Everyone is bound to make travel mistakes, whether it’s your first trip or your 20th!
Here are some extremely common ones that are really easy to avoid with a little time and preparation!
- Not knowing the visa/ entry requirements for the country you are traveling to. Do some research beforehand and see what is required to enter (make sure you have acceptable currency as well!) Sometimes you need to apply or pay beforehand for your visa, sometimes you can buy one in the airport, either way, it’s always better to know!
- Not keeping important documents together. I can’t stress enough how awful it is for those 5 seconds when you THINK you dropped your passport, or you don’t have your tickets. Skip the stress and keep all your important documents (and maybe some extra cash) in one pouch or pocket.
- Not learning a bit of the local language. Ok now I’m not saying you have to take a full-fledged course in Mandarin for your trip to Shanghai but I’m saying learning a few key words or phrases couldn’t help. They even make handy guidebooks to help you out! The locals will appreciate your effort for sure!
- Packing everything and the kitchen sink. A good rule of thumb I usually follow is pack what you think you’ll need, halve it then halve it again. I know right? Sounds insane? Think about it for a second, I’m sure where your traveling to has laundry facilities and even if it doesn’t I’m sure there are plenty of cheap clothing stores around. If you happen to buy a new outfit while your away… BOOM you also have souvenirs. Two birds with one stone.
- Not trusting your gut. If you find yourself in a situation where you are unsure, always go with your gut feeling. This also applies to deciding on what to do with your day, if your group wants to go whitewater rafting and your first instinct is not “hell yeah let’s do it” then you better not.
- Being late for a flight. Always get to the airport three hours before a prospective flight, whether it’s international or local. Trust me you do not want to be sneaking into your gate in the Dublin airport, 10 minutes before take off, on the good graces of a newly hired stewardess that made the mistake of leaving the door open.
- Not staying on budget. Just like life travel must have a budget! Create one that is flexible and leaves some wiggle room in case you have an accident while you’re away. There’s nothing worse than having three days left on your trip and having no more cash.
- Another side note about money… split up all your cash and put it in different places on your person or in your luggage. There’s nothing worse than having all your funds stolen! Leave your fancy purse or wallet at home and take a cheap, not flashy one with you. Only keep what you need for the day on you, the rest can stay at the hotel/hostel/in your bigger luggage.
- Not doing at least SOME research. Ok I get it taking a spontaneous trip can be exhilarating and unique but do yourself a favor and find out if there are any visa requirements, what you need to know about the country/people/weather and have some idea of what you would like to do!
- Having too strict of an outline… There is a fine line between going completely unprepared and preparing too much (I usually fall within the latter category). I recently learned on my trip to Belize how to be spontaneous! Have a good outline of what you want to see or do while you are there but leave a good chunk of time up to chance! You never know, a local may give you a really hot tip on a cool spot and wouldn’t it suck if you couldn’t follow it up because of a tour you booked weeks ago?
I hope you enjoyed these tips and of course, there are many more mistakes that can be made on a trip, let me know in the comments some of the ones you’ve made!