Most Common Travel Mistakes: Part 3

As you all now know, if you have been reading this three-part series, that there are many travel mistakes that travelers can fall into that could be the difference between a beautiful experience across the world, or a total nightmare.

There are so many precautions that we can take and lessons that we can learn from other travelers that have personally had terrible experiences. Given that I am the queen at making lots of travel mistakes, I desperately seek to help and inform other travelers so that they don’t find themselves in the same problems that I have been in multiple times throughout my journey across almost 100 countries.

With that said, let’s continue on to the last part of this series of “Most Common Travel Mistakes.”

  1. Traveling with your Normal Habits and Patterns

When my parents traveled all the way across the world to visit me in Ireland, one of the first places we went to was an American restaurant to have ribs, something that they had eaten for dinner at home just two nights before. It is so important to break your routine and try different things while traveling. 

Experiencing new things is part of the travel experience and adventure. Get with a local and see how they live their life, try something new, and make new memories through new experiences.

  1. Not Taking Time for Exercise and your Health

I know many travelers that gain weight while traveling, simply by just not caring about what they eat or taking time to exercise daily. Traveling and finding that balance is not an easy thing, but believe it or not, I have lost weight while traveling and have come to find a good balance, with healthy eating and exercise while on the road.

This may be something difficult for new travelers, but it’s something you must be aware of, so that you can take positive steps towards a more healthy future. 

  1. Depleting your Budget Due to Alcohol Consumption

This has to be one of the biggest problems I have heard from backpackers from all over the world. Keeping up a nightly drinking pattern can get very expensive, even in the countries that have a reputation for being cheap to travel to. Many claim that alcohol is their biggest expense and something that sends many of them home early and totally broke. 

This is an easy fix: find enjoyment and a life outside of being drunk.

  1. Eating Near the Major Touristic Sites

Want to get ripped off in just one second?  

Find the nearest major attraction and eat at the restaurant next to it. This is a guarantee way to get ripped off. Instead, take a five minute walk away from the site and have lunch, especially if you are on a budget. Not only will you save money by leaving the touristic areas, but you are more likely to find more local restaurants and people.  

  1. Waiting to Buy all your Last Minute Gifts at the Airport

I seem to make the same mistake every time that I travel when it comes to buying gifts or postcards in a country. I end up finding the perfect gift in the city center, but then waiting and saying that I will go back and buy it another time.

Time has a way of getting away from me I find myself desperately running around the airport at the last minute trying to find something quick to buy.  The prices are much higher in the airports, even in most duty free areas. I had to pay up to 4 euros just for one postcard in Jordan in the middle east! 

  1. Booking your Trip too Early Without Insurance to Change your Dates.

Already planning your trip for next year?

That’s not a bad thing to do, but do not book your flight for a year out without insurance to change your ticket, because you never know what will happen.

Yes, flights are cheaper, but if something happens and you can’t go, it doesn’t matter how cheap your flight was, you will end up paying double in many cases. Many airlines offer insurance for less than 20 dollars and this can give you the peace of knowing that no matter what happens, you are covered. 

  1. Paying for Rental Car Damages that you NEVER did

Ever rented a car for a week without a single problem, only to return back and forced to pay fines? How does that happen?

Not checking your car over the minute you get it.

Don’t assume that the car is without damages when the inspector finishes looking it over and taking notes. Go around and analyze the car and take pictures from every angle, especially in cheaper rental car companies.  This can save you a lot of money, and in if they try to accuse you of a damage that you did not do, your pictures will be your evidence. 

  1. Not Taking Time to Renew your Passport

Many countries will not even let you into their country if your passport is about to expire.  I personally had to stay three weeks in the south of India in order to wait for a new passport.  Also, make sure to pay attention to the number of pages in your passport if you are a frequent traveler and do not reach the very last page if you plan to continue traveling abroad.

Most countries will ask for a full page upon arrival for the entry and exit stamps.

  1. Traveling to the UK after staying close to 90 days in Europe

This was one of my biggest mistakes that cost me over $500 in missed flights + fees.  I traveled through England on the way to Iceland after being in Europe for about 80 days. Due to the fact that they thought I was trying to live there or do a visa run, they detained me overnight for questioning (although in the end they never asked me anything).

Many people that travel in Europe for 90 days go there for a period of time and then go back to Europe. In order to prevent this or the possibility of you trying to live there without a appropriate visa, they will deport you, even if you are slightly questionable. 

My biggest tip would be to visit England only after being in Europe for a short time, or going with a round-trip ticket, showing that you will be going to a destination far away from Europe after your stay.

  1. Not Taking the Proper Safety Precautions

We have all heard the obvious safety precautions:

  • Avoid wearing flashy clothes, jewelry or purses.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, especially as a woman. 
  • Avoid walking around in the evening with your camera around your neck.
  • Avoiding talking on your phone while walking through the city (especially at night).

These are pretty standard and these precautions are there for a reason. I broke a couple of these rules and had to pay a hefty price. I was in a Central American country walking alone the evening to my hotel while talking quickly to my mom on the phone.

All the sudden I looked up and saw a man in all black running at me with a gun. He yelled at me, put the gun to my head and robbed me. He was not happy to find out that I had no money with me, but at least he got my IPhone 7.

  1. Passing through a Small Airport if you are in a Questionable Visa Situation or Processing a European Visa. 

I saved one my most dramatic travel mistake for last. I was detained and quickly deported out of the small Milan Bergamo Airport in Italy due to a minor mistake that I could of prevented.

Long story short, my Spanish visa was being processed, and while I was waiting, I left the European Union to visit Belarus. I was not aware that I was not allowed to leave the European Union during the time my visa was being processed and that I would run a high risk of not being able to enter back into the Schengen Zone.

I was stopped by Italian officials and they did a full analysis of my passport, marking on a piece of paper all of the times that I had entered and left Europe.  In the end they officially counted that I was 3 days over my maximum limit in 180 days without a visa.

What did that resulted in, besides being locked up and police escorted out of the European Union?

A beautiful X in my passport.

Lesson to learn: Do not leave the EU if you are processing a visa. Wait until you have the visa and then travel without restrictions. If you are over your 90 day mark, DO NOT leave the European Union and try getting back in without a problem.

 

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