Everyone makes travel mistakes now and then, the important thing is to learn from them and not make the same mistakes over and over.
I’m usually good at learning… For Example:
- Always confirm the price of a taxi in Morocco before getting in? Yup, learnt that pretty quick.
- Always carrying Imodium with you? Yup, learnt… Didn’t forget that again!
Unfortunately, there are some mistakes that I seem to make over and over again.
Travel Mistake 1: Packing too much
Every trip I take, I get annoyed with how much stuff I’ve brought with me. I must say, I do get better each time, taking less and less. However, still too much.
- Carrying my big coat that takes up half my pack, even though I’m away in summer.
Difficult one. Yes – I am going to be in Europe until December, so will probably use it. But that’s 6 months of having my coat with me and not needing it.
- Carrying 3 books, even though I know I’m a slow reader and have lots of work to do to get my blog & business off the ground?
Probably pretty silly. I’ve currently been away for 2 months and haven’t even read a quarter of one book. Stick to taking 1 book at a time – you can always pick up another one from a hostel or cafe book exchange. I’ve found some of the best books that way – you never know what you’re going to get.
Personal aim: Next trip, travel with carry on only.
Travel Mistake 2: Travelling too fast
The golden rule of travel: Travel slowly!
I always *intend* to do this! Travel slow, relax, stay in each location long enough to really absorb it, learn the culture, relax and enjoy yourself.
Oooh, but if I’m going to be in Belgium, I want to see Luxembourg!
If I’m going to be in Copenhagen, I can’t not see Sweden when I’m so close.
Thailand? Well, I have to spend time on the famous beaches, see Bangkok, go trekking in the northern mountains… Oh, Oh and it’s not *that* far to go across to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields.
Personal aim: Slow down! Less is more. I know I enjoy myself more when travelling slowly, staying somewhere long enough to really get to know it and relax.
Travel Mistake 3: Not socialising enough
I’m naturally an introvert. I’m not comfortable with the idea of meeting new people. I need plenty of time to myself, if I don’t get enough alone time then I go crazy.
But that being said, I am also a social person. Not socialising enough and I can get depressed too!
Sometimes I let the introversion win, but in hindsight I recognise that being with people – socialising and sharing the travelling experiences enriches the experience. Looking back, times when I’ve made new friends and travelled with them for a while I was much happier, enjoyed myself and did more things that are out of my comfort zone and therefore had more incredible experiences while on the road.
Personal aim: Don’t let the introversion win. Yes, spend time alone and relax… But be social. Make friends, share experiences. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
Travel Mistake 4: Not using CouchSurfing & Workaway enough
The free accommodation is just a bonus – the best thing about it is meeting people. Meeting locals, learning about them, their country and their culture. I know this, and I love this.
Sometimes though, I convince myself I don’t have the energy to be social and it will just be easier to book a hostel or hotel and keep to myself. And yes, that’s definitely true at times… But don’t let it become the norm.
Personal aim: Get in there – meet people, learn and experience. Make CouchSurfing & Workaway the main way I travel.
Travel Mistake 5: Letting nerves/fear get in the way of experiences
I want to do a lot of things… In theory.
When it comes down to it, I often let nerves or fear get in the way. Sometimes it’s literally just fear of making a fool of myself. Sometimes it’s fear of injury. Sometimes it’s justified fear… Sometimes it’s not.
- Not going paragliding in Austria because of a fear of heights? Regret.
- Not getting that awesome photo of a local lady and her market stall in Vietnam because I was scared to ask if she minded the photo? Regret.
- Not going on an amazing hiking trip that people in my hotel in Morocco were organising because I was too nervous to ask if I could tag along? Regret.
Yes, some things fear is justified and it’s probably best to avoid (my mum will be happy to hear me say this!). But other things are silly to miss an amazing opportunity!
Personal aim: Live without regret. Live for experiences… Don’t let fear or nerves get in the way of making the most of travel.
What are your travel mistakes?
- Have you made mistakes while travelling? (or in life in general)
- What lessons have you learnt from your mistakes?
- Do you make your mistakes over and over again?
- What are your personal aims?