Travel Mistakes | New Travellers Should Avoid
7 Travel Slip-Ups All New Travellers Should Avoid
Reading time: 4 mins
Are you new to travelling? With some border restrictions still in place, gearing yourself up to go travelling for the first time can be daunting. Your trip can go wrong if you don’t plan out some details carefully. And mistakes can turn your trip into a disappointing and money-wasting experience.
Yes, some things may not go as planned – that’s inevitable! But, hopefully, you’ll be able to sidestep these risks and avoid some classic traveller pitfalls that could turn your vacation upside down! To help avoid potential setbacks, we’ve put together a list of (what we think) are the 7 common travel mistakes you should avoid whenever you travel overseas.
1. Not checking passport and vaccination requirements
Ensure your passport is not expired or close to expiring. For international travel, your passport must be valid for another six months (or more) before you depart. And of course, travelling requirements have changed in this pandemic era – some countries require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results at certain checkpoints – so be sure you have that on you. Good news is, with your Singapore passport, you don’t have to worry about visa requirements for 193 countries across the world!
2. Over-planning and booking everything beforehand
As a new traveller, doing your own research before travelling to another country is important for an enjoyable, accountable and safe trip. This means planning for accommodation and your travel route(s), plus booking tickets to local attractions before you fly – to avoid disappointments and help you save money. But, don’t just rely on what Google says or a travel agent. Sometimes it’s safer to leave room for change if things don’t go as planned – like in the case of a cancelled or missed flight!
3. Connecting flight scheduling mistakes
Stopovers are sometimes inevitable depending where you are travelling to. If it’s a long layover and you decide to head out of the airport, ensure you’re back at the airport at least 2 hours before your next connecting flight. If it's a short one, double check where your next boarding gate is and head straight there. If possible, when making your bookings, give yourself at least a couple of hours between flights to allow for any possible “delay” scenarios (flight delay, long customs line, long distance between terminals, etc.).
4. Overlooking currency exchange and overseas transaction limits
Some frequent travellers may advise you to exchange all your currency before leaving home. Others may say it’s better to withdraw from a local ATM in the country you visit. To avoid losing money due to exchange rates, do your research to find out what the current rate is, what your local banks are offering and what the foreign currency withdrawal fees are like in your destination country. Check if your bank has partner banks in the country you are visiting that won’t charge a fee every time you withdraw money from an ATM. And notify your bank beforehand of all the countries you will be visiting, so they don’t freeze your account if you end up using your credit card.
5. Over packing and carrying things you don't really need
Pack only what you need, and not what you think you’ll need. If you’re unsure about the weather, check online. Hotel amenities? Call/email the concierge before travelling. It’s good to be prepared for all possibilities but sometimes you may find that overthinking your packing list can mean that you’ll just be dragging a heavy load wherever you go. On that note, remember to pack your important medication and electronic devices, preferably in your hand luggage, so you don’t find yourself in an emergency situation with no way to call for help.
6. Not mingling with the locals
You should try to understand the culture of the country you are travelling to even before you board the plane. Once there, keep an open mind and observe the lifestyle of the local residents to create the best memories. Talk to the locals, try the local food, and ask around for tourist recommendations, deals or promotions that you may have missed. Remember, falling prey to overpriced tourist souvenir shops and fancy restaurants can quickly drain your holiday funds. You’ll probably find the same gifts and dishes at local markets and diners that’ll taste better for just the right price!
7. Not getting the best suited travel insurance
A smart traveller always buys travel insurance. It safeguards you against travel emergencies, including flight delays, cancellations and unforeseen medical expenses. Moreover, it also protects you against financial loss of personal possessions, money and travel documents due to theft or accidental damage. Thus, whenever you plan to travel, it’s always worth comparing quotes and paying a little extra for the right travel insurance. With the current pandemic, you should also ask about COVID-related travel cover.