We all make mistakes, but flubbing your travel plans could cost you big time. Don’t blow your vacation budget on a goof you could have avoided. We spoke to travel agent Mary Jane Heibert, general manager of Holiday Travel Inc., in Steinbach, Man., to help you steer clear of these costly travel mistakes.
Forgetting to Buy A Service Plan For Your Phone
Using your cell phone in a foreign land without an international service plan – what we like to call “roaming without a net” – could be shockingly expensive.
Best Health Web Editor Melissa Greer recently travelled to Greece and Italy for a relaxing two-week vacay. She brought her phone and turned it on infrequently, just to check emails and send a few texts back home. The results? A $1300 roaming fee from her phone company. “I was shocked,” Greer says. “I didn’t realize that turning my phone on for 30 seconds would ever cost so much!”
The solution? Contact your service provider to inquire about overseas fees and packages for voice, text and data. If you’re travelling for a longer period of time, do what Heibert did while travelling in Germany: “I bought myself a German mobile phone because it was a lot less money than taking my Blackberry.
Losing Your Passport
Is there a bigger waste of time and money than spending your vacation tracking down consulates and misplaced documents? Still, this major goof happens to the best of us, and Heibert advises all of her clients to be prepared. Make two copies of your passport, leave one at home with a friend or family member and keep the other one tucked away in your suitcase. “If your passport is lost or stolen, take the copy to your consulate so they can trace the number, cancel the original passport and issue you a new one,” she says. Find contact info for the nearest consulate on this list of Canadian offices abroad.
Taking Too Much Stuff
Arriving at the airport with overweight suitcases could have you busting your travel budget before take-off. Most airlines allow you to check one bag for free on international flights, but you could be charged up to $100 per additional piece of luggage or overweight bags. “It’s wise to review what you’re bringing and think about what you really need and what you can layer and reuse,” Heibert advises. Regularly check weather reports for your destination to help determine what items you really need. To avoid an expensive situation at check-in, review your airline’s baggage regulations before you pack.
Travelling Without Medical Insurance
No one likes to think about worst-case scenarios when planning a fun time away, but it pays to be prepared for accidents. What if you wipe out on a back-country cycling excursion, or for the less adventurous, slip on wet tiles at the spa? Winding up in a foreign hospital without insurance can be a huge financial blow. “Your provincial insurance isn’t necessarily going to cut it, even when travelling in Canada,” Heibert warns. Make sure you have enough medical coverage and top it up if you’re not certain. Here’s hoping you never have to use it!
Forgetting to Call Your Credit Card Company
If dropping 200 euro on a purse in Milan is out of your regular shopping pattern (if it’s not, lucky you!), your credit card company may suspect fraud and suspend your card until you’ve confirmed the purchase. It’s comforting to know they’re looking out for you and all, but not having access to credit while abroad is a huge hassle that takes time away from your well-earned vacation. Avoid this situation altogether by giving your credit card company a heads-up that you’ll be travelling.