Common Travel Mistakes to Steer Clear Of
If you want to make your holiday memorable for all the right reasons and none of the wrong ones, it pays to take a little bit of advice on board – pun intended! While some of our tips are common sense (like getting InsureMore’s comprehensive travel insurance) others are not so obvious to rookie travellers.
We wouldn’t want to be accused by anyone of trying to teach our grandmothers to suck eggs, but these three points we bring up below bear repeating. And repeating. And repeating.
Get Comprehensive Travel Insurance
Just do, ok? If you ignore every other piece of sensible advice from this point on – which will (we guarantee it) be offered by anyone who has ever travelled further than their local chippy – don’t ignore this one. The world is full of travellers who neglected to get comprehensive travel insurance moaning, “shoulda, coulda, woulda”, after an unfortunate mishap on holiday. Don’t be one of them. You can and you should!
Not Leaving Enough Time Between Connections
While nobody wants an extended layover in a dingy airport, there is danger in booking connecting flights too close together. You might think you can disembark, sprint to a different gate and even have time to fit in a spot of duty free in 45 minutes, but it’s unrealistic, not to mention the possibility of unforeseen delays. Allow at least an hour and a half between flights; don’t argue, we know what we’re talking about!
Ticking Off the Tourist Traps
We all know someone who goes on holiday and fills up their social media feeds with pictures of themselves posing in front of iconic sites all over the world. That’s all well and good, and these sites are famous for good reason – after all, you really wouldn’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, we get that! But that doesn’t mean you should follow the herd and just tick off places because they’re the one you’re “supposed” to see. Explore, adventure, and stay curious – you’ll travel so much better with an open heart and mind.
There are plenty more mistakes that you can, and will, make while travelling, but if you steer clear of these three you will rest just that little bit easier!
Eating Authentically When Travelling the World
Even if your standard “at home” diet consists of meat and three veg with a takeaway curry on the weekend, one of the best ways to immerse in the culture and ambience of a destination is through the cuisine. Of course, there are plenty of horror stories about travellers falling ill while abroad, and even with the comfort of InsureMore’s comprehensive travel insurance to cover any medical expenses, nobody wants their holiday time curtailed by a bout of food poisoning! Our team of experts has come up with a few tips to help you athentically enjoy the cuisine while abroad.
Of course, we aren’t suggesting you entirely throw caution to the wind and start noshing down at a filthy street stall in India even the local dogs are giving a wide berth. Use your common sense, follow your instinct and give these tips a try (oh, and do make sure you get that comprehensive travel insurance!).
Look for the locals
Instead of following the Bermuda shorts crowd to the high profile restaurant with the English menu out the front, keep an eye out for the unobtrusive, smaller places with a mainly local clientele. Sometimes it’s just a matter of turning left instead of right down a tiny back street and suddenly you’re in a different world – one of delicious, exotic sounds and smells. It might mean you end up standing on a street corner with sauce dribbling down your elbows, or nudging shoulders with a posse of toothless old men in a tiny café, but it can also lead to the most authentic culinary experiences of your life.
Festa, Fiesta, Festival
The name may change, but the idea is always the same; a festival is pretty much a showcase of all things authentic, and it’s invariably a celebration of fun, food and local culture. After all, this is when the locals get their chance to display their “best of the best”, so put on your dancing shoes and your eating pants and hit the streets!
Foodies walking tour
Even the most timid traveller can discover the best local cuisine by booking with a local foodie’s walking tour. Make sure you do your research and choose one with a genuine local guide and you can head out on a culinary discovery tour. What’s best is all that eating is guilt free, as you’ll be walking off the calories! (Just make sure you have that comprehensive travel insurance we mentioned if you’re going to go “off the beaten track” a little on a tour.)
Don’t be a slave to habit and a timid palate, you owe it to yourself to open your mind and heart (and not to mention your mouth) and become less of a tourist and more of an epicurist!
Making the Most of Your Layover
As well as spending their working lives fine-tuning the perfect comprehensive travel insurance policies, the InsureMore experts spend quite a bit of their own time travelling the world – it’s why they know so much about so many subjects! Here’s what they’ve learned about making the most of a layover.
Unless you have a strange and curious penchant for uncomfortable seats and bad coffee, you probably don’t relish the thought of six or seven hours in an airport waiting for a connection. But it can sometimes mean a difference of hundreds of pounds in the cost of your ticket. Is it worth it? For some it will be a resounding no, but for those who don’t mind spending a more time in order to spend less money here are three suggestions.
Get Out and About
If your layover’s upwards of a few hours and the airport is not 50 miles from civilization, it might be worth jumping on a bus and taking a tour. While visa restrictions might prevent this in some cases, normally there will be provision for you to leave the airport for sightseeing. Here come the warnings: make sure you leave plenty of time to get your back to your connecting flight (allowing for traffic and re-entry through security), and ensure your comprehensive travel insurance actually covers you for that particular destination.
Sleep It Away
Never underestimate the power of a power nap. In some major airports (think Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore) you can rent a bed by the hour in a private sleeping pod. Even smaller airports are getting more savvy to the needs of travellers and many have comfy couches and lounges where you can curl up for a pretty satisfying kip. Do ensure your hand luggage is well secured before you nod off though – you don’t want to have to claim on your comprehensive travel insurance before you even start your holiday!
Get a Pass for the VIP Lounge
If you plan ahead, a one-day pass for your airline’s VIP lounge is an excellent way to while away a layover. Ever looked longingly at those lucky folks sitting just beyond the glass looking oh-so-comfy and relaxed, sipping on wine and nibbling canapés? Well you too can be king for a day! The privileges afforded VIP lounge members range from showers, free food and drinks, to free WIFI, movie screenings and rooftop observation decks.
As you can see from our three humble suggestions, as long as you have comprehensive travel insurance, there’s no need for a layover to be boring or wearisome. You can turn those empty hours into an opportunity to actually start your holiday early!
3 Top Additions to the Smart Traveller's Check List
Even if you’ve done it all a hundred times before, the old “keys, cards, passport, money” is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow when you’re ticking off items on your holiday checklist. But it when you’re heading to far off destinations (or even not so far off ones) your checklist really should be a little more comprehensive. Travel insurance, registering your plans with the embassy and setting up a blog are just three of the things the well-travelled experts from InsureMore think you should add to the list.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
Come on, you know it’s true – and you also knew this was going to be number one on our list! But don’t just trust us on this; try Googling “do I need comprehensive travel insurance” and sit back and wait for the horror show to begin. Stories of disappearing luggage, stolen passports and six figure medical bills are frighteningly common. It’s human nature to think “it won’t happen to me,” but the point is, is can and does happen – every day, all over the world, to people just like you. Don’t end up as a Google “top ten worst” story. Get comprehensive travel insurance. End of story.
Register Your Plans With the Embassy
We all love to be spontaneous and we’re not advocating you set each and every one of your travel plans in stone, however you should never underestimate the importance of registering your plans with the British embassy at your destination. You can do it online or in person and it means that you can be contacted in the case of a family emergency, civil disturbance or natural disaster. It’s simple and it’s smart.
Become a Blogger
Blogging is a brilliant way to show all your friends and family back home what you’re up to without having to spend your entire holiday on Facebook or sending emails. Head to a simple free blog site like WordPress or Blogger and it’s a cinch to set up your very own personal website to upload photos and share as much (or as little) information as you like. You never know, you might even score a book deal if your adventure is epic or interesting enough!
Of course, everyone’s personal travel checklist will be different, but we reckon these three tips apply to everyone – no matter whether you’re backpacking through Bolivia or flying high in Dubai.
Must Have Travel Apps for Your Holiday
Let’s face it, when you travel, plenty can go wrong – it’s why here at InsureMore we advise you to always take out comprehensive travel insurance. But with the help of a few (often free) apps for your Iphone or Android, our experts reckon travelling can be made that little bit easier. They know their stuff (and not just about comprehensive travel insurance) and they think these three are pretty nifty.
While some people take the opportunity to leave technology behind when they head off on holiday, the savvy traveller knows that throwing your mobile phone and tablet out of your pram and declaring yourself “off the air” doesn’t actually work to your advantage a lot of the time. Sure, lying on the beach in a resort in Tahiti is more conducive to “pass me my Strawberry Daiquiri” than “pass me my buzzing BlackBerry”, but when taken in moderation, technology can actually prove be a pretty sweet travel companion. We’re still searching for the “Pass my Daiquiri” app – if you find it, let us know.
This does what it says on the tin – and don’t we love that! You can track the path of any international flight (very helpful if you’re meeting up with companions) and get all the information you could possibly want, including departure and arrival gates, and the bane of the traveller’s life, delays and cancellations. (Just make sure you also have comprehensive travel insurance to cover your mobile device!)
Pin Pin ATM Finder
What’s worse than realising you can’t live without those fabulous shoes you find in an Istanbul market? Realising the vendor only takes cash and you don’t have any local currency on you! No problem – just use this handy app to locate the closest ATM machine and you’ll be flush with Lira in no time.
Hello Hailo! If this isn’t the best thing since holidays were invented we don’t know what is. This genius app uses GPS to bring taxis to you! Tap on the cab icon and, just like that, your knight in shining duco will be on his way to whisk you to wherever you want to go.
The key to making the most of the myriad travel apps out there is – everything in moderation. Only download genuinely useful ones so you won’t be tempted to waste time and data when you should be enjoying your holiday!