10 Mistakes Made While Traveling

  • Leaving my atm/ bank card in the machine at an airport terminal shop. I realized my mistake when I was at the gate, almost boarding at London Stanstead, a HUGE airport, which means it is damn far and there is no way I would have been able to go all the way back and make my flight. Luckily there are phones everywhere for airport “Ambassadors” who pick people up if they take the airport train/shuttle to the wrong gate. I asked an employee who called someone for me. Thank God the only flight during my trip that was delayed happened to be this one! A woman returned my card 8 seconds before I boarded my flight!

  • Planning far too many countries into one trip. As a travel blogger, one of the first questions people always ask me is “How many countries have you been to?” I tend to live in countries for 3-6 months, so my numbers aren’t as impressive. On this trip, I decided to cram in as many stops as I could in a three week period. It’s stressful and frustrating, and next time I’ll make sure I have some time to really enjoy each new place.

  • Not getting enough sleep. Because of my crazy travel plans, and the fact that I’ve been so excited like a kid on Christmas eve, not wanting to miss anything, I barely slept for a week. Now that’s okay when I’m alone, but in Italy, I met up with my friend from Germany. We arrived about 10:00 pm and took a shuttle bus (5 Euros) into the center of Rome, then took a taxi to our Couchsurfing host’s home. Since he was at a wedding we waited until almost 1:00am, then went directly to a hip nightclub area to party until 3/4 am. The next morning, since we only had one day in Rome, we got up fairly early. I was exhausted, cranky, irritated and hungry. Not a nice travel partner to have on a trip.

  • Not planning ahead. I usually make a specific, detailed itinerary when I’m visiting a new place. Since I was only going to be in Rome for one day, I told my friend I didn’t care what we did, she could choose. I only wanted to go to a thrift store and hopefully find something amazing. Our Couchsurfing host wanted to bring us sightseeing, which was lovely, but my goal was to find an American breakfast with eggs and visit a thrift store. I had a list of ten shops, three highlighted on Yelp. I counted on our knowledgeable host to show us where they were. Usually, I plan every detail, including how to get there, hours they’re open, etcetera. Since It was so tired and cranky, when we got to the one store that was open, an expensive vintage shop, I complained and pouted and had a tantrum. I was pissed because by this time the only other decent thrift store that was open was an hour away, and I reacted horribly.

  • Taking early flights to save money. Not smart. Yes, it saves a few bucks, but when you’re exhausted, getting up at 3:00 am to catch a 6:00 am flight is insane. You end up paying for a taxi (instead of taking the subway or bus) to the airport. Not smart.

  • Not packing light. I brag about how skilled I am when it comes to packing light. Not so on this trip. I packed one small case with wheels that is just under the allowed free bag on Ryan Air, but my personal item is a bag that expands until it is about twice the size and nowhere near the allowed (free) bag size. They didn’t stop me or charge me extra, but the stress I had the entire time during this trip very time I checked in for a flight was too much. But even worse, my bags are so heavy I ended up taking taxis, and dealing with excruciating neck, shoulder, back and foot pain.

  • Packing clothes. I know; you need to bring clothes on a trip. But I’m the type of traveler who absolutely loves shopping for clothes, even if it’s only at a thrift store. I love fashion. So, it’s a given that I’m going to buy new outfits on my trip, no matter how small my budget is. I should have taken only two or three outfits and saved room in my luggage for new items.

  • Buying an ugly wardrobe for Morocco. I tend to dress more conservatively in Muslim countries. However, I was so worried about my attire in Morocco that I bought some really unflattering clothes that I just couldn’t bring myself to wear once I arrived. First, it was too hot, and second, they were not necessary. Marrakech is a really modern city, and people expect tourists to wear sexier clothing. I should have paid more attention to the Youtube videos which showed women dressing “normally”. During Ramadan, it’s important to cover up and be respectful of the culture and religion, but otherwise, wear your cut clothes.

  • Not planning money, my budget, or knowing currencies. I took out too much money from the atm machine in Morocco, which is dirham, not Euros, so now I’m going to lose money when I change it. Lesson learned.

  • Not planning check-in and printing boarding passes. If you’re flying on Ryan Air, know that they will charge you around $50 to print a boarding pass for you. Yes, you can use their app; in SOME places. Always print out your pass no matter what. In a pinch, just go to a hotel reception desk and ask for help. I went to several hotels during my trip and they saved my ass. Make sure you always get your boarding pass stamped when you arrive at the airport. But note that in some places you can skip the line and go straight to the business class counter for a stamp.

I have plenty of other mistakes, but these are just a few tips to help you avoid the hassle and frustration I’ve dealt with so far. Happy travels!

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