You have to learn from your mistakes, right? I made some stupid travel mistakes and share them with you in this article.
Not check visa rules
After traveling to the USA six times, I thought I knew all the rules about ESTA. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t check me in for my flight from London to Las Vegas last March. ESTA allows you to stay in the USA for 90 days and I was planning to stay 88. Which sounds fine right? Unfortunately, when you travel to Canada, Mexico, or some US islands, they add the time of your stay in those places to your ESTA. I was planning on traveling for a month in Mexico, so I would be staying for way more than the 90 days I was allowed. To get onto the flight, I had to buy a very expensive ticket to Guatemala. So next time, I will definitely triple check the rules.
Take too much luggage
I think everybody has made this travel mistake: take too much luggage. Especially when I started traveling, I took too many clothes. I always made sure to have enough clothes, so I wouldn’t have to do laundry, but I also took extra clothes and shoes for different occasions. For example, I would bring heels and a fancy dress, which I would never wear, because going on a fancy night out never fits my travel plans. But if you’re traveling for more than two weeks, you can’t take a new outfit for every single day, it’s just too much! Nowadays, I’m very used to do laundry everywhere I go (it’s cheap and you can do it everywhere), so I only take clothes for 7 to 10 days. I use the extra space in my backpack for more souvenirs.
Not have enough savings to travel
When I travel, I plan to enjoy myself for a full 100%. And I figured out the hard way, that if I don’t bring enough money, it’s hard to enjoy myself. Last summer I was traveling for four months, and after five weeks I found out I wouldn’t make it through the whole trip with all my savings, not even if I went very low budget. I was worrying so much, I just couldn’t enjoy myself. I ended up changing my flight and flew back home three weeks earlier than I had originally planned. After I did that, I was able to enjoy the rest of my trip so much more! So next time, I will definitely make sure to bring enough savings for my trip.
Have drinks or dinner close to a touristic highlight
This is also something that a lot of people do: get a drink or food very close to a touristic highlight. And every single time you regret it. It’s crazy expensive and most of the times not very good. Next time, I will skip the restaurants and bars next to a touristic highlight and go for a place in a less crowded place.
Not follow my intuition
There are certain things you just know you shouldn’t do it. I can be very clumsy, and this is the very reason why I never go skiing or snowboarding. Why did I go sandboarding in Peru? I still ask myself this question. I already had a premonition it wouldn’t go well and it didn’t. Going down the first dune was scary, but fun and it all went wrong when I went down the second dune. I lost my board and fell down like a ragged doll, and hit my head multiple times. I was really scared I had a concussion since I had to throw up lots of times after this accident. I had a doctor to check on me, and luckily only my muscles were strained. It took me a week to recover (lots of pain), but I was fine after that. Next time I really have to listen to my intuition.
Exchange money at the wrong place
Before I travel to a new country, I usually check what’s the best way to get money. Just from get money from an ATM or do I need to bring cash and exchange it somewhere?
During my trip to Cuba, it was clear we had to bring cash to exchange, so we brought a lot of euros. We read that we could exchange money in hotels or just at an office. We stayed in a great hotel for the first couple of nights, so we decided to exchange quite a lot of our money there. Later we found out the exchange rates at certain offices were so much better than in the hotel! We tried to get our money back in the hotel, but unfortunately, they already disposed of it. It really sucks, but it was a good learning moment. Next time I’ll double-check the exchange rates of several places before I exchange money again and if that’s not possible, I won’t exchange that much at the time.
Plan too much
Another thing that a lot of people tend to do before they go traveling: plan too much. For me, planning for travel is one of my favorite things to do, so it’s really easy to overdo it. Before I leave, I make schedules or road books (which I share with my parents, especially when I’m on a solo trip). But in the last couple of years, I’m trying to plan less and just go with the flow. It usually is really fun! I will never stop planning completely, but I will leave room in my schedule so I’ll be able to something spontaneously.
Activities that involve animals
Right now, I’m very aware that tourism and animals are a no go. However, five years ago, I swam with dolphins in Discovery Cove (Orlando, Florida). At that time I really loved it, but in the years that followed, I came to regret it more and more. It’s so much better when they can just stay in their natural habitat!
Don’t take the ability to travel for granted
It’s a privilege to be able to travel as much as I do, I’m very aware of that. And that’s why I don’t want to take it for granted, there are so many people in the world who can’t! That’s why I plan to enjoy every second of my travels for the rest of my life!
What kind of mistakes did you make while you were traveling?
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