We all want a trip that's memorable not for lost reservations and luggage disasters, but for the thrill of discovering a new place, right? It doesn’t matter how travel experienced you are, it’s pretty common to make a few careless mistakes when traveling and exploring the great unknown. While a trip can provide the well-deserved break you’ve been waiting for since forever, if you're not careful, you can end up making some costly and nerve-racking no-go’s. Even seemingly small slips can turn your trip into a very disappointing experience.
We’ve been there, trust me.
With a little insider know-how, you can avoid making the same mistakes we did. Here's what happened:
We didn’t print the boarding passes
Okay, okay… I(!) didn’t print the boarding passes and I was too stubborn to listen to Josh’s advice. You have to know, due to my job, I fly on a very regularly basis and for years I have not been printing my boarding pass anymore after successfully checking in online. It's already on your phone, so why bother with the hard copy? Same with a hotel or rental car reservation. That was the reason I told Josh, who's also an avid traveler, but oh well, I thought I’m smarter (sorry honey, now I know better) and we don’t have to print the passes. Of course, this one time, and I swear it was the first time ever for me to be in a situation like this, at the airport from our trip back home from Cancun, I couldn't find the reservation on my phone anymore. The airport WIFI wasn’t the best as well and my phone didn’t work with the local network. Honestly, I’m very lucky Josh is so patient, because I went nuts. After a while the counter employee found our reservation, but not our reserved seats, so we ended up with shitty seats in the back of the plane, next to the overly used lavatory. Do yourself a favor and just print your reservations, save them on a second device, or at least make a screenshot and save them as a picture. This won’t happen again.
We didn’t have enough time between connection flights
Speaking from our experience, leaving a window of less than an hour between connecting flights will significantly increase your chances of missing your flight or having your luggage lost. Having only 45 minutes to connect between flights seems doable at first, but it's often simply not enough time. Sure, there is always that next flight if you miss yours, but I myself hate this feeling. If I already know I have to run from one gate to the next, maybe even have to change the terminal, I can’t relax at all. If you want to enjoy the journey as much as the vacation itself, do yourself a solid and only book flights with enough time in-between and don’t see your time at the airport as wasted time… Some of our funniest stories happened while waiting for our connection. Grab a drink and just watch.
We trusted the hotel booking description
It doesn’t matter if you’re booking last minute, you want to save some money, or just don’t care to read hundreds of different hotel descriptions to find the perfect hotel for your vacation, if you don’t check the exact location, you can end up with a hotel that’s far from where you thought it was. When it comes to hotel booking, one of our least favorite sentences is “The hotel is near the city”. Unfortunately, this is open to vast interpretation. I remember staying in a lovely little hotel in Rome, but i also remember the seemingly endless road from the hotel to the city’s center. Rome is not like New York City, you won’t catch a cab on every corner, so you can end up spending more time going back and forth than actually exploring the city. Particularly if it's a big city you should consider a more expensive hotel that's in the middle of all the action. Your vacation suddenly isn’t so much fun and cost-efficient any more, if your hotel is 30-minute away and you have to pay a nice little sum extra. In the long run it’s just a smarter financial decision to read more than the price tag.
We didn’t back up our pictures
The horror scenario: Loosing all the pictures you just took from a great vacation. Honestly, this mistake can be very heartbreaking, especially because it’s so easy to avoid. On our road trip to Las Vegas we took a ton of great pictures both on the road an in the city, but we’ll never share them with anyone, because they are gone. All. Gone. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? Sigh. We have our memories and won’t forget the trip because of it, but it’s still sad, that we lost all the pictures. If possible, backup your phone or camera on a regular schedule. You can also upload them online to have them saved twice. But we love Las Vegas and I’m pretty sure it won’t take long until we're back.
I (yup, just me alone…) ended up with…
…my body wash all over my stuff in my luggage. Well, what shall I say, I’m usually very carefully with all the items I pack in my bag. Every time I travel to Austria to visit my family I bring stuff from my home country with me — like my favorite Fa Tropical Breeze shower gel. It just smells so hmmm…
Yes, my bag smelled great, but aside from my clothes, I also had some other stuff like shoes, presents from friends back home, and my mom's homemade cookies (Why didn’t I put them into my carry on? Simply because I would have eaten them all before entering the US.).
It was a mess and I don't need that ever again. Loose toiletry caps of shampoo, conditioner or body wash bottles can easily burst open in-flight, spreading the soapy liquid all over your bag. So place all liquids into first into a resealable plastic bag and then into your toiletry bag. It's that easy.