Top 10 mistakes made by tourists and how to avoid them when travelling

Top 10 mistakes made by tourists and how to avoid them when travelling

by Ashley Tan 25 Feb 2020

To ensure that your vacation is an enjoyable one, here is a compilation of the top 10 mistakes made by tourists that you’ll probably want to avoid when next you are on the road.


1. Forgetting to check your phone plan

In this tech-era, you definitely want to stay connected and contactable even when you’re overseas. There have been plenty of cases where travellers forget to check their phone data plans, and end up having to pay thousands of dollars for their data roaming fees. To avoid this, be sure to contact your carrier beforehand to check your phone plan. Alternatively, you can always purchase a local SIM card once you’ve arrived at your destination.


2. Not purchasing travel insurance

Any traveller should always subscribe to travel insurance plans, especially if it is a long trip. Travel insurance helps cover trip cancellations, delays, lost or delayed baggage and, in some cases, emergency medical expenses. Purchasing travel insurance is somewhat of a necessity, and as we all know, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!


3. Forgetting to exchange money for local currency

Forgetting to stock up on local currency will undoubtedly cost you. To avoid arriving in a foreign country without a single cent/yen/ringgit/baht to your name, always endeavour to change your currency at least 3 days before your trip. Alternatively, a credit card can also come in handy, though this option might not be available for students travelling with friends!


4. Not bringing your itinerary 

If you’re on a free and easy trip, planning an itinerary with fun-filled activities and booking reservations for restaurants and hotels are things that you would likely have ticked off your to-do list before embarking on your journey. The worst mistake to make would be forgetting to bring or losing a copy of your itinerary, which will undoubtedly put a damper on your plans. To avoid this, make sure to check beforehand and make several copies of your itinerary.


5. Not backing up your photos and videos

A photograph captures a moment in time, and a video preserves a memory for a lifetime. I remember the panic and heartache that never seemed to ebb away when I lost hundreds of scenic photos on an overseas trip with my family a few years ago. The only way to revisit those memories now is to deep dig within the crevices of my mental storage space. To avoid this, always remember to back up your pictures on a CD/DVD, or upload them onto sites like Flickr or Google Drive.


6. Leaving your valuables lying around

While Singapore is a generally safe nation, this is not the case in other countries around the world. Having to deal with stolen items is a frustrating hassle that you can avoid, simply by keeping your valuables with you at all times. One tip would be to conduct a quick check on your valuables every hour or so, just to make sure you have everything with you!


7. Storing your money in one place

As the saying goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Instead of storing all of your money in your wallet, try splitting up your cash into different stacks and hiding them in compartments of your bag and luggage. This way, in the unfortunate case that your money gets stolen, you’ll still have some reserves that will last you for the rest of your trip.


8. Being culturally insensitive

Instead of behaving like a typical tourist by taking a bunch of photographs or selfies, put your phone down and take some time to observe the cultural intricacies of the country you’re visiting. Having an open mind will also help you assimilate into the culture more easily without offending any of the locals, even if it may be unintentional.


9. Missing your flight

The consternation and anxiety that you’ll experience if you end up missing your flight is inconceivable, but it’s also totally avoidable as long as you double-check (or even triple-check!) your flight timings. Also, try to give yourself at least a few hours between connecting flights so that you don’t end up missing your flight because of the short transit time.


10. Refusing to let go 

Sometimes, unexpected situations may arise, which makes it seem as if all the tedious organising and planning that you’ve done has gone to waste. However, try to remind yourself of the reasons you decided to travel in the first place. If it was because you wanted to gain new experiences and try new things, then going with the flow instead of obdurately attempting to stick to your plans may not be a bad thing after all.


With these pointers, you’ll be able to avoid frequent mistakes made by tourists and enjoy a hassle-free vacation. If you’re doing some travel research, do look out for things like the location of your country’s embassy or hospitals. If things take a turn for the worse, it’s comforting to know where your safe havens are.