Are you looking to plan a trip, but aren’t sure how to get started? Worried that you’ll make a huge mistake that’ll cost you?
Planning a trip can certainly be a daunting task for inexperienced travelers, but it doesn’t have to be so difficult. This special report highlights the most common mistakes made by new travelers so you can easily avoid them.
In addition, we’ll give you some helpful tips and travel “hacks” that will help you save time and money so you can enjoy an adventure of a lifetime without sweating the small stuff.
Planning your trip should be fun and exciting! Are you ready to get started?
Creating a Rough Itinerary
Decide what is most important to you during your travels. What landmarks or attractions are a must-visit? You’ll likely need to sacrifice a few of the places you want to visit if you hope to staywithin budget and time frame but it’s important to at least come up with a list of top priorities so you can plan accordingly.
Book Flights Early
The earlier you book flights, the lower your costs will be and the more options will be available to you. You’ll also want to make sure you leave enough time in between any connecting flights.
Book Hotel Rooms
Book your hotel rooms as soon as you have decided on your destination, even if only tentatively. That way you can rest assured that you have a place to stay while you continue researching alternative lower-cost hotel chains.
You’ll want to choose at least a couple of restaurants and make advanced reservations, especially if you plan to visit busy tourist areas or want to experience a popular restaurant. Use websites like OpenTable.com to manage all your reservations.
Book Tickets to Attractions
Once you’ve solidified your schedule, you’ll want to secure tickets to the main attractions. Usually you’ll save money by ordering online and printing off tickets prior to leaving for your trip.
While you may get lucky and score yourself a few last minute deals, typically when it comes to travel, the more in advance you plan, the more money you’ll save.
Regardless of what resource you decide to use, you’ll want to keep an eye out for hidden costs.
While many travel websites may seem to offer you the best deal, if you dig deeper you’ll often find additional fees that aren’t part of the upfront total, including resort fees, taxes and service charges. Quite often, once you add all those fees up you’re better off going directly with the airline or hotel chain.
You’ll want to make sure you do your homework on country entry requirements for the places you plan to visit. The last thing you need is for your trip to be ruined because you don’t have the right documentation to be allowed entry.
In addition, most countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months after arrival, so make sure you check the expiration date well in advance and renew it ahead of time, if necessary.
Further, some countries require verification that you’ve received immunization prior to allowing you entry, such as Africa and the Indian Ocean, both of which will ask for proof that you’ve been vaccinated against yellow fever.
Tip: Make copies of all important travel documents in the event you lose your original copies. Print these hard copies out and keep a copy on you at all times.
When it comes to accessing local currency, and making sure you are able to reduce your bank and international transaction fees, you’ll want to consider the most commonly used credit cards by seasoned travelers.
American Express Platinum Edge Card
This card offers:
• No international ATM withdrawal fees
• No currency conversion fees
• No fees on cash advances
Plus, they also offer you reward points for hotels and airlines.
The Charles Schwab Checking Account is also one of the most widely used cards by pro travelers because of its no ATM fees, no fees on foreign currency exchanges and no account minimums or monthly service fees.
As for whether you should buy foreign currency before your trip?
Travel expert, Rick Steves says:
“Resist the urge to buy foreign currency before you travel. Most new travelers feel they must have Euros or British pounds in their pocket before they step off the plane. The truth is, they’ll pay far more in exchange rates than if they simply withdraw money from local ATM’s.”
Further, he recommends avoiding exchanging money in Europe, claiming that you can lose as much as 15 percent. Instead, withdraw money from ATM’s as needed and plan your cash withdrawals wisely.
And finally, leave your traveler’s checks at home. Very few places accept them anymore.
Tip: Make sure you let your bank know about your travel plans so that your credit or debit card isn’t locked due to suspicious activity or potential fraud.