do: The best time to book your tickets is six to eight weeks before booking your ticket (three to four months if you’re thinking of travelling during peak season) where prices are at their lowest. Airlines sometimes throw out flight promotions and special deals every now and then. Be sure to keep updated on these timely offers and act on them the moment they arise.

2. Ruling out hostels
The impression most people have of hostels as being a crummy dwelling filled with dingy bunk beds and bedbugs couldn’t be further from the truth. Hostels nowadays come with all sorts of amenities—free breakfast, satellite television, bike rentals, pool table—that are just as impressive as those of a boutique hotel, if not better! Only difference? It’s a fraction of the price.

What you can do: Why not give them a shot? They’re clean, affordable, and a great way to meet new people.

3. Taking too many taxis
Cabs are a costly comfort we can easily do without. All it takes is some discipline to plan your route and getting up a little earlier in the morning to get there on time. In some countries, cabbies might even take you for a ‘ride’ if they know you’re new in town.

What you can do: Take public transportation. It’s way more affordable and lets you experience more of the city more up close. Unless you need to get somewhere super late in the night, stick to the bus or trains.

4. Dining exclusively at restaurants
There’s nothing wrong with splurging out on a meal every now and then. But you’ll be missing out a great deal of food and cultural experience by only dining at restaurants. Not to mention, you’ll also burn a huge hole in your budget.

What you can do: Why not try out the local flavours? Good food comes in all forms. Some of the best meals can be found in pop-up noodle shacks and roadside stalls. You don’t have to take my word for it. Try them out and see for yourself!

5. Not being aware of roaming charges
Staying connected comes at a price, especially when you’re abroad. All those overseas calls and data charges can add up, and getting slapped with a $1000 roaming fee in the middle of your trip can put a real damper in your mood.

What you can do: Contact your service provider to enquire about an international service plan. Travelling long term?Why not invest in a local SIM card? And if you’re really looking to scrimp, just hijack some WiFi from the nearby coffee shops/hostels/shopping malls to make Skype calls. Viola! Free communication!

6. Packing too much stuff
Airlines can get very particular about their baggage regulations. Most only let you check one carry-on onto international flights, but you can be charged up to $100 for each overweight luggage (ouch!) if you’re not aware of your belongings.

What you can do: Purchase extra baggage space if you know you’ll be bringing home more than you brought. Or nip it at the source and simply pack lighter! Leaving your non-essentials behind instantly opens up storage space. That means more room for souvenirs and overseas goodies!

7. Not getting insurance
We rarely think of the worst-cast scenario. But when something does go awry, ending up in a foreign hospital with no medical coverage is not where you want to picture yourself to be.

What you can do: Sign up for some travel insurance before you take off; you’ll be glad you did. Even if you don’t end up using it, it pays to be prepared than to deal with unexpected expenses.

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