I just ran across an article from NBC News Travel that spoke directly to me. I have made most of the mistakes listed in this article! I wanted to post their article here so you can prevent the same from happening to you.
Top 10 travel mistakes and how not to make them
July 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM ET
Stefano Rellandini / Reuters
A classic travel mistake is to stick to the beaten path. When in Venice, for example, sneak away from the popular squares and get lost among unforgettable neighborhoods most Americans never set foot in.
Even the dreamiest of trips can go off the rails when you fall into one of these all-too-common travel traps. We’ve been there—and we’ve brought back advice on foolproof booking, smart sightseeing, and making the most of every minute.
Even the most meticulously planned trip is subject to snafus, but with a little insider know-how, you can avoid making the common mistakes that can derail a vacation. Stick to the guidelines below, and you’re more likely to have a trip that’s memorable not for lost luggage and rushed sightseeing, but for the thrill of discovering a new place and savoring it.
Not booking enough connection time between flights
Leaving a window of at least an hour and a half between connecting flights will significantly drop your chances of missing your flight or having your luggage lost, says Sally Watkins, travel agent at Century Travel and Cruises in Austin, Texas. Having only 45 minutes to connect between flights might seem doable — not to mention the siren call of less lag time spent hanging out at a dismal food court — but it’s often not enough, especially in large airports where the gates could be far apart. Don’t rely on airlines to do the math for you, either: “Flights can’t be booked unless it is a legitimate change time according to that airport, and usually if it’s the minimum change time and airlines let you book that, they will make it work,” Watkins says.
Not applying for your passport early enough
Routine passport processing takes about four to six weeks, so as soon as you start planning for your trip, apply for a passport if you need one, or make sure the one you already have hasn’t expired. Plus, in certain countries you need at least six months’ worth of validity remaining to enter, says Elizabeth Finan, spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. (Go to travel.state.gov for more information.) If your trip is coming up quicker than that, you can shell out $60 to cut the processing time to two to three weeks, but if you’re planning to board a plane in less than two weeks, make an appointment at your local passport agency by calling 877/487-2778. The $60 fee still applies. If you’ve traveled so much you’ve practically worn out your passport, flip through it as a precaution: “Frequent travelers should make sure that they have enough pages in their passports,” says Finan. “For example, South African law requires travelers to have one fully blank visa page in the passport; without the requisite number of pages, you may be refused entry.” No one wants that.
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