When you get caught up in the excitement of planning and booking a holiday, it’s easy to overlook the red tape and requirements that help you to get there. Once you’re actually there, you can get caught out by different sorts of perils, so read on and make sure you avoid these common traps. Who knows, this could happen to you.
Finding out you have no valid passport or visa
Before you part with any money, make sure your passport has enough time left on it – some countries ask you to have at least six months on your passport, even if it’s just a weekend break.
Find out more about ensuring your passport is up to date here: Passport is a Plus
Some countries also need you to have a visa – if you don’t have one, you won’t be allowed in, no matter how much you beg, or if you’ve been there before. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) website to see what documentation your destination desires.
Not researching the accommodation beforehand
The internet provides a wealth of information on airlines, tour operators and hotels. By doing some initial research and looking for genuine customer feedback, you can help make a decision on where you want to stay and who you want to travel with. Another good tip is to see if there an unusually higher number of complaints already published the web, as this is normally a sign of a operator/airline/hotel to avoid. So for example if you were travelling with Thomson, you may want to search for Thomson complaints and see what has already been written.
Not getting vaccinated
This is no joke. Many countries have endemic health problems and diseases like yellow fever and typhoid. Most vaccines are available on the NHS and some you’ll need to pay for privately, but you will need them. Visit the NHS Fit for Travel website for advice and make sure you leave yourself at least six weeks before travelling to get your jabs.
Going without travel insurance
Travelling without insurance is incredibly foolhardy. The chances of you being in a serious accident and needing emergency medical treatment and an airlift home are slim, yes. However, you may lose your luggage, miss your plane, get mugged or drop your phone in the sea…to name but a few scenario’s that you could need to claim for.
I totally forgot about travel insurance when I went to Finland. Guess what, I broke my ribs then: When I broke my ribs in Finland
Being naïve about money
So to avoid extra costs on your travel money, for travel to most countries You usually get charged to withdraw money at ATMs overseas. It can also sting to use bureau de change kiosks and hotel concierges as they can have poor exchange rates, charge high commission and tack on extra charges. It’s always best to change money in the UK, and preferably not at the airport.
Then there’s the pickpockets – so don’t carry too much cash, especially as large amounts might not be covered by your insurance if lost or stolen. You should use travellers cheques, as they’re replaceable and you can use them in many shops and restaurants, or exchange them for cash quite cheaply.
Receiving an eye-watering mobile bill when you’re back home
Roaming charges are due to be scrapped in 2017, but that’s a while away yet. For now, phone companies can still sting you for data roaming (using the internet without using WiFi). Within Europe the rates are not too bad, but in some parts of the world it could be £8.00/MB.
To avoid this pain:
- Turn off data roaming and only use the internet if you’re connected to WiFi.
- Use offline tourist guides when you can.
- Inactivate automatic app updates.
- Don’t download any attachments on emails unless you’re on WiFi.
Sorted! Have you got any more tips to avoid common holiday pitfalls?
You should also check vaccination requirements – I recall visiting tanzania about 10 years ago and they required everyone to show they had been immunised against yellow fever – there were people checking immunisation records at the airport!