Exiting the country for the first time is exciting, and feels profound. That first stamp on your newly printed passport is a victory, the first step of an amazing adventure. While standing in line, waiting to clear customs, you finally come to realize that you are in fact standing in another country. But some travelers get clouded by the allure of free travel, and fail to make the necessary preparations for a successful destination date. Here are the biggest travel blunders, that first time travel-daters tend to make:
The U.S. Passport is not an all access pass to Earth. Some first-time travelers are surprised to learn that they don’t have access to some countries with just their passport alone. Destinations like India, China, Brazil and other South American countries require visas and/or proof of vaccines upon arrival. So don’t risk getting stopped at the border, do your homework before you leave!
Never entrust your entire wardrobe and/or most prized possessions with an airline. Chances are, your bags will get lost and you will be stuck in Cabo with out your bikini. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Always pack at least one change of clothing, and two pairs of shoes. More if you can!
If you didn’t clear your card for use overseas before you left, you might lose access to your accounts on first swipe. Make sure you phone your bank and let them know where you are traveling so they won’t suspend your accounts for attempted fraud.
Do you know how much it costs to call the US from Rome? Or instagram yourself in front of the ancient ruins? Find out before you leave, or your roaming data charges could add up to more than your monthly rent. Most mobile phone providers have international plans you can temporarily opt into, all you have to do is ask.
Sure, he (or she) bought your ticket. But that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to your trip in any way. Don’t travel with out a single dime to your name, always be prepared for a misstep, financially or otherwise. If you are traveling somewhere and another language besides your native language is spoken, don’t depend on your companion to speak for you. Pick up a guidebook, or a pocket translator and learn as much as you can.
You should never leave it as “Hey, want to meet me in Paris?” “Ok, see you there!” Take the initiative to get to know your date, offline, before you jump on a plane to meet them. Skype. Facebook. Run a background check. Facetime. Speak on the phone. Make sure you are clicking, and safe before you make plans to meet up. Things will be less awkward if you do.
If you are flying out of the country, chances are, you will be experiencing a bit of jet lag, with a dose of “change in time zone”. If you live on the west coast in the U.S., traveling to London will set you ahead 8 hours. So don’t make the mistake of not sleeping on the plane, unless you want to sleep all day and stay up all night. Plan ahead for a change in time-zone, your body will thank you.
Have you made any of these mistakes?
What other mistakes do first-time travelers make?