Eight Travel Mistakes We All Make – At Some Point

We all do it. The rookie traveler. The seasoned traveler. The business traveler and the leisure traveler. We all make mistakes while traveling.

Some of these mistakes are habitual, while some are one time things that are super annoying. Whether you are a serial offender or have the occasional slip up, we can always learn from our mistakes.

Over-packing is one of my biggest hurdles to get over when traveling. I do not like carrying anything extra, but feeling unprepared is even worse.

Travel Days Shoes

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Hidden fees for overweight luggage
  • Burdensome baggage to lug around
  • No room for purchases while on vacation

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Plan outfits according to you itinerary in advance
  • Weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport
  • Pack everything and then remove three items, no matter what

Being “that”  person at the airport, restaurant or public place is never OK. Sure, cultural norms are different around the world and it can be difficult to learn and know it all, but you can use your best judgement, be observant and see from more than perspective. For instance, even though I am a Christian, I made sure to be quiet and courteous to those worshiping at the temples we visited in Bali. Sure, to me, these temples are just a tourist attraction, bu to others it is a place of worship. Or what about those airport “rules” that seem to be different each time you fly. Shoes on. Shoes off. Phone out of purse. Phone in purse. Yada Yada Yada! I know, it can get confusing, but it is a fact of traveling.

Wife with Baggage Ulun Danu Beratan

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • You run the risk of seriously offending another’s culture, religion or beliefs. (I admit that I think people are too easily offended, but when it comes to religion and country, people have a right to be sensitive; they are very important areas of life!)
  • You will hold up other passengers who have flights to catch. Know the rules.
  • You can embarrass yourself or those with you. (Again, it is a little silly. But come on! Read up on the places you are going to visit!)
  • Worst case scenario: you might even be arrested if your actions are too improper.

Ways to Avoid this Mistake: (It’s ALL on you!)

  • Read.
  • Research.
  • Ask.
  • Listen.
  • Implement.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is inconvenient, frustrating and sometimes costly. Double and triple check that your flights are the right day and time. If you have ever had your tickets for a Broadway show overlap with your tickets to The Top of the Rock you know the struggle is real. Have you ever made a restaurant reservation for 8 am, when you plan on eating dinner at this establishment? Yea, it happens to the best of us!

Colorful sunset GUlf of Mexico

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • It costs money.
  • It costs (valuable) time.
  • It can put a big monkey wrench in your travel plans

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Have your travel partner review your work
  • Have someone not traveling with you have a look
  • Pick your tickets and then walk away. Come back a few minutes later to check the purchase with fresh eyes and then click “buy.”
  • Write it out in a calendar or add you ticket purchases to you smart phone calendar to keep your self organized

Forgoing the extras can cost you. Do not pass up the option to sign up for loyalty programs. Just do not do it!

Tahoe Lake Shore

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Free stuff is good.
  • You can save money on this trip or your next trip.
  • Status can get you upgrades, complimentary (fill in the blank) and access to places and spaces. (Think airport lounges with showers and free food!)

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Say “yes” to the offers (only with reputable companies that you will use again).
  • Stay loyal to one company. (Note: Shopping for a low price is good, but sometimes paying a bit more to stay loyal to one company can pay off in dividends.)

Forgetting the necessities seems like one of those mistakes that you only make once. I mean, how does one forget obvious items like deodorant, toothpaste, pajamas. We are all guilty of forgetting some of these at one point, myself included!

Carry-On Toiletires for Air Travel

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Besides the obvious smelliness, toiletries can be more expensive in other locales (airport, big cities)
  • Having to buy brands you are unfamiliar with is risky business. (Have you ever tried a new face cream while abroad? Hint: it’s not a good idea.)
  • Buying the items means an extra stop spending time that was supposed to be used for hiking, drinking coffee or relaxing poolside.

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Keep your toiletry bag stocked and packed with travel size items.
  • Create a check list before your trip and check items off as you pack them.

Avoiding Tourists is a good game plan, because crowds are annoying, right? Yes and no. Most places are popular for a reason. Would you avoid Machu Picchu because of the hoards of people who flock here every year? (I hope you would answer “no” to this question because MP is amazeballs!)


Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • You can miss out of true cultural, historical or natural treasures.
  • You have the sense of ‘missing out’ on something really good.

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Pick the time you visit to avoid crowds, but do not avoid the place because of people.
  • Book a tour that gives you “VIP” access to avoid some of the hoards. It would be like buying a suite for the Super Bowl (OK, I know how expensive those are, but stay with me), so that you can enjoy the game and only share a bathroom with 25 people instead of 25,000.
  • Stay calm in crowds and know that everyone is there for the same reason.

“You Paid How Much?” is not exactly the question you want to hear after you’ve made a purchase. Traveling is expensive, so be smart with your money and save when you can.


Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • This one seems obvious: to avoid wasting your hard-earned cash!

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Adjust your settings on the Groupon app to your destination to see local deals.
  • Ask for a discount. Seriously! The worst they can say is “no.”
  • Google it. (i.e. “Wine Tasting Coupons in Napa Valley”)

Being a day late and a dollar short is never a good thing. True story: my husband and I were on our way to the airport to catch a flight, (Driving. En route. On the road.) when we realized we were late for our flight. We made the mistake of thinking we were flying out of Ft. Lauderdale’s airport, but after glancing at our Delta app realized it was Miami International! Yes, we knew which flight we bought, but we made a mistake that easily added 30 minutes to our commute time. Thankfully, South Florida traffic was tame and we (barely) made it on time. Misjudging the travel time we needed forced us to park in an expensive parking garage and we forked over lots of extra cash when we returned. Ouch! Moral of the story: do not forget to factor ample travel time, especially if you are unfamiliar area. Beautiful Deserts in Namibia

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Being late can cost you money
  • Being late can cost you reserved tours, tables and times

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Do not rely on navigation to give you accurate driving times. They are only estimates. Allow plenty of travel time and factor in traffic.
  • Ask locals about traffic patterns and places to avoid
  • Triple Check itineraries
  • Arrange for pick ups from your accommodations (instead of driving yourself) to avoid being late.
  • Use the mantra “If you are ten minutes early you are never late.”
  • Ask an employee at the hotel or the tour company about transit times. They can give you better estimates than maps and the internet.

Mistakes happen; no one is perfect. However, team work, double checks, a little patience and a lot of common sense can decrease mistakes. Making the mistake and paying for it (literally and figuratively) also helps you learn – but that is what I am trying to prevent with this post!

2 thoughts on “Eight Travel Mistakes We All Make – At Some Point

  1. theislandlogic

    Wonderful post!

    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 repeat any of them.

    1. Wife with Baggage Post author

      Yep! Everyone makes mistakes, we just have to learn from them and try not to repeat them! 🙂


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