Nine Common Travel Mistakes

As incredible as travel is for mental health, an under-researched destination, unrealistic expectations, or poor planning can turn a dream trip into a nightmare.

Want to travel like a pro? Read on for nine common missteps and tips for how to avoid them:

Expecting Home

The purpose of travel is to see new places, meet new people, and experience new things. Having a vacation that feels exactly like home is counterintuitive to that goal. That said, if you know that not being able to have Starbucks every morning would be a dealbreaker, trust yourself and pick a destination that has one.


“Pack light” is advice that appears on every travel blog everywhere for a reason. Trust it. I’ve never met a person who came home from a trip wishing they’d packed more.

If your hotel doesn’t have laundry service onsite, laundromats are often readily available. Washing essentials in the sink also works in a pinch.

Going Fully Paperless

Our smartphones are everything. They have our boarding passes, hotel confirmation codes, itinerary details, and even text updates from the airlines on travel days. That said, you don’t want to risk your battery dying right when you need essential information, and you can’t always rely on airports to charge your devices. Write down – or print out – your flight details, hotel address, and booking confirmation codes.

Forgetting About Your Passport

Yes, you need to remember to bring it along, but you also need to pay attention to its expiration date. At a minimum, many countries require that it be current and valid for the duration of the visa. Make sure your passport doesn’t expire within six months of your travel dates. You don’t want to be in another country trying to get home with an expired passport.

High Expectations from Cheap Tickets

The adage “you get what you pay for” applies to travel as well. Cheap tickets are cheap for a reason. Keep expectations reasonable and allow time in your travel day for delays or missed connections. Be alert and consider the value for your travel dollar.

Ignoring Hidden Fees

While on the topic of budget airlines, stay vigilant when booking as hidden fees are not uncommon. Oftentimes, once all the additional charges are added in, the total fare will be close to what you’d pay on a mainstream airline.

Renting Cars

Renting a car may feel completely necessary when you’re booking your trip. But when you arrive, you may realize that it was a waste of money. If your destination has affordable, safe, and reliable public transportation, consider using that or relying on ridesharing or professional transfer services instead.

Not Bringing Cash

Sure, credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, but having cash – and coins – is important, too. Some countries, for example, charge a fee to use public restrooms. And they don’t take cards or give change. Check the local currency and be sure to have different denominations on hand.

Not Checking the Weather

Check the weather for your destination. It’s easy to make assumptions based on time of year and location, but weather can be unpredictable.