The common mistakes travelers make that can easily be avoided
OFTEN, we take for granted the simplest traveling “rules” – and this applies to even the most seasoned of travelers.
While it is good to study the basic history, culture, and laws of your desired destination before you hop on a plane to go there, there are also some “rules” travelers need to live by.
Breaking the “rules” will result in silly mistakes that will cost you an arm and a leg and a whole lot of unnecessary inconvenience to fix while others will just serve as an eye-roll-inducing self-reminder.
You do not want to be that person who holds your family, partner, friends, or colleagues up just because you got yourself in a pickle during a holiday/trip.
“I am French citizen working and residing in Malaysia. Years ago, I was traveling to Vietnam for the first time from Kuala Lumpur. Because of my point of departure (Malaysia, and not France), I took for granted that I would need a visa to enter Vietnam,” 27-year-old Jules Martin told Travel Wire Asia.
“I was only reminded of it when I was sorting out my luggage and happened to see my passport two days before my departure. I had to scramble to get it done at the very last minute.”
“Had I not done that, had I chosen to pack mere hours before my flight, it would have been such a disaster!”
So before you get yourself in a sticky situation, you may want to keep the following in mind:
“I racked up a huge phone bill”
Sure, staying connected while you are far away from home is essential. However, if you are not planning on getting a prepaid SIM card with data, you may want to remember to switch your data roaming off.
“I spent one week in Singapore not knowing that my data roaming was switched on the entire time. Imagine my shock when my monthly phone bill came weeks after my trip and stated that I had spent close to RM2,500 (US$603) on just data roaming alone,” 30-year-old auditor Cai Hong told Travel Wire Asia.
“There was nothing I could do about the situation or dispute the bill. So I ended up having to cough up money – a lot of money – to pay for a service which I did not use.”
Protip: Just turn your data off entirely before you board the plane.
“I ran out of space for souvenirs”
Honestly, if you probably would not be needing 15 pairs of boxers, three types of jackets (because options), and five pairs of jeans for a week-long trip. Or five dresses, 10 tops, and four pairs of shoes, for that matter.
“I went to Tokyo for the first time, and it was mindblowing. There were so many things that I had wanted to buy, but my luggage was already bursting with seams with all my stuff,” travel blogger Nico told Travel Wire Asia.
“In the end, I had no space left for any souvenirs. Well, maybe enough only for the odd magnet or keychain. Regrets!”
Protip: If your destination is one that is highly popular for being a shopping haven (such as Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, or Seoul), you may want to travel with half-empty luggage.
“I was so broke”
The good thing is, most major banks allow for international ATM withdrawal thanks to the advent of the PLUS, Cirrus, or Maestro networks.
Whether you need SGD, IDR, RM, or THB, withdrawing moolah from an ATM is the easiest and cheapest way to get cash abroad. But that could go awry.
“It was not fun trying to sort out my ATM card when I was already thousands of kilometers away from home. I landed in Indonesia after a half-day flight thinking I had it all covered although I was pretty much cashless,” JW Chua told Travel Wire Asia.
“I had no cash to buy a prepaid SIM card with data and there were no free WiFi networks available. So the next best thing was calling long distance and being put on hold multiple times while my bank tried to sort it out for me.”
“It was not worth it.”
Protip: Just remember to alert your bank prior and give them the exact details, such as dates and destination, of your travels.
“I lost prized possessions in a five-star hotel”
Like all travelers who check in to a hotel, they expect to feel safe. This applies to the physical sense and the security of their belongings. Must more so if it’s an ultra-luxurious five-star hotel.
“I was traveling for business and had checked into a five-star hotel (which I will decline to name). I had a day-long seminar in the same hotel on one of those days and had left my wallet and tablet in my hotel room,” 40-year-old Colin Goh revealed to Travel Wire Asia.
“I guess it was just one of those times that I was not so lucky. The housekeeping came and left with my prized possessions. In hindsight, I should not have assumed that a five-star hotel equals honest employees.”
Protip: If your hotel room comes with an in-room safe (and most five-star hotels do), keep your valuables in there.