Travel Mistakes We've Made - So You Don't Have To
Over the past few years, I have traveled quite a bit. And I have also made quite a few mistakes! Here are some of the biggest mistakes I've made. I'm sharing them with you in hopes that you can learn from me instead of f***ing up on your own...
1. Not double checking the airport:
When I was flying home from my semester abroad in fall 2014, I coordinated my flight with one of my roommates so that we would be able to share a cab to the airport and save money. The morning of our flights we packed up all our stuff and were almost ready to leave. I decided to double check with the car company that a car was scheduled to pick us up and drop us off - at Heathrow Airport. Well, turns out she was not flying out of Heathrow, she was flying out of Gatwick! Good thing we figured that out before we actually left for the airport!
2. Traveling with someone you just met/ don't know that well:
A friend invited me to go along with some of her other friends to Barcelona, and of course I said yes! But I didn't know any of her other friends and wouldn't be meeting them until we all arrived in Spain. I have a very laid-back attitude and enjoy leisure time. One of the other girls on the trip totally took control and tried to micro-manage us down to the last minute. She tried to tell us where we were going and what we were doing everyday; and even tried to tell us what time we had to wake up! It ended with me and her fighting in the middle of the street because I wanted to go out but she didn't want to risk missing our 7am wake up time. Spoiler alert - I stayed out, enjoyed the lively Barcelona Nightlife, missed the 7am wake up call, and still got to do everything that I wanted to.
3. Waking up super early every day:
Waking up at the crack of dawn while traveling seems like a good idea. You can maximize your time to make sure you get to do everything on your list while also beating the crowds at a lot of major attractions. It seems very ideal, but doing it every day on your trip will get extremely tiring very quickly. While on a weekend trip to Edinburgh with a boy I was seeing at the time, we decided to wake up early each morning to stroll along the Royal Mile in the golden morning light. Very romantic, right? And it was lovely! But, by the time 10pm rolled around each night we were absolutely exhausted and just wanted to head back to the hostel to crash for the night. Nightlife is one of my favorite ways of getting to know a new city, and I didn't go out even once while I was in Edinburgh. If I could go back and do it again, I would try to find a balance. I would wake up early one morning, then sleep in a little later the next morning so I would have energy to hit the bar/club scene. I guess I'll just have to book a trip back to Scotland to try again.
4. Spontaneously booking a long-term trip:
As you probably know by now, Brooke and I will be leaving for 6 week backpacking trip in late February. We have been talking about going on a trip like this since we graduated in May and were just trying to work out the timing. We began browsing airfare websites and stumbled upon an unbelievable deal for a flight to London. It was so good that we just couldn't pass it up! We immediately booked the flight and decided we would just plan the rest of the trip around this flight. We wanted to hit up some beaches in Greece and Italy on our trip, but after booking our flight we realized that beaches are not really a possibility in March. We were pretty sad, so we decided to see if we could switch our flight to a few weeks later. Turns out, it would've cost more to switch our flight than the actual ticket cost. We kept the same flight and just adjusted our trip itinerary instead. We will be going to more major cities now instead, which we are still extremely excited about! But, learn from us. Do at least minimum research about the best time of year to visit your top destinations.
5.Spending half your money on "travel essentials" before you even leave:
Before I studied abroad, I spent hundreds of dollars on things I thought I would absolutely need for my trip. This was the first time I would be away from home for more than a week or so and I wanted to have everything I would need. The travel industry is just like every other industry, though, in that they are just out to make money. So, yes, those packing cubes will make your life somewhat more convenient. But, if you are on a budget they are absolutely not "essential." Those lightweight, water resistant hiking boots would be great! But your Nike sneakers will be just fine. Do some research on the latest travel merch, but make sure you can decipher the difference between an "essential" and just an accessory.