Don’t get caught in a travel blooper – here are 10 classic travel mistakes, made by even the most jaded world wanderers, and how to avoid them. Hint: Having an expert travel advisor specializing in luxury travel will keep you from making just about all of these blunders.

1.  Trying to Do Too Much

We understand … during your precious time off, you want to pack as much as you can into your vacation. Instead of being overly ambitious and needed a vacation from your vacation when you return home, set some personal goals for your trip. Don’t plan to visit the whole of one European country – instead, focus on a particular city, or a theme for your sightseeing, such as art or history. Factor in transit time if you are including multiple destinations. Overall, relax and be flexible. Enjoy what you are doing, instead of trying to check off as many boxes as possible.

2.  Overpacking

dont make the mistake of overpacking

If you can get all the necessities for your trip into a compact carry-on, that’s fantastic. If not, it’s still prudent to only use checked bags for what you absolutely know you’ll need. Pack only what you know you will use, no frills. If you have a desperate need for an item during your trip, it’s likely you can purchase it at your destination. Plus, you’ll want to leave a little space in your bag for souvenirs. 

Depending on your destination, I can help you determine what to bring and what to leave at home.   You can read more about packing for river cruises so you don’t make these travel mistakes in this post.

3.  Relying on Information from Guide Books and the Internet

relying on outdated guide book information

Trust me, this is where my personal connections are going to benefit you the most. Guide books and the internet have pages upon pages of information, yes, but use this as inspiration rather than fact. I can help ensure that the sights you want to see are indeed open and accessible, or make sure you have the advance reservations needed at that restaurant you’re dying to try. Do your reading and research and bring it to the table – our planning conversations can flow from there, using my personal expertise and connections. Together, we’ll craft an itinerary that takes you off the tourist trail and to one-of-a-kind destinations and experiences.

4.  Losing Precious Photos

This is perhaps the saddest of all travel mistakes. Be sure to constantly back up your photos in the event that you lose your camera/phone or experience tech issues, like a virus. Store images on a USB drive, use cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox), or try an online storage site (Google Photos, Flickr). 

5.  Tight Connection Times

book enough time in between flight connections

Here’s another reason to work with a knowledgeable travel advisor. It may seem tempting to save a few dollars and just book your own flights online. However, often these itineraries will sneak in a too-short connection, increasing the likelihood that you’ll miss your flight. A professional travel advisor will account for flight delays, long customs lines, long distances between terminals, etc. when booking your flights.

6.  Forgetting to Notify Bank of Possible Foreign Transactions

Avoid the hassle of being flagged or having your credit or debit card cancelled due to suspicious activity. Before leaving home, notify each bank that you will be traveling out of the country.

7.  Forgetting Copies of Important Travel Documents

It’s a good idea to carry with you hard copies of your essential travel documents: passport, IDs, travel insurance policy.  For added protection, keep a digital copy on your phone as a password-protected PDF. In the event that you lose your original documents, having copies will speed the process of verifying your identity and renewing those items.

8.  Sticking Out as a Tourist

sticky out as a tourist is a travel mistake

As much as possible, try to disguise the fact that you are a traveler. Do not keep valuables where they can be seen. Keep the more expensive items, such as a DSLR camera or laptop, in a locked pack that is on your body at all times.

9.  Not Knowing the Ins and Outs of Your Mobile Plan

Best case scenario: your mobile plan covers international data and calling. If not – double and triple check before leaving town – you should turn off data when you board your flight and leave the phone on airplane mode. If you know you’ll need data during your vacation, look for an international plan that applies to your destination(s) or buy a local SIM card.  

10.  Having Unrealistic Expectations

mistakes picking cruise ships

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. If it’s beautiful beach weather you’re after, steer clear of hurricane season. If you want to avoid the crowds, be mindful of holiday and school vacation weeks in and near your destination. If you want nonstop action and endless dining options, choose a mega-ship ocean cruise, not a low-key European river cruise. Overall, expect the unexpected and go with the flow – you’ll not only learn from the experience, but likely have a much richer vacation because of it. 

Let’s chat to plan and prepare for your next (mistake-free) vacation!