Only photos of delicious street food in Japan can make me feel any better about what I’ve done (again).
You usually don’t make the same mistake twice, but call me a over-excited/enthusiastic traveler because my butter fingers have booked me the wrong hotel twice in one year.
If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone, and it got me thinking about other common travel mistakes that you should be aware of when going on your jollies.
HOW I BOOKED THE WRONG HOTEL, TWICE
What should have been the most exciting time in any young couples relationship, booking your first holiday together, had me crying into a pillow of self-hatred for hours. We were booking our hotel online, through Thomson Holidays, and what should have been a straight forward booking turned into me booking the wrong holiday all together.
We narrowed down our holiday to two hotels, and had both open in separate tabs while we compared the services pages. Both look pretty similar, as they follow the exact same layout. We decide on a holiday, I click book, I follow the steps of entering our travel details and double check that we have the right dates. I’m so focused on making sure we have the right dates and that I’ve entered our details correctly that I overlook the hotel.
My paranoia of making sure that I’ve typed everything correctly, with my overwhelming excited of going to Mexico, made me miss the some-what obvious – I had the wrong tab open.
When the confirmation email came through the hotel name was the first thing I saw, crying begins. (We did end up in a hotel we were 100% happy with, had an amazing time, and the rest is history!)
Last week I had to book a hotel in Amsterdam and decided to do this through LateRooms. I’m still not sure how this happened, but I ended up booking ‘Lloyd Hotel’ thinking I was on the ‘Library Hotel’ page. This was a non-refundable action, so instead of booking a small quaint hotel, I’ve accidentally booked my Grandmother and I into a 1 to 5 star, converted prison hotel. I hate myself.
Read everything, again and again. Check what tab you have open!
More so a mistake of camping/caravan trips in the UK, but also a problem that I’ve had in self-serviced apartments abroad. Packing for a holiday can be stressful. Give yourself a gold star if you’ve ever been on a trip and packed every single thing that you would need.
Packing is a skill, and unfortunately one that I have not yet mastered. Despite the fact that I always overpack, the amount of times that I have forgotten a toothbrush or a hairbrush is beyond laughable.
Trying to start a relaxing break while running around an area that you don’t know in search of a supermarket is far from ideal. Find a reliable packing check list online, there’s plenty.
NOT PRINTING OFF EMAILS
Paper might seem like the thing of the past but print off any emails you receive that involve bookings. Not only will it provide you with an address for things if you get lost, but it is also solid proof that you have made that booking. Hotels, transport, excursions etc. will all email you a confirmation, even if not instructed to, print them off and keep them together in a folder.
Paper cannot run out of battery, your tablet can.
OVERLOOKING TRAVEL INSURANCE
I am guilty of going abroad without travel insurance, I’m sure most of us are. ‘A week in Sweden? What would possibly go wrong?’.
You are smarter than this. Smart people will admit to their own weaknesses, and no one can fully protect their passport from being lost or stolen. Just like in your home comforts, accidents happen – and accidents abroad can be costly and life threatening. If something happens to you abroad, depending on the country, you may be refused hospital treatment without insurance.
A good friend of mine booked her travel insurance the night before leaving for a trip to central America. While there she was in a horrific incident involving being hit by a truck, leaving her with a broken leg and other injuries. Without her £20 travel insurance she would have been facing bills to the cost of a six figure amount. Insurance is cheap if you shop around online, and a good investment every single time.
ASSUMING THAT THE WORLD IS LIKE YOU
I learned the hard way to always research the customs of the area that you are going to. On a driving trip around Europe in the height of summer, I did not think to pack anything other than vests and shorts.
What I didn’t take into account is that the beautiful religious buildings in Italy would not let you inside unless you had your shoulders and knees covered. With no time to look and buy clothes on our drive through trip we had to miss going inside, and missing what is possibly a once in a lifetime moment. Check the dress code thoroughly, or pack for the eventuality.
Another quite ignorant mistake of mine was to be ignorant of visas. Being born to a European generation of freedom of movement, I’ve previously overlooked that some countries, such a Turkey, require visas for entry. Well, s**t.
What you may be able to get through the check in of one country does not guarantee that it will be lawful to have it at your destination. One example that I can think of is vape pens. Legal and now widely used in the UK, with most British serving airlines letting you take these through check in, are banned in certain countries. They are illegal in Mexico, for example. Prepare to have your suitcase rummaged through, with all of your underwear lay on a metal table for the rest of your fellow arrivals to see.
Do your research, pack smart, and embrace that most countries are wonderfully unique.
Even the most experienced explorers make mistakes. It’s human nature, but hopefully by sharing my mistakes will help other people feel like less of a twat. And remember, check your tabs, check your requirements, and take out suitable insurance.