26 Common Mistakes Most Tourists Make On Their First Trip (And How To Avoid Them)

Traveling to a distant land, engulfed in mystery, might be a fantastic experience, but it can still provide equal amounts of risk as well; and no, it doesn’t matter how well planned and executed it is. Much like in life, you can’t prepare yourself for situations that are beyond your control, can you?

You see, sometimes traveling is more than just a few joyful weeks, it’s an immense responsibility, almost a burden on one’s shoulders. Surprisingly, though, both experienced and rookie travelers might fall victim to this “vicious cycle” of travel blunders. But the good news is that most of these flat-out silly travel mistakes are preventable.

Sadly, though, there’s still one tiny percentage of moments, such as getting your luggage or laptop stolen in a minute of negligence; however, if you try to keep your eyes peeled for suspicious individuals, you’ll undoubtedly decrease the risk of it.

Experience, so they say, is life’s best teacher; however, we believe that you can learn these lessons the easy way. From being scammed to having your credit card denied, here are the most common travel mistakes you will no longer make.

26 The Apartment/Studio You Rented Doesn't Exist

Via TheJournal.ie

Here’s what might’ve happened: either there was no apartment at the address, or it came with somebody already in residence. Worst still, neither of the two know about such an insane possibility, especially the passenger, standing at the front door with a suitcase.

Those images of the chic apartment with deluxe amenities you saw at a bargain price were all lies. Apparently, the reality of it was somehow twisted. According to traveler.com.au, rookie travelers often fall victim to such scams, but there’s a good batch of strategies to arm you against it. Next time you come across a seemingly good deal, don’t get hooked on the first positive reviews – they might be fake as well. Instead, contact the owner, ask them a few questions about the place but never pay in advance for such “exclusive” offers.

25 Your Passport Expires, And You Had No Idea

Via WorldStrides

Having an expiring passport is, indeed, one of the worst scenarios that might play out at an airport. According to the most basic regulations, passports must be valid for at least six months before the return date. But if your passport expires sooner, you’ll most certainly spend the night at the airport, wondering how to fix the mess. Interestingly, traveler.com.au reported about a passenger whose passport expired in seven months but was also denied boarding the plane. Surprisingly, there were also cases when passengers were wrongly denied boarding.

What’s our advice?

Next time you’re off to somewhere nice, google it – but make sure that the info comes from reliable sources, such as the government’ official website.

24 You Thought You'd Score A Low-Cost Last-Minute Flight

Via Fun For Louis Map

Alright, it could’ve been it, but frankly, it’s precisely what any naïve (and rookie) traveler would do. Realistically, though, there’s no such thing as mega cheap last-minute flights, especially to Europe. Besides, air travel doesn’t work like this, and it certainly doesn’t get any cheaper as the flight time approaches. Airlines usually release their fares almost a year in advance. This means that the low-cost ones are generally the first to go, followed by the ones that are a little high up the “price ladder,” traveler.com.au shares. By the laws of supply and demand, the more you wait, the more you pay at the end.

23 Didn't Leave Your Pricey Handbag At Home

Via South China Morning Post

It’s terrible, and yet it’s happened: your fancy handbag just grew legs and ran for the hills except handbags neither run nor grow legs. Overly expensive accessories and sparkly items turn you into an easy target to thieves, traveler.com.au shares. If you insist on being a show-off at the airport, you might as well want to have “Rich” tattooed on your forehead. But if that's not the case with you, the smartest thing to do is to leave the bling at home. Also, when using public transport, always get your back against something substantial. Otherwise, you might quickly have your handbag stolen without realizing it.

22 You Imagined You'd Be Seated Next To Your Partner

Via Travel + Leisure

No, this is not how it works on airplanes unless you’ve pre-booked seats – meaning that you’ve got to pay extra for the luxury of being seated together, traveler.com.au shares. Generally, though, most people don’t pay extra money, so they end up scattered throughout the cabin. Well, it’s only a few hours flight anyway, so it can’t be a huge problem. But it still might ruin somebody’s expectations, especially when traveling lost distance. There’s one way to solve the problem, but its success entirely depends on the kindness of strangers.

If you and your partner sit just one seat apart, ask the stranger whether they’d like to reposition themselves. Even if they refuse to do it, you’ll know that you’ve tried all you could in the name of love.

21 You Thought Roaming Services Weren't Expensive

Via The Verge

Roaming charges have long been a money-sucking black hole. Of course, you need your smartphone to survive the long-haul flight; however, be smart and use it to check your emails once or twice. But do not get immersed into Facebook’s endless timeline and wind up with a thousand-dollar bill in the end.

Tip: turn off data roaming before heading off, traveler.com.au says, or you’ll end up with a nice bill for using global roaming services. For instance, Telstra’s Data Pack starts at about $30 for 100 MB as other telcos offer excellent deals as well.

20 You Miscalculated The Time You Had For Sightseeing

Via Washington DC

We get it – you want to explore as many places as possible even in a tight timeframe. But this mindset isn’t going to help you much. There’s no point in rushing it when you can take your time and enjoy the beauty of the place you're at.

Besides, you can’t see everything even if you think you can, traveler.com.au advises. Itinerary overload equals throbbing headaches in the long run.

What's our advice?

Get more organized and try not to pack Monaco, Nice, and Cannes into a sprint – it would add massive amounts of stress and drama that nobody needs on their trip.

19 You Thought You Needed That Fifth Pair of Shoes

Via Zimbio

Shopping at a new destination is such a tempting moment that we’ve all experienced once or twice in life. But realistically, we rarely ask ourselves whether we need another pair of shoes, jeans or whatever it might be. Well, it’s not like shopping is terrible, but it steals your time when you can do better things instead. Also, there's a big chance that these new items will never see the light of day; therefore, you'd better put them back on the shelf and not let them weigh you down financially. According to travel.com.au, the best approach to fashion is to pick a simple color scheme and patterns that match at least 60% of the outfits.

18 Not Having Checked The Location Of The Vacation Rental

Via Dragos Roua

This is yet another colossal travel mistake that most travelers make, although it’s a bit ridiculous. Limit yourself to 2-3 backpacks, especially when you know there’s a long-haul flight ahead of you. Upon arrival at the destination, most people realize that they haven’t checked the exact location of their vacation rental. Also, what if the apartment is positioned on the sixth floor, and there’s no lift in the building? Indeed, this would be a total nightmare, especially for the ladies who’re always tempted to pack their whole house for the trip.

Tip: Before booking a hotel/apartment, find out more details about its location, amenities, etc. Otherwise, you might end up hoisting the heavy luggage up a dozen flights – it won’t be a fun experience for sure.

17 Didn't Know There Were Two Airports At The Destination!

Via aarp.org

A great example of a gorgeous city with two airports in Milan, Italy. Now imagine that you’ve just flown into Malpensa; however, your next flight happens to be out of Linate. Similarly to any other big city, Milan is also home to two airports, traveler.com.au reveals. At first you didn't think that this could be a problem; however, the two airports appear to be about 70 km apart. What’s worse – the shuttle bus takes an hour and a half to get there. Tip: if you can afford it, let an expert (a travel agent) take care of your bookings to avoid unpleasant scenarios.

16 The Rental Car Has Been Damaged (But It’s Not Your Fault)

Via AutoSlash

Sadly, the unthinkable has happened, but you still swear that you’ve got nothing to do with it. But now that there’s a problem – a dent on the hood of the rental car – and you’re about to get charged for the damages. How come? Well, you might be sure that the car was in a perfect state after you gave it back to the rental company, but it’s their word against yours.

How to avoid it: take a few photos of the vehicle before taking it for a spin as you do note any damages it might already have. Also, make sure that you do it during the day – it’d be a lot more challenging to collect all these details at night, traveler.com.au notes.

15 Going Home With An Overweight Luggage

Via MarketWatch

Somehow you’ve gone beyond the 15-kg allowance for checked luggage on the way back. It’s quite an interesting place to be, especially when nothing was wrong when boarding the plane. In many countries, the allowance for luggage might be different, traveler.com.au says, and everything that goes beyond the limit gets charged. After all, most airlines make a good profit out of these ancillary fees, so do not be shocked to learn that they rely on them. But most interestingly, the costs per kilo could be pretty high at some airports. No wonder why most airlines are more than willing to apply the rules rigorously.

14 The ATM Rejected Your Credit Card, So You're Out of Money

Via VideoBlocks

You’re not the first (or last) tourist who's experienced such a terrible moment. Believe it or not, ATMs are entirely different in many countries. In some places, they might require a 6-digit code while yours only consist of four digits, traveler.com.au reveals. Sometimes it’s precisely the other way around. In either case, you will not be able to use the ATM, which is, indeed, a bit frightening. The worst scenario, though, is when the ATM blocks your credit card since the bank might suspect fraudulent activity. All of these theories share the same scale of terror, and there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re wise enough, you might want to have a backup card safe in the hotel room.

13 When Locals Don’t Speak English

Via IMDb

Sometimes we all forget that many people still don’t speak English, and it can affect the vacation to a certain extent. In Italy, for example, almost nobody speaks English, except Milan’s downtown area where restaurant and hotel owners require it as a skill when hiring new employees. There’s another theory that points to the fact that the most patriotic countries, such as Germany, refuse to speak English. All in all, the expectation that every street merchant or taxi driver will understand you can make you fall on your cultural face. What to do then? Well, according to travel.com.au, all of these modern phrasebooks, and language apps are an excellent way to get your tongue around a specific language.

12 You Think That Destinations Don't Change, Only People Do

Via YouTube

Well, guess what – things change, places evolve, and sometimes the change might even surprise you a little. Remember that cozy bar & grill where you ate like a horse for less than $10? Well, that place is long gone. Now there’s a lavish resort hotel with a private beach that once was as empty as a desert. But most interestingly, you’re certainly a different person now, so instead of being nostalgic, go with the flow.

For future adventures here, though, traveler.com.au advises us that it’s always better to return to a place without expectations. Because when you imagine what it could look like now, you might wind up being totally disappointed.

11 You Don’t Understand Or Care About Cultural Norms

Via Reddit

One of the most common mistakes tourists make is to neglect a country’s cultural norms. For instance, a quick run to the supermarket might not require a specific dress code, but a visit to a city’s significant edifices, including cathedrals and all the like, certainly does. Even some posh restaurants and business class lounges require dress standards, traveler.com.au says, Also, before heading out, consider your footwear choices as well.

If you’re in a country like Italy, play it safe and grab a pair of sneakers – otherwise, the cobblestones will hurt your feet badly. You see, dressing appropriately isn’t always about applying to some rules but about feeling comfortable in your outfits.

10 You Think: "Oh, No! This Is The Third Time I've Driven Past This Building!"

Via Twitter

This one is quite hilarious, but it also contains equal amounts of truth.  Well, when you're going around the city, chances are you’ll be caught up in traffic snarls more than once. According to traveler.com.au, you’ll most certainly get lost thanks to the nagging sound of the GPS navigation. Additionally, an old city’s medieval laneways weren’t correctly made for traffic. Another thing that could be annoying is when the GPS instructs you to make a U-turn when you’re clearly on a one-way street. But ultimately, you don’t get to experience such a rush of adrenaline every single day, do you? But on a more serious note – use the city’s public transport system. Leave the car at the hotel and explore the nearby attractions on foot.

9 You Think You Saw It All - Now It's Time To Go Home

Via Veditalia

Just because you’ve visited two of the city’s major tourist attractions doesn’t mean that you’ve conquered the place. For example, if you’re on a trip in Paris, and you wonder what’s worth exploring there, make some time for Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, but don’t forget to stop by other jewels, such as Berthillon shop on Ile Saint-Louis. According to traveler.com.au, most tourists often neglect the other less famous tourist attractions, although they might be just as beautiful and exciting as the Notre Dame. So, when exploring a new place, do not put all of your trust into a guidebook – it’s not the word of God, nor does it feature all of the best sights and landmarks.

8 You Misjudged The Weather

Via Tokyo Cheapo

“Wow, it's not even 4 pm, and it's already dark outside!” Well, that’s what usually happens in London around wintertime. Furthermore, the sun sets even earlier than that on the shortest days (around Christmastime), traveler.com.au shares. Therefore, if you’re used to visiting sunny places, where everything looks more beautiful, London might not be for you. England’s winter sky is rather cold, misty, and it rains more frequently. Actually, the typical European weather can also be quite daunting as well.

Since the weather doesn’t allow for many outdoor activities, the only option is to spend your time at museums, galleries and all the like. But is that how you wanted to spend your exciting trip?

7 You Always Fall For Fake Brochure Pictures

Via thelogicalindian.com

Perhaps the hotel owner forgot to show the pictures of the broken tiles around the swimming pool. But the more realistic scenario is that he didn’t want to. Photos lie, and this is how it is with most low-cost hotels and resorts. Also, when it comes to photography, it’s the owner’s job to present the property as a perfect vacation spot. But whether it deserves the price per person is a whole different story. When the hotel lacks all sorts of luxury, it opts for better angles of the room, swimming pool, balcony, bedroom, etc. In the process, they do try to cover up the bad bits, and that’s certainly not breaking news, traveler.com.au says.

6 Taking Unnecessary Risks

Via Minick Law, PC

Most young and inexperienced travelers usually have a history of intrepid travel – they merely feel invincible, so they tend to take unnecessary risks. For instance, Australians are particularly fond of more extreme adventures, traveler.com.au shares. Similarly to them, most rookie travelers often do something overseas that they’d never do in their homeland. It could be because they believe they’d get away with something, but even if they don’t, the idea sticks in their mind anyway. Generally, travel is about having fun, exploring cultures and traditions, but this could be done without taking risks like driving recklessly around the city.

5 You Didn’t Do Enough Research On Safety And Other Issues

Via RateGain

Regardless of the destination, there are always specific rules and regulations that are to be met. When these rules are broken, the trip is over and so is the fun and the vacation. Therefore, it’s essential to do more research on a country’s laws, rules and regulations before going there, traveler.com.au advises.

Not only does it apply to hotels and restaurants, but sites as well as legal, health issues and other laws. Remember - wherever you’re going, make sure to read more about the different rules that may apply there. Otherwise, problems and headache could be the natural consequence of your actions.

4 You Overestimate Government’s Capacity To Assist

Via imagenesmy.com

Everything happens on a trip, and if you get arrested, the only help you can get is from your country and the government. Thanks to the Consular Services Charter, the government will do whatever it can to help its citizens, traveler.com.au says. But if there is a crime, it cannot get you out of trouble or spare you jail time. The only thing it can probably do to help you out is to arrange for trial in your homeland. All of this is pretty scary, so your own best protection is to research the place and not overestimate the government’s capacity to assist you in unpleasant situations.

3 You Always Travel Without Travel Insurance

Via Upgraded Points

As Julie Bishop once said: “You can’t travel overseas unless you can afford travel insurance.” It’s not that it’s illegal or anything, but it sure is a recipe for disaster. Travelers often make this colossal mistake as they always neglect the fact that something terrible might happen on their trip. Of course, nobody wants to experience such moments; however, life’s unpredictable side could be quite surprising at times. Besides, the high medical costs for treatment might even reach tens of thousands of dollars, and that’s only because you didn’t want travel insurance. Avoid such terrible outcomes and get the best travel insurance policy that you can afford, traveler.com.au advises.

2 Going On A Date With A Stranger

Same goes for both genders, even though ladies are at a higher risk here. It’s completely understandable that you want to have a blast during the vacation; however, do not make the silly mistake to go out on a date with a total stranger you’ve just met at the bar. Additionally, you never know who they are or what it is that they want from you. Many horror movies and books were inspired by such fun-in-the-sun vacation trips which somehow take a turn for the worse. So instead of running such risks, take it easy and act wisely, especially when going around the city.

1 Not Staying In Touch With Family Members

Via Military Bud

Last year the Australian government had thousands of inquiries on people's whereabouts overseas, traveler.com.au shares. Realistically, at least half of them could’ve been avoided if tourists stayed in touch with their friends and families. After all, there’s nothing more important than the family, so whenever you’re traveling, don’t forget to keep them informed. Besides, you can tell them more about the destination, the local cuisine, and cultural differences. After all, you know who exactly worries about you most – it takes only a few minutes to let them know that you’re okay and the vacation is going great.

References: www.traveller.com.au, www.donationtravel.com

More in Travel Hacks