I have made so many mistakes in my travels! I try not to, but I have been traveling Internationally for around 8 years and to nearly 40 countries so you’re bound to make some mistakes. I mean, even on my third trip to Thailand, I went to the wrong airport in Bangkok when I was leaving. Woops! So, I wanted to share some mistakes travelers make and how you can AVOID them.
Mistakes Travelers Make (& how to avoid them)
1. Having crazy high expectations
You’re going traveling. It’s going to have its ups and downs and it can be stressful. Maybe your travel companion will drive you bonkers. Maybe you will be hoping to have a life-changing experience and be constantly looking for it (Eat, Pray, Love style).
Maybe you’ll try to act like a “traveler” and not really be yourself hoping to become someone you’re not.
I’ve written before about how you need to BE yourself to “find yourself” when you travel. Sometimes travel can be life-changing, but sometimes it’s just cocktails on the beach with an incredible sunset!
2. Spending all your time stressing out about logistics and money
It’s easy to get caught up in counting pennies. You’ll be spending a lot more daily when you travel than you would at home. Hotels and food every day plus all the fun travel things.
This is why you budget for a trip; so that you don’t have to stress about it later.
Plan ahead! Download travel apps to help you with maps and transportation. Be a little prepared so that you can totally let loose and relax on your trip.
You KNOW you’ll be spending money when you travel, so no use in worrying about it while the inevitable is happening.
3. Winging it when you are not an easy-going person
I am super Type A but I do love the idea of “winging it” on a trip. When you have a good amount of money to blow and time on your hands, this is okay. But, if you’re on a tight budget and not a “go with the flow” type of person at home, you’re most certainly not going to become that type of person when you travel.
I actually wrote a post on how to travel without planning.
If you are not super easy-going, have a travel plan!
4. Being an introvert and not making new acquaintances
It’s okay to be a loner. I’m not the type to go up and talk to strangers either. But… when traveling you should try to break out of your shell a little bit. Sometimes the people you meet are what make your travels so incredible. Actually, that is usually the case!
In hostels, you can meet people. You can use apps to meet people. You can do drop in yoga, cooking classes, or other classes to meet people.
You won’t want to enjoy the nightlife alone and the nightlife is always a big part of travels so it’s good to make buddies to go out with.
5. Not having any cultural experiences
You can just go from city to city and stay in a hotel, eat at the hotel, go to the hotel spa, and fly back home… but what kind of vacation is that!?
You should get out in the thick of things! Meet locals! Do things that seem touristy if they help you understand the culture. I met the tribals in Ziro Valley (epic cultural experience) and went to a luau in Maui (touristy cultural experience) but they were both memorable and I had a great time at both.
There’s no reason you can’t find a cultural experience anywhere that you travel!
6. Being too stingy to splurge on adventure or spa activities
Go big or go home! Just kidding, sort of.
When I think of Uganda, I think of Bungee Jumping.
When I think of Interlaken, I think of canyoning in the Alps.
When I think of Finland, I think of dog sledding.
So many incredible memories are from splurging out on the most amazing adventure activities on offer in these beautiful travel destinations.
I personally love spas so I like to try unique spa experiences when I travel and those don’t come cheap. Hamams in Istanbul, Ayurveda in India, and Lomi-lomi in Hawaii all come to mind as memorable!
Give yourself some wiggle room or use a credit card because you might not make it back to these places and you will regret not having these epic experiences.
7. Packing like you’re going to outer space
You can buy much of what you *might* need while you’re traveling so you don’t need to take so much “just in case” stuff.
Take what you need.
Take clothes you actually like and would wear at home. You want to be comfortable and feel like yourself while you travel.
You can take some band aids and such, but don’t go overboard on things like medical kits and other “travel” necessities you see in that isle of Wal-Mart. You don’t need most of it!
8. Trying to do too much
This is pretty self-explanatory, but if you try to do too much and add too much on your itinerary, then you’re going to burn out. You’ll be tired and stressed and that’s no way to spend your holiday.
9. Not being practical and forgetting to buy travel insurance
It’s a risk you don’t want to take. I use it when I travel outside India but as I’m in India for such long stretches normal travel insurance doesn’t work for me here. I use World Nomads and have always recommended it on the blog.
You can see everything they cover here and some tips on what to consider before buying.
10. Not booking enough time between flights or other flight mistakes
This is a more technical issue.
When you book flights, often flight hacking sites will urge you to separate your journey into smaller flights to save money. But, this can lead to you accidentally booking your flights with too little time between layovers. If you miss a flight, then you’ll be totally screwed as you booked separately therefore, the next airline won’t have any legal reason to help you get on a new flight.
This is one of the reasons I book with Kiwi. They search each leg separately but offer a guarantee that if you miss a flight, they’ll put you on the next one for free. (review for kiwi here)
You’ll also want to check that you are leaving for the same airport you land in during a layover. Often in Paris or London websites will book you with an “airport change” and that can be a huge hassle; one that I always avoid.
I hope you can avoid these 10 common mistakes travelers make! You can also check out my post “Advice I Dish Out But Can’t Seem to Follow Myself!“
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Great article Rachel! I totallt with most of them, like you said the cultural experiences are a must if you want to understand the country youre in :)
A genuine piece of advice,that every traveler must know. As a part time traveler I always do some mistake especially (1 to 10).And after this guide In tried to be more sough ted when travelling. So tanks a million and keep sharing your experience.
Thanks for this! I just went on my first solo trip to Spain and I definitely made a couple of these. Especially not meeting new people and trying to do too much. I wish I had been a little more outgoing and also not tried to fit so much in — I ended up not being able to get to a lot of it. But I guess I’ll remember that for next time! :)
There’s always another trip which is the best part :)
Such a good advice! I am planning to travel around the world this September, !!!! Super duper excited!
Have so much fun!
I so agree with this! I’ve made most of those mistakes before, especially the overpacking one. Great advice :)