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12 Common Travel Mistakes People Make

12 Common Travel Mistakes People Make

Taking a holiday should be stress free and relaxing. At least, that’s how we see it in our heads when we’re dreaming up a trip.

There are several things that could go wrong before and during a trip and it has happened to the best of us. Here is a quick list of 12 common travel mistakes that everyone makes at one point in their lives.

1. Lack of a budget and an emergency fund.

When it comes to traveling, most people only save up for the actual trip itself. The places to see, the plane tickets and the rental cars are all taken into consideration when creating the budget.

What most people miss is the emergency fund. If you are going around the world, make sure you have enough money in the bank to get you from where you are to your home safe and sound in case of emergency.

Making a budget is incredibly important, because let’s face it, no one wants to run out of money before their trip is over.

2. Thinking that getting your passport will be a quick process.

Although there are expectations set in terms of when you apply for your passport, plan for extra wiggle room when awaiting its arrival. To be safe, try to make sure you get it about three to four months before your trip.

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This gives you extra time to provide any more documentation to the agency if they need it and trust us, it happens.

3. Paying extra for packing.

Most airlines charge for the weight of your luggage, so try to keep everything simple. There is no way you are going to wear all six pairs of those shoes that you packed.

And jeans can be worn more than once, so there is no need to pack 20 pairs for your week-long trip.

4. Taking too many photos and not living in the moment.

We are all familiar with the knowledge that the digital world is at the touch of our fingertips. We can snap photos of our food, our drinks, what we see and who we are with.

We can also all admit that we take too many photos of everything. Take some time away from the camera and live in the moment for a little while, and create some memories in your brain for yourself and just take photos if you have time.

The social media world will be okay if they don’t get a play-by-play of your trip. You are in a different place, take it all in and come back with more than photos – come back with stories to tell.

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5. Forgetting to let your bank know where you’re going.

Most banks have a security precaution that will freeze your account if it is being used in an unfamiliar place, so make things easier on yourself and notify your local bank so they can put a note in the system.

Nothing is worse than needing to use your card to pay for your hotel and have it declined in a foreign country.

6. Relying on the tour book you bought at the airport.

Take some time away from the generic tour book that you can buy in the book store and walk around a bit. In Rome, we walked the streets at night and just explored.

It was the best feeling to just find your way and discover things using a simple map. Sometimes there are things other than the monuments to see. We ended up stumbling onto a church that was not in our book that was breathtaking.

And had we not set aside the generic guide book, we would have never experienced such a sight.

7. Being unaware of the culture and not having an open mind.

When traveling, this is a must! Make sure you do some research on customs and courtesies of the country you are visiting.

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What is acceptable in your country may be rude in another. For example, in the United States, we are told not to stare growing up as a child. In Germany, it’s like a contest on who can keep eye contact the longest.

It isn’t rude whatsoever, it’s just a normal thing. Also, have an open mind, as you are in a new place, so try the food before you judge it (unless you’re allergic, in which case you should go with what is safe).

8. Bringing too many gadgets.

Bringing all your high tech gadgets will put an automatic target on your back for pick pockets. Leave your huge tablet back at the hotel (or home, even) and just bring your phone.

There isn’t a really big need for you to carry a cell phone, a tablet, an iPad and your camera all at once. Pick one, maybe two if you must, and enjoy your holiday.

9. Giving up on trying a new language.

Most people appreciate when you try to speak their language. You may not be a professional at it, but that is okay. It is better than being that person that automatically assumes everyone understands English.

10. Putting comfort over experience.

There is an amazing little hotel in Rome called the Hotel Grifo. We could have easily booked another hotel with a larger room and bigger showers, but the reviews for the hotel were more than enough to decide to book.

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The experience we had there was amazing. They pulled out a map, showed us all of the tips and tricks and were all together great people. In addition, staying in hostels (though some may be open bay) can open up different opportunities to meet amazing friends and travel buddies.

Typically, you pay less and have a lot more fun when you leave the need for a high class hotel out of the equation.

11. Dining in front of the monuments.

You may see a large amount of people (tourists) dining outside of these places, but we can tell you, the food is much better from a mom and pop shop a couple of blocks away.

That is not to say that the places outside of the monuments are bad by any means, but the places a bit further away are better and tend to be more affordable (by a lot).

12. Packing too much into a small amount of time.

Trying to rush through things to make sure all the activities on your checklist get done can be hectic. It can even ruin a trip, if you let it.

Sometimes, packing your agenda with too many things and with too little time will make your trip feel rushed. Plan activities if you must, but with a lot of wiggle room in case it gets extra fun.

Featured photo credit: Road Trip- Chuck Domitrovich via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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