Planning for a trip? Excitement fills the air as you lay out your itinerary, read about sites you want to see, and shop for necessary and sometimes unnecessary items you think you'll need.
Along with what to do, there ought to be a list of what not to do. That list can be equally useful in saving you time, money and frustration. I admit, I've been guilty of trying to do it all, but then the light came on and realized I was wasting time and money, not to mention some great experiences by not taking some practical advice.
Don't get traveler's checks:
There was a time...before the digital age...when traveler's checks were the safest and easiest way to carry money. Now they are almost useless, since few places will accept them, and of course the cost of money to buy them. In addition, don't exchange cash at the airport! Click here for more advice on currency.
Don't skip on travel insurance:
Sure, travel insurance is one of those "extras" we feel we can do without, and most of the time we can. Then something unexpected happens...maybe even before the trip starts, and Chances of getting a full or even partial refund, from the airline, cruise line or tour operator (after a certain date), are slim to none. There are many other things that can go wrong that travel insurance will cover, so that is why we stress it so much.
Don't forget to check the local tourist office when you arrive:
Most cities have local tourist offices that are sponsored by local entities, and should be one of the first stops you make in any city. They offer free advice on attractions, provide maps, discount coupons, advice on current events, and other useful information that you may not find in a guide book.
Don't eat at restaurants next to popular attractions:
There may be one or two exceptions to this rule, but let's face it, they know you are probably not coming back so there is little concern about price or quality. Instead of eating where the tourists eat, walk a few blocks away and dine with the locals. Not only will the quality be better (and more authentic) but the prices will be much better. And, since they cater to locals, they want to keep the quality up so that people will come back.
Don't forget to check your passports and documentation: