Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays from Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays
Travel Mistakes Everyone Makes During the Holidays
Holiday travel can be super-stressful for a myriad of reasons. It’s peak travel season at most destinations, and as a result, many airports are in total chaos. Between making sure all your necessities are packed, reservations are made and gifts are taken care of and navigating your entire party through the airport, it’s very easy to slip up and make a mistake that could end up costing you time, money, or even just peace of mind. Since it’s likely peak travel time in your area or wherever you’re headed, it’s especially important that you pull out all your tricks to getting a cheaper hotel room and landing a cheap flight. You want to make sure you’ve planned out your itinerary so that you don’t miss any of the top attractions or amazing local holiday activities — but you also don’t want to book in advance where it’ll cost you. The holidays are the perfect chance to relax and spend some quality time with friends and family, so the less you have on your plate, the more enjoyable your vacation will be. In order to minimize all mishaps and any stressful situations, make sure you avoid these travel mistakes that everyone makes during the holidays.
If you want to save money on clothes while you’re away or avoid paying baggage fees for overweight luggage, don’t fold your garments as you put them in a suitcase — roll them. There is lots of air between the clothes when you fold them — space in which you can fit two extra pairs of shoes or a week's worth of underwear. Don’t take up extra room with toiletries if your hotel provides them.
Avoiding Big Chain Hotels
Save yourself some time and search for rooms in hotels with familiar names. Small boutique lodgings don’t offer as many deals as big chains, Becky Hypolite, travel agent and owner of Crystal & Clear Travel, says. “They also don’t vacuum as often, which means a higher chance of bed bugs,” she adds. “Make sure you read reviews on rooms.”
Booking a Flight on the Wrong Day
“The best time to book a flight is on Tuesday night or Wednesday early morning,” Ivy Chou, travel expert at DealsPlus, says. “And the best time to fly is on a Wednesday because it’s farthest from the weekend,” she adds. “Companies want to push sales.” The timing is similar with hotels. The heaviest travel days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Sunday and Monday after. High demand means high prices.
Booking Tours in Advance
“I personally never book in advance unless it’s something very specific like a wine tasting with a 5-course meal,” Hypolite says. If it’s something general — like a ride on a double-decker bus — buy a ticket when you get there. “This is how you get the most bang for your buck,” she adds. There are a lot of options, and booking ahead makes it hard to exchange or cancel without having to pay extra.
Not Asking for Discounts
Don’t be shy; you can save yourself a lot of money. Not finding a good deal online doesn’t mean one is not available. “Travel agents do 98 percent of the sales again,” Hypolite says. “Between Priceline, Expedia, Kayak, etc., companies have no idea what you really want.” Agents aim to match or even beat their prices, she adds, getting you a good deal.
The only aspect of travel over which you have full control is your luggage. Don’t check bags because then you’ll have to spend more time at the airport and away from friends and family waiting for it at the carousel. Many people pack too many clothes but end up wearing a pair of jeans or two and a few tops. Besides, checked bags often get lost. Also, by packing light you can save money on baggage fees.
Flying During the Day
There are a handful of benefits to flying at night — typically lower rates, fewer delays, less crowded airports and the potential to sleep through the flight — but what many people don’t realize is that there are also fewer delays during the morning. After analyzing 6 million flights, experts recommend avoiding flights between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. to dodge delays that get worse as the day goes on.
Not Bringing Your Own Entertainment
Charge all of you electronic devices and download all of the movies, shows, videos, music and games you know you’ll be watching, listening to or playing. You can’t count on the airport or airline’s Wi-Fi, which is often not free and and may be slow. Don’t waste a minute being annoyed; it’s not good for your health.
Not Checking In Online
Make your time at the airport minimal. Head straight to the security check line. Make sure you print your boarding pass if you have to. Not all airlines give you the option to board the plane by scanning your ticket from your phone. Sign up for flight alerts to be notified if there are any changes to your flight.
Wrapping Gifts in Advance
The TSA has a lot of rules, and you may be unlucky enough to pass through a security point where the agents are very strict. If they ask you to open the presents so they can see inside, you have to do it. Also, know what you cannot carry in a carry-on, just in case. The TSA recommends that passengers place presents in gift bags or wrap gifts after arriving.
Forgetting to Drink Water
Traveling tends to dehydrate you, which can wreak havoc on your body. It’s important to keep water on hand. Staying hydrated will help you feel better when you land, keeping energy levels up. Dehydration dries your skin and causes muscle cramps, headaches, bad breath, fatigue and bad mood. Don’t do any of these to yourself. Bring your own bottle and refill it often to save money.
Booking Tickets Over the Phone
Time is money. So when you call the airline to book a flight, the travel agent will charge you a fee. It usually is between $15 and $35. Calling your credit card provider to book a flight – with your reward points or not — will also cost you extra. New air bookings made by phone are additional $39 per ticket, according to AmEx Travel.
Using Your Miles
Using your miles to buy a ticket may seem like you’re flying for free. But some airlines have constraints. According to Airfare Watchdog, using your miles may cost you $75 for “last-minute,” which can vary between 20 days to three days before the flight date. Plus, you’ll also have to pay the airport and fuel fees. In the end, depending on where you’re going, you may have to pay the same amount as if you were not using your miles. You might as well save them then.
Bringing Your Own Toiletries
If you take them with you, you have to check a bag. Most airlines will charge you at least $25 — it can sometimes even reach $75, especially if you’re using a discount airline — for the first checked bag. Most hotels have shampoos, soaps and conditioners in the rooms, free for you to use as you please. Even buying a small-size shampoo or body wash at a local store will be less than $25.
Not Planning Any Activities
Making vacation plans and getting ready to stoke your wanderlust have been scientifically proven to improve health. The largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. If you’ve heard of the expression “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” this is what it means. Also, having a plan will save you time looking for what to do and places to go while you’re supposed to be having fun.
Not Talking to Locals
Do you want to go to secret locations only locals know? Be nice to them and make friends. Unspoiled and almost empty beaches, forests, valleys, camping locations and hiking trails may be within a few miles of where you’re staying. But you may be missing out because you were too closed-minded and only read the travel brochure.
Not Being Impulsive
The unexpected experiences often end up being the most fun. Plan as much as you can, but leave some room for maneuvering. What if you knew you were going to visit a museum but didn’t like it? Don’t endure it for another minute and leave. Go hiking, BASE jumping, or surfing. Don’t eat cheeseburgers all the time because “you know what’s in it” — instead, try exotic cuisine. Avoid the tourist traps and enjoy a real adventure.
Staying in Tourist Areas
It’s easy to be carried away and misled when you visit a place you have never been before. A quick Google search usually suggests the most popular sites. More people visit the recommended locations, resulting in overpriced foods and services. This is not to say that you should avoid popular destinations such as Paris, Rome and London. Go on an adventure and get lost! These places have a lot more to offer than the unpleasantness that invariably comes with huge crowds
Not Buying Travel Insurance
Holiday travel is famous for long delays, bad weather and canceled flights. Travel insurance will reimburse you if you need to change your flight or cancel your trip altogether. It also covers any items that may have been lost during delays. It usually costs around $20 per trip.
Not Buying a Holiday Package
This option is very convenient if you don’t want to worry about anything during your trip, including how to get to and from the airport. Tour operators have that covered. If there is a delay or the flight is canceled, they have to figure out a way to deliver what you pay for. They either make new arrangements at no cost to you or give you your money back.
Not Bringing Copies of Important Documents
Your passport, credit cards and hotel reservations are very important documents of which you should have a copy in case the originals get stolen. They can be used as proof that you actually made a reservation so you won’t sleep on the street and/or that you are a citizen and can enter the country.
Being on Your Phone All the Time
People are addicted to their cell phones. It’s a bond that is not easily broken, especially with so many Instagrammable spots around you, but you should do very best to enjoy yourself and look up and around you instead of at your phone. Disconnect from the daily hustle and bustle and don’t miss any magical moment while on a holiday. To truly unwind and relax, you can vacation at a destination where there is no cell service at all.
More From The Active Times: