Most Common Travel Mistakes: Part 2

Whether we like it or not, some of our best life lessons come from extremely difficult and uncomfortable circumstances. While on the road, I have faced many new obstacles and have been pushed past my comfort zone on countless occasions.

What I have learned is that growth truly comes when we we take responsibility for the mistakes that we have made and work to come up with an action plan in order to try and prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

My journey around the world has involved a lot of trial and error. If you have not checked out the first part of this article of “Most common travel mistakes,” you should start there.

In this article, we are going to continue on with the list of common travels mistakes that many people make while on vacation. Let’s continue….

16. Not knowing the price of the taxi before entering.

It is always important to talk about the price of the trip, BEFORE you get into the taxi. When you have this number determined, you simply have to hand the money over in the end with no discussion. However, if it is not a common route that has fixed rates, do not enter into a taxi without a meter. Some people have truly been scammed due to this problem, so don´t make the same mistake. 

I use Uber a lot when traveling due to the fact that it will tell you in the beginning how much you will be charged and I can use my card, instead of paying local money.  However, just make sure that you have good wifi in order to call your driver in order to prevent confusion on your pickup. 

17. Drinking the tap water when the locals tell you it’s safe.

Since I spend the majority of my time in the homes of strangers using Couchsurfing, I am faced with this topic often. Most locals will claim that their water is safe and that they have been drinking it their whole life.

While this is true and fine for them, it’s always better to go with bottled water just to be on the safe side. 

18. Not having something to entertain you during times of transition and transportation.

Long moments waiting do not have to be time wasted. Carry a book, tablet or your favorite playlist (with an extra battery). Delays tend to happen more than we would like and it’s better to be entertained during those long, dreadful minutes. In Swaziland in the south of Africa my bus was scheduled to leave in the morning, but due to a major delay, we had to wait 6 hours to leave.

Traveling in African and Asian countries will have some of the longest delays when going by bus, so be prepared. 

19. Taking the first directions that someone gives you.

I have been taken hours out of my way due to bad directions from a local. Sometimes it’s better just to download maps and to use your own instinct. If the person that is giving you directions does not look very certain with their answer, ask someone else or follow your map.

If traveling to a isolated, non touristic area, its more important than ever to carry a map or your smart phone in order to prevent losing a whole day due to walking in circles completely lost. 

20. Not having a smart phone with maps.

Google Maps has saved me in so many desperate situations inside and outside of the city. You can download the offline version and this will save you lots of aimless wandering time. There are many travelers that I have met that do not carry any sort of phone, but I would never want or attempt doing that, especially while traveling to rural areas. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that if you are traveling with a new IPHONE to make sure not to flash it around all of the time, or you may end up being chased and robbed in certain areas, especially at night.

21. Not taking time to look closely at exchange rates.

Don’t assume that everyone is as kind as they act like they are, especially the ones working in the banks and foreign currency exchange offices. Some of these companies can be some of the most dishonest people that you will ever come across, so know your numbers and don’t get scammed.

I always make sure that I download a offline converter on my phone in order to know the the exact exchange rates before going. If something does not feel right or the numbers look off, excuse yourself from the counter and double check your numbers privately.

If you have to exchange money, try not to do it on weekends, because some of the places that are only open on weekends have a worse exchange rate. In South Africa, the man working at the counter told me that for himself. 

22. Having all your money in one single place.

Having all of your money in one single place is a mistake for one obvious reason, robberies. Hide money in your socks or different places in your luggage, just don’t forget where it is, or accidentally wash it. I like to wear a money pouch inside my pants while traveling throughout the city in order to be more discrete in hiding my money, especially if I am wearing loose clothes. 

When leaving your accommodation, make sure to lock up all your luggage carefully and do not leave with all of your money in your pocket.

23. Not checking to see if your bus has a bathroom before a long bus trip.

Before long trips I try to only drink water, instead of eating large meals if I am on an extended trip. On a long 17 hour bus trip that I took through Asia I decided to not eat solid food and only drink smoothies. 

When I first arrived on the bus I saw that they had a bathroom and relaxed and began to drink even more. The moment I felt like I could not hold it anymore, I went to open the bathroom door, only to find that they converted the bathroom into a storage room.

Oops! Busses don’t stop often and this can be a very uncomfortable ride, especially if you cannot communicate in the local language. 

24. Ignoring local advice and following what your guide book says.

Many travelers are obsessed and swear by their guidebook. Many will even go out of their way to ignore the local advice in order to follow their own trusted book. 

My rule of thumb is to throw out the book and ask local people. This will give you the most authentic experience. However, its important to not just get the opinion of one local. Sit and talk with different ones and ask around. Connecting with locals will give you the best insight to the true culture and some of the most authentic, non touristic activities. 

25. Taking pictures of people (especially children) without asking for permission. 

This may not be a big issue in many countries, but in others you may run into major problems. When I was traveling in the Middle East, I quickly learned the importance of asking for a photo before taking it, especially with kids.

I have found that this is the most respectful way to get a picture and can prevent many unnecessary dramas or arguments. In most cases if you are friendly, people will realize you are just an innocent tourist and they will freely let you take the picture.

 

Want to read more?

Don´t forget to check out part 3 of this article in one week!

 

Don’t forget to also check out:

7 FEARS TO CONFRONT AS A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER

INDONESIA: WEDDING CRASHING

5200 STEPS UP ADAM’S PEAK MOUNTAIN IN SRI LANKA

 

 

 

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