[Arthur’s Seat hike in Edinburgh, Scotland]
Enjoy reading about my biggest travel mistakes, so that you can avoid making them yourself!
PACKING TOO MUCH
I suck at life always in this department. I was always the kid who would bring a suitcase to sleepovers. I’ve definitely come a long way, but I still overpack for almost every vacation. Just remember that anything you forget you can buy there! And there’s no need to bring 5 pairs of shoes on a 2-month backpacking trip (oops). You’ll be cursing yourself when you can’t find your hostel in Barcelona and it’s a good 95°F out and your backpack is basically the weight of another person…
SKIMPING ON HEALTHY FOOD
I was trying to be cheap in Ireland and ate a diet that basically consisted of bread and more bread with a side of bread, which ultimately led to my impending hacking-cough-of-a-cold doom. And let me tell you, slowly dying in a hostel is so fun, because everyone hears you coughing and you choke on your own spit trying to stop but then end up doing a sort of chicken dance coughing fit and no one wants to be your friend. Although I’m not sure if that was just because of my sickness, but whatever…
WEARING NEW SHOES
[Here’s the bastards – you can’t tell, but I’m definitely in pain in this picture. But look at how cute they are!]
…That I hadn’t broken in yet. Which is pretty much the #1 thing you should never ever do. I’m pretty sure my feet are STILL recovering. I was also slightly (extremely) miserable half the time and a pain in the ass to my friends. Especially don’t do this if you know you have diva feet (like I do, sigh) because you really won’t give a shit what your shoes look like when you’re walking up the 100th stair at the Duomo. However, you CAN look cute and still be comfy – luckily converse, Birkenstocks, Chacos (IMO, I know not everyone agrees LOL but I think the black ones with the double and toe strap are classy AF), and sneakers are all in style and very ~kewl~.
STAYING OUTSIDE THE CITY CENTER
Sometimes, this totally works, if there’s easy and cheap transportation to the city center. Sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass (i.e. transportation is a hassle/expensive) and totally worth the extra money to stay in the city center. Do your research!
[We look happy here but we’re hangry AF. Also, those dastardly torture chambers on my feet are making another appearance]
The first time my friends and I went to Europe, we were like, let’s do all the things and see 8 cities in 30 days! After having studied abroad and running around like crazy for the month prior! NO. Just NO NO NO. I was SO, SO TIRED. It doesn’t sound like a lot on paper, but trust me! It was exhausting. And we were taking plane rides for most of these, so that’s a lot of getting to and from the airport, going through security, etc. If we had been taking trains or traveling shorter distances to nearby cities, it might not have been so bad. But my takeaway is less is more. You get more of a feel for a place and don’t feel like you’re constantly running around trying to see EVERYTHING. Or, if you do want to see lots of cities, have one home base and go from there. Basically – don’t force yourself to run around like a chicken with your head cut off. Leave room for unexpected adventures and a little relaxation. You’re on vacation – you’re supposed to enjoy yourself! Now where’s the rosé?
NOT LOOKING UP HOW TO GET TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT
Ohhhh I’ve wasted a ton of money on this – spent ridiculous amounts on cabs/taxis when there was a much cheaper option available in the form of trains/buses but I was a fool.
FAILING TO DOUBLE CHECK ITINERARY
…And costing my friends and I to end up at the wrong airport. Ugh please like please do this! Even if you’re like, I’m 100000% positive and I just checked yesterday, check AGAIN.
ARRIVING AT THE AIRPORT LATE
[One of the flights I magically did not miss]
…And missing a flight. Are you even a real traveler if you haven’t missed a flight yet? Yours truly has already missed two. I feel like no matter how many times travel-y advice column places say to do this, it is still. So. Common. Ironically, we missed it because we wanted to go to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. And Harry still couldn’t make it happen for us.
STRESSING TOO MUCH ABOUT PERFECTION
Sometimes I’m like, I’m traveling and this needs to be the best trip ever and I need to see all the things but somehow still have time to frolic in a flower field somewhere with the sun in my hair because that’s what I associate with a perfect trip based on all those pics on IG. And then I have to remind myself to take a step back and *breathe* because if I’m stressed out and running around I will NOT look back on my trip fondly! It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to not see all the things. Even though you’re traveling and it’s supposed to be this amazing thing, it’s totally okay to feel mediocre and ordinary sometimes. Ya know?
NOT RELAXING ENOUGH
I’ve recently decided that when traveling longer term, each week I need at least one day to chillllllll and read a book, journal, wander aimlessly, etc. Or else I’ll end up as the unhappiest of clams.
I’ve probably (definitely) made a million other mistakes, but these are my biggest ones…Travel happy my friends!