Travel Tips: Avoid the Top Mistakes Travellers Make

Be prepared before you travel and save yourself both headaches and a lot of extra costs?

Credit: nhanusek

Stricter luggage limits mean you should check your weight before heading to the airport to avoid extra fees

You can save yourself a lot of stress — and, in most cases, money — if you’re conscious of some top mistakes made by travellers today.

Just a few extra minutes of close attention can ward off some of the worst headaches that can plague people during their travels.
 In general, this means planning ahead of time and anticipating future hiccups so that you can prevent minor details from becoming a major pain when you’re already on your trip.

Review Your Itinerary before Your Departure

First, it’s so important to review every detail of a reservation you make, whether online or offline. If you find a problem, be sure to do something about it right away. Even the smallest typo in a name should be corrected. You’d be surprised how a single incorrect letter can cause you major problems later. Call your travel agent or airline immediately to get the problem fixed and you’ll avoid serious hassles down the road.

Check Your Luggage Weight

Next, before you leave the house, double-check your suitcase. Do you really need eight pairs of jeans for a one-week vacation? Most airlines now have a luggage weight limit and if you exceed it, you’re going to have to pay, significantly.

Check Your Rental Car

You should always also take the time to inspect your rental car thoroughly before taking it off the lot, and ask for a sign-off. Be sure to note any damage, even the smallest ding or dent. This will save you from ultimately being blamed for someone else’s damage when you return the car and an inspector notices a scratch.

Purchase Travel Insurance

I recommend insurance above all else, and it’s imperative that you don’t make the mistake of forgoing it for your next cruise vacation. If you have to fly to a departure city, like Miami for instance, there’s never a guarantee your flight will get there on time. If you end up having to cancel the cruise portion and you’re not insured, you’ll be out the cost of the cruise.

That being said, you don’t have to go with the first insurance policy you’re offered by your cruise line. Shop around before buying cancellation insurance and get a few quotes before settling on a policy.

Understand Your Credit Card’s Policies

Another common mistake travellers make is not being familiar with how their credit cards work. Does your card charge foreign transaction fees? Be sure to check the fine print in your card member agreement or call the company’s customer service department and you could save yourself some money.

One more thing many people don’t realize is that when booking tickets with an airline based outside North America, you could get slapped with a transaction fee of upwards of $50. Look into matters like this ahead of time and you could be saving yourself from an unpleasant surprise on your next trip.

More Tips for Smoother Travels

Here are a few other things to keep in mind before your trip to ensure smoother travels:

  • Make a pre-travel checklist of all the things you need to do before leaving to ensure nothing critical gets forgotten.

  • Place your contact info inside and outside your luggage in case your tag gets pulled off.

  • Weigh your luggage at home to avoid a shock at the check-in counter (and, of course, an accompanying fee for exceeding the weight allowance).

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.