#1 Waiting till the last minute to prepare your travel documents: You don’t want to discover that your passport is almost expired a few days before your planned trip or scheduled appointment to get your visa. Make sure your travel documents are checked at least a month in advance, giving yourself some time to get over any unexpected obstacles.
#2 Over-packing: There is absolutely no need to have a different outfit for every single day of your trip (ahem ladies!), instead have a few garments that can be worn differently (e.g. by adding accessories and scarves). Also non-clothing items such as shampoos, toothpaste, shaving creams can be bought upon arrival instead of carrying the extra weight. Beauty products in travel pack sizes are also very useful in terms of space and weight.
#3 Choosing an over-luxurious hotel when its unnecessary: If you are going for a honeymoon or a special occasion, pampering yourself with luxurious accommodation is understandable. But on trips where a decent bed and bathroom is all you need as you’ll be spending most of your time outside the hotel, just go for accommodation that meets your basic requirements and save the money for more exciting stuff to do on your trip!
#4 Over “souvenir” shopping: Yes we all want to carry back things that remind us of the place we have been to. But why get 5 replicas of the Acropolis? Try to be selective in your souvenir shopping and compare options before making your purchases, saving yourself money and less weight to carry back.
#5 Under-estimating your travel budget: While flight and accommodation expenses can be known in advance, your day to day expenses during the trip are subject to estimations. Don’t assume it will be the same as your expenses back home. Different countries have different standards of living so do a quick internet check to get an idea how much you will need for daily expenses. Then add a 20-30% buffer for emergencies.
#6 Carrying too much cash with you: Have some cash in hand (an amount that can last you for 1-2 days) and for the rest use your credit/debit cards (have more than one just in case something goes wrong with one). Cards are easy to carry and keep in a safe place and are much less risky than having actual cash in hand.
#7 Not planning or having guidelines for what you will do: Don’t plan for your trip and one or more of these scenarios are likely to happen: a) you will miss out on places/things to do that you could have thoroughly enjoyed b) you will go for the typical tourist traps by following a random brochure you picked up to tell you what to do c) you will start panicking and will try to cram as many things as possible in a few days and will end up over-exhausting yourself without much enjoyment. A good trip starts off with a good plan. (You have various ways to do that, one of them is right here! Check out Sal’s Trip Planner).
Definitely agree with the last point. I get so excited when planning for trips that I plan a little too thoroughly sometimes but I like to make the most out of my time away!
Yep Rachel planning is really key. I am also a thorough planner myself, I just love drawing out each day of the trip, each with a certain theme or highlight :))
Very good tips. I feel like the most important ones are the cash matter and the over-packing issue. Having too many things (clothes and money) is always a bad thing when going abroad…
Thanks Moritz… Yes over-packing is one major issue. I remember when I first started travelling I used to struggle carrying around too many things, until I got used to the idea of “packing small”. Makes things much easier now!