The Travel Mistakes I Keep Making & How to Avoid Them

For someone who professes some level of knowledge about travel, I make a shocking amount of mistakes. It doesn’t matter how many trips I take, or how many times I ‘learn’ something new — I can almost guarantee the travel mistakes I’ll continue to make next time. I am almost at the stsge where I’m just gonna give in to them and accept I’ll never be a good traveller.

But you shouldn’t have to, hence why I’m swallowing my pride and sharing some of my top travel mistakes here. Don’t be like me people, I’m a car crash.  Also I guess it adds a level of accountability for me too? Perhaps then I’ll stop making these ridiculous gaffes.

Booking on the wrong day

Okay this is a classic travel mistake. I’m presuming you know that depending on the day of the week you book your flights the price can be a lot more expensive? Well yeah, I know that too. And yet I almost always forget when i sit down at my computer and hand over my credit card details.

Tip: In theory, the weekend and beginning of the week is the best time to book flights and it gets gradually more expensive throughout the week. Just FYI.

silhouette of backpackers on the beach at sunset koh tao

Under-packing

I rarely overpack because I have a tiny backpack (only 40 litres, carry on size) BUT that doesn’t mean I’m a savvy packer. Despite the fact I’ve written about my packing prowess for Never Ending Voyage and Her Packing List I have a shameful secret.

I am a terrible under-packer. I always underestimate just how un-minimalistic I am. I leave that extra top most people would take ‘just in case’ and scoff at the idea of packing my favourite lipsticks in favour of one multi-tasking product. Which is fine, most of the time, but sometimes I REALLY miss that extra luxury.

I am an ambassador for packing light, but sometimes you do need that one extra piece of whatever that’ll maybe make your life easier. Like an umbrella in Europe, or a hat in a tropical country.

Ahhh well, why lament it? I know I’ll continue to make this mistake anyway!

Tip: Read these posts if you want to pack light, or this one if not.

view of guidebook across river danube budapest

Too Much/Too Little Research

I am a planner by nature and I adore getting stuck into a good Lonely Planet, cross referencing with Trip Advisor, iEscape with a healthy dollop of my fave travel blogs. But sometimes, I go to far and end up getting bored of a place before I’ve even got there. Or becoming totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things to do my deep research has uncovered.

On the flip-side, I have been known to read sweet FA. When I went to Bali….I didn’t plan a thing. Not really. But luckily Bali is the bomb and I had the BEST TIME EVER.

Tip: Write a list of everything you want to see and then add in time to enjoy food and drink pitstops and proper downtime too.

sad woman with backpack beautiful landscape

Source: Flickr

Sweating the Small Stuff

When I was travelling long term — i.e. longer than a few weeks — I started to care less about the little things. Mostly. The annoying little things that wouldn’t bug you unless in a more vulnerable situation…..like, no space at the inn. Or delayed flights, or forgotten toothbrushes. To be honest I’ve never got annoyed at any of these things but you know what I mean, right?

But now I am a little more slave to annual leave allowance (of Mr Wanderluce anyway) so I rarely get more than a week or so away at one time. And I find myself being less chill when the usual travel bumps occur, because I’m basically out of the swing of things. I mean, I’m not like my own family — who seem to stress when they have to leave their village let along leave the country — but still, I annoy myself, you know?

Tip: Stop stressing? I mean….I am not qualified to give anyone tips on this 😉

fisherman on inle lake myanmar burma

Packing Too Much In

I guess this goes hand in hand with too much research but I am a real douche for trying to cram too much in. To be honest, it’s the mistake I fall foul of the least on this list but it still happens far too often.

One of the pitfalls of being a total Lonely Planet devotee is that I can become dangerously sucked into the ‘You MUST visit this’ trap. The ‘okay, we’ve ticked off half our list and we have three hours to see five more things’ trap. And then feeling hideously guilty when I want to have a nap, or sit in a cafe for hours people-watching.

But here’s the thing: food, drink and relaxing are all part of the experience. So factor them in too! I often talk about how food is such an important part of travel, and yet I can sometimes quickly forget that when I’m on holiday.

Tip: Write a list of everything you want to see and then add in time to enjoy food and drink pitstops and proper downtime too.

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athens lonely planet guide book on top of wheelie suitcase

 

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