Having traveled extensively across the U.S. and around the world, I’ve compiled 5 of the most common travel mistakes you want to avoid.
Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way but I hope through my mistakes, you won’t have to go through the same headaches I went through.
1. Not Planning Enough
There is lots of room for spontaneity when traveling and you really shouldn’t have every single detail squared away but unfortunately there are also some consequences for not planning enough.
The most critical consequences usually comes from lack of planning in what essentials to bring, how to get to places, and not taking into account what to expect at the destination you are headed to (whether it be culture, weather, or safety hazards).
Not only will it cost you money sometimes on oversize pricing, but the bigger cost (in my opinion) is having your options weighed down. Remember, the more you have with you, the more you are responsible of and need to carry with you.
I would recommend you consider what you absolutely cannot go without and then identify anything in your luggage you can simply purchase if you really needed it on the road. I’ve written a post on what I consider essential when traveling here (link to 5 Things You Absolutely Need When Traveling).
If possible, have a piece of luggage that is heavier and can carry the bulk of your belongings but one that you are ok with losing (I usually store clothes, shoes, toiletries in this bulk bag).
And then have a separate smaller bag (usually a backpack) where you can comfortably take with you 1-2 backup clothing and everything else that you can’t afford to lose (passports, credit cards, electronics).
Why do this? So you can be mobile as much as possible. So you can explore, walk, go to places without worrying about your other set of luggage.
And that is an invaluable blessing to have – to be able to go wherever you want, explore whatever you want with everything you need right with you.
3. Getting Scammed
So many destinations these days are getting flooded with tourists and locals are eager to prey on unsuspecting victims. This can happen in the form of thieves on the street, cab drivers, food and vendor stands, and more. We’ve seen so many forms of scams and the sad reality is scammers are getting more and more creative and deceiving.
The best way to avoid scams in general is to always agree on a price before rendering service or product. This will at least allow you to know what you are paying, even if it is above market value. The other tip is just to always be alert and on guard. The worst mistake is to be unsuspecting and ignorant of the fact that the reality is there are people everywhere wanting to prey on tourists.
4. Getting lost
It will inevitably happen to all of us. At some point you will get lost and will need to pay for a cab to get back or a hotel to stay overnight.
The key is not to panic but to take a few minutes to come up with a new plan. When you act hastily, the consequences will be worse and you may find yourselves in a deeper hole than you started with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – more often than not, locals and people are willing to help. Just be weary of asking cab drivers to assist your situation as in many places they are not afraid to scam unknowing tourists.
Yes, there is the other side and extreme of not planning enough – over planning. This is not so much a loss financially but more so purposefully. Don’t forget to live in the moment, allow some room for spontaneity, and embrace where you are traveling. Sometimes we get so caught up in schedules and details, we lose out on one of the greatest joys in traveling – just simply being able to immerse yourself in a totally different place and culture and take all that in.