We all make mistakes. But the thing is, we're the imperfect human beings and we should learn from them. For example, you can have some snafus when you travel, especially if you're a rookie. Even seasoned travelers have made a few mistakes once or twice.
As a result of these blunders, you can miss out on some great travel opportunities, add unnecessary stress to your trip, or, worse of all, end up penniless in a foreign country. And when you come back home, you'll feel like you need a vacation from this vacation.
But, in the meantime, it's rather easy to avoid some of the most common mistakes while traveling. For instance, you should always prepare for your trip in advance to have a plan of your vacation and know the budget you're going to need for it. You should know the visa requirements, roaming fees, and foreign transaction charges. And, of course, you should be open to communication and new experiences.
Of course, there're the thing you can't control. Your flight can be delayed, weather can suddenly go bad, or some other things can happen. But still, knowing the basics of traveling can do you a great help. You can make your trip error-free (or, at least, almost error-free) and enjoy it much more, if you only take some important details into account.
So let's see what the most common traveling mistakes are and how to avoid them to have a stress-free and exciting trip and save your time, money, and dignity.
25 Thinking That You Only Need A Valid Passport
Sometimes you need more than a valid passport for traveling. First of all, even though you can get a visa on arrival in many countries, it doesn't always mean that you don't have to prepare anything in advance. Very often, you need to fill in certain documents before arriving and you can't get a visa without them.
Secondly, a lot of countries require having a passport that will be valid six months after the date of your departure from the country you're visiting.
So check whether you need a visa or a new passport well before your trip.
24 Failing To Do Sufficient Research About The Country
Who likes culturally ignorant people? No one does! So better learn as much as possible about the culture and traditions of the country you're visiting, especially if you go to an Arabic or Asian country.
For example, if you go to India, you need to know that you shouldn't wear revealing clothes and you should also avoid public display of affection. For example, if you kiss your partner in the street, you can be fined.
Besides, learning about another country's culture, you show your respect and locals will appreciate it.
23 Overpacking, Or Packing Wrong Things
When you're packing for the trip, you want to take this and that outfit, these and those shoes, this and that toiletry, and also all this stuff, just in case. You think that you're going to wear and use it all. But half of these things end up lying on the bottom of your suitcase throughout your trip.
Or there can be another scenario: You end up with a well-packed suitcase of useless things, while everything you actually need remains at home.
Neither of these scenarios is good, so to pack wisely, you should think about your destination and the purpose of your trip. You'll need completely different things for a sea vacation to Florida and a hiking trip to Grand Canyon, won't you?
22 Failing To Check The Weather At Your Destination
Imagine that you're going to New York in summer. You don't even think about checking the weather, because you think that it can only be hot in New York in summer. So you pack only your summer clothes.
You arrive to your destination and, here we go, it starts raining on the second day. It rains for a couple of days in a row and it gets much colder than you expected. You don't even have an umbrella, let alone a sweatshirt you'd love to put on in the evening.
Always check the weather before packing and take a pair of socks and a light jacket, even in summer.
21 Not Having Copies Of Your Documents With You
You think that you're going to be vigilant and careful and all your documents will be safe. We all think so. Even those who end up without their documents think so.
At times, things go wrong. You may be robed at the most unexpected moment, or you may lose something important.
To avoid additional problems (and just to be on the safe side), always take the copies of all important documents. We're talking about the copies of your passport, visa, travel insurance, credit cards, etc. Pack them all and hope that you won't need them.
20 Not Taking A Power Bank With You
Thinking that you'll always have somewhere to charge your phone is a mistake. Imagine that you're hiking in the mountains and suddenly realize that you got lost. You take out your phone to check your location on the map and see that - oh, horror! - it's uncharged.
If you have a power bank with you, this situation doesn't seem so bad. You charge your phone in no time and use the map to find a place you know. But if you don't have a power bank, the day will be much more stressful than a vacation day should be.
19 Planning Too Much For A Single Trip
If you're going to a place, where you've never been before, you're likely to plan a lot, because you want to see as much as possible during your trip. And it's a good thing, since getting a lot of new impressions is one of the things you're looking for in a trip. However, if every single day of yours is filled with numerous activities, from dawn to dusk, your vacation can bring more stress than impressions.
Don't try to do it all in a single trip. Set realistic expectations and leave something for the next time.
18 Having A Too Rigid Schedule
Even if you don't plan too much for your trip, you can end up having a too rigid schedule. "Tomorrow we're going to visit this museum. And I don't care that we actually want to go to the beach. Tomorrow is planned for the museum!"
This attitude isn't a good one, especially when you're on a vacation. It's about getting some rest, not following a timetable. So be open for spontaneous actions and change of plans. Every day of your trip, do whatever you feel like doing and be flexible.
17 Forgetting To Contact Your Bank Before The Trip
First of all, you need to contact your bank to let them know that you're going abroad and might want to use your card there. The thing is that some banks will block your account if they see any "suspicious" charges made overseas. And you certainly don't want to find yourself with a blocked card in a foreign country.
Secondly, you also need to check your bank's foreign transaction charges. You should know all the fees for money withdrawal just to avoid being unpleasantly surprised with your card's balance.
16 Failing To Learn Your Roaming Charges
You should also call your mobile connection company to check your roaming charges. If you learn what's covered by your mobile plan, you'll avoid losing your money. In case overseas calls aren't covered by your plan, turn your data off as soon as you arrive. It's even better to put your phone into airplane mode, because otherwise you can automatically take some call, forgetting that you aren't home. Mind that you can still use Wi-Fi in the airplane mode.
If you need to use mobile connection, buy a local SIM-card. It'll be much cheaper.
15 Failing To Book Accommodations At A Decent Place
Always, always give a background check for the accommodation you're about to book. I can't stress it enough: always do it. Read the comments of former guests, look at the photos of rooms, and do a quick research on the place, where you want to stay.
If you don't do it, you might fail to learn in advance that this place has a weird owner, bedbugs or cockroaches, or that it's located in a bad neighborhood. The quality of your accommodation is very important, so be sure to check it out.
14 Forgetting To Budget
Before going on a trip, you should always count the budget. Otherwise, you may splurge everything you have and end up without any money in the middle of your vacation.
First of all, do a research of common prices in the country you're going to visit. See what the words 'cheap' and 'expensive' mean there and create your budget based on this information. It should include your accommodation, food, and the approximate amount you can spend every day. Be realistic and remember to add some unexpected expenses, just in case.
13 Underestimating Jet Lag
Whether you have traveled by plane before or not, you should never underestimate jet lag. Don't expect too much from yourself in the first few days after your arrival, especially if you're traveling to another part of the world. Most likely you won't go sightseeing right after your plane lands. You'll need to get some rest and sleep at first, and then your adventure will begin.
Again, be flexible. If recovering from a jet lag took too much time from you, think of extending your stay to account for it, if you can.
12 Booking Too Short Layovers Between Flights
It's very likely that you're going to take two or more planes to get to your destination. So when you book a transit flight, pay attention to the layover between your flights. It shouldn't be too long, because no one likes to spend many hours at the airport. It's boring and it'll also add on some more expenses.
But it also shouldn't be too short, because missing your flight is one the most stressful things that can happen on a vacation. So it's better to wait a little longer and, thus, be ready for flight delays, long lines, and the like.
11 Exchanging Currency At The Airport
Most airports all over the world have the worst currency exchange rate. You shouldn't fall for this trick and exchange all your money right after you arrive.
The best thing to do is exchange money for the currency you need, while you're still at home. You can easily research the rates in different banks and choose the best one. But if you can't do it at home (for example, when you go to India and can't find rupees anywhere), find better rates at your destination and use airport exchange only for the small amount you'll need to take a taxi.
10 Not Knowing Now To Get Around
So you have arrived to your destination country and now you're at the airport. What's the next step? You should know beforehand, whether you're going to take a taxi or save money and ride a bus to your accommodation. You should also know where it's located, at least approximately, and you absolutely have to have the address, not only the hotel name.
Besides, you also need to have all addresses and telephone numbers of people and services, whose help you might need. It can be the Embassy of your home country, police, ambulance, a local person you know, etc.
9 Having Cash Only Or Credit Cards Only
You should always have more than one mode of payment with you on a trip. There're a lot of reasons to it. For example, if you only take cash, you can run out very quickly, or you can get robbed (God forbid), and you'll find yourself without any money. Or, if you only take credit cards, you can run into some other problems, like cash-only payments, withdrawal fees, etc. So be sure to take both.
Besides, put your cash and cards into several different places. This way, if some of it is stolen, you're still going to have some more.
8 Sticking To A Tour Bus
If you want to stick to a tour bus, get ready to have the most boring and, at the same time, exhausting trip in your life. Just think about it: there're going to be people, who'll tell you when you need to get up every day, where you have to go, and for how long you can stay there. I don't know about you, but it doesn't sound like a good vacation to me!
Instead, plan a trip of your own. Don't only visit the popular tourist attractions everyone gets to see, but also check out the sights known only to locals. This way, your trip will be much more interesting and inspiring.
7 Traveling In High Season
If you travel during high season, you're destined to force your way through the crowds almost every day of your vacation. Beaches will be crowded and there will be huge lines to all attraction sights. In this case, you're likely to waste much of your time waiting for others to step back, before you can do what you want. Besides, prices for accommodation tend to get higher during high season.
So better plan your trip to a so-called shoulder season, when the weather is still good, but there're much fewer people.
6 Thinking That Another Country's Interstate System Is Similar To Yours
Let's assume that you live in the United States and can drive a 500-miles distance within seven or eight hours. If you expect it to be similar in the country you're visiting, you're likely to be wrong.
For example, due to certain peculiarities of the road system, a similar distance will be traversed within more than 13 hours in Australia. It's also different in the European countries, and it's absolutely different in India and other Asian countries, where roads are, ahem, not as good as American ones.
So don't only check the distance of your road trip, but also its duration to avoid unpleasant surprises.
5 Avoiding The Locals
Some travelers prefer to avoid communicating with the locals, thinking that they'll want to cheat them. However, not only is this not always true, but avoiding the locals is also a huge mistake on your part.
Communicating with the people native to the region you're visiting, you can explore the life and culture of this country at first hand. So go to a local cafe or another public spot, where locals hang out, and start communicating. Just be friendly and you'll learn a lot of insider information you'd never find in a guidebook. I assure you, you'll like it!
4 Speaking Only Your Native Language
Some people have a tendency to speak louder, when someone doesn't understand them, even though the reason is they speak a different language. Speaking up won't help in this case, but knowing some key words and phrases in the local language will serve you a much better service than only knowing English (or another language that's your native).
If you show any knowledge of the local language, it won't only help you get around. It'll also make locals fall in love with you in an instant!
3 Relying On Technology Too Much
Modern technologies are amazing. Having only your phone in a pocket, you have a connection device, a map, a book, a camera, and so many other things in one. But... what if it breaks or gets uncharged and you become deprived of all these things? This is when panic begins...
To avoid this situation, make sure that you don't have everything only on your phone. Get a physical map, write all the necessary phone numbers and schedules in your notebook, and take a business card of your hotel with you, instead of only taking its photo.
2 Being Unready To Try Something New
Some people remain closed-minded even when they travel. I personally met a European guy in India, who only ate one and the same dish in one and the same place every day, because he tried it once, kind of liked it, and was afraid to try something else. How boring is that?
Remember that being closed-minded ruins the very purpose of traveling. You go to a new place to get a new experience, so open up! Try local cuisine, talk to new people, and create the memories that you're going to cherish during your entire life.
1 Overindulging Yourself
Falling into extremities never ends well. If eating one and the same dish every day is bad, overindulging yourself to everything you see isn't very good for you, too.
It's absolutely understandable that you can find local food delicious and will want to eat more of it, realizing that you won't be able to do it at home. But be careful, because if you devour one large meal after another, you may feel very bad by the end of your trip, especially if you're used to eating healthy at home.
Savor the local cuisine, but don't eat too much and opt for healthier meals, when it's possible, and you'll be fine.