10 Unfortunate Mistakes That Almost All Travelers Make
If you are not a travel guru who travels professionally, it's almost impossible to avoid mistakes during your trips. Here, we offer you a chance to learn from other people's mistakes, so you don't make your own.
We at Bright Side love traveling and we had a lot of fun collecting these tips. If you have your own tips, feel free to share them with us.
Mistake № 1: staying on the outskirts to save money
We agree that staying on the outskirts can sometimes be comfortable, like for example, when you rent a car. Hotels outside downtown are usually cheaper, but the difference is not significant, and all the saved money will be spent on transportation every day.
And when you are on vacation, it's nicer to stay in the middle of the action surrounded by romantic paved streets, than somewhere on the outskirts in a boring cookie cutter hotel. If you stay downtown, you can walk around interesting places late at night or early in the morning with minimal crowds. You won't miss anything interesting and might get to stay in an old authentic bed and breakfast.
Another definite advantage of staying downtown is being able to go back to the hotel during the day to rest or take a nap.
Mistake № 2: paying for things you can get for free
- Instead of choosing a tour (which might end up being boring) and paying for it, visit this website for free walking tours. This website connects you with locals who love their city and can show you around for free. A huge bonus when using this site is that they can take you to places that only the locals know about. You can access locals in many big cities through this website.
- Сouchsurfing is a service that connects people with free places to stay. Also, you can find people here to show you around your destination city.
- Workaway.info - want to earn some money while you are on your trip? Why not. Here you can find thousands of options.
- Campinmygarden - here you can find hosts who let people use their yard for camping. All you need is a tent. They don't always let you do this for free, but the prices are usually very low, around $6 a night, for example.
- Many museums have days when you can visit them for free. For example, you can visit the Louvre for free on the first Sunday of each month.
- Some supermarkets discount food which will soon expire. And sometimes, they even give it away for free. This is especially prevalent in the U.S. and in some Asian countries.
- In Spain, there is a rule — beer munchies (snacking food served with a beer) are always free. Sometimes, this snack can be a sandwich or a salad depending on the restaurant.
Mistake № 3: not paying enough attention to user reviews
Only reading a couple of reviews or not reading them at all is almost unforgivable for any tourist. Most people read hotel reviews, but they forget to look at reviews for the sights, even though these reviews reveal some amazing lifehacks on how to find a cheaper or different way in.
Thanks to food reviews with photos, you might be able see places and dishes they way they really look. These websites and apps can help you:
Tripadvisor — this is probably the most famous website where you can find reviews about anything — from the smallest shops to the world's most famous cathedrals.
Foursquare — a very useful website which will help you find the best places to have fun, eat, and drink. Hipsters love this one.
Yelp — this is almost like Foursquare, but specializes in restaurants and cafes.
Mistake № 4: taking a lot of stuff with you
When you travel and start packing, does it seem like you won't have enough stuff but then once you're done you end up with a super heavy bag? And later (like usually towards the end of your trip) you realize that some of the things you packed were not necessary at all. Ever been in this situation?
In your everyday life, you probably don't wear a new set of clothes every day and you won't do this in your trip either. Pack things that go together, so you can mix them in different ways.
This piece of advice might seem strange, but we recommend you to take a blanket instead of one more sweater. It can be used in multiple ways: a scarf, a blanket, and a cloth for a picnic.
Mistake № 5: taking just cash or just a credit card with you
Never take just cash or just one credit card. You can lose it (either the cash or the credit card) and your bank can block your card at any time. (To avoid this from happening, call your bank in advance and tell them that you are going abroad). We recommend taking a minimum of 2 credit cards.
A good rule of thumb is to always take cash together with a couple of credit cards. Also, read the forums to find out where the best places for currency exchange are.
Mistake № 6: being scared of talking to strangers
Usually, when we travel with other people, we are closed off from making friends with locals and other tourists. We think, "We'll never see them again, anyway".
When will you get another chance to make friends with someone from another country? Locals usually show interest in other people too so don't be shy to get to know them. And don't forget, a hostel is a wonderful place to meet people from all over the world.
Mistake № 7: trying to see everything
We think, "Since I've come here, I need to see as much as possible". And this makes us run from one landmark to the next. It's better to slow down and enjoy the slow walks, and breathe the air of the country you are visiting. You are resting after all, and there is no way you can see everything anyway.
It's also a bad idea to try to see two towns in one day. The best thing you can do is spend two days on one city, this is just enough time to really feel it.
Mistake № 8: traveling in the high season
Crowds of tourists can spoil any rest and any view. This is why you shouldn't forget that when you are planning a vacation. You should try to go in the least popular season when tourists are going home. If you go to Rome in late fall, you won't be able to enjoy the famous Italian ice cream in the heat of summer, but you will be able to walk on practically empty streets and see the sights without lines.
Mistake № 9: not buying tickets online
The lines to the famous places can sometimes be extraordinarily big, but there is a separate entrance and a separate door for the people who already have a ticket. Try to buy a ticket online (especially for places like the Louvre or the Statue of Liberty). This will save you a lot of time.
Mistake № 10: making a mistake with souvenirs
There are two extremes here: some people buy ugly souvenirs and others regret not buying anything at all.
We recommend both types of people to visit a flea market where you can find exclusive things at very low prices. And most of them are not made in China, but in the place you are visiting.
And one more thing: if you see something that you absolutely love, buy it right away. It often happens that when people postpone buying something, they don't buy it at all.
Bonus: expecting too much from a trip
It's not a simple thing to do, but try not to fantasize too much about your trip, like how you might walk around Montmartre or smell lavender somewhere in Italy. In the end, not everything can live up to a daydream. High expectations often lead to disappointment. Just relax and enjoy every day of your trip. And we hope that all of your next trips just keep getting better and better.