If you’re heading out on vacation soon, you need to make sure you’re well-prepared. Unfortunately, so much planning goes into getting ready for a trip that some things fall through the cracks. Here are five common mistakes you should avoid before traveling:
1. Posting online
You’re super excited to go on your big vacation, so of course you spend the week leading up to it posting about it on social media. You may think this is a harmless activity – after all, the only people who are going to see the posts are your friends. However, failing to consider the reach of your social media posts (or perhaps the trustworthiness of your online friends) can land you in hot water. Thieves pay attention to local posts about vacations and use them to tell when someone’s house is going to be empty. Even if you trust your friends completely, usually social media sites let people see posts from friends of friends – it’s much harder to know that everyone you’re friends with online is only friends with trustworthy people, so it’s best to avoid it altogether
2. Researching lazily
Although there’s definitely something to be said for spontaneity on vacation, one of the worst things you can do is travel somewhere without doing your homework. You don’t need to plan every minute of your trip – in fact, overplanning can make your schedule too stressful. You should know enough about your vacation, however, that you can come up with plans for your day. If you don’t, you run the risk of having no idea how you should spend your time. Thorough research into the cultures and customs of your destination will also help you avoid accidentally offending anyone on your trip.
3. Forgetting to forward mail
This is another step travelers should take to protect their belongings back home. Whenever you’re going to be traveling for longer than a weekend or so, make mail arrangements – otherwise your slowly growing pile of letters might give potential burglars the signal that no one’s home. If you’re having someone come to house or pet sit, ask him or her to collect your mail, as well. If you haven’t asked someone to do this, or would rather not ask a friend to deal with your mail, you can have the post office hold it for the duration of your trip. When you return, you can simply pick your mail up at your local post office.
4. Neglecting your credit card
Very few things can put a damper on a trip quite like having your credit card frozen. Before you travel, call your credit card company to let them know where you’ll be. This is an easy step, but one many people forget. When they try to use their credit card, the charge comes up as suspicious and the account is frozen. While this can usually be resolved with a quick phone call, it’s better to make the phone call in the first place to avoid the whole problem.
5. Skipping language basics
If you’re traveling to a country that speaks a different language, it’s in your best interest to learn at least a survival level of that language. Although English is a fairly common language across the world, you can’t rely on the assumption that there will always be an English speaker around. Spend at least a month before your trip studying basic phrases in your destination’s commonly used language. If you’re going to a country that has many different dialects, try to learn whichever version is most widespread. Make sure you know how to ask for directions and day-to-day phrases like “please” and “thank you.”