8 Common Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid

Date Jun 2, 2020
Blog category travel insurance
By Staff Writer


If you’ve recently made the decision to embark on your first overseas adventure, it’s only a given that you’ll do your research to prepare for a safe, fun and unforgettable trip. 


The problem is though, many travel writers will give you plenty of advice about the things you should do, but not necessarily what you shouldn’t do on your travels. There are plenty of mistakes that travellers can make on their trip - leading to lost time, wasted money and missed opportunities. 


Luckily, we’re here to help you avoid these common travel mistakes, allowing you to travel smarter, longer and cheaper. We’ve made it easy for you to get the most out of your travels - from giving you the tools to compare travel insurance to helping you get a travel plan ready and more.


Let’s take a look at the top 8 most common travel mistakes, and what you can do to make sure you avoid them!


Someone packing for their first travel adventure


Skipping travel insurance


As the saying goes - if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! No matter how well you plan your travels, accidents can still happen.


Travel insurance is a necessity when travelling - whether you’re heading overseas for the first time or you’re a well seasoned traveller.


Travel insurance gives you complete peace of mind that if something unforeseen were to happen during your travels, you are well protected. It will insure you for any travel related problems, such as delays, medical, emergency assistance or personal liability.


There are plenty of great value travel insurance deals out there to ensure you get a great price, and it’s worth its weight in gold if something bad were to happen while you’re travelling!


Putting trust in departure times


Even if you’ve booked in with a reputable and trusted airline, it’s common knowledge that all flights are prone to delays. When you’re organizing your travels, especially when booking flights, it’s important not to put all your trust in the proposed departure/arrival times.


You don’t want to have to rush to try and get to any connecting flights you may have, and you definitely don’t want the chance of missing it altogether due to a delayed initial flight. So keep this in mind when booking flights - allow plenty of time between any connections, as you can never predict when an airline (or the weather!) will delay your flight.


This is another reason why taking out travel insurance is important. If your flight ends up being delayed overnight, most travel insurance policies will pay for nearby accommodation.


Booking your trip too early 


It’s easy to get excited about an upcoming trip - perhaps to the point where you plan and book your flights and accommodation right away. But this is a very common mistake that will end up costing you more money!


When it comes to travel, the early bird doesn’t always get the worm - and in this case, it’s much better to wait for accommodation and travel deals to pop up. 


For your flights, it’s best to wait around three to four months before your trip before purchasing tickets. After this point, airlines begin to lower or raise their prices based on demand. 


If you’re booking a cruise, wait until the last minute if you can! As the cruise companies need to fill their boats and tours, they generally offer some great value last minute deals to fill the unused space. 


Not exploring accommodation networks


Depending on where you’re travelling to, booking in accommodation is likely to be one of the most expensive parts of your trip. One big mistake that is commonly made by travellers is that they only look at motels and hotels for accommodation.


While the idea of staying in a luxurious suite throughout your travels may seem appealing, it can account for a huge chunk of your overall expenses. And it’s not as though you’ll be spending much time inside while you’re on your overseas adventure!


In today’s world, there are plenty of other - more affordable - options for accommodation. If you’re a social person that enjoys meeting new people during your travels, staying at a hostel would be an ideal option. It’s affordable,  and easily allows you a chance to meet other travellers.


Using a bank card with fees


No one likes the idea of returning home from a trip, only to find that the bank has charged you heavily for using your bank card overseas. However this is a common mistake made by many first time travellers.


Before you travel overseas, it’s best to look into the details of any fees your bank may charge if you use your card outside of New Zealand. 


Make sure you get a bank or credit card that has no foreign transaction fees, so you can avoid any ATM fees or other surcharges that may come with using your card.


Otherwise, there are other options available to help avoid bank fees; you can look at getting a travel money card, travel credit card, debit card or simply use cash.


Overscheduling your plans


While the idea of travelling abroad is exciting, and you’re likely want to do and try many new things, it’s important not to overschedule your plans! Trying to do absolutely everything you can in a country never works out - and there’s always a next time.


It may be tempting to schedule several attractions or activities all in one day - but in truth, they will be much more enjoyable if you’re not rushing from one place to the next.


It’s important to have a bit of downtime during your trip too - allowing you to catch up on sleep and account for any jetlag you may end up feeling. If you’re not rushing through a tightly packed travel plan, you may end up discovering new places, events and activities by accident!


Not having travel documents on hand


No one likes to prepare for the worst - but if anything unforeseen were to happen while you’re overseas, having important travel documents on hand can make a world of difference.


Here are all the important documents that you should have on you at all times:


  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Travel insurance emergency contact number
  • Driver’s license
  • Relevant health/medical information
  • Travel itinerary
  • Airline tickets
  • Reservation confirmations (for your accommodation, tours, events etc)


As well as having a copy of these travel documents on you, make sure you have a copy at home and also a copy to give to a friend or family member who can easily be contacted. These documents provide vital information to the right people, should something happen to you on your travels.


Not saving money on travelling


Regardless of where in the world you’re travelling, and how long for, it’s only too easy for many of us to loosen our wallets and spend a bit too much. The reality is though, that you can have the same quality experiences without constantly reaching for your wallet.


In order to save money while travelling, a bit of forward thinking and planning can make a huge difference. Before you leave for your trip, make a travel plan and budget for your trip; calculate exactly how much you have to spend and allocate a daily budget accordingly.


By having a set daily budget, it suddenly becomes a lot easier not to overspend, as you’ll have to think carefully about each and every purchase you make.


Having travel insurance will ensure you are protected if the worst were to happen, but it won’t cover you if you end up overspending and running out of money!


Ready to start planning your travel?


By avoiding the above travel mistakes, you’re on the road to a stress free and well planned travel adventure. You’ve got all the travel tips you need to help you save money and find cheaper, and more rewarding travel experiences.


If you’re ready to start planning your travel, your first step should be to head over to our online travel insurance comparison tool. We’ll help you to find the latest and best deals from New Zealand’s leading travel insurers. It’s easy to compare and even easier to secure your travel insurance plan online.