Even the most seasoned travelers (myself included) have fallen prey to travel blunders over the years. From dining at bland tourist traps to getting lost, to even tipping 50 dollars instead of 50 pesos (yes, that really happened) – mistakes are bound to happen. Let’s count down a few of the most common (and easily fixed) top mistakes travelers make.
Saving Money at the Expense of Time
Don’t book a flight with three stopovers just to save $200, when it will eat into 36 hours of your journey. I always look for the most direct route for my travelers, with the least amount of stopovers, and the shortest amount of total travel time.
Think you want to take the local transit instead? Be certain you’re well versed with the directions, the stops, and the duration of your travel – it’s often far longer (and more complicated) navigating public transit in foreign countries, especially if you don’t speak the language. Make sure that you will have someone waiting for you at the airport, to whisk you off to the resorts or hotels that you booked.
Having an Overly Ambitious Itinerary
I get it, if you’ve never been to Europe it may be tempting to want to hop on the Eurail and see 18 countries in 14 days, but I strongly discourage it. Not only is it exhausting, but you also don’t get the true sense of a destination without immersing yourself in it, and this takes time. Paris is so much more than the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysee, and New York much more than just the island of Manhattan. Spend some time really getting to know a particular country, city, or region, and you’ll come away richer for it. Yes, you should enjoy your time in your hotel room or Oceanfront Bed And Breakfast but you should also make the most of your visit and explore.
Never Leaving the Tourist Areas
Of course, when you travel to Rome you want to see the Colosseum or take a walk through Times Square when visiting Manhattan. But that doesn’t mean you need to stick to the major attractions only. The areas closest to world-famous attractions often have overpriced restaurants catering to tourists and don’t showcase local culture the same way other neighborhoods do. By all means, take in all the attractions, but take some time to explore further afield and visit some neighborhoods that are filled with restaurants, shops, and markets that locals use regularly. Together we can add some special adventures to your trip. For example, an authentic cooking class.
Never Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Great things happen outside your comfort zone, and this applies to travel especially. Sit at an old bar alone in a small town, and chat with the locals. You’ll learn far more about local life and culture than you could ever read in a travel guide. Hop on that zipline above a canopy of trees, even if you’re scared of heights. Pushing yourself out of what you would do in your day-to-day life is part of what makes travel so memorable. It gives you the stories that you’ll share for years after you get back home.
If you snap away on your iPhone everywhere you go, make sure you have the photos being backed up. The cloud or Google photos are a great place to store your favorite travel images. The last thing you want is to lose all of your travel memories if your phone gets lost or stolen.
Stay connected. Consider getting a decent travel plan that gives you some data. So you can check emails, text friends or family, or even go on social media while you are away. The last thing you want is to return home to a hefty phone bill.
This is one of the biggest mistakes that travelers make. Be sure to inform your credit card company of any major impending travel you have. You don’t want your account flagged and frozen for possible fraud charges. While you’ve got them on the phone, find out what the foreign currency transaction fees are on purchases abroad. Some major credit cards offer no foreign transaction fees; I can provide you with a list of the cards that I recommend when traveling.