people on an airplane
The 8 common mistakes of travellers & how to avoid them

Missed your response and got stuck at the way station? Went to the airport and found that your passport has expired? Found a cheap hotel far from the city center and spent a lot of money on taxis and tickets? Here are some helpful tips to avoid the most common travel mishaps in the future.

1. Did you calculate the time between flights correctly?

It is not only the low price of a ticket that makes its purchase mobile. If you are going to your destination on a connecting flight, you need to be very careful about the amount of time you have left between the two flights, especially if you have to pick up your bag and check in again at the stopover. One and a half to two hours is fine for the whole process, but also to avoid stressing about a possible slight delay of the first flight. Of course, if you're flying with the same airline or with airlines that share common codes, these are usually calculated. The long wait at airports, however, is not in your favor either. Because, if you have saved 30 euros on the ticket and you stay in the intermediate station for five or more hours, then you are lost again: you will consume more and more in the expensive shops of the airport, but also your time that you will be trapped in a space that in more cases is too far from the city center.

2. When does your passport expire?

A classic mistake that even the most experienced travelers make. Buy tickets, book a hotel or apartment - most people do this more than a month before the trip - but take a look at your travel documents too. Because if you're traveling outside the EU, your passport is your most valuable document. And if you don't have it, you can't go anywhere. The issuance process or its renewal is relatively easy and fast, but in no case is it done from one moment to the next. It also entails a cost that you have to calculate, because, these days, 100 euros is not too much for anyone.

3. How close to the center is your hotel?

You travel to a big city and the central hotel costs, for example, 20 euros more per day than a cheaper one in a suburb. And you book the second one. Neat accommodation, at a good price. Good so far. So you arrive at your destination and realize that the nice hotel you have booked is two trains or half an hour away from the center by bus in the morning and a 15-20 euro taxi in the evening. Financial disaster. And a waste of time. So study. Especially if you intend to experience the night life of the city you will visit. And if hotels seem just right to you, there is now the very widespread solution of cheaper rental apartments. If of course you are not a night type, it is not a problem to stay a little further and quieter. You decide!

4. Will you manage to see all the sights of the city in one day?

Relax! Traveling abroad is to fill up with new images, knowledge and experiences, but we don't have to come back exhausted. Cities like London, Rome and Paris take days - if you want to see their countless large areas and museums - and if there is no time, they need a schedule. And just as you can't hold two watermelons in one hand, so you can't see the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Forum of Rome in one day. It's an exaggeration. And if you try, the fatigue of this day will probably be your strongest memory. Make a choice of the points you want to see most, plan visits to nearby attractions and... give the city a chance. Wander through squares without big names and tour neighborhoods owned by their residents. It's a good opportunity to see your destination with a different eye!

5. Are all these museums not that interesting to you?

There is no shame in preferring a "lazy" drink in a cafe near the Eiffel Tower to waiting in line for hours for a photo of the landmark tower of the City of Light. Neither is wandering the markets of East London since the last exhibition at the Tate Modern. After all, contemporary art may not be your priority and most people's 'must see' lists in London may not suit your interests. Quite simply, don't follow them. Think about where you want to go and what you want to see, study what is happening in the city you are visiting and make your own schedule. Only then will you return having truly enjoyed your trip.

6. Where can you find good food away from the usual tourists choices?

Even in Venice, one of the most popular cities in the world, it is now possible not to fall for it like a tourist. And we explain... There are now so many blogs and sites on the internet written by locals who recommend the best places for breakfast or lunch, for coffee or drinks, for shopping and entertainment - that is, the places where they themselves go in their daily life and which have good quality, and good prices. What could be more beautiful than to know a place from the inside! Away from queues and from coffees that cost 7 euros or mediocre meals of the order of 50 euros per person. So, do a good research, trust the locals, and the tourist crap (both outside and inside Greece) can be a thing of the past forever.

7. Do you choose a hotel only from the photos?

Big mistake. And in some cases fatal. Tripadvisor.com, the largest platform with traveler comments and reviews of accommodations and restaurants around the world, has shown the way. Don't make any reservations anywhere based only on the nice photos on the hotel site. Go to tripadvisor or read the reviews of previous customers of the accommodation on booking.com or any other site that makes reservations and then decide. All the big truths about the property that made you click are there. And they are reliable.

8. Where exactly is the airport where you will land?

Indeed, small and far from the center of several major cities airports are cheaper, but this does not necessarily mean that you will gain from the difference. Because if you ultimately want that much time and that much distance plus the cost of the ticket to reach your final destination (and if you happen to be traveling at night, you might even miss the last train or bus and end up at the small isolated airport), then the last thing you are is winners. Calculate everything in detail, because the success of a trip is ultimately judged in the details.

And there're many more mistakes, which you don't need to make...

• Don't be too disappointed with the local peddlers in the bazaars of the world, if they don't cut you another 50 cents from the souvenir that polished you. You won't be saved.

• Don't buy bulky items that will be difficult to take with you on the plane.

• As reliable as travel guides are, you don't have to follow them to the letter. If they were written two or three years ago, things may have changed at your destination.

• Close the bottles of shampoos, shower gels and creams tightly, because they may spill and damage your belongings. And of course, don't put wines in your suitcases, because you might receive your luggage with your clothes all red from the expensive red bottle that broke somewhere on the... road.

• No one cares to see 10,000 photos of your trip. Leave your digital camera for a while and enjoy the moment in the new place you have visited.

• At airports like London Heathrow, you should arrive at least two hours before your flight. It is so big (some exits are reached after a 20-25 minute walk), that you can easily miss your flight.

• A second pair of shoes - and much more flip flops in the summer - is essential on multi-day trips, so that you don't find yourself in front of an unpleasant surprise.

• Make sure you check roaming charges with your mobile phone company, so you don't have to pay too much on the way back. It is a pitty!

• Watch out for foreign exchange. Do your research beforehand. In London, for example, if you withdraw money from your debit card at a local bank ATM, you will be charged less than at the currency exchange offices at the airport.

• Even if you trust your airline (you go to check-in, give your passport or ID, they find your e-ticket and issue your boarding pass), it's a good idea to have a printed confirmation of purchase with you position and flight. You never know what might happen to their system!

gkoutsopoulos | 28.09.2016