Nearly endless resources are available to help you plan that next big getaway. Travel guides, blogs, and apps, each offer different views on globe-trotting. It’s become so easy to learn about popular destinations, when to travel, what to eat, and must-see attractions. But what about common travel mistakes and pitfalls that can turn an otherwise fun trip into a stressful situation? Below you will find a few things you can do to make your next trip a little more stress-free.
HAVE A GENERAL PLAN
Before you leave, make an outline of what you’d like to do on your trip. Map out a few things in advance, like activities, points of interest, and best places to eat. You’ll have less anxiety once there, and have fewer doubts that you’re missing out on something.
Planning for how you’ll get around is also a confidence booster. Weigh your options among using local public transportation vs. renting a car, and get to know the layout of where you’ll be visiting.
KNOW LOCAL COSTS AND CURRENCIES
Spending money can be fun, but also stressful, especially if you are not sure about how much you’re really shelling out. It’s not uncommon to shop in situations where prices aren’t marked. Being quoted a price at the checkout counter can be unnerving if you’re unsure about values. Take a few minutes before your trip to lookup exchange rates online and make a “cheat-sheet” showing what the foreign equivalent would be for major denominations in your own currency. To give myself an idea of what a different currency was buying me I would compare costs such as, the cost of tooth paste, or the cost of a gallon of milk. That way I can tell if my money was going further or not.
ENSURE ACCESS TO FUNDS
There’s nothing scarier than being locked out of your bank account when you’re in a foreign country. This happens to travelers more often than you’d think, as banks have tightened security to fight fraud. Before embarking on your trip, give your bank and credit card merchant a heads up about your travel details. Many banks and credit card companies allow you to do this online by setting up a travel notification. If you will be using a major credit card issued by a credit union, ask that credit union if they use a third-party fraud company to monitor their customers’ charge cards. This is imperative because you may have notified your bank about your trip but your bank may not have necessarily notified their fraud department. If this last step is not taken you can easily be locked out of your funds.
While preparing for a trip is a big plus, be careful about taking it too far. Scheduling every hour of every day leaves no time for unplanned events like a delayed flight. Add some padding to your schedule for a slower pace, making your vacation more relaxing. Depending on your length of stay it is a good idea to leave “free” days between days that have activities.
Use these suggestions to inspire you to visit new places, live new experiences, and create new life-long memories that truly stand out in your mind.