I remember the first time my credit card was declined because I hadn’t called the bank in advance to notify them of my travels. I was traveling alone to Belgrade, Serbia, and I’d just found an ATM machine at the airport to get cash so I could pay for a taxi to the hotel. DENIED!
I learned that one the hard way, and you can bet I’ll never make that mistake again. I spent the first three hours of my trip trying to get the bank to release the hold on my card. One of the biggest travel mistakes ever.
Nowadays most banks no longer require notification, but having survived that mistake helped me realize I needed to be as savvy as possible about similar things so I didn’t run into any other issues. There is an inherent amount of risk and circumstance that befalls every trip, no matter how well planned and executed.
There will always be those things we just can’t plan for, can’t avoid and can’t control. However, with that said, you do hold a lot of the responsibility for how smoothly your trip goes, and you’ll be off to a really good start if you avoid making these 37 biggest travel mistakes that all seasoned travelers (including myself!) have made themselves a time or two.
Biggest Travel Mistakes to Avoid
1. Passport Issues
Passports have an expiration date. You’d think they’re good up until that date, right? Well, not necessarily. Some destinations require at least 3-6 months remaining on your passport in order to travel. If you need a visa for your trip, this is mandatory, but check the rules for your destination long before the trip begins.
Another issue with passports is remaining blank pages. You need to have at least 2 blank pages remaining for some trips. Usually this is required when large visa stamps will be required. It’s always best to check your destination’s passport rules before you leave home.
2. Not Booking Ahead
I have friends who think you’re not doing it right if you travel with firm plans like hotel rooms already booked. To them I say “have fun sleeping outside when you can’t find a room.”
Do you really want to get there and risk the possibility of not finding a good hotel room? Do you really want to have to run around looking for one? This rule also applies to tickets for attractions. I learned this lesson the hard way by not booking tickets to a popular attraction I wanted to see in Florence, Italy.
We were turned away at the door. I always prefer to make plans in advance and have all of the reservations and tickets I need, to avoid disappointment and unnecessary trouble.
3. Not Reading Reviews
This is akin to not setting proper expectations (see below). Read the reviews for your hotels, tour companies, transportation options, etc. It will save you tremendous disappointment when you learn that a train runs through the hotel every hour, or the tour company recently jilted customers.
We read Trip Advisor reviews and Google the business before making any choices. It has saved us from a few bad decisions.
4. Not Reconfirming
You don’t need to reconfirm everything, like airline tickets and hotels, but do reconfirm drivers, tour companies and special dinner plans a day or two in advance.
On a trip to Mendoza, I didn’t think it necessary to reconfirm with a driver I’d booked for our wine tours. Of course, he didn’t show up at our planned time, which ruined almost a full day while we arranged a back-up plan.
5. Not Double Checking Your Plans
I know you/your mother/your travel agent is a brilliant planner and cannot have made any mistakes, but do have one last look over everything you’ve planned to be sure the dates are all correct, you know exactly which airport/train station to go to, where the pick up location is, etc.
Mistaken flight times is probably what has actually kept the airlines in business all these years. Do you know how expensive a last-minute ticket is? Since airlines only give, at most, a 24-hour cancellation option, be sure to double check everything before you purchase, and again before you travel.
One time we were heading to Madeira in Portugal and when we arrived to the check in line, we were told the flight had already left. The times were changed and we weren’t notified. If we’d looked at the official flight times, we’d have saved ourselves a huge headache.
6. Not Packing a Carry On Bag
In 2019, the airline industry lost about 25 million bags, according to SITA, an aviation communications and technology company that tracks baggage performance. If you check luggage, it is likely you will eventually have a lost bag.
There’s nothing you can do to prevent this likelihood, but you can prepare for the worst. Make sure you put a change of clothes and any “must-have” items in your carry on. Or better yet, start packing light and only take a carry on bag. If you need a carry on that will fit in almost all overhead bins, check these out.
7. Putting Medicine and Valuables in Checked Baggage
If there is something you absolutely must have when you step off the plane, you better make sure it’s with you in your carry on. Medicines have no place in checked baggage. Neither do expensive items like iPads, cell phones and jewelry. See the statistics above for the reason why.
Beverly says: This summer we were flying from Charlotte, NC, to Venice, Italy, with a stop in Philadelphia. Boarding the plane for the flight, the stewardess said all the luggage compartments were filled so they would just send our carry-on bags on to Venice. I had about 1 minute to realize my medicines and other important items were in the carry on bags; grabbed the meds and the carry on bags were gone. If they had gotten lost on the way, it would have been disastrous; make up and cochlear implant batteries would have been gone. So, have the absolutely irreplaceable items in your purse.
Read up on how to pack light before your next trip and stop overpacking! You’re going to have to cart all that luggage around with you. Wouldn’t you rather it not contain 3 extra pairs of shoes and half a wardrobe that you won’t even wear?
If you’re flying on a low-cost airline, like Ryanair or EasyJet, there are tight restrictions for luggage and if you go over the allowance, you’ll end up paying big time. Be sure you check the restrictions and weigh your bags.
Cindi says: When my daughter and I were traveling in Europe for the first time our suitcases were too heavy for the smaller local air lines. We had to buy another bag $$$ and divide our suitcases into 3. Of course then we had to pay extra $$$ for the 3rd bag. The cheap air fair was no longer a deal!! Again, check the fine print.
>> Use these awesome eBags Packing Cubes to organize and compact your luggage.
9. Using Your Cell Phone Without a Plan
You can’t just turn on your phone in a different country and use it without incurring a huge phone bill. Before boarding the plane, put your phone in airplane mode to avoid unwanted charges when you arrive.
If you need your phone for voice or data while away, be sure to negotiate the plan with your carrier before leaving, research a SIM card to buy when you arrive, or just use free hotel wi-fi. Some carriers, like T-Mobile, have generous rules for use abroad.
10. Not Buying Souvenirs When You See Them
I buy a T-shirt for my nephew in every country we visit, but I’ve repeatedly passed up a perfectly good one, only to never see another shirt for the rest of the trip.
If you see something you really like, buy it when you see it. You may not have a second chance and sometimes that’s a tragedy when you find something you love.
11. Trying Too Hard for a Bargain
Finding a deal is a great thing, but there can be a downside to getting a bargain. You probably won’t be glad you booked the cheapest hotel or spent 14 hours on the bus from hell rather than paying for the more expensive, but better, option. Some things just shouldn’t be done on the cheap.
12. Using Expensive Money Changers
Exchanging money always comes with the headache of making sure you’re getting the best deal. Make sure you know what the exchange rate is so you don’t end up going for a bad deal.
Currency exchange booths at the airport are notoriously the worst option. You may be able to get the best exchange rate at your home bank, so be sure to check before leaving home. We always withdraw cash from the local bank’s ATM at the airport (NOT a currency exchange ATM).
They typically give a fairly favorable rate, it’s convenient, and you won’t have to wander the city penny-less until you find a good deal.
13. Not Negotiating a Taxi Rate Beforehand
Too frazzled in a country where I don’t speak the language, I’ve gotten in a taxi or two without asking for the rate first. These always end up being the taxis that take advantage of this fact.
Many countries don’t have meters in taxis and the price is negotiable if done in advance, but exorbitantly expensive if neglected. Even if you’re sure you’re not going to be overcharged by a taxi driver, ask for the price in advance anyway and save yourself the burden of being ripped off.
14. Taking Too Many Pictures
You know what I mean if you’ve ever walked around sightseeing with your camera glued to your face and then couldn’t remember the actual experience afterward. Take a picture, but then put the camera down and experience the moment in real life.
Do you really need a ton of pictures of everything you see? We love to take photos of our food (who doesn’t!), but that usually means we eat a lot of cold food. Set the phone down and enjoy it for once!
15. Not Having the Proper Visa
When you arrive in a country, you’re expected to know what visas you need to be let in. Don’t be shocked when you are turned away at Immigration for not having the proper visas.
Do your homework long enough in advance that you can secure the proper visas before you leave. This can take a month or longer, in some cases.
16. Trying to Use Credit/Debit Cards Without Alerting the Bank
We did this approximately one time before we learned our lesson. Nowadays, banks make it easy to let them know you’re traveling by setting a “travel notification” on the bank’s website.
Many no longer require this step at all, due to better security measures. However, unless you know for sure, err on the side of caution and check before you go. Alerting the bank will ensure you won’t be locked out of your account when you desperately need cash.
I always travel with multiple credit cards plus cash so I have a back up plan if one card doesn’t work. Getting stranded somewhere with no money is one of the worst feelings.
17. Drinking the Water
I know how much of a pain it is buying bottled water and making sure you have enough to last the night (even to brush your teeth with!), but I also know the pain of Montezuma’s revenge.
Even if you’re staying in a resort where the water is seemingly safe, just the fact that you’re not used to the bacteria in the water supply can lead to stomach upset. If you’d rather not have to buy a ton of bottled water, look into getting a water filtration device like this SteriPen Classic that can purify the water before your drink it.
18. Not Saving the Details
If you’ve made specific plans, like hotel and dinner reservations, or you need detailed directions for something, be sure to save it all in one easy-to-access location, like a smartphone app. I like to use the Kayak Trips app. You can share those plans with someone else, too, in case you get stranded somewhere.
19. Spending All Your Time in Transit
We like to hop around when we’re on vacation, which leads to increased transit times. Make sure you book early morning or late night journeys to avoid spending your entire day in the airport or train terminal. There’s nothing worse than losing a whole day in transit.
When you’re searching for airfare, you can limit the timeframe during which you want to travel. This will help you find good beginning or end of day flights.
20. Not Having the Right Credit Card
Many credit cards charge a 3% International transaction fee, and if you’re using that card for everything for a week or two on vacation, the fees really add up. Get a card with no transaction fee, even if you only use it for travel.
21. Paying for Rental Car Insurance
You do need some form of car insurance when renting a car, but it doesn’t have to be the exorbitantly expensive insurance given by the rental company. Credit card coverage and even your own home car insurance can often cover you. Just be sure to read the fine print and learn the details before you leave home. Coverage varies by country.
>> Read our guide on the 12 Costly Rental Car Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
22. Paying for Rental Car Damage
Have you noticed that more rental car companies are not doing a pre-check of the vehicle before you drive away? Don’t let that get you in hot water. Take pictures and note all damage to the car before you take it. This will keep you from being charged for damage you didn’t cause.
23. Setting Expectations Too High
We all do it. It’s hard not to when you’ve spent tons of hard-earned money and a week or two of your saved-up vacation time on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, but you really need to set a reasonable bar for your expectations. Nothing is as perfect as it seems in a brochure or online enticement.
24. Too Tight Connection Time
I’ve been tempted by short connections a number of times. But it’s usually a huge mistake. If your first flight is delayed even 15 minutes (and let’s be honest – what flight isn’t?), it could spell disaster for the rest of your trip. If there’s a choice, go with the longer layover.
25. Packing Liquids and Other Valuable “No-Nos” in Carry On
I still regularly see people attempting to cart full-sized bottles of expensive lotions, hair products, and purfume through security at the airport and look dumbfounded when the bottles are tossed. Got a Swiss Army knife you treasure? Don’t take it with you or you’ll never see it again.
26. Hanging Your Purse on a Chair in a Restaurant
This might sound benign — after all, we hang our purse (find a good travel purse) over the chair at a restaurant all the time at home, right? That doesn’t mean you should do it on vacation (or ever, really!). Nothing is worth losing your passport and credit cards.
Lawrence Allen says: A friend lost her purse when left on chair. I thought the thief was waiting for the bathroom in the restaurant. He was waiting for me to look away.
Thanks to our readers, the following mistakes are ones that were shared in the comments section below.
27. Not Checking the Voltage & Plugs
Each country uses their own type of plug and voltage. It pays to check before you go to make sure you have the right converter for your electronics. You can buy a universal adapter (like this one) that can be used with most items, like your phone, tablet, Kindle, where ever you go.
If you get there and don’t have the right adapter, ask for one at the hotel front desk. They often have a box of left behind adapters they can loan you.
28. Not Thoroughly Checking Your Rental Car for Belongings
When preparing to leave a rental car, taxi, bus, train, etc. start gathering your things up well in advance of exiting and check, check and double-check that you have everything. A reader lost a brand-new digital camera when it slipped under the seat of the rental car before he dropped it off.
He realized his mistake in less than 10 minutes, but the rental car company claimed the car had already been taken out and nothing was found when ‘cleaning it’.
Also from a reader: Double check then triple check! We learned that one the hard way too after leaving a special bottle of wine in the rental car at drop off in Venice after driving it from Germany. Same trip my husband left a pair of very nice italian shoes in a hotel in lucca.
29. Leaving Luggage Unattended in the Car (Even in the Trunk… Even While Locked)
Elisabetta says: I’ve recently traveled to the Expo in Milan and ALL our luggage (5 total, plus 3 duffle bags) were stolen from the rental car. So my tip, ( very hard lesson ) is to keep bags in the trunk at all times. And get travel insurance. Thankfully, our homeowners insurance reimbursed us. We lost over $9,000.00 worth of stuff. Very devastating experience.
30. Know Which Airport You’re Flying From
Ray says: Know the three-letter identification code for your destination or you, or your bags, could end up at the wrong airport. This is particularly important when traveling to a city like Chicago (ORD, MDW), Houston (IAH, HOU). or any place served by more than one airport. Knowing that international code may also prevent you from being ticketed to one place with a return from another.
A travel agent had me flying out of Houston to Washington Dulles (IAD) on a business trip. Later that day, while in a cab halfway to Dulles, I checked my return ticket and saw I was booked out of Baltimore.
31. Carry More Than One Credit Card
Angie Schmidt says: I would add that if traveling with your spouse, to each carry a different credit card. On one of our trips, we spent a week in Florida before heading to the Caribbean and I managed to lose my wallet in Florida before we had even left the country. We had to cancel all of credit cards.
We left the country with only our daily limit of cash from our debit card, which we withdrew before we cancelled it. It was a good thing that we were heading for a prepaid all inclusive destination, or we would have been in trouble!
32. Not Carrying a Copy of Your Passport and Credit Cards
We used to carry around a photocopy of our passport info page just in case our passports were stolen, but now we make sure to have a photo of the passport and our credit cards.
Be sure to either email yourself and a friend the image, or upload it to the cloud, so you can retrieve it even if your phone is also stolen. Having a photo of your credit card can supply you with the details you need to call and cancel them, or to make a final last minute purchase with the number before cancelling.
33. Not Knowing How to Get Around
We always buy a SIM card for our phones when in a country where our own mobile plan doesn’t work. We do this entirely for access to Google Maps so we always know how to get around.
However, you don’t need a data plan to access Google Maps. If you download the offline map for the area you’re going to, you can still use the GPS on your phone with the map to know where you’re going.
34. Expecting to Be Able to Exchange Your US Dollars
Joelle says: When carrying American dollars, do not expect to exchange $100 bills. We traveled to Ireland with someone that had all of their cash in $100 bills and no one would take them for exchange, not even banks.
Not only that, he forgot to inform his bank and credit cards he was travelling, so we paid for EVERYTHING during the trip. I also make sure I leave with a fist full of $1 bills for tips and the local equivalent for tips when I get to my destination, if tips are acceptable.
35. Carrying All Your Cash & Cards in Your Wallet
Pick pocketing is a big issue, especially in large cities. If you carry all of your cash and credit cards in your wallet and it’s stolen, you’ll be stuck with no options. It’s best to keep cash/cards in multiple locations in your bags and on your person so if you lose one, you still have the others.
36. Not Trying on Clothing Before Packing It
Memory says: One tip that has really become a requirement for me is to physically try on every single item you are packing, from shoes, socks, sweaters, coats, other clothing–even jewellery and underwear!
Saves you the agony of pants with missing waist button, or raincoat with part of the hem hanging down, or purse with a broken zipper. Wash or dry clean everything, use packing bags, and enjoy your trip worry-free from wardrobe malfunctions.
37. Not Knowing What’s Required for a Visa
Nikki says: If you are getting Visa upon arrival make sure you don’t have to pre-apply and make sure that you know exactly how much it costs. For almost all the “on arrival ones” pre-apply or not it’s exact cash or you’ll pay whatever is your largest bill. Oh, and the photos required – don’t forget that.
What are the biggest travel mistakes you’ve made and how did you overcome it? I’d love to hear about your travels in the comments. Let’s help each other out so we don’t have to learn the hard way!
Be Prepared For Travel
Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:
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- Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
- Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner)
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- Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries.
77 thoughts on “37 Biggest Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them”
Loved your list. I’ve learned many of those lessons, too! I just wrote a similar post on my blog at http://www.postcardsandpassports.com/dont-buy-a-dagger/ We had a moment with a souvenir dagger from Toledo that can only be laughed at afterwards!
Hah. Don’t buy a dagger. That’s got to be a great story. I’ll go check it out now!
we saw so many dagger’s go thru the metal detector at the Toledo train station …. hilarious….
Love this list! 14 and 20 are definitely my worst offenders. Got stuck in Taiwan once with the wrong credit card and had to make my limited cash last for almost ten days :O Really helpful, especially for new travelers 🙂
Oh, that could be pretty scary. Sounds like you had enough with you, thankfully.
Every tip a great one! I love the banking ones. I have learned to contact my bank before my trip (oh and the credit card company too). So very, very true.
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
Travel kit charger, one time I paid 15 bucks for a usb cable which last 3 charges and die 🙁
Check the voltage of your destination country before hand.
Yes! How many times have I lost or forgotten a charger. They’re so expensive to replace on the road.
Some hotels have a stash of chargers others have left behind. Check at the front desk before buying a new charger.
Very good point, Trish. We’ve been able to borrow chargers almost everywhere we’ve needed one. Adapters and converters too!
Excellent and very thorough article. I have relied on these tips for years of worry-free travel!
I might add….when preparing to leave a rental car, taxi, bus, train, etc. start gathering your things up well in advance of exiting and check, check and double-check that you have everything. (Mental inventory…not just a glance back at your seat!)
I lost a brand-new digital camera when it slipped under the seat of the rental car I was dropping off. I realized my mistake in less than 10 minutes, but the rental car company claimed the car had already been taken out and nothing was found when ‘cleaning it’. I made a police report (they were already onto a theft-ring), got money back on my car insurance, but lost the photos of course!
We all learn from our mistakes, but it is so much nicer to avoid these incidents with tips such as yours! Thanks Laura!
Thanks Dale. Very good point to make about checking around for things long before your trip ends. It’s so easy to leave things behind, especially when we’re in a rush! So sorry to hear about your camera and photos.
Double check then triple check! We learned that one the hard way too after leaving a special bottle of wine in the rental car at drop off in Venice after driving it from Germany. Same trip my husband left a pair of very nice italian shoes in a hotel in lucca. We called from the next town but they never called back. All the tips in the list are great but it is a very sad day when you just forget to check.
I’ve done that myself, Rena. I left some lovely canvas paintings I got in Peru in the airport by accident. Luckily I got them back eventually, but it was devastating. It takes an extra minute, but having two people check everything twice is always a good idea!
Thank you for these great tips. I ‘ve recently traveled to the Expo in Milan(August 2015) and ALL our luggages(5 total, plus 3 duffle bags) were stolen from the rental car. So my tip, ( very hard lesson ) is to keep bags in the trunk at all times. And get travel insurance. Thankfully, our homeowners insurance reimbursed us. We lost over $9,000.00 worth of stuff. Very devastating experience.
When my daughter and I were traveling in Europe for the first time our suitcases were too heavy for the smaller local air lines. We had to buy another bag $$$ and divide our suitcases into 3. Of course then we had to pay extra $$$ for the 3rd bag. The cheap air fair was no longer a deal!! Again, check the fine print.
Yes, that’s a big concern when traveling on low budget airlines, like RyanAir. They have really stringent baggage rules. It definitely pays to look up the info before leaving home and make sure your luggage fits within all of the airlines restrictions that you’ll be traveling on. Thanks Cindi!
These are all pretty basic & common sense. Tell us something we may not think of, please.
A friend lost her purse when left on chair. I thought the thief was waiting for the bathroom in the restaurant. He was waiting for me to look away.
Oh that sucks. I’ve always been scared of setting my bag on the floor or hanging it on the back of the chair, too, because those are easy targets for thieves.
Know the three-letter identification code for your destination or you, or your bags, could end up at the wrong airport. This is particularly important when traveling to a city like Chicago (ORD, MDW), Houston (IAH, HOU). or any place served by more than one airport. Knowing that international code may also prevent you from being ticketed to one place with a return from another. A travel agent had me flying out of Houston to Washington Dulles (IAD) on a business trip. Later that day, while in a cab halfway to Dulles, I checked my return ticket and saw I was booked out of Baltimore. Or, like my daughter-in-law learned the hard way, Aer Lingus ticketed her from Dublin to JFK, connecting to IAH, only to learn upon arrival in New York, her connecting flight to Houston was departing La Guardia. It was a tough lesson, particularly with eighteen month old twins in tow.
Ray, that is a very good addition! That has happened to me in DC and unfortunately there’s no good way to get between airports there, so you’d have to spend a fortune on a cab, and since it’s so far between them, you risk missing your flight. But flights often get ticketed with multiple airports.
Very good points! I would add that if traveling with your spouse, to each carry a different credit card. On one of our trips, we spent a week in Florida before heading to the Caribbean and I managed to lose my wallet in Florida before we had even left the country. Thankfully I did not lose my passport but I lost my holiday money, a Visa card, American Express card and a debit card. We had to cancel all of credit cards as they were connected. We left the country with only our daily limit of cash from our debit card, which we withdrew before we cancelled it, and one American Express card (they had different numbers). We thought we would be fine with an American Express, but discovered upon arrival that the island that we were visiting did not take AmEx. It was a good thing that we were heading for a prepaid all inclusive destination, or we would have been in trouble!
Great tip, Angie! It’s really too bad that we have to learn these things the hard way sometimes. Having two credit cards is a great idea. You never know when things will be stolen or lost.
When i travel specially on cruise, i usually use travel trunks. Hard ones. Very durable and strong to protect all my belongings.
The worst mistake I made was booking a hostel simply because it was close to the train station. I was only overnighting in the city because of the train schedule and I booked the cheapest hostel that was the closest to the train and it ended up being the worst part of the trip. It was 2 blocks from another hostel with the same name (that looked much nicer) and it was tucked between a strip club and an escort service. The rooms were filthy and the fridge was filled with food older than me. If I were to do it again I would definitely book one in a better area and either do the extra walking or take a cab.
Katy, I feel for you on that one! I did something very similar in Serbia. I still think about it regretfully to this day. Sometimes it’s just not worth it to book the easy option.
This summer we were flying from Charlotte, NC, to Venice, Italy, with a stop in Philadelphia. Boarding the plane for the flight, the stewardess said all the luggage compartments were filled so they would just send our carry-on bags on to Venice. I had about 1 minute to realize my medicines and other important items were in the carry on bags; grabbed the meds and the carry on bags were gone. If they had gotten lost on the way, it would have been disastrous; make up and cochlear implant batteries would have been gone. So, have the absolutely irreplacable items in your purse. That never happened before.
Any tips on money? We’re going to Thailand in February and I’m really flummoxed as to how much to carry, and how to get more while there? Have read all about places to exchange money etc., but don’t want to carry a whole bunch of cash to exchange. Are traveller’s checks still en vogue? Any assistance would be appreciated.
Hi Linda. We always use ATMs to get additional cash. Thailand is so inexpensive that you shouldn’t need to carry much around. Bangkok restaurants mostly take credit cards. Smaller villages will only take cash, but it’s inexpensive. ATMs can be found all over and there’s only a small fee. Definitely don’t go with travelers checks.
I remember i made the same mistake.. with my bank.. it took me to long so i get money from my mother and finaly when i came back i give back her money.. it was horrible haha.. just because i didn’t had the same phone number as in the Netherlands..sooo i go also to the bank before i travel again haha…
It’s a universal problem that we’ve all been through! It’s definitely wise to always contact the bank before traveling. It’s no fun being stranded with no money.
It’s a really good list Laura, we’ll repost it with your permission.
Here’s another suggestion: Make a photocopy of the credit cards you carry as well as your passport and store them in your room safe. Just in case someone DOES lift your purse or wallet!
Thanks Mollie. I hadn’t thought of doing that. At least you’ll have the phone numbers to call the companies and cancel them!
Or you could also make photo copies and email them to yourself. This way you can retrieve them from anywhere in the world whether you lose your gadgets, too, or not. Another thing l do is to attach fine chains or plastic loops with small metal carabiners to your wallet and phones and attach them to your bag so that they cannot be stolen from you too easily.
I like the carabiner idea, Joy. That’s a great added layer of protection against theft.
Make a photo copy of your passport/ID and put it in your carry on. If you lose your wallet, this will be helpful to get back home!
I have done few of them, but doing them taught me how to do it right next time and that’s where I hopefully corrected it and not hoping to repear any of them.
At first thank you for these important points. I have bookmarked this page if i will not make mistakes those you mentioned. During traveling i don’t want to make any mistakes as i have to face any problem. Facing problem in traveling spoils the pleasure of tour.
It definitely can.
– Have certified copies of your travel insurance, ID and passport and keep a copy locked in your luggage or in your hotel safe. Have copies of your tickets as well and do the same (no need to certify these). As a further back-up, scan and email copies of all these documents to your own email address which you can access from your phone or a computer if you need to.
– Keep the number of your country’s embassy on hand. If you’re travelling to multiple countries, make sure that you have all the details. You never know when you may need their help.
– Give someone you trust a copy of your itenerary – you may not always have wifi but they can leave a message at your hotel if they need to contact you urgently.
– Backpacks may be convenient but pack a small shoulder or slingbag or go without when visiting museums. Many museums in Europe don’t allow backpacks because of the increased risk of being pickpocketed.
– Send photos to your own email address – that way you have a back-up in case you lose your phone or camera, or it crashes. Uploading photos on Facebook also serves as a back up.
– Although it is convenient to book everything before you leave, it can be very expensive. Day tours are often offered in cities and can be much cheaper than when booking from home. We did a day tour from Amsterdam to Brussels, and one from Paris to Disneyland Paris, and another to the Eiffel Tower – the latter were via Viator and proved to be much cheaper… also the Eiffel Tower tour whisked us past the thousands of queuing tourists – after all, who wants to spend their day in a queue in a magical city when they could be doing something better? And because we skipped the queue, we even managed to squeeze in a visit to Versailles on the same day.
– Although the adventure of finding your own way from place to place can be fun, it can be frustrating and time-consuming. Tours (such as Trafalgar, for example) mean that you don’t have the stress of lugging your bags from place to place, up and down stairs at train stations – which can be an unforgiving experience – and you have your room and transport sorted. It may sound expensive but adding the train and taxi fares and the time wasted waiting for transport, frustration, etc. Having an organised tour is priceless.
– Don’t convert currency all the time (doing the math is good but there are times when you should just enjoy the experience… of course within your budget)- especially when it comes to food. It’s a good idea to know what you’re paying, but if you constantly convert, you will never eat.
– Most people use their phones as a camera, so avoid not being able to capture the memories by ensuring that you have a power bank with you, and keep it charged.
Wow, you just wrote an additional post on the topic for us! Thanks for your input.
You’re welcome. I love travelling, and inevitably, there’s something new to learn on every journey 🙂
Great comments! My biggest boo-boo is losing sunglasses! Lost 3 pair before we even got to our hotel in Cuba. Now l know to have a chain or something on t hem so they hang on my front when not needed.
That’s too bad. It’s really hard to find good replacement sunglasses while traveling!
I’m kinda solo traveller person so I have to make sure everything is organised before leave home, that includes bringing lots of cash with me and avoid take money from ATM. Why ? I just feel afraid or paranoid if the machine swallows my card . Any suggestion about that, please ?
I’m guilty of doing number 8 and 14! Boo. But I’m a changed woman now and smarter than the first time I went travel abroad.
When carrying American dollars, do not expect to exchange $100 bills. We traveled to Ireland with someone that had all of their cash in $100 bills and no one would take them for exchange, not even banks. Not only that, he forgot to inform his bank and credit cards he was travelling, so we paid for EVERYTHING during the trip. I also make sure I leave with a fist full of $1 bills for tips and the local equivalent for tips when I get to my destination, if tips are acceptable.
That’s a great point, Joelle. Do note that you can call any bank collect to remove the travel restriction!
Scams are definitely a major issue when traveling, especially when you’re in another country and can’t necessarily tell if it’s a scam. Thank for the comment Afzal.
Useful article I ever see. To great to post and share for someone who plan to have travel.
Thanks for sharing, Laura! Those are really a reminder for us to be well prepared. I want to share few more tips, hope you don’t mind 🙂
I prefer to look money changer as our homework. That way, we don’t have to waste our time looking for ATM that accept card.
Also, store separate ID card, credit cards from wallet. It’s a preventive step if the wallet stolen.
Do not store the cash only in a wallet. We might take our wallet several times during shopping and we don’t want to steall the others attention to the cash.
Take a picture of the ticket, passport and visa destination. I learn from Samantha Brown, she said some airlines still allowed us to pass the security even if we missed the printed version.
Left passports in the hotel room safe. Hang a scarf or something on the doorknob as a reminder. We are more conscious in Europe but only recently had to bring a passport from Canada to the US.
Also put your photocopied documents in your toiletries bag with a bit on extra cash.
Thank you for your very useful post. I will try to apply these tips.
All of the above! Worst mistake we made (twice) was leaving our camera 1. in a taxi and 2. at a bookstore in Edinburgh. They were found, but the taxi driver in Amsterdam held our camera hostage for 50 Euros!
Also, a tip we use: We have travel credit cards and ATMS. only used for travel and the ATM is attached to a travel checking account with only so much available per day. Let the banks know when we are leaving and returning and then they are turned off.
It may seem a tad anal, but I do print out EVERYTHING. Plane tickets, excursion tickets, hotel reservation, etc. I then place them, chronologically, in folders. One for me and one for hubby. Just in case… I have not had any problems, other than booking a hotel in Edinburgh through a cheap web site that went bankrupt. We didn’t find out until we tried to check in…:( the hotel was great and treated us to breakfast. All worked out as we booked through our credit card and all fees were refunded. Lesson learned. I never book hotels unless it is directly through their web sites.
Sorry to be so lengthy, just one more thing…I do go to our local bank and get some currency for the countries we will be visiting. It costs $15. for unlimited amount so well worth it for me to have $, Euros, etc. I don’t have to stress about using an ATM which I am not familiar with the screens.
Thanks for the great post. Always good to hear about others travel experiences.
Thanks for the additions to the list, Barbara. It’s great that you’ve found a method that works for you.
A very resourceful post. Love your ideas and tips. I will try to follow these tips.
Keep up the great work 🙂
I am really great on the vast majority of these mix-ups, really. Pressing an excessive number of exercises might be an error I make when I go for a shorter tour. Be that as it may, I appreciate each one of them!!
Excellent list. This should be required reading for all travelers.
Thanks for such wonderful tips.
I think so too!
One tip that has really become a requirement for me is to physically try on every single item you are packing, from shoes, socks, sweaters, coats, other clothing–even jewelry and underwear! Saves you the agony of pants with missing waist button, or raincoat with part of the hem hanging down, or purse with a broken zipper. Wash or dry clean everything, use packing bags, and enjoy your trip worry-free from wardrobe malfunctions.
That’s brilliant. I have definitely run into a wardrobe malfunction or two during my travels.
Thanks for sharing this information. These are very useful tips while traveling.
Thanks for such wonderful tips. It’s a great Post I am always worried about the visa, thank you have shared a nice article which is very informative to the fellow blogger .i appreciate your how good you put down those words into a fine article keep it up
It’s a good idea to register with the State Department. Anything can happen……natural disaster, terrorist attack, civil unrest…..you name it. Your country of origin should know where their citizens are, just in case.
Very true, Peggy.
Your post information is very unique and useful for all readers.
Thanks for such a wonderful article and tips. It’s a great post I am always worried about the visa, thank you have shared a nice article which is very informative. I appreciate you how good you put down those words into a fine article keep it up.
What a great content, I really liked your content .Wish you all the best. I am a regular visitor of your website, please keep writing.
Glad to hear it, Nancy. Thanks.
A new one on visas for yah or should I say some more to add:) If you are getting Visa upon arrival make sure you don’t have to pre-apply and make sure that you know exactly how much it costs. For almost all the “on arrival ones” pre-apply or not it’s exact cash or you’ll pay whatever is your largest bill. Oh, and the photos required – don’t forget that 🙂 Great list…. Nikki
Thanks Nikola. We ran into that issue in Jordan recently.
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