“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
- Using cell plan while overseas without a plan or off of wifi
- Going overseas can be expensive before you begin to worry about cell coverage. Set a reminder on your phone to either turn off your mobile data before you board your flight to rely solely on wifi or use the reminder to purchase an international plan
- Not asking a taxi driver for the price before you get in the car
- Some drivers have a meter to determine rates, but in many countries, you can ask the driver (politely) how much the service will cost before you even get in the car. You can ask the hotel or tour guide how much prices should cost to get a general idea of whether you need to haggle or search for another taxi to get the best price.
- Credit card transaction fees
- Some cards charge international fees each time you make a purchase. Make sure to research and find a card that will let you travel hassle-free. See my post about my favorite card.
- Too tight connection time
- Anyone who has traveled will know that awful feeling of running at breakneck speeds across an airport in hopes of catching your next flight. If possible, try to ease the burden and book flights with at least an hour in between connecting flights because we all know planes LOVE to be delayed.
- Not being prepared with liquids, etc in a security line
- Ever groaned and inwardly cringed at the family in front of you who seemed baffled by the fact that they needed to get their liquids and electronics out of their bags? Please don’t be that person. Being prepared for a trip starts before you reach the airport.
- Hanging purse/briefcase on a chair in a restaurant
- Unfortunately, we live in a world where pickpockets exist and they can spot a tourist a mile away. Leave your purse/briefcase in your line of sight at all times. A good tip is hooking the strap around your ankle or chair leg.
- Relying on guidebooks
- Guidebooks are wonderful tools for planning, but relying solely on them means you miss a lot of spontaneity that comes with traveling. Ask locals for suggestions, explore an interesting looking area, and for the love please remember to have fun and not over plan.
- Buying too many souvenirs
- Just remember that everything has to fit in the suitcase you brought with you. A good way to pace yourself when shopping is to ask “do I absolutely love this or just like it?”. If the answer is the former, get it, but if it’s something you’re just excited about, but will let sit on a shelf and get dusty before throwing it away leave it. Take a picture if you want to remember it!
- Not backing up pictures
- I had my camera stolen in Barcelona towards the end of my trip. The one thing you really can’t replace are pictures and the memories they inspire. If you can bring a device that allows you to back up the photos just in case something happens to your camera.
- Bring enough money
- Always have a cash backup plan. Many stores or restaurants could be cash only. In case of an emergency make sure to keep some amount of cash on you in case you’re caught off guard and your credit or debit cards don’t work.
- Sticking to the tourist trail
- In every country/city I travel to I make sure to see my “must-see” list and leave time for exploring. In my most recent trip to NYC, we saw a building with incredible architecture and wondered what in the heck we were looking at. As we wandered closer we realized we had stumbled upon the World Trade Center Memorial and the Oculus. We had no clue we were anywhere near that memorial and the Oculus we had no idea existed. In short, leave time to see what you might otherwise miss.
- Having all money in a single place
- Let’s say your wallet is stolen. Did you have all of your cards, identification, and cash in the wallet? Please say no. I hope you said no. If not, it’s a learning experience. Stash cash in multiple pockets or even in your sock. Leave some money in the hotel room safe, etc.
- Have cash and cards
- It’s ALWAYS a good idea to have a mix of cards and cash. Some establishments will not accept cards and sometimes cards won’t work in ATMs or overseas, especially if you forgot to notify your bank. Be extra prepared and carry both.