17 Terrible Travel Blunders You’re Probably Guilty Of

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Even the toughest, most care-worn travelers make the kind of mistakes you’d expect from total travel newbies. Each of the items on the list is the result of years of our worst personal travel experiences. Ignore them at your own peril.

1Not taking your medicines with you on your carry on

Your required medication simply has no place on your checked luggage. Checked-in luggage gets lost and tampered with all the time, and you definitely don’t want to take the risk you won’t have your life-saving medications with you when you need them.

2Taking your favorite pocket knives and liquids on your carry on

Unprepared travelers are forced to leave hundreds of thousands of treasured pocket knives and untold gallons of shampoo and fine liquor at airports every year. Every single day, a traveler has to make the decision to leave behind precious heirlooms or bottles of rare scotch due to their carelessness. Don’t be one of those travelers.

3Not packing enough underwear

You can arguably get away with wearing a handful of shirts and the same pair of trousers every day for a month, but you’ll want to have a fresh pair of undies as often as you can get them. Always pack slightly more pairs of underwear than you think you’ll need. They won’t take up much space, and the comfort a clean pair can provide in what may be a stressful trip is indescribable.

4Not packing a change of clothes on your carry on

As we mentioned earlier, checked-in luggage gets lost, misplaced, and tampered with all the time. You will want at least one change of clothes on your carry-on to tide you over in case something happens to your checked in luggage.

5Packing too much

Do you really need more than two pairs of shoes and several pairs of jeans for one two-day trip? Not only is over-packing usually unnecessary, but the extra bulk and weight can also make getting around an unfamiliar destination a nightmare. Plus, packing too much leaves you less room for souvenirs and other essentials for the trip home.

6Not booking trips strategically

Whether it means not accounting for local logistics or taking the time to book the better airline for your trip, the failure to plan your trips strategically can result in more expensive trips and more time in transit. This means less time enjoying the destinations you intended to enjoy and more time getting stuck in airports, bus stations, and other places you don’t want to be.

7Having the wrong kind of international health insurance

International insurance can get expensive, and you rarely get what you pay for, especially if you get coverage from companies that don’t specialize in it. Do the smart thing and get better value for your money by getting international health insurance from companies that specialize in it, such as Now Health International. Not only will you save money, you’ll be able to get coverage uniquely suited for your status as a tourist, international student, or expat.

8Not printing out your itinerary

Sure you may have your itinerary on your smartphone or on the cloud, but that won’t do you much good if you have a dead battery or find yourself in parts of the world that don’t have a decent high-speed broadband connection. Because you need to refer to it so often, printing out your itinerary will make everything so much simpler. A print-out will also help you conserve power to your other devices.

9Not taking the time to confirm everything is in order

Hotels may sometimes overbook, and train and bus timetables may have been switched around without you realizing it. Taking a few minutes to confirm that your bookings and other arrangements are in order can save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run.

10Not learning photography basics

Almost every smartphone made in the past five years has an amazing camera, and professional-tier DSLRs are cheaper and easier to come by than they had ever been at any point in history. That said, they will not keep you from making lousy compositions or terrible photos. Learning photography basics will not only help you take more pictures of your trip that you will actually treasure, but you’ll also need a heck of a lot less time taking them.

11Taking too many pictures

New experiences should be savored, and it’s hard to do that if you’re checking out your surroundings from behind a viewfinder. Take the time to really appreciate your visit and be a little less concerned about showing off on Instagram.

12Not having the right credit card

Even a 3% charge for international transactions can quickly add up if you’re using your credit card for absolutely every. Instead, try to find a credit card that has no extra fees for transactions outside your home country.

13Trusting strangers

It’s normal to be confused and out of your element when you’re in an unfamiliar place. However, this makes you particularly vulnerable to folks who may not have your best interests in mind. Never just hand over your valuables to anyone you’re not 100% sure you can trust – and that may even include local authorities.

14Trusting your country’s travel advisories

If it’s not already clear to you at this point, travel advisories issued by your country’s state department or equivalent agency are quite often politically motivated, More often than not, they’re issued to punish a country for not falling in line with political or economic interests and not to protect anyone’s citizens. It would be a shame to miss out on fantastic sites and one-of-a-kind experiences simply because of petty politics. Be sure to check travel advisories from other countries before deciding to cancel your plans.

15Not taking pictures of rented rooms and vehicles

A common scam is to charge tourists for damage to rented equipment that was already there before you rented it. Taking pictures may not deter the pushiest scammers, but it can help clear up any legitimate misunderstandings when it comes to rentals.

16Dressing up like a tourist

Being clueless about an unknown destination is one thing. Looking totally clueless is another. While it may not always be avoidable, try not to stick out from the locals and expats too much. Looking like a tourist can often lead to more people attempting to take advantage of you. Plus, it just looks off to not be dressed right in Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Spain, and other destinations where stylish couture is the norm.

17Not assuming every “near city center” and “minutes away from the airport” tag is a lie

They all are. Given that “near” is relative and hotels and other venues have a motive to only give you the most optimistic figures they can, it’s fair game to assume you can disregard all these tags as mostly-inaccurate.

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