Destination I Do
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seven Common Travel Mistakes You Can Avoid

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Ellen Paderson
Photo courtesy of

With 17 years experience in the travel business, Ellen Paderson has seen it all. Whether you're a first-timer going on a Caribbean cruise or a veteran world traveler headed for Australia, she has compiled a list of "7 Common Travel Mistakes" that everyone can benefit from:

1. Take along your over-the-counter medications – Surprisingly they’re
hard to find abroad. If you do find them, they’re very expensive, especially on Caribbean islands. Bring your Dr. and insurance contact info, list of prescriptions and RX numbers, and carry your meds with you.

2. Check your Passport expiration – It cannot expire within six months of your return travel date.

3. Expired passport? Whoops! Take your confirmed itinerary to the immigration office and they will issue you a passport that day if your travel starts within ten days.

4. Check your flight schedule. The night before you’re scheduled to travel to
make sure flights haven’t been changed or canceled.

5. Leave enough time between connections - You need at least 90 minutes
to go through Customs, pick up luggage and recheck you bags before going on to the next leg of your flight. Note that leaving the U.S. you don’t need to go through Customs, but you do on the way back when you re-enter the country.

6. Notify your bank - If you’ll be using a credit or ATM card outside the US, be sure to let your bank know. If the bank is not notified, the ATM might keep your card, and your credit card may be declined.

7. Take comfortable shoes. To quote world travel expert Rick Steves, “Footloose and fancy-free is not so easy if you have the wrong shoes. Now is the time to start breaking in what you plan to wear on your next trip.” Take more than one pair of tested footwear in case a pair gets wet, torn or lost, or isn’t as comfy as you thought. Do you need hiking boots, walking shoes, sandals?

Paderson has earned many certifications, such as the Travel Institute’s ‘Destination Specialist’ designation, denoting that she meets the highest industry standards. She says, “Having a travel agent as your advocate can provide extra bonuses: To alert you of upcoming special promotions; to customizes a trip to fit any budget; and resolve problems before, during and after."

“People are going away to relax,” she says. “Why should they have to worry before or during their trip? Even in the down economy, people still save for that special getaway. I can find ways to help them travel and make their dollars go further – avoiding time-consuming or costly errors and headaches – so they can travel with peace of mind.”

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