We all like to think that our travels will be problem free, allowing us to make the most of the journeys we take and the destinations we visit. However, things don’t always go to plan, regardless of how much to prepare and plan. We reached out to some of our favourite bloggers and asked them to share their biggest travel mistakes. Check out what they think you should and shouldn’t do next time you head on holidays!
Ashlyn from The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World
There are a lot of people around the world willing to take advantage of a traveller’s ignorance. When arriving in a new destination it’s often a learning curve to figure out how the city works and operates. Taking advantage of your lack of knowledge are street touts willing to sell or convince you into purchasing something you never intended.
I once had someone start polishing my shoes in Istanbul, Turkey, despite my insistence to stop. By interrupting me and asking me questions about where I’m from and how long I was in the area, they distracted me enough to finish polishing in only a few moments. (I also didn’t want to be abrasive or rude – as I sometimes need to be for touts to leave me alone). Once done, they charged me an absurd price despite it being a service I never wanted.
My lesson (often repeatedly) learned? Always ask how much for something before the service offered is done, even if you think the person is just being friendly. Don’t fall into the creative ways touts try to scam and guilt you out of your money.
Lavina from A Capricious Compass
My biggest planing mistake: not considering school holidays!
It’s when I visit a city the second time that I do not think twice about what I want to do. I explore and go wherever the road takes me. Whilst I do set some time aside to wander around when I visit a city the very first time, I always ensure I give a thought to the main attractions that I’d like to visit and if there are any tips that would help me skip the queue or get a discount.
But, this one time in Scotland I did not give a thought to the fact to consider some alternate arrangements if, and when, it did rain. And rain it did. A lot. So I decided to pay a visit to ‘Our Dynamic Earth’ and it was super crowded, so much so, that we were not even allowed to enter! It was school holiday time!
While it was a one time thing that happened to me, there are many activities that may be expensive or crowded if you plan to visit during the school holidays. As I do not travel with kids, I’d say it would definitely be convenient to skip the season!
Christine from Adventure, Baby!
My biggest travel mistake has been booking too much into a single trip when travelling with a child. Because flights from Australia to basically anywhere in the world are so expensive and take so long, I have a tendency to try and squeeze as many destinations in as possible, for as long as we can get away for. While this worked well pre-kids, with a small child it’s a recipe for exhaustion!
Liz from Passport Packed
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made while travelling (and like many travellers, I’ve made a few) was heading out for a night of fun in Las Vegas with my passport for I.D.
I’m sure you can guess why this was a mistake… yes, the next morning I was sans passport and having to change my travel plans to include a trip to the New Zealand Consulate Office in Santa Monica (which is a pretty awesome place and worth a visit, so at least this was some kind of silver lining).
What wasn’t so awesome was the cost of an emergency passport, and although travel insurance covered some of this (eventually) the passport was only valid for my flight home and I had to front up with the cost for a new one once I got back.
Moral of the story is; take an alternative I.D out with you when travelling. Whether it’s a driver’s license or a 21+ card – both of these are much cheaper to replace than a passport, and won’t result in you being stuck in a country!
Of course, you could also just be self-aware and try not to lose these things and you’ll be fine!
Samantha from Travelling King
My biggest travel mistake happened on my first trip to Phuket, which was also my first overseas trip. I didn’t do much research and headed out for what I thought would be a great day of
shopping. I went from shop to shop, thinking I was getting a great bargain only to head back to the hotel and jump online, to find that I was being severally ripped off!
I was also taken for a bit of a ride on the same day with a Tuk Tuk driver who basically drove me around the Island of Phuket, aka the longest way back to my hotel, as I didn’t agree to a price before getting into the Tuk Tuk, so I was slapped with a rather large fee when we finally arrived back at the hotel.
I would highly recommend that you do a bit of research on every destination you travel to, to find out their customs, their do’s and don’ts and if you are thinking about splurging and going shopping, research the rough prices of the items you’re interested in.
Jolene and Andrzej from Wanderlust Storytellers
OK, so Tasmania is cold right? Right! Living in Queensland, Australia, for the past 20 years, we are accustomed to a year round warm weather. Well, when we went to Tasmania during the Australian summer, we did not realise that we would need winter clothing! Yup, one hoodie and one pair of long pants does not classify as appropriate Tasmanian weather gear – at least not for us Queenslanders. And we might or might not have returned with a pretty nasty smelling single winter outfit that was worn day in and out!
So we travelled the whole Tasmania freezing our backsides off! The tiny bit of sunshine that we got, and without wind shooting straight through us, was through the car window in a comfy heated chair! Tassie is a truly incredible place and although we were frozen stiff, the spectacular scenery and the warm nature of the locals made our trip one-of-a-kind. We love Tasmania, but next time, we will definitely pack appropriately so that we can be nice and warm and snug whilst exploring!
Quick tip: Make sure to check out the weather forecast for the destinations that you will be visiting!
Lyn and Steve from A Hole In My Shoe
Last year we decided to celebrate our first Christmas abroad. We were so excited to be returning to Vienna that we made no plans, deciding instead that on arrival we’d ask at the hotel where would be a good place to book in for Christmas dinner. Imagine the look on our faces when we arrived Christmas Eve to be informed that Vienna celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve and not Christmas Day! We were so disappointed we had not taken the time to do a little research and pre-plan how to spend Christmas in Vienna. Disappointed but not broken we decided to head out in the cold evening air and check out the area.
Nearby, in Karlsplatz, we came across a beautiful baroque church, one of the finest in Europe, Karlskirche. Outside we had been persuaded to purchase some tickets to a classical Christmas Day concert. Not wanting to totally ruin our Christmas by having no other plans, we decided we had nothing to lose and purchased two tickets. We then ventured inside to check out the church. We entered to see an awe inspiring dome, two beautiful Christmas trees and a local community service. We enjoyed the beauty and atmosphere and were happy to be returning Christmas night for the evening concert.
When we returned we were lucky to be seated in the front row. We were so enchanted in the atmospheric, sacred church, impressed by the concert and totally absorbed in the classical music. The finale had me close to tears as the string orchestra played and an opera singer with the voice of angel sang Silent Night. What was almost our biggest travel mistake that almost ruined our Christmas turned into a memorable event we will never forget.
Leah from Kid Bucket List
Travelling is one of the most exciting things you can do with your children. It offers you the chance to authentically explore history as you walk in the footsteps of those past, creating amazing teaching moments alongside your own family memories. But sometimes you can make mistakes during your adventures that can make or break your experience.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when travelling with kids is to pack too much into your itinerary. Tired children make difficult travel companions and will have you cursing that you didn’t turn back to your accommodation an hour earlier. I learned this the hard way!
Of course, research is also key to planning your trip. You’re making a mistake by not investigating your travel destination. I’m quite spontaneous by nature, but I learned that this did not work in my favour recently when planning our family trip to Tasmania. I wanted a carefree, “seek accommodation as we go” approach but soon discovered that the entire eastern coastline books out a few months in advance over the busy summer period. Do your research, or, like me, you may find that you need to change your entire itinerary.