Imagine ... you go on a holiday and it turns out to be a nightmare due to the fact that you did not prepare for it as you should have. Find out 58 travel mistakes to avoid.
Not making a packing list.
List all the items you need (many travel checklists can be downloaded from the internet).
Not checking travel documents.
Is your passport still valid for the duration of your stay abroad? Do you require a visa? If so, have you applied for it? Do you need to get vaccinations? You don't want to plan and book your journey and then find out that you won't make it on time to renew your travel documents, isn't it?
Eating at restaurants that are near a well-known tourist attraction.
They are more expensive and their food might taste half as good as in other places. It is known that many tourists would be visiting the location as it is, thus, the focus might not be really on the quality. Also watch out for restaurants that have multilingual menus with glossy images. They can usually also be considered as tourist traps.
Not doing your research when it comes to exchanging money.
Make use of currency conversion websites (e.g. https://www.xe.com) and find out what the current rate is. Then check out different places (eg. post office, bank, exchange bureaus etc.) and see where you can get the best deal. At airports usually you will get the worst exchange rates! Using an ATM or credit card could also give you a good deal. Exchange cash only if you really need to, otherwise use plastic as often as possible.
Using a bank and credit card that charges foreign transaction fees.
Just get one that does not charge any such fees. This way you avoid surcharges and other ATM fees.
Don't just rely on Google when looking for flight tickets.
There are other websites that feature smaller budget airlines and offer better deals. For example, Skyscanner, Momondo or Google Flights.
They might have the reputation of being unclean, smelly and bedbug-ridden, but that's not the case. Nowadays they are often cleaner than hotels and offer a lot of amenities. If you want affordable accommodation and still be surrounded by a travel community, give it a try!
Ignoring hospitality networks.
If you want to have the opportunity to mingle with locals and fully immerse in the place you are staying at, this would be the best alternative. Check out: Couchsurfing, Servas, BeWelcome, WarmShowers.
Using unknown third-party airline websites,
unless the savings are substantial.
When booking directly with an airline you will get guaranteed support, when it comes to delays or cancellations. Bear in mind that this isn to always the case with third parties; the process can be tedious and cost you lots more money if you need to rebook.
Not considering Travel Hacking.
It's worthwhile signing up for a travel credit card. These can often include welcome offers, free flight or free hotel stays.
"Collect experiences and moments, not things!"
Don't ignore the sharing economy.
There are lots of apps or platforms out there that help you to travel cheaper and better, You can connect with local and enjoy a more authentic trip. For example: BlaBlaCar, EatWith, TrustedHousesitters, Euro, Campspace or RVShare.
Skipping the local tourist office.
There you might find better and updated advice than in guidebooks. For example, where there are deals, what to see and do, giving out maps and discount cards.
Booking your trip too early.
For tour groups and cruises for example, you should really wait until the last minute. In order to fill unused space (no boat wants to leave half full!) companies offer great last-minute offers.
Usually they are always overpriced and take advantage of you being a tourist (not knowing the area and those choosing longer routes to get to your destination). However, it does make sense to take a taxi if you split the bill among other people or if you need to get somewhere late at night. A better alternative would be to use a Uber (or its equivalent). If no bus or train is available, you might consider checking out BlaBlaCar. It's comparable to Airbnb but for cars. You look for someone who drives to your destination and pay a small amount for it to join them.
Carrying expensive items.
Jewellery, cameras and other electronic items can become the attraction of pickpockets. Be careful if you really have to take them along (put them in the ........., otherwise it would be better to leave irreplaceable items at home or in your hotel safe.
Taking unnecessary things along.
If your wallet has lots of cards (work passes, loyalty cards etc.), consider which ones you really need. Leave anything else you don't need at home. The same is valid for keys. Just take your housekey along.
Leaving your luggage unattended.
Never rely on strangers to look after your stuff, even if it is just a short visit to the toilet. Take always everything along with you.
Underestimating the time when going through security.
Make sure you are there on time and consider that when you travel during school holidays, queues might be longer. Many people have missed their flights because they didn't give themselves enough time to go through all the border and security checks on time.
Not double-checking your visa details (for countries where it is required).
In the past, people have spoilt their holidays because they didn't pay attention to their visa details. Mistakes with regards to their names or other details have been issued the wrong way.
Forgetting to check your cell phone plan.
You surely don't want to end at your destination and then having to realise that your phone doesn't work or you lack the appropriate SIM card. Find out in advance and get it right.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
Not factoring in time zones into your trip.
Don't miss oversea flights because you have forgotten to consider the time zone change between your current location and the airport you would be flight out of.
Ignoring the local language.
Instead, make an effort and take the time to learn some basic phrases in the local language. This will help you a long way. There are many apps and tools out there which can help you, such as: Duolingo, Google Translate, Deepl, etc.
Neglecting to organise your trip.
Often certain sights require advanced booking. If you wait until the last minute for it, you might miss out on great opportunities and experiences. Thus, plan in advance and check out where you need to book and where you can just walk in.
Ignoring local customs, traditions and laws.
If you don't know the cultural aspects and laws of a country, you might offend others or even get in trouble for it. Let me give you some examples: Did you know that if in Singapore you chew gum, you could face a fine of up to $100,000 SGD? There is a law that prohibits this. In Japan certain nasal sprays are illegal. In Portugal you are not allowed to pee in the sea, and in Trinidad and Tobago, wearing camouflage is banned. Thus, make sure you do your research and you know exactly what is allowed and appropriate and what is not allowed in a country. YOU DO NOT WANT TO END UP IN JAIL!
Don't tell too many people that you are on holiday.
You don't want to invite thieves to rob your home while you are away, isn't it? Sharing too many pictures on social media, will let people know that you are not at home, unless you share them once you are back at home. Think about it!
Oversharing pictures on social media.
Enjoy your trip and don't be glued to your phone and social media. Remember, it's holiday time! Take a digital detox. Soak in the sounds, the tastes, the sights and the smells of the place while you are there!
Not reading the terms and conditions of your travel insurance
(if you got one).
If you decided to get travel insurance (for losses, medical emergencies, delays, ets.) make sure you know exactly for what you are insured and for what you are not insured to avoid further disappointments.
Forgetting to pack your phone charger.
Having to buy one will cost you additional money and waste additional time.
Running out of money.
Always keep your budget in mind and don't overspend. At any time you might face unexpected expenses. Therefore, always keep a reserve in mind, too.
Don't keep all your money in one place.
Remember, if you lose it, it's all lost! Instead spread the money and keep it in different places. make sure you remember where you put it!
"Once a year, go someplace you have never been before."
Not reading the visa form correctly.
How bad would it be if your trip would be cancelled just because you did not use the right ink in filling out a form, writing outside the box, giving the wrong travel dates, etc.
Picking up the wrong luggage.
You might notice that most suitcases are either black or grey. Thus, make your suitcase stand out so that you can easily spot it and avoid that someone else takes it accidentally. You can attach a coloured ribbon on the handle or buy a suitcase with an unusual pattern.
Filling up your hand luggage with too many liquids.
Remember, liquids such as gels and pastes must be kept in containers no larger than 100ml and packed in a see-through plastic bag. This should not exceed 1 litre in total. With regards to medical liquids above 100ml are only allowed if you carry your prescription. However, in hold luggage unlimited liquids are allowed.
Not checking the weather forecast.
Knowing what the weather will be like, will help you to pack the right clothes and plan to see the right sights at the right time, considering the weather conditions.
Getting to the wrong place.
You might be used reaching a place only to find out that there is another place with the same name in the same city. Thus, always check the correct post code and address to avoid any misunderstandings and disappointments.
Packing bulky toiletries.
Most hotels (if you choose that type of accommodation) will provide you with soap, shampoo, body lotion etc. as it is, therefore there is no need to pack those items. If you choose other ways of accommodation, you should consider putting certain toiletries into smaller bottles. Another alternative would also be to buy them once you reach your destination and take only your. basic personal care items with you.
Just relying on travel guides.
Travel guides can give great advice. However, they might not be the most updated resource. You should therefore consider talking to locals (they know for example if new restaurants or sights have opened) and watch YouTube videos where people share their experiences.
Never leaving the place.
If you just stay at the same resort for all the time you won't see anything else. Thus, find out what nearby tours can be undertaken. Enrich your experience and explore what else the place has to offer. Try to mingle with other travellers or locals, seeing new places adds always value to your travel experience. Why missing out on it?
Ignoring other travellers' reviews.
I must say, it might be tricky to distinguish the real reviews from fake reviews (which nowadays are present!). Knowing what rating is trustworthy and not will always be a challenge. However, get an idea of what others have to say so that you might be warned in case things turn out bad. Compare the company's photos with that what people have to say. For example, the hotel might boost about their pool, but reviews tell you that the temperatures are always very chilly. Thus, watch out.
(For adults:) Drinking while flying.
Remember that drinking alcohol dehydrates you and hits you more at altitude. Instead drink plenty of water and don't start your holidays with a hangover!
"Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show."
Using public wi-fi.
Using free wi-fi hot spots, can make you vulnerable to cybercrime. If you need to use wi-fi, make sure you access only password-protected networks and on't share any sensitive information. Also avoid checking your bank account.
Leaving your belongings on transport means.
Whenever you take something out of your bag, put it back straight afterwards. people often put their phones in the seat pocket on the plane and then forget about it. The same is valid when leaving items in hotel rooms, on buses or taxis.
Not making copies of your documents.
You can also take screenshots with your mobile phone of all the relevant documents, such as passport, travel insurance, hotel booking, flight tickets, etc. In case something gets lost, you have at least an e-version to show. You might want to do this also for your safe code (in case you stay in a hotel).
Not considering nonstop flights.
By booking nonstop flights you minimise the number of problems you might face and reach your destination quicker.
Showing off your wealth (jewellery, big photo cameras, etc.).
By doing so you invite unnecessary attention.
Tucking in your wallet on your back pocket.
Carry your wallet close to your body in a place that can't be seen by others. For example, inner pockets of your trousers.
Not locking the door of your accommodation.
No accommodation and no country can guarantee 100% security.
Not putting your contact information on your luggage.
Thus, mention your contact information on the inside and outside of every bag that you carry. If it gets lost, the finder of your bag will know where to send it to (if the person is honest).
Not rinsing drinking glasses before using them.
When you reach your hotel, make sure you rinse your drinking glasses before you use them (you can never be too sure whether they were cleaned properly or not). Also give the TV remote a swipe.
Not doing your general research about your destination.
Are you sure that the country you are planning to travel to is safe? What you checked current affairs, possible threats, crime rate etc.?
Not preparing properly when using a hire car.
If you decide to hire a car, make sure: you check out the weather, road and traffic conditions for the time you are underway. Wear a seat belt, be fit and don’t feel tired, know on what side of the road you need to drive and carry your driving licence with you. Avoid travelling by night, ensure your phone is charged, don’t exceed the speed limit. Also, do not drink, talk or text while driving. Having a sat-nav in your car would surely benefit you too.
Not informing loved ones where you are.
Always make sure you inform others (at home) where you are going and how they can reach you.
Not taking a flashlight with you.
You might have this feature on your phone, in that case you don't need to take an extra torch with you. If your phone is not equipped with it already, take a small pocket torch with you. You never know when it might come in handy.
Wearing headphones or AirPods on the road.
You might be distracted and not realise what is going on around you.
Being unaware of who is picking you up.
Do your research about the person that is supposed to pick you up at the airport or any other place. If you can't find anything, ask for information. Inform your close relatives about the person too (just to be on the safe side).
Placing your luggage on the bed.
Bed bugs might end up on your luggage which you will carry back home. Surely something you want to avoid. Thus, the best place for your luggage would actually be the bathroom.
Ignoring useful apps.
There are so many useful apps out there that can help you make your travel experiences more positive, easier and hassle-free. On example, the app called myCWT offers speed dial assistance. Check it out!
Packing your clothes the wrong way.
If you want to make the best use of your space in the suitcase, learn how to store clothes and other items in a space-saving manner and more effectively. There are lots of videos available where you can learn how to do it.
If you know someone who could also benefit from this article,
please feel free to share.