If you are looking for common travel mistakes, we have summed up, some from personal experience, our top 10 common travel mistakes to hopefully help you prevent making them.
- 1 Forgetting your travel goals and purpose
- 2 Travel Insurance – Either the lack of it or the incorrect insurance!.
- 3 Not having a bucket list
- 4 Over planning your travels
- 5 Over/under packing
- 6 Seeing everything through a lens.
- 7 Not enjoying everything!
- 8 Over or under contact with friends and family
- 9 Not being smart with your money!
- 10 Sticking to the tourist spots
Forgetting your travel goals and purpose
It is so easy whilst travelling to get lost in the moment (and not in a good way), to take for granted what you are doing and seeing and to forget what made you travel in the first place. Having our blog has made sure we keep on track, reminds us of what we set out to do and also what made us travel in the first place.
Tip: Make sure you write down your goals, it doesn’t need to be on a blog, it can be on a piece of paper that you carry with you.
Travel Insurance – Either the lack of it or the incorrect insurance!.
Insurance has to be one of the most boring aspects of travel preparation and also something that feels like a complete waste of money. After all, no one thinks they are going to get ill or lose something whilst travelling but the reality is people do. Insurance only becomes value for money if you ever need it but even then, it is never a pleasurable experience to get the value for money as it means something has occurred for you to use it.
We just need to suck it up, the fact is everyone should have insurance and you should invest as much time in choosing insurance as you would finding the perfect holiday. Don’t be fooled by price either, the cheapest isn’t always better.
TIP: Start off by writing down a list of essentials the insurance must have, some nice to haves and then look at the insurance. Rule out any insurance that doesn’t meet your essentials and then work out how much additional you want to pay for the nice to haves to be covered. Remember to read the small print too, many insurances stipulate you have to have planned a return to the UK by the end of the insurance period in order for it to be valid and many insurers wont insure once you have left your county of origin.
Not having a bucket list
Ok, lets be honest, having a bucket list is not essential and many travellers don’t plan a thing and still have an amazing trip. There is a lot to be said for going with the flow and taking each day as it comes. For us, there would be nothing worse than leaving a place and realising that you have missed out of doing or seeing something that you have always wanted to see or do and not realising you were right next to it! To make it worse, when people know where you have been they will ask “did you do….” or “did you see…..” to which you have to reply “no” and whilst that may be the case, I want it to be a conscious decision not to do or see something.
By having a bucket list, you can budget better and you can plan better (especially when it comes to planning which countries to visit and when, there is no good wanting to attend a festival for example but planning your trip outside of when the festival is happening).
TIP: Create a simple bucket list to enable you to create a rough plan for your travels. If you create a bucket list, aim to get them all crossed off whilst you travel and don’t have regrets when you return. If you are visiting multiple countries, the chances are you wont return to all of them again so make sure you fulfil your dreams whilst you the chance.
Over planning your travels
We added this straight after the bucket list for a reason. It is so important not to be too rigid and too structured whilst travelling. A bucket list should be like a to do list, its live and can be added to or amended at any time. Often, you don’t even know what you want until opportunity arises.
For Lewis and I, we know which countries we are going to, roughly in what order (dictated by saving money going back and forth and also by what we want to see) but we don’t know how long we will be in a place/country for as we want to be able to leave when we have had enough (or the visa expires).
TIP: Allow yourself to be go with the flow and if you are someone who needs complete structure, plan in days of nothing to allow yourself time to go with the flow.
Ok, so under packing really is a thing! When we were sat on the kitchen floor with a mound of outfits and a 65l backpack to fit them in, we made very conscious decisions over what we was going to take vs leave behind. We are set on backpacking properly and as such voided all smart clothing from the bag with the intention of never needing to use them. We didn’t give a second thought to what we would need to wear whilst working and merely focused on shorts, t shirts and swimmers! The downside was having to spend money on clothing almost as soon as we came to Australia.
TIP: Give thought to circumstances, when packing the chances are you will go out to socialise and need something to wear, you will need casual day to day clothing and also give thought to what you plan to do for work (if you plan to) and don’t assume your trip will be full of sunshine and warmth.
If hospitality is your thing, you will need to think clothing and shoes, shirts (depending on what end of hospitality you want to work in). The weather is another factor, we deliberately left the coats, jumpers and long sleeve clothing from our bags, mainly because of the space it takes up but now it’s winter, we are completely unprepared and face spending more money on things we have at home. On the flip side, we have so many T-shirts we haven’t worn them all so we could have swapped them out and had a more balanced wardrobe. Give this lots of thought and don’t leave it to the night before like we did!
Seeing everything through a lens.
With more and more social media platforms than ever before and storage larger than a 1.44mb floppy disk, you can literally take photos and videos continuously! This is a blessing and a curse. There is nothing more soothing than looking through your holiday snaps and holiday videos and we are fully aligned to this. Having said that, we have been guilty of treating places like a tick box exercise. We have gone somewhere knowing what shots we wanted and almost frog marched ourselves around getting the snaps before moving onto the next location. It is only when you review the photos that you realise that the picture you are seeing are all you actually saw. We didn’t take time to take in what we were seeing for ourselves in the moment.
TIP: Make sure you have time to do both. Don’t over plan a day and make sure you have time away from the lens to see it for yourself. We love setting up our camera on a tripod and filming slow mo or time lapse as this gives us time to see things for ourselves whilst having the photos as a memory. That way you still get the perfect Instagram photo and the memory in your own brain.
Not enjoying everything!
We know this sounds like a weird statement to make and there will clearly be times that cannot be enjoyed but hopefully the vast majority of your trip can and should be enjoyed. It is well known that travelling the world isn’t always fun, it doesn’t always give you a warm feeling but we are so blessed to be a generation that can travel the world and see things that were only dreamt of not that long ago.
TIP:Even when you are aching and sweating from picking fruit in the middle of a snake infested wilderness for $1 an hour, be grateful you are able to do have the experience, think of the bigger picture and remember all the fantastic things you are seeing and doing that you will talk about for the rest of your life. Treat every negative as a learning curve and part and parcel of your nomadic wanderlust.
Over or under contact with friends and family
Leaving behind friends and family for us was the number one downside to travelling the world, there is never a good time and something will always be happening. Chances are you will miss a big birthday, a wedding and a birth, all of these we are missing in our first year of travelling and it’s hard.
Being on the other side of the world does make it harder to catch the right times to call, especially when you are working and often days or weeks go by and you haven’t spoken to your friends and family. On the flip side, many travellers speak every day but there has to be a happy balance (not saying daily calls are wrong but for us that is too much). When you have several people that you what to talk to each week, it can amount to a lot of time which we don’t always have at the right times of day and it is hard to get the balance.
TIP: Get a routine and find a happy balance, don’t leave all of your calls to the same day and spread them out over the week or month. Regular text messages and wattsaps in between and the occasional Facebook like and comment on updates will ensure you are staying up to date with what is going on and won’t leave them feeling you have forgotten them.
Not being smart with your money!
This is a big subject and none that would add a lot of length to this blog. Being smart with your money will not only give you more freedom to do more but will also take away some of the stresses and strains from travelling. Make sure you save as much as you can, whatever that amounts to as the more you have to start off with, the better. When you travelling, don’t waste money and be smart, don’t restrict yourself on what you want to do but be sensible. The more strict you are, the longer it will last.
TIP: We have written a useful blog on saving which you can find here which will give you countless tips and advice. Whilst your travelling, make sure you do not get lazy with money. We have a Monzo account (find our review here) which means we don’t occur any costs in fees or bad exchange rates and this certainly adds up! Don’t just find the first money exchange, shop around! if you have bulk savings, don’t just leave them in your current account, find saving accounts and spread the money out to get the best return.
If you want to be super careful with money, track and monitor what you are spending which you can do using our finance tracker here. We log everything so we can share our travel costs with our readers but also to enable us to see how we are using our money, we have to be careful for our money to last 4 years!
Sticking to the tourist spots
This one doesn’t need a detailed explanation. Tourist hubs are so similar all across the world and it is easy to forget where you are as Phuket strip and Magaluf Strip are virtually the same; bars, souvenirs, people selling knock off items etc. The only difference I can think of in this scenario is the lack of a ping pong show in Magaluf. Don’t get caught in the trap of hopping from one tourist place to another without seeing the country for what it really is.
TIP: To truly experience any country, step off the beaten path, get to meet locals and amerce yourself in the culture.