Common Travel Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Common Travel Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Travel Mistakes and Frustrations

It is common to make mistakes when traveling and exploring the unknown. Here are 24 of the most common travel mistakes.


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  1. Having an over ambitious itinerary

Be flexible; don’t be afraid to change your plans due to weather or money.  Be aware of the time it takes to get from “A” to “B” (not by distance, but by travel method: car, bus, train, etc).  Factor additional time for possible delays as well as extra time to rest.

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  1. Over packing

Pack only what you need and know you’ll use.  Buy the rest at your destination. Once fully packed, review everything you have and try to reduce the load a little bit more.


  1. Blindly trusting the first directions you get from a local

Ask more than one person for directions to the same place.  If the person hesitates or looks up like searching for an answer, kindly accept their help and look for additional help at the next street.


  1. Relying totally on Guide Books

Guidebooks are made to inform your travels, not to define them.  Put the guidebook down and interact with other travelers and people at the destination.  Allow yourself to explore and use on your own initiative; there is a lot more to a place than what is in any guidebook.


Having no Money

  1. Forgetting the budget and running out of money

Instead… You should consider your budget as a as a way to experience the place more creatively and more authentically; not as a restriction.  Create a realistic budget you can stick to and allow some breathing room for unexpected expenses.  If traveling long term, schedule weekly transfers from your savings to your checking (like a paycheck), so you know exactly what you are allowed to spend.


  1. Not backing up pictures and losing them due to a stolen camera or virus

Backup pictures on a CD/DVD on a regular schedule or host them online. This mistake is very heartbreaking, so it’s best to avoid it.


  1. Booking connecting flights with a short transit time, thus, missing your flight

Give yourself at least a couple hours between flights to allow for any possible delay.

  1. Not double checking your documents and bookings for errors

Double-check your documents and reservations for everything from hotels, flights, trains, buses and more. Always corroborate the time and location, and check that your name is correctly spelled on you flight reservation.

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  1. Not Buying Insurance

Spending those extra few dollars will give you the benefit of feeling more secure in case something happens (lost baggage, trip delay or cancelation, medical emergency).


  1. Not notifying the bank of future foreign transactions

Notify the bank beforehand of all the countries you will be visiting so they know it’s you who’s using the card.  Plus, many international banks have foreign branches and joint ventures that will forfeit their ATM fees.


  1. Not factoring the different time zones when booking your trip

Instead… Corroborate the different time zones between places “A” and “B”, how long does it take to get there, and how many time zones are you crossing.  Factor this in your reservations’ scheduling.  Also, consider the possible effects of jet-lag during your first days, or better yet, learn how to prevent jet-lag.



  1. Not making copies of important documents

Have a hard copy of your documents (passport, IDs, travel insurance policy, credit cards) with you, and a digital copy safe (if possible, as a password protected .pdf) on a “secret” email account, iIn case you lose your original documents.


  1. Making large currency exchanges before leaving home

Exchange just enough to cover you until you get to the first ATM or good-rate exchange kiosk at your destination.  Or, withdraw money from an ATM right when you get there.

  1. Arriving at the wrong airport

When traveling on big cities that have more than one airport, double-check your reservation to corroborate which is the correct airport and correct terminal.


  1. Sticking to the tourist trail

Dare to explore outside the commonly done and seen.  Create your own unique experiences; don’t just follow what others have done.  Go off the beaten path, often time the best experiences and the biggest opportunities are hidden there.

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  1. Tempting pickpockets with flashy items

Use common sense and don’t expose your valuables.  In fact, if you don’t need them, don’t wear them.


  1. Being culturally insensitive

Try to understand the culture and the surrounding in which you are traveling.  Having an open mind will help you blend better, enjoy and absorb the culture in a more interactive way, and avoid insulting them unintentionally.


Empty pockets

  1. Having all your money in a single place

Don’t put all your “eggs” in the same basket.  Avoid carrying too much cash and store it in various “safe” places.


  1. Not knowing the hidden foreign charges in your credit card

Call your bank to make sure what the transaction fees for foreign purchases are.  Keep in mind, that when foreign companies charge you in dollars, they still could charge the “foreign transaction” fee.

  1. Not doing research

Avoid arriving to a destination a not knowing what to do by at least doing a small Google search.  Get information of possible things to do and interesting history of the place.  The more research you do in advance and the more you know; the more chances you have to enjoy the place.


  1. Drinking too much

Drink in moderation and find other ways to relieve the stress and have fun!  Drinking too much will not only sucks all your money, it will also put you at a higher risk of getting robbed or injured.


  1. Ignoring local’s advice

Pay attention to what locals say; put into consideration and evaluate their advice.  Who knows, maybe their advice will save you from getting robbed or help you save a couple dollars here and there.


Getting Angry

  1. Getting angry at the foreign country

Even if you had a lousy time and were not treated as expected, consider it as part of your experience and learn from it.  Sure, express your frustrations if you need to, but remember, you are a guest at that country.  Just because they don’t do things the way you’re used to, doesn’t mean that they are wrong.  Practice patience and tolerance.


  1. Having unrealistic expectations

If something goes not as planned, go with the flow.  Have a realistic expectation and don’t expect your trip to be perfect.   Better yet, don’t create an image of expectation and arrive with a fresh and open mind that will help you accept things as they come.


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