I hope you learn what not to do when traveling so you don’t make these same mistakes yourself!
10 TRAVEL MISTAKES TO AVOID
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.
Although I managed to pack the perfect carry on for 3 months in Europe, I now also travel with a checked bag and always struggle to decide what to bring and what not to bring. My suitcase is almost always overweight, and I end up wearing 10 layers on the plane in the heat of summer…
Just remember: if you forget something, you can just buy it there! 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 FOODI 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…
It’s really not worth it to forgo healthy food. Your body is already stressed from all the new things it’s experiencing, so you really need to be sure to give yourself the best fuel for your body, which means lots of fruits and vegetables. Yes, you should eat the local cuisine even if it’s not super healthy, but be sure to balance it out with fresh foods, too. If you don’t, I guarantee you’ll end up paying for it later!
WEARING NEW SHOES
…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 CENTERSometimes, staying outside of the city center is fine if there’s easy and cheap transportation going to and from the city. 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 AIRPORTOhhhh I’ve wasted a ton of money on this! I’ve arrived at my destination, been in a rush so I didn’t have time to research anything, and then 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.
It’s a good idea to research how to get to your destination beforehand. I guarantee that when you land, you’ll just want to get to your accommodation and won’t want to deal with figuring out the best option.
Especially since it can sometimes take a ton of effort just to figure out how to get OUT of the airport. You’re in a new country, and although there will usually be signs in English, it may still be a pain navigating regardless.
FAILING TO DOUBLE CHECK ITINERARY
…And costing my friends and I to end up at the wrong airport, which made us miss our flight. Ugh please like please do this! Even if you’re 100000% positive and just checked yesterday, check AGAIN.
Especially if you’re in a city with multiple airports, train stations, etc.
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 three flights. Those are always fun mistakes…
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 our flight from Barcelona to London 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.
So, leave for the airport EARLY. You never know how long the line for security will be, if you’ll have problems with the weight of your bag and need to repack (nope, definitely not me), or if you’ll end up on the wrong train and have to readjust (definitely not me again…).
STRESSING TOO MUCH ABOUT PERFECTIONSometimes 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.
Aaaand then I have to remind myself to take a step back and *breathe* because if I’m stressed out and running around 24/7 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.
It’s totally ok to make mistakes, nothing will ever be 100% hiccup free. Which is what I end up trying to avoid, and I have a tendency to be really hard on myself if I fuck up planning.
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 ENOUGHI’ve recently decided that when traveling longer term, each week I need at least one day to chillllllll and read a book, write in my travel journal, wander aimlessly, etc. Or else I’ll end up as the unhappiest of clams, and end up snapping at my travel buddies or not enjoying an outing as much as I could have.
I’ve probably (definitely) made a million other mistakes, but these are my biggest ones…Travel happy my friends!