Traveling isn't always easy, but it is definitely (mostly) worth the hassle! Preparing for a trip starts before even booking that flight. From ensuring you've got the money aside for the whole trip, proper documentation, visas and a flexible schedule that will allow you to take the time to explore the world! Whether you are an expert traveler or are headed on your very first trip, you are bound to make some of these mistakes, but luckily we're here to stop that from happening.
Mistakes are common, especially when you are outside of your comfort zone, exploring a foreign city where laws, language, and culture can be quite different from what you're used to. Although the stress of airports, booking a trip or navigating a confusing map, can be quite overwhelming, there's no reason to panic. Ensuring you've done your research, checked the weather, updated your passport, and exchanged your cash, then you are good to go, hopefully... Here are the 25 travel mistakes people can't seem to avoid!
23 5. Not Packing Valuables In Your Carry On
This is a shout out to anyone who packs their electronics, jewelry, fancy clothes or any worth value in their checked baggage.
Your checked bag goes through one heck of a ride to get from point A to point B, and if you are packing anything fragile or valuable inside, chances are it isn't going to make it in one piece.
Airlines will often have baggage come out broken, tarnished or totaled, in some cases, that will only leave its contents in the same condition.
23 3. Ignoring Reviews
Many travelers will book their entire trip without reading one single review! Now if you ask us, that is just asking for trouble.
There are countless websites and travel forums that help you decide which airline to fly with, the best hotels, car rental companies and the most worth it tours to embark on.
However, if you decide to skip out on reading some reviews, you might find yourself in a hotel that looks absolutely nothing like the photos you saw online, yikes!
22 4. Overpacking
Now, this must be one of the most common mistakes any and every traveler makes. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or have yet to embark on a trip of any sort, you are bound to overpack at some point.
The incessant need to pack your life with you is an issue that is not only going to cost you at the airport, but will be a constant hassle to carry around.
We suggest bringing only what you need, from versatile pieces that you can mix and match together, travel size toiletries, and a very little amount of footwear, considering how much room they take up! We all want to look our best while on vacation, but it certainly isn't worth the stress of carrying around an oversized, overpacked and overpriced luggage!
21 24. Not Checking The Weather
Travelers will sometimes fail to check the weather forecast prior to leaving. It is imperative to check the weather so that you know what to expect while away, and so you can pack accordingly.
If you are traveling somewhere that is set to receive a lot of rain, it's best that you don't show up in a tee, shorts and flip flops.
Recent events in Venice, Italy where the city experienced the worst flooding in its history had many travelers shocked, however, many were quite prepared with proper rain boots, jackets and waterproof clothing.
20 . Taking Too Many Photos
One major faux pas that every traveler is guilty of doing is experiencing your trip through your camera phone! Of course, we all want to get as many pictures of our experience to post on social media, or look back on for a fun memory, but too often do we forget to put our phones down and simply live in the moment.
In most cases, not only will you grab a shot of that beautiful statue, but you're bound to get some unwanted tourist in there as well, doing the exact same thing you are.
19 10. Drinking The Water
Travelers from North America and Europe often are used to being able to drink tap water in their homes, however, this is not always the case in several countries.
If you are visiting countries in the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Africa, it's a good idea to check if it is, in fact, safe to drink the tap water prior to filling up your bottle!
According to CNN, one of the leading factors of travelers diarrhea and other ailments experienced abroad is contaminated food and water, so beware!
19 Passport Issues
One mistake many travelers end up facing before a trip is an expired passport! The most important thing about being able to even step foot on a plane is having a valid passport. Most countries require that your passport be valid for 6 months prior to departing, this way you are able to safely head on vacation and make it back home.
Another huge mistake is forgetting to pack your passport altogether.
Before even leaving for the airport, make sure you double and triple check that you've got it with you, nothing is worse than realizing you've left your passport at home than doing so at the airport.
18 2. Keeping Valuable Items Out In The Open
Traveling with valuables can be a tough one, not only can having flashy items increase your chances of being pickpocketed, but it screams money! Now, we aren't saying to leave the nice things in life at home, but be more low-key about what you wear and bring with you on your trip.
In addition, ensure that if you are carrying anything of value in a purse or backpack, that you do not leave it in areas that are easy to access.
Also, for the love of the travel gods, please do not carry your backpack the other way around, that not only screams tourist but makes it seem as if you are carrying something valuable.
17 19. Not Buying Insurance
Buy Insurance! One more time for the people in the back, buy insurance! This mistake can cost you your life, quite literally. Travel and medical insurance are super important for anyone looking to leave their country.
Whether your flight gets cancelled, or you fall ill while away, you can feel safe in knowing you are financially taken care of while traveling.
There have been countless stories where people have become sick abroad, only to have a massive medical bill waiting for them once they come home. Don't be naive, get insurance and protect yourself, it will be worth it in the end.
16 20. Forgetting About Jet Lag
With more than 24 time zones in the world, your biological clock is bound to be confused. Many travelers believe they can just set off and arrive in a new city feeling fresh and new, however, chances ae you might be on an overnight flight, or are traveling 16 hours ahead, having missed an entire night of sleep.
If this happens, not only will your body feel sluggish and tired, but you will not be able to enjoy the experience fully.
If you know that you will be on a overnight flight, try to get as much sleep as possible while flying, and make sure to give your body time to adjust by doing more low-key activities on your first few days.
15 6. Not Packing A Change Of Clothes In Your Carry On
Although this one may sound somewhat unnecessary considering that is what a checked baggage is for, believe it or not, this might save you one day! Packing a change of clothes in your carry on baggage will be a godsend if you spill, or get your travel clothes dirty, and better yet, will be a necessity if an airline loses your baggage.
Lost baggages are more common than one would think, so having that extra change of clothes to last you until your bags arrive will save you big time.
14 7. Using Your Cellphone Without A Travel Plan
We all love to stay connected while traveling abroad, but make sure you either get a proper travel data plan, or get a SIM card upon arrival at your destination.
It has happened countless times where travelers use their phones away from home, only to come back to insane roaming charges that left them speechless.
Depending on which service provider you are with, they should offer a travel plan for your trip, or unlock your phone for free so that you can simply buy a SIM card while away.
13 8. Exchanging Money At The Airport
This might sound like an easy and hassle free way to get money in whatever currency the country your visiting uses, however, this is a major mistake that many travelers do. The exchange rate at airports are some of the worst, making you lose more money than you would think.
Your best bet is to exchange a small amount of money prior to leaving your home country at your bank, where rates are somewhat better, or simply take out from an ATM at a local bank in whatever city you are visiting. Anything beats the rates at a currency exchange desk at an airport!
12 11. Not Informing Your Bank
If you plan on using your debit, or credit card while traveling, which most tourists do, it is important that you notify your bank ahead of time. One mistake that travelers find themselves making is forgetting to inform their bank of an upcoming trip, only to find their cards ineffective or frozen once they attempt to withdraw cash or perform a transaction.
The process of notifying your bank is quick and easy, and most often requires a simple phone call where you'll be sorted and ready to go
11 12. Traveling With ONLY Credit Cards
Travelers will be under the impression that traveling with a credit card and credit card only is a safe thing to do, however, this is a major mistake! Not only do some places abroad not accept some credit cards but what will happen if your card is stolen, lost or doesn't work while on your travels? You are left with no means of cash, or a way to withdraw money, so it is always best to carry both cash and card on you while traveling.
The same goes for those who travel with ONLY cash, you do not want to be stuck in a situation where the all the money you brought is lost or stolen, and you are left with no way of getting any more of it.
10 13. Not Making Copies Of Travel Documents
Before leaving on a trip, it is highly recommended that you photocopy any and all important documents. You might not think that it is necessary, but this thought alone is a mistake! Photocopying your passport, driver's license, and insurance papers are a huge lifesaver if the original documents happen to go missing during your travels.
In addition, some countries require that you travel with your passport on you at all times, however, this can be quite risky. So, certain officials allow you to carry a photocopy to prove your identity while abroad.
9 14. Tight Connection Times
This mistake can cost you your entire trip! A lot of travelers will find flights for cheap, however, this usually means having to catch a connection. Most of the time, 45 minutes is the legal allowance for an airline connection, this not only allows you to catch your flight but ensured your baggage will make the connection as well.
However, it has happened more times than you would think, where travelers book flights with 20 or so minute connections that are basically setting you up to miss your own flight. Believe it when we say there is nothing worse than running through an airport from one gate to the next, only to be told you cannot board.
8 15. Packing Prohibited Items
The TSA has been around for quite some time, and so have their rules and regulations regarding what you can and cannot bring with you on a plane. In most cases, everyone is aware of the 100ml limit on liquids in a carry-on, so don't bother packing your full-size shampoo and conditioner!
In addition, any dangerous or flammable items are not permitted on flights, so leave the lighter, swiss army knives and scissors at home people, because it will only be confiscated at the airport, creating an even longer wait for those in back of you.
7 16. Over Ambitious Itinerary
Many travelers who are visiting somewhere for the first time will often try to cram in as much as possible. Take Europe for example, with flights being so cheap to travel between certain countries, some travelers will attempt to visit 6 countries in 2 weeks purely because it's economical to do so.
However, this will not only put an insane amount of pressure on your travels but will rush your experiences, leading you to miss out on so much. It is best to take advantage of the time you have in small doses, enjoying the cities you are in and taking everything in while you are there.
6 17. Relying Only On Guide Books
The next mistake that travelers find themselves making is following a guidebook to the T! Although they may be worth a read before embarking on your journey, they are meant to provide suggestions, rather than a permanent itinerary.
Guidebooks have mass amounts of information on cities across the world but don't follow everything it says to do, simply chose things that are of interest or are highly recommended, rather than trying it all while on vacation.
5 18. Not Having A Budget
Travel ain't cheap! Setting a budget and ensuring you have the proper means to travel is a major key component that one must take into consideration while planning a trip. It goes without saying that if you are putting yourself in debt over a trip, it's best to way until you can afford the travels before going on them.
Once you have saved up the money, and can officially set off, its best to set a budget to ensure you will not overspend, and save money for certain things that you will benefit from the most. Splurging on shopping, and having nothing left for an excursion, will not only take away from your travels, but will potentially have you regret not having done things when back home.
4 21. Sticking To Tourist Trails
Many travelers will only follow a set number of attractions in a particular city, that will leave them missing out on many hidden gems certain cities have to offer.
If you are visiting Paris, for example, there is so much more to be seen than just the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe.
The city is full of flea markets, underground adventures and quaint cafes that are too worthy of being visited. Give your trip a good mix of popular attractions, and some lucky finds that will give you quite the experience. Sticking to a tourist trail will only have you covering the basic attractions, spice things up a bit and enjoy as much as you can!