I have to apologize again for the late post. I was tagged a while ago now by Michael of The Mobile Lawyer blog to make a post on all the avoidable mistakes I’ve made in order to help others out in their travels.
Well, the reason it took me so long is because I just couldn’t think of much! For the most part, I have been really lucky on my travels (*knocks on wood*) and have avoided many travel problems because of my anal retentiveness. Some mistakes I could have possibly avoided, though, are as follows:
1. Women, You Are Married – Even if you are single, or even if you have a boyfriend, you ARE MARRIED. Get a fake ring and flaunt it because telling interested parties that you have a boyfriend still means that you are technically “available”. I know that in some places this may not matter if you are a solo traveling female, but maybe it could help. And, maybe this could have prevented me from being surrounded by countless Kazakh border guards who then proceeded to snag my phone in order to steal my number (and then repeatedly call in hopes of a date). Yep, I told them I had a boyfriend, but when they asked if I were married and I said not yet, it was open market for them. Woops! READ MORE: When a border crossing goes wrong.
2. Triple Check Visa & Entry/Exit Requirements – Don’t just trust the one source you look at, even if is a reputable book or website. Requirements change, so be sure to ask around. Even though I checked a government website for Americans abroad before I went to New Zealand, it failed to mention the need of an outbound flight. When I showed up at the airport, I simply couldn’t get a boarding pass until I bought an outbound flight, which was seriously annoying at the last minute! READ MORE: New Zealand Visa Run Fun Fun
3. Be Sure Before You Buy – It’s a no brainer here. Don’t buy plane tickets, sign up for classes or agree to a homestay for x months until you are sure that is really what you want to do. I have made some hasty decisions on plane tickets in the past and ended up spending extra money to have dates changed because of changing plans.
In Guatemala, I paid for a month of Spanish lessons in advance and then felt bad asking for my money back when I left 1.5 weeks early (I just couldn’t take San Pedro any more – damn hippies everywhere!). So, I left the money because in actuality it was not that much to me, but so much to them.
Finally, I paid for a couple months of homestay with a Kyrgyz family that I later regretted because I really needed my own space. I waited this one out, but it was just a sticky situation. Weird random stuff happened all the time like my little host sister licking my arms and the mother walking in on me in the toilet. I also felt a little intimidated by my Judo fighting / military host dad who decided that showing me a video of him and his “Russian Delta Force” troop breaking bottles over their heads was a great idea for the first time we met. READ MORE: Meet the family.
Hopefully this post will help someone to think twice before making certain travel decisions! Happy travels.