Published on February 15th, 2013 | by Jordan

Five Mistakes to Avoid While Travelling

Even the most experienced, worldly traveller has run into their fair share of speed bumps. Whether it’s something as simple as losing a wallet or as nerve-wracking as getting lost in foreign terrain, just about all long-time travellers have an unfortunate story or two to share. We’ve consulted some of CAA’s most knowledgeable travel experts to hear their take on which travel mistakes are not only the most common, but the easiest to avoid in this brief but informative travel guide.

Do your research

Do your research

Thanks to the internet, researching your next vacation has never been easier.

There’s a lot that needs to happen between saying “I’d love to start travelling” and actually doing so. If you’re not thorough, you could wind up in a less-than-desirable situation; poor accommodations, unfriendly locals, environmental concerns and more can easily ruin what you thought would be a picture-perfect vacation. Between picking your dream destination and actually booking your flight, keep the following in mind:

Check to see if there are any travel warnings associated with your chosen country. Unless you’re glued to the news, it’s impossible to know what’s happening all around the world at any given time. CAA’s knowledgeable Travel Consultants are well-versed in matters such as these and can provide relevant and trustworthy opinions on just about any destination in the world!

Review the resort/hotel on multiple sites and find vacationer photos to get a better idea of where you’ll be staying. We’re not implying that professional hotel or resort photos shouldn’t be trusted, but it’s important to get a less biased perspective.

Find out whether or not North American travellers should immunize themselves against illness. This one’s pretty straightforward; better to know beforehand than suffer the consequences.

Avoid cell roaming

Without a roaming plan, it’ll cost ya.

Everyone knows to disable roaming, switch to airplane mode or turn off their phone entirely when travelling, right? Surprisingly, these precautions often slip many travellers’ minds. And where you’d once be able to get away with it more-or-less unscathed, today’s internet-enabled phones are constantly (and we mean constantly) using cell data to pull in everything from Facebook messages to sports scores, so it’s practically impossible not to feel the effect on your next bill should you forget to play it safe. Remember, if you haven’t contacted your service provider to request a roaming package, take the above steps to ensure your phone does not connect to foreign cell towers.

Travel Medical Insurance

We’ve all heard stories of unfortunate travellers who slip, fall or otherwise injure themselves while on vacation. Without travel insurance, they’re often faced with insurmountable medical bills or potentially worse. But though travel medical insurance can help minimize the damage incurred from out-of-province medical bills, it’s important that their forms are filled out thoroughly and without error. Recently, two Canadian seniors were stuck with a bill for $100,000 after making a seemingly small error on their initial application form. Cases like these should stress the importance of not only getting travellers insurance, but ensuring every section of the application is completed correctly.

Credit cards

If you get into a money emergency (or just plan on doing some shopping), having your credit card handy overseas is important, especially since it’s not wise to carry cash. But be careful – if you don’t alert your card issuer of your travels, any activity from a foreign country could trigger their fraud department to deactivate your card. To avoid this, simply call up your issuer and let them know where you’re planning to travel.

Baggage fees and overages

Too many heavy bags could wind up costing you.

If it hasn’t already happened to you, chances are it’s happened to someone you know. Over-packing your luggage is easier than you might think, but more common on your return trip if you’re doing any shopping. Above all else, try to pack light; the simplest way to stay under the limit is to give yourself as much of a buffer as possible, and that starts in the bedroom when deciding which pairs of shoes to bring with you. And as you should already know, weigh your luggage before heading to the airport. It’ll spare you the embarrassing balancing act that is moving content from your checked bags to your carry-on.

Remember, whether you need expert travel advice or comprehensive travel medical insurance, CAA SCO’s expertly-trained staff can assist you. To learn more, simply visit our website or stop by your local CAA Store.

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