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 one of the travel mistakes that 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.
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 travel 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
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!
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 one of the biggest travel mistakes. 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 the last of the travel mistakes 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?