20 common travel mistakes and how to avoid them

We are all humans and we all tend to make mistakes! I have made all these travel mistakes at least once or twice and learned it the hard way.

If you have already traveled once or twice you must know how difficult and complicated travel planning can get. It is easy to let things slip even if you are fairly experienced. Needless to say that it gets all the more complicated for people who are planning their first travel.

We make plenty of travel mistakes that lead to money being wasted, time getting lost, and opportunities being missed.

Here, I list the 20 most common travel mistakes and the measures to avoid them in the hope that it would make your next travel smooth.

If you avoid these common travel mistakes , you will be able to travel cheaper, smarter, and longer.

1) Not booking your trip early

If you are used to booking your trip late, then have fun paying extra for your flights and hotels. This is the most negligent one can be as we all are aware that booking early can help us save some money, frustration, and unnecessary trouble.

If you are traveling to a popular destination, the greater risk is not being able to find a flight for your preferred travel date. Similarly, we don’t want to run around looking for a hotel room because there are chances of not finding good hotel rooms during popular times.

2) Not booking a flight with sufficient layover and therefore missing the connecting flight

I have been in a situation where I nearly missed my connecting flight from Qatar to Geneva. I vividly remember running my way to catch the flight and never in my life have I done it again.

What I do these days is book a flight with a layover of at least 3 hours. I find this essential because I have suffered from enough flight delays, long customs lines, and huge distance between terminals. As a result, I barely had any time to catch my connecting flight. Also, layovers are essential to beat jet lag in a long haul flight.

3) Not getting travel insurance is one of the most significant travel mistakes

We make a mistake by thinking that traveling is safe and we don’t need extra coverage. But trust me when I say this, we ought to spend those extra dollars to be on the safe side.

I understand that it seems like an added expense but we never know what might happen on our trip. So, have an insurance because you might lose your stuff, break a bone, or even wind up stuck for different reasons.

If something disastrous happens to you, it will cost you thousands of dollars from your pocket. Therefore, get travel insurance to cover all the medical and non-medical emergencies.

4) Not double-checking travel documents and bookings

Now that we got into our flights and cleared the immigration, we need a place to stay. We don’t want to be running from one door to the other in search of a hotel room. Simply double-check whether or not your bookings are confirmed before heading to your destination.

5) Not making copies of important documents is one of the travel mistakes

What do you do in case you lose your documents while traveling? Let me tell you stressing out or crying will do you no good.

The best precaution is to make copies of your important documents since that will help facilitate the verification process. Likewise, storing it safely in your email account is also a great idea. Either of these will help you proceed with the renewal process.

6) Not making enough currency exchange or making a large exchange before leaving home

Having the right amount of currency exchange is a great way to save yourself some money. I usually exchange just enough to cover until I get to my destination’s first ATM.

It is not a great idea to make a greater exchange than required because that way you will be burdening yourself with an extra amount so, just carry enough but not too much.

7) Overpacking is one of the most underrated travel mistakes

I openly accept that I used to be a notorious packer. I used to pack my entire wardrobe into my suitcase and have had instances where I had to pay an additional charge at the airport. This made my travel very expensive and that is why I ditched overpacking.

These days, I make sure that to pack all my travel essentials and I am good to go. You should also do the same, just pack your essential items as per your travel destination. This way, you will steer clear of additional charges at the airport.

8) Not doing enough research on the destination you are visiting

The first thing we do even before booking our flights and accommodation is doing some research on the history, safety and interesting facts about the place that we are visiting. The more research you do, the more are the chances of you enjoying your trip.

Getting to your destination and not knowing what to do sucks so make an effort to know at least what to do, where to stay, and what to see before you decide to purchase your tickets.

9) Using a bank card with international fees and surcharges

Would you give your travel money to your bank? I would rather use it for my travel. I have observed people paying extra for their ATM withdrawals and I don’t understand why!

Just get yourself a credit card that doesn’t charge extra fees and surcharges every time you withdraw cash from the ATM.

10) Exchanging money at the airports

If you don’t want to get ripped then avoid exchanging your currencies at the airport for the most obvious reason that the exchange rates are awful. I repeat never exchange your currencies at the airport unless you are having an emergency and you have to.

If you need to exchange your money then go to the place with enough money exchange booths as you will get better exchange rates.

11) Taking over pricey taxis at the airport and not negotiating beforehand

As all the countries around the world don’t speak English so, it could be a problem to communicate in such nations. It can unmistakably be a disadvantage for us.

As we are unable to communicate properly, we skip negotiating the price and some taxi drivers don’t use meters to overcharge. Therefore, negotiate or at least ask the price beforehand to save yourself from this scam.

12) Carrying all your cash and cards in your wallet

It is advisable to not put all your eggs in a single basket. Well, it makes sense to not carry all your cards and cash in a single wallet because if we lose the wallet then we lose everything at once.

I am forever careful to distribute my cash and cards to prevent such extreme situations and I believe this is the best way to go about it.

13) Not carrying a carry-on bag and putting valuable items in checked-in baggage

According to the reports, airlines lose millions of bags every year which makes it likely for us to lose our bags on our way. To be on the safe side we should have our essential items, expensive stuff, and a few clothes in our carry-on bags.

14) Not carrying safety measures is one of the greatest travel mistakes

If you haven’t already, it’s about time to take your travel safety seriously. In case you are traveling alone as a woman then it is all the more important.

Travel safety includes hotel safety, researching on which neighborhood to stay at, not drinking too much, etc. Along with that, we must carry a health kit for emergencies such as headaches, stomach aches, food poisoning, etc.

15) Not scheduling your itinerary effectively

It is likely for us to get excited during the first few days of our trip. As a result, we try to cover a large part of our trip during our initial days. Well, this isn’t the right thing to do as it will leave us exhausted. Therefore, take the first few days of your trip to settle in.

As much as it is necessary to schedule the trip, having a few spare days are equally necessary. We can’t be sure of the weather so be flexible just in case of extreme weather conditions. And even if you miss out on some spots, it will only be an excuse to travel back to the same destination again.

16) Believing everything you see on social media

Let me tell you whatever you see on social media isn’t true all the time. The places you see on Facebook and Instagram might look exceptionally tempting and incredible however that might not be the case in reality.

For instance, there is a place in Bali, Indonesia which is known as Gates of Heaven. On Instagram, this place looks all glassy as if it is in the middle of a pond however, the reality was shocking. It was nothing but a guy sitting at the front and using an iPhone and a mirror to create such images.

Do you want to know the reality of the pond? Well, I am disappointed to tell you that there isn’t one. In case you don’t trust me, go see for yourself. But let me warn you, you will find nothing but a ditch!

17) Not trying local cuisines is one of the major travel mistakes

There are a lot of countries that provide extraordinarily delicious food and first-hand experience is something else so discover these unique local flavors. Countries like Italy, India, China Thailand, and Nepal are famous for their mouth-watering cuisines so, try not to miss eating while you are visiting these countries.

18) Residing and Dining at a major tourist site

Famous tourist sites are well-known for their extremely high prices, be it their food or accommodation. And don’t even get me started on how chaotic these areas are.

Skip eating or staying at such expensive places unless you want a giant bill. Given the attraction of major city lights and all the happening actions, it would be somewhat difficult to resist temptation. However, avoiding these places will only do you good.

19) Not backing up travel pictures and videos

Travel is also about memories, photography, and videography. It is as valuable as your trip because after a while you will only have those pictures and videos. To be able to cherish those beautiful moments for the rest of your life, have a backup.

At times, I did not back up my pictures beforehand and as a result, I lost them so, avoid committing this mistake.

20) Getting too drunk is one of the travel mistakes

Once I got too drunk during my travel and regretted instantly for not having home-like comfort. Luckily, I had people to take care of me.

Just note that it isn’t advisable to get too drunk during your trip for we never know what we might encounter, we could be injured or even robbed.

Your fun should not transform into stress so drink in moderation and have fun!

It’s a wrap!

So that is it! I hope you enjoyed this list of common travel mistakes and how to avoid them. What do you think of the list? Also, do let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips and think they should make it to this list.