10 THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN YOU TRAVEL
Veselin Peev - 28/11/2019
Travel writers always talk about what to do when you travel. It’s all must-see attractions and things to do. Go here, do this, see that, act this way.
But what about all the things you shouldn’t do on the road?
There are plenty of travel mistakes travelers make that lead to wasted money, lost time, and missed opportunities. It’s easy to say what to do, but we sometimes to forget to mention the don’ts.
A lot of the old conventional travel wisdom (using traveler’s checks or booking early) is out of date in an increasingly digital and connected world. I believe that by not telling travelers “Hey, don’t do this anymore” we keep a lot of myths going strong. We insiders know the tricks, but unless we tell the general public, they won’t!
If you avoid these common mistakes, you’ll be traveling cheaper, smarter, and longer.
1. DON’T eat near a major tourist site
However, local, nontouristy restaurants must be high quality or else locals will stop going there. These places can’t get by serving slop. Instead of eating in a tourist trap, walk at least five blocks away from one. The further away you are, the more local, cheaper, and tastier the food will be. Avoid restaurants with glossy menus in multiple languages. That’s a sure sign of a tourist trap.2. DON’T exchange money at the airport
Never exchange cash unless you absolutely have to (and there are times when you have to). If you do need to exchange money, try to do so at a bank downtown where you’ll get better rates and fewer fees. But stick to plastic as much as possible.
3. DON’T bring traveler’s checks
Traveler’s checks are checks issued by banks for a predetermined value that allow the bearer to exchange the check for cash anywhere in the world. In the time before widespread ATM and credit card acceptance, it was the best way for travelers to have access to money without carrying a lot of cash. They are absolutely useless these days, with few banks willing to accept them and offering little protection if they are lost or stolen. There’s no need to use them anymore.
5. DON’T look at only US-based search engines
6. DON’T skip travel insurance
It may seem like a ridiculous added expense, but travel is about the unknown, and you never know what can happen on the road. You can break a leg, lose a camera, pop an eardrum scuba diving, or have to leave a country because of a natural disaster. Travel insurance protects you when you are overseas and shouldn’t be avoided — it’s the smart thing to get. It is there to protect you from both medical and non-medical emergencies.
The modern hostel is not just for cheap backpackers but also for those looking to be involved in a community. They are hubs for like-minded, travel-loving individuals.
8. DON’T avoid hospitality networks
Taxis are where budgets go to die — they are always overpriced. Skip them. The only time these are worth using is if you are splitting the fare among many people or need to get somewhere super late at night. Use public transportation as much as possible.
As they say, time is money and, since travelers tend to have more time than money, they save money at the expense of time. However, your time is worth something. It may save you $2 by walking instead of taking the bus, but if it takes you an extra hour to get to where you are going, is that really worth it? You may be able to save $30 by taking a flight with two connections, but is the savings worth it when you know you’re going to be miserable and arrive tired?
Budget travel is not a race to the bottom. It’s about being smart with both your money and time. Avoid wasting time as much as you avoid wasting money.