Don’t get caught in a travel blooper – here are 10 classic travel mistakes made by even the most jaded world wanderers and how to avoid them. Hint: Having an expert travel advisor specializing in luxury travel will keep you from making just about all of these blunders.
1. Trying to Do Too Much
We understand … during your precious time off, you want to pack as much as possible into your vacation. Instead of being overly ambitious and needing a vacation from your vacation when you return home, set some personal goals for your trip. Don’t plan to visit the whole of one European country – instead, focus on a particular city or a theme for your sightseeing, such as art or history.
Factor in transit time if you are including multiple destinations. Overall, relax and be flexible. Enjoy what you are doing instead of trying to check off as many boxes as possible.
If you can get all the necessities for your trip into a compact carry-on, that’s fantastic. If not, it’s still prudent to only use checked bags for what you absolutely know you’ll need. Pack only what you know you will use, no frills. If you have a desperate need for an item during your trip, it’s likely you can purchase it at your destination. Plus, you’ll want to leave a little space in your bag for souvenirs.
3. Relying on Information from Guide Books and the Internet
Trust me; this is where my personal connections will benefit you the most. Guide books and the internet have pages upon pages of information, yes, but use this as inspiration rather than fact. I can help ensure that the sights you want are open and accessible or make sure you have the advance reservations needed at that restaurant you’re dying to try.
Do your reading and research and bring it to the table – our planning conversations can flow from there, using my personal expertise and connections. Together, we’ll craft an itinerary that takes you off the tourist trail and to one-of-a-kind destinations and experiences.
4. Losing Precious Photos
This is perhaps the saddest of all travel mistakes. Be sure to back up your photos constantly if you lose your camera/phone or experience tech issues like a virus. Store images on a USB drive, use cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox), or try an online storage site (Google Photos, Flickr).
5. Tight Connection Times
Here’s another reason to work with a knowledgeable travel advisor. It may seem tempting to save a few dollars and just book your own flights online. However, these itineraries often sneak in a too-short connection, increasing the likelihood that you’ll miss your flight. When booking your flights, a professional travel advisor will account for flight delays, long customs lines, long distances between terminals, etc..
6. Forgetting to Notify Bank of Possible Foreign Transactions
Avoid the hassle of being flagged or having your credit or debit card canceled due to suspicious activity. Before leaving home, notify each bank that you will travel out of the country.
7. Forgetting Copies of Important Travel Documents
It’s a good idea to carry with you hard copies of your essential travel documents: passport, IDs, and travel insurance policy. Keep a digital copy on your phone as a password-protected PDF for added protection. If you lose your original documents, having copies will speed up the process of verifying your identity and renewing those items.
8. Sticking Out as a Tourist
As much as possible, try to disguise the fact that you are a traveler. Do not keep valuables where they can be seen. Keep the more expensive items, such as a DSLR camera or laptop, in a locked pack that is always on your body.
9. Not Knowing the Ins and Outs of Your Mobile Plan
Best case scenario: your mobile plan covers international data and calling. If not – double-check before leaving town – you should turn off data when you board your flight and leave the phone on airplane mode. If you need data during your vacation, look for an international plan that applies to your destination(s) or buy a local SIM card.
10. Having Unrealistic Expectations
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. If it’s beautiful beach weather you’re after, steer clear of hurricane season. If you want to avoid crowds, be mindful of holiday and school vacation weeks in and near your destination. If you want nonstop action and endless dining options, choose a mega-ship ocean cruise, not a low-key European river cruise. Overall, expect the unexpected and go with the flow – you’ll learn from the experience and likely have a much richer vacation because of it.
Let’s chat to plan and prepare for your next (mistake-free) vacation!