We’ve all heard our fair share of stories about holidays that have turned into a nightmare due to some mishap or another. Most of the time, a bad holiday experience can be traced back to one or two simple mistakes on the part of the traveller. We’ve compiled the following common travel mistakes that people make, and some simple ways that you can avoid them when you’re on holiday. So you can learn from others’ mistakes, and make absolutely sure that you don’t run into the same problems.
1. Not paying attention to hotel location
It can be tempting to book a hotel that is a little further away from the center of the action, especially when you’re visiting a particularly large or crowded city. For one thing, rates are likely much cheaper the further out from the city you go. You may prefer the peace and quiet—after all, it can be difficult to relax when the sirens and honks of city traffic are constantly occurring around you. However, make sure that you consider all of the factors before you select accommodation that is too far away from the sites you’re hoping to see. First of all, it’s easy to underestimate the cost and time requirements of transportation. Paying a little extra for a room downtown can give you more time to explore and appreciate the city without having to rush. Plus, if you haven’t had much experience with foreign transportation and traffic, then having to suddenly rely so heavily on it can lead to frustration—especially if you are travelling with children.
When it comes to deciding what to bring along on holiday, many travellers think it’s better to err on the side of caution. After all, you don’t want to get to your destination only to discover that you actually do desperately need some specific item that you chose to leave behind in order to save a bit of space in your suitcase. Many people overpack because they are nervous about being away from the comforts of their home. Others may just want to be extra prepared in case of an unexpected situation. However, having to carry around several giant suitcases can slow you down, become tiring and lead to increased baggage costs with your airline. To avoid such problems, pack according to what you know you will be doing. Also, find smart ways to pack, like stuffing socks and other small items inside of your shoes and putting shoes on the bottom of the suitcase. You might also find that rolling clothes rather than folding them creates more space. Consider making a list before you start, and breaking it up into several sections—necessary items, important items, and unimportant items. Pack all of your necessary items, followed by the important ones. If you have enough room, then include a few of the unimportant items. Just remember, you’ll probably be wanting to pick up some souvenirs while you’re on holiday, which you will have to factor in when you’re ready to head back home. If you need help with your packing; why not use our Simply Smarter Packing Tool. Just fill in a few details about where you are going and how long for, then tick off the items you know you’ll need from our detailed list to create a personal packing checklist that you can print off to ensure you never forget anything again!
3. Doing too much (and resting too little)
This is a tough one, because people often feel as though their holiday might be the only chance that they’ll ever get to see a certain area. Rushing from location to location sounds like it will be a lot of fun, but in reality, it’s anything but. Forcing yourself to exert more energy than you’re used to can turn any sightseeing tour into a pretty grim experience. When people get tired, they generally become irritable—which means a less enjoyable holiday for everyone involved. To avoid this pitfall, be sure to plan out plenty of time to visit major cities or locations. Realise that things like travel and eating often take much longer than you might expect, and never skimp out on your sleep. If you do end up with extra time, that’s rarely a bad thing.
4. Following the crowd
Many people miss the real essence of an area because they are so caught up in the tourist traps. Some might think that because everyone visits a certain place, then it obviously must be the most worthwhile choice. Certainly, many tourist attractions are worth visiting (which is one of the reasons why they become tourist traps in the first place). However, blindly following a guidebook can also distract you from hidden gems that are off of the beaten path. Also, remember that when you have to move through crowded areas, you won’t be able to move as quickly, which could mean you won’t be able to see as much as you were hoping to. If possible, speak to locals beforehand about how you should spend your time, and make sure to research your destination thoroughly before you arrive.
5. Miscalculating budgets
Whether you have a tendency to spend too much money while on holiday, or you neglect to bring along enough to cover your most basic expenses, running out of money is a surefire way for your trip to end up a messy failure. Sure, it can be fun to throw caution to the wind and celebrate your holiday by being relaxed with your spending, but you’re bound to regret it once the elation wears off. At the same time, not bringing enough money for the activities you want to enjoy can also lead to stress, especially if you are in a place where you can’t access your bank account. Making a sensible budget before buying anything, including flights and hotels, will go a long way towards ensuring a pleasant time. Take advantage of hotel freebies like breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking. Look on websites that offer deals on travel, restaurants, and other businesses. Consider purchasing ingredients and preparing your own meals rather than eating in restaurants. Small efforts to save money will add up quickly, and always be sure to bring along a little extra emergency cash, just in case.