1. Not Planning Beforehand.
Being spontaneous is fun if you have all the time and money in the world. However, planning allows you to enjoy your trip without worry. There’s nothing like being exhausted and unable to get a hotel room because you didn't know a big event was in town. Sold out hotels tend to ruin the fun of spontaneity.
Travel Tip 1: Planning saves you time and money.
Planning and research go hand-in-hand. Research helps you find city passes that supply attraction admittance and public transportation. Passes will often allow you to skip lines—thus saving you time. They may even include discounts with restaurants or other venues--thus saving you money. Plus, research has shown that:
72% get an immediate high from the excitement of researching a trip. (Source: Booking.com)
We often equate planning to the most boring or difficult portion of the trip. It's not! In fact, it builds anticipation for the travel ahead. The more time you spend planning the better your trip will be.
2. Not Preparing for Problems.
You don’t want to think about the bad things that could possibly happen and in most cases won’t happen. Yet, they do occur. Preparing for things that might take place enables you to be proactive. It's much better to address any possible issues that could occur before you're away from home.
Travel Tip 2: Going abroad? Travel insurance is a must-have.
Illness, a death in the family, an unexpected event, a national or international crisis can all put your trip on hold. When you've spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on airfare, accommodations, etc., you'll want to make sure that you don't lose your money.
Additionally, nothing can ruin a trip faster than becoming ill. Always take a basic travel medicinal kit.
Chances are you won't find yourself seriously ill or hurt but it can help. Travel insurance for medical emergencies is something to consider for trips abroad.
3. Not Listening to Your Gut.
You want to respect every person and every culture. You may find yourself in uncommon situations. In those cases you don't want to be rude. The difference is when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. That's when you may have to break with convention.
Travel Tip 3: Listen to your Intuition!
I once went on a trip with some friends. As we approached a busy sidewalk, I instantly felt my wariness radar kick into high gear. I told my friend that I’d be walking in the street, thus avoiding the crowd. She chose to keep walking into the crowd on the sidewalk. When we met up again on the other side, I still had everything in my possession and she was sans expensive camera.
Another lesson— trust others when they share their concerns!
4. Being a Tourist versus a Traveler.
You've waited a long time to see Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty, or whatever trip highlight you've imagined. Yes, hit the highlights. There's a big difference between seeing something in a picture and something in real life. But only seeing the tourist highlights isn't going to create the memories you'll cherish for years to come.
Travel Tip 4: Quit being a tourist and become a traveler.
1. Stays in a hotel that could be in her hometown.
2. Only eats at chain restaurants she's familiar with the food.
3. Travels to see the main sites, neglecting everything else.
4. Has limited or no interaction with the culture or the people.
5. Has every minute of every day packed with sight-seeing.
1. Stays in a local bed and breakfast or quirky boutique hotel.
2. Tries the cultural delicacies. Picks up food from a local market or bodega for an impromptu picnic.
3. Explores sites and the city away from the tourist spots.
4. Engages with the culture and the community. Strikes up a conversation with someone.
5. Takes time out on a daily basis to simply breathe in the experience.
Some of your most memorable experiences may be away from the main tourist areas. Pop into a local store. Connect with the locals. Take a stroll. Engage. Explore. Do something outside of your comfort zone. Those are the things you’ll remember long after the trip is over. You can still enjoy being a tourist in another place. But take the time to become a traveler and you will create an enjoyable trip.
5. Depending on Technology.
Technology can be useful but it can also be detrimental.
Travel Tip 5: Use technology, but don't depend on it totally.
@SamanthaBrown advises not to depend on technology. "Print a document like in the olden days."
Don’t allow it to distract you from taking time to focus on where you are in that moment. The more you connect with your device for advice, the less you interact with the place and people.
Paris is a beautiful city. It has outstanding art. Our group decided to visit the art museum. Soon I was standing in front of Monet's Waterlilies. I watched as people took selfies. After getting a shot of themselves with the picture, they moved on to their next prize. They were so focused on getting a picture of themselves, they missed the art in front of them.
To get a true sense of place, you will need to connect with its population. You can find a restaurant online but why not ask someone on the street to recommend their favorite place?
Not only can technology be a distraction, it can also be detrimental. Batteries fail, signals can be lost. Make sure you can navigate your way around an area without using GPS. This goes back to planning beforehand.
6. Taking too Much Stuff.
Nine times out of ten you’ll leave at least a third of your items untouched.
Travel Tip 6: Pick a clothing color combination and stick with it.
If traveling during times of seasonal change, think layers—which is good for any time of year. Traveling light allows for less concern with keeping track of your bags. It's also easier to take public transportation when you only have one bag. Plus now you have room to bring home those great shoes you bought!
7. Taking too Little Cash.
For many of us, we’ve gotten so used to paying with a credit or debit card that we forget to carry cash. But in many places in the world--cash is the only currency accepted.
You’re going to want to have enough local money when you arrive at your new destination. Oh course, you've planned ahead. Correct?
1. Find a local bank that handles foreign currency. Get enough cash for at least one day's needs.
2. If you didn't get cash ahead of arrival, get cash at the first ATM you encounter. Use a card with no foreign transaction fees. Take out enough money until you get to your next destination.
There’s nothing more fun than finding out that no one will accept a credit card and you can’t find a place to get cash. In busy tourist areas, ATM’s can quit working or run out of currency.
Be prepared. Keep cash stashed in different places. Only put the amount you need for that day or outing in your wallet.
Travel Tip 7: Carry enough cash to get you through one day.
8. Bad Shoes.
Almost every trip requires a lot of walking. Let me rephrase this.
Every trip requires a lot of walking.
One of the things that can catch you off guard is how much physical activity you will do when sight-seeing.
I've walked 15 miles a day and climbed 10 plus flights of stairs.
Unless you're taking a sea cruise or a train trip, you are going to want to prepare physically.
Even shore excursions or stops can have you walking more than normal.
This is why it is imperative to bring shoes that you have broken in by wearing at home.
You want to ensure that any shoes you take are comfortable and don’t rub.
Those shoes that worked great last year—don’t wear them. Buy a pair like them.
Bring shoes that work with most, if not all, of your outfits.
Pick the shoes to bring according to what on what you’re planning on doing during your trip.
Additionally any footwear with clunky heels will have you stopped by the TSA. Try to avoid anything with strings or hooks.
Travel Tip 8: New shoes are bad news! Break in shoes before your trip.
9. Not Allowing Enough Downtime.
Yes, you only have two days in New York, Paris or where-ever it is you’re heading.
Allow for some downtime every day.
Often this break can be during times when you are traveling from one city to another. This is a time for you to recharge, to relax, and to ensure you aren’t simply checking off boxes.
Are you an early bird? Why not enjoy an early morning walk, listening to the world as it wakes from slumber?
Are you a night owl? You’ll get a different impression of the city and its culture after the sun goes down.
Travel Tip 9: Downtime makes the rest of the time more enjoyable.
One final way to wreck your trip:
A Bad or Superior Attitude!
It happens to all of us.
Yes, even you!
Especially if you're tired or hungry or not feeling well. Which can easily happen when traveling.
A bad or superior attitude can sneak up on you.
It can happen with the way you think of other travelers. You think your way is the best or you're right about something. Or you look down on a selected restaurant or activity. That's a quick way to wreck your trip.
It can happen with other cultures. When you travel to other countries, the culture may be very far from your own attitudes, morals, or values. It’s very easy to get into the comparison game of whose country is better. Just stop it. Don’t go there. Enjoy where you are at. There is no perfect place.
The best way to stop a bad attitude--yours or someone else's is to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. Be forgiving and hope that others forgive you. It’s important to make sure you include a good attitude when you travel.
Don't wreck your trip by NOT...
1. Planning Ahead
2. Preparing for Problems
3. Listening to your gut.
4. Becoming a Traveler.
5. Using Technology Wisely.
6. Packing light.
7. Keeping cash on hand.
8. Bringing quality shoes.
9. Making time for down-time.
10. Having A Good Attitude!
Vikki Walton wishes she could come up with a great third person opening hook. Alas, she can't. Instead, the Girls Wanta Go Founder is a World Traveler and Work Quilter. She's a writer, speaker, instructor and house/pet sitter. Her introvert side loves nothing better than to hike, garden or cuddle up with a great book. Her extrovert side loves telling people what to do through the written and spoken word.