7 Biggest Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

7 Biggest Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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We all love holidays and trips away but we’re all guilty of making mistakes too. Here are the 7 biggest travel mistakes so don’t let them ruin your holiday, here’s how you can avoid them in the future!

Going via 60 places to save £10

This is a travel mistake I see so many people make and it’s one that I regularly made when I was younger. Travelling via 4 different airports making your usual 3 hour journey take 12 hours to make a saving of say £50 ($71 / €57). One time in particular I remember was a trip to Kaunas in Lithuania. We got a flight from Edinburgh to Dublin then Dublin to Riga in Latvia before taking a 4 hour bus ride from Riga to Kaunas. The flight direct from Edinburgh is around 3 hours… To be fair to us I don’t think there was a direct flight back in 2008 but a much quicker way was probably only £50 more.

Sometimes your budget doesn’t stretch that far and you can’t pay that extra £50 or maybe you want to enjoy the layovers before you get to your final destination. In that case it’s fine to travel via a few different places but if you’re looking to solely save money then is it worth spending an extra £50 to enjoy more time at your final destination? Every time I look for flights now I try and think whether it’s worth paying that wee bit extra to enjoy more time there. Especially when you’re constrained by holiday entitlements. There are other ways to save money on flights though.

Going to an airport miles away – that’s you Ryanair!

If you’ve ever flown with Ryanair then you’ll be well aware of this one! There have been a few occasions where I’ve got off my flight and expected to be around 30 minutes away from the city centre but to be instead met with a 2 hour bus journey. I can blame my poor planning and my bargain hunting on that one but do your research beforehand. The cost of the flights going to ‘out of town airports’ make it look appealing but you don’t think about the cost of the bus/train to the city centre or the time you’ve lost out on.

Pit Stop at Temple Bar, Dublin

Pit Stop at Temple Bar, Dublin

The Ryanair flights are usually cheaper for that very reason but there are usually other airports worth looking at too. For example, Frankfurt has two airports – Frankfurt Hahn and Frankfurt Airport. Frankfurt Hahn is the Ryanair airport and a transfer to the city centre takes around 1 hour 30 minutes. Compare this to the 20 minutes from Frankfurt Airport and it can soon add up!

Booking hotel miles away from the city centre

Another one relating back to saving a little bit of money by going cheap! Are you seeing a theme here? We all look on Booking.com or Expedia to try and find the best hotel for the least amount of money. One of the biggest mistakes is not looking at where the hotel is in relation to the city. Is the hotel cheap because it’s so far from the city centre? Will it cost you money every day on a bus to take you to the centre? Would it be cheaper overall to pay a little more for a closer hotel so you don’t have to travel? It’s often a yes to all of those questions!

The best way to combat this is to use the filters on your hotel booking websites showing hotels in the city centre only. That way you won’t have to pay to travel in and out of the city centre each day. This obviously depends on the activities you want to do and what you want to see but 9 times out of 10 you want to be in the centre for most of your trip. It’s also worth looking at your Nectar points and Avios because you can get some good deals using those for nice city centre hotels

Overpacking

Who doesn’t overpack for holidays and trips away? Who then struggles to bring back gifts and souvenirs? Who then says next time you’ll pack less? Yup that’s usually me! If it’s a weekend away my small bag is usually difficult to close. I’ve got about 5 t-shirts, 2 polos and a shirt along with a couple of pairs of trainers and a big jacket. Who hasn’t sat on their bag to try and get it to close? I was a serial packer, until I started to do the below.

The best way to combat this travel mistake is to pack as you normally would (you overpacker you!) and then remove about 40% of the clothes in there. You don’t need 4 pairs of jeans for your weekend away. You’ll find by doing this you won’t even notice the clothes you took out. Then remember next time that you’ll only need a small amount. You can always buy cheap tops wherever you go. Don’t scrimp on the underwear though! Make sure you’ve got enough of those!

Trying to do too much

You’ve booked your trip away and you’re looking forward to it so you want to see everything the city has to offer. That’s understandable. In New York when I was there in October 2017 I wanted to see and do everything I possibly could in my limited timescales. We often spend a lot of time trying to fit everything in that we start to stress ourselves and we don’t have time to chill out. Fortunately I had Orlando and Miami after New York so I could relax!

Event in Cardiff but Staying in a Hotel in Bristol...

Event in Cardiff but Staying in a Hotel in Bristol…

Your holiday is supposed to be a time to for you to relax and to enjoy it. When you’re looking at things to do just remember you won’t get a chance to see everything on your list. Pick out the top three things you just have to do and then don’t stress yourself getting to the others. Make sure that you plan some time in to relax, whether that’s by the pool, shopping or chilling at the bar. If you’ve not been able to do everything when your time away comes to an end then you can always come back and tick those things off.

Mobile phone battery

This is a huge travel mistake. We do so much these days on our mobile phones when we’re on a trip away. We’ve got our social media accounts to look at, we’ve got all the amazing pictures to take and we’ve got maps to look at to find our way to the next tourist attraction. Unless you’ve got some sort of super phone, there’s a good chance that your battery will die fairly quickly after all that. Especially if you add in music on the plane, on the bus or in the car. There’s been a few times on work trips when I’ve been on my own that I’ve been trying to find my hotel and then iPhone black screen… 40 minutes later I’ve found the hotel, when it was really only 5 minutes down the road in the other direction.

I have so many portable chargers now. So many. I go for the Anker 20100 (see below) and I’ve never had any issues. My girlfriend used hers for her trip to Kilimanjaro and they worked fine even in those conditions! It gives you around 2.5 charges for an iPhone which is perfect for a day or two of sightseeing. I can’t recommend a portable charger enough. There is nothing worse than being in a new place, being unable to speak the language and being unable to find where you’re supposed to be! Don’t make this travel mistake, buy some portable chargers!

Spending more than usual because you’re “on holiday”

This could be the biggest mistake of the lot. When I’m on holiday I spend more than I normally would at home. €30 for a bowl of soup? Go on then! Right, maybe not quite as bad as that but there’s always something you buy on holiday that you wouldn’t necessarily buy back home, for more than you’d normally pay. I find I always overspend on experiences and food because I’m in “on holiday” mode. We’re all guilty of it. We budget €300 for our trip and end up spending €500 with nothing really to show for it!

One way to combat this travel mistake is to think before you buy – would I buy this at home? Would I spend this much on this at home? Sometimes we want to splash out that little bit more and that’s fine. Just make sure you consider whether you’re overspending because you’re “on holiday”. That way when you get home you’ll have that extra €200 to go on another holiday with!

What are your biggest travel mistakes? Do you still make them or have you changed your ways?

7 Biggest Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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25 Comments

    • David
      Author
      February 4, 2018 / 11:18 am

      Thanks Michaela, I’m glad it helped you 🙂

  1. broganab
    February 5, 2018 / 12:16 am

    Ah yes! I’ve made the Ryanair mistake a couple of times… it ended up being more expensive to get to and from the airports!

  2. Sam
    February 5, 2018 / 12:52 am

    I totally agree that when it comes to saving money, sometimes we end up spending more! these are great tips – most of times I don’t I try to stay as close to the city centre as possible to save on transportation costs

  3. February 5, 2018 / 11:00 am

    Good thing I don’t overpack now, I’ve learned long ago that the lesser you bring, the easier it will be for you AND not to mention, you won’t be able to use them after all.. I think planning your outfits per day works best for me and I can totally avoid overpacking. Also ’spending more’. I get guilty about this sometimes. haha. But not all the time.. I think the place where you’re going is an important factor here. I find places with lots and lots of souvenir shops very tempting so I avoid looking at most of them. haha..

    Super helpful and practical tips btw!

  4. acoupleofidiotsabroad
    February 5, 2018 / 2:46 pm

    A agree with everyone of them!!! people who take 6 flights to get somewhere taking 10 hours more than they need to just to save $20 is a joke more time in a destination is worth more to me than that!

  5. February 5, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    I must admit that I always try to do too much and to see as much as possible, David. These are some worth remembering points and I will definitely reread your post when planning my next adventure!

  6. February 6, 2018 / 9:18 am

    Nice travel tips! I was hoping that overpacking wouldn’t appear in the list, but alas… I was just sitting on my luggage bag and yanking it to close just last week when I was returning home from Laos 🙂 Oh well, these small things add up to a vacation experience hahaha – it made us laugh!

  7. February 7, 2018 / 2:31 am

    These were such great tips! I definitely have a problem with trying to pack too much into my itinerary just because I literally want to see and do everything. Researching how long each sight takes to see has helped me a lot with that.

  8. Followingtherivera
    February 8, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    I can totally relate to all these points! I’m never making the mistake of going to a further airport for a cheap flight, and only to pay more for the transportation to get there! I always like to blame Ryanair, they do deserve it – most of the time!

  9. February 10, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    These are great tips to make your travel experience better. “You get what you pay for” is definitely everyone needs to keep in mind while traveling. The back up batteries are a must!

  10. Megan
    February 10, 2018 / 9:40 pm

    Haha really good tips! The Ryanair one happened to me when I flew to Barcelona.. and ended up 2 hours away! I’m also very guilty of overpacking too, there is definitely an art to travelling light!

  11. February 11, 2018 / 4:51 am

    Great list. I would like to add to it, not taking a caller card or a sim card when visiting foreign countries and thinking you will be just fine with hotel wifi. We did that on our first Europe trip and soon realized it was such a mistake. Since, we faced trouble so many times loosing contact with our group when outside and not having any means to connect back.

  12. bruceschinkel19
    February 11, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    Really good tips! I’ve often fallen into the trap of trying to do too much. i love your idea to enjoy the layovers. I haven’t done this yet, but i think extending your layovers (where possible) to actually give you better reason to have them makes total sense

  13. February 12, 2018 / 7:16 am

    These are some classical errors that all of us are prone to and possibly have made as well. I did the Ryan Air goof up in Italy for one. I know of a lot of people who do the overpacking bit but never learn. And packing too much into a trip is just something that I can understand for I admit, I did that a few times too. Well, all a learning. Good you noted all down.

  14. February 19, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    Ooh, I had to learn the hard way with your first point as well. Granted, I had more time than money, so it actually made a little more sense for me at the time. Now that I’ve traveled more and figured out what works for me, I know that I can save a little extra to save the time.

  15. February 20, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Good points here, but you do know now that Ryanair are getting rid of the small airports they flying into and landing in the bigger ones closer to the cities. Its a trend they been doing in the last two years. Still, I just see them as a coach service to get us from A to B. Rather fly Norwegian. 😀

  16. February 20, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    The arguments you talked about are real and we can understand what you mean. Overpacking is one of the common problems and every time is always the same story for us haha
    How forget the problem of the phone battery…

  17. February 23, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    I totally agree with you. I live in London and I really have 5 airports to choose, but I’ve made a mistake few times. instead of booking my flights with easyJet from Gatwick ( cheaper and quicker to get to) which was maybe 20-30GBP more I booked with less comfortable ( Ryanair), and located way far away from me Luton. Ive learn my lesson now! And spending more money while travelling is a serious problem for me haha. I always go crazy, ordering more than I can eat as I wanna try local dishes because I am on holidays. Some people suggest to get airbnb and cook but you don’t wanna waste time on that instead of exploring. The one thing I am trying to do is try food in London and only try those dishes I really enjoy while travelling.

  18. February 25, 2018 / 1:37 am

    So many great examples and so many times we’ve done and are about to do. For example. We are going to Ireland in a month and we couldn’t pack more into the trip if we tried. I don’t know how we are going to accomplish it but we will somehow. I wholeheartedly agree on paying a little more to get somewhere quicker rather than 2-3 layovers to save $50.

  19. The Wanderlost Campaigner
    February 25, 2018 / 1:28 pm

    I am the Queen of trying to do too much, so glad you mentioned this, and it can totally dampen my spirits because I feel like I’m doomed to fail! I’m now trying zero plan approach!

  20. February 25, 2018 / 6:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing. We’ve all been there making these mistakes when we travel. I think another good tip would be to make a list of things you’re taking and check it before you leave home.

  21. February 25, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    I think my biggest problem is trying to do much. I am though, very flexible, and we usually change our plan if it start to be too stressful. Especially when you travel with kids, like we do, it is important to plan ahead but keep your plans flexible. This is a good list!

  22. February 26, 2018 / 2:50 am

    I use that trick now when I pack…I pack as would normal and then take out a whole bunch 🙂 One time we made the mistake of taking all of our stuff with us when we we’re moving back from Thailand and going through Europe to get back home. We should have just shipped our stuff instead of paying all those baggage fees! I also tend to plan too much into a short amount of time and have realized to leave in some chill time!

  23. February 26, 2018 / 4:23 pm

    I’m so guilty of the last one, I’m always thinking “I’m on vacation, might as well treat myself!” and then end up going home broke, haha. Great post, really made me think!

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