Traveling as a form of lifestyle, as an activity has its many types and faces. Since I started blogging and paying more attention to everything around me, I noticed some interesting things. There are quite a few travel mistakes that we are all making one way or another. Now, the question is, how to avoid those travel mistakes?
In this post, I’m going to cover a wide range of things, as I feel that we need to discuss the behavior along with the packing that was done wrong! Traveling should be treated as an amazing opportunity, as a gift. In order for that to happen, we need to watch out not just for ourselves, but our environment as well! So let’s see now what we’re doing wrong and how to fix that?
#1 Acting at our destination, as those places are our reward for our hard work.
This is what irritates me the most when I’m traveling and I’m seeing others on their holidays in the same destination. Some of you might be sensitive to this one, but consciousness is really important and this can’t be avoided!
I’ve seen so many visitors, all around the world, who were acting like the place they’ve visited are like a reward for the hard work of their everyday work. Traveling somewhere must be a reward for all of us, indeed!
However, no place on earth is existing for our happiness. No waiter, local, product, town, the monument is created for just us. We shall all remember this, and respect our environment!
Don’t act like a total jackass just because you can! Just because you’re not home… And respect those who live there! While 2 am for you might be all about having fun on your holiday, for some, it’s still a working day the next day! Just keep that in mind, and respect each other, no matter where we are!
#2 Not taking care of our environment
Another aspect that is really frustrating, and I’ve seen it so many times… Not taking care of our environment can happen at home as well as while traveling. Not vandalizing anything where we are, and not destroying anything isn’t that hard to do! Am I right?
This is something that’s really common not just when we’re on trips! Not blowing the trashcans on the street, breaking glasses just because it’s fun… These are things you’ll see at home and abroad too. In my opinion, this is just about people learning to behave, no matter where they are. So just behave! 🙂
If you’re out in nature, don’t ruin it! Don’t cut flowers, don’t touch anything! When I see people cutting endangered floral species on top of the mountain, in a natural park, I’m going mad.
The reason that’s a natural park is for us to just admire with respect and don’t touch! And if it’s endangered, that should be obvious that we’re not allowed to take them home, no? Please!
#3 Not preparing an Itinerary
Heading to a new city which is full of amazing things to see and do? Landmarks that we all want to see? Prepare an itinerary!
If you can’t do it yourself, there are many blogs, such as this one, where you can find yourself many itineraries already prepared!
I made the same mistake, as many of you! And many times! I visited different towns and cities without having a plan on how to visit everything while I’m there. What happens when we do this? We obviously end up missing out way too much! And who knows if we’ll get the chance to revisit?
#4 Not learning a few things in the language of the country we visit
Basic! Wherever you go where English isn’t the main language, and it’s also not popular in the culture, you should know a few words to speak with locals. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to buy bread, order a coffee, ask what time it is, or just ask the taxi driver where to go.
If nothing more, than the greetings, thank you, please, and similar words should be added in our vocabulary! If you’re visiting places like Hungary, Transylvania, and North-Western European countries, you can be sure that most people speak English. In popular tourist destinations as well that’s not a problem!
But what if you’re getting off the beaten path? Or you visit countries where English just isn’t a thing? Even if we look at just Italy, or Spain, we’ll see that people aren’t really speaking English. Even though both destinations are really popular! So it’s good to know a couple of words and phrases if you want to be able to handle yourself. And learning languages is always fun anyway!
#5 Not connecting with locals
The biggest travel mistake we can do, especially if our intention is to actually get to know a culture! You won’t get to know a culture by sitting in the tourist zone, neither by looking at buildings and monuments. The only way you can truly understand and learn about another culture is if you connect with the locals!
How to do that? Be nice, smile, initiate conversations! It might sound a hard thing to do, but believe me, it’s not! And once you have done it, it will be easy-peasy afterwards!
#6 Not packing properly
How many times it happened, that you packed warm clothes for cold weather and the other way around? How many times did you end up with no shoes that were comfortable for the place you’ve been visiting? And ultimately, how many times you forgot home the essentials?
Well, the first and most important thing is, to always check out thoroughly the weather of your destination! This also includes checking the average temperatures in that specific month. The weather forecast might tell you that it’s going to be one way or another, but if you’re not prepared for every case, you’ll end up freezing, sweating, and buying clothes you don’t need.
The same goes for shoes! If you’re going on a city break, pack the most comfortable shoes in that luggage because you’ll be needing it! Obviously the same goes if you’re planning a trip in nature. You can’t go hiking in sandals…
Then, to make sure every essential is packed, here’s what I’m doing!
I always plan ahead what I’m going to need, and I start collecting those things together days before my trip. This way, every time I remember something, I just add it to the rest. Then before the trip, I look over what I gathered, and I select out everything that I’m sure it’s just occupying space.
It’s also really handy to try on and combine all your outfits in advance ladies! That really can help a lot, and save you a lot of space for more important pieces! Check out my post with 12 travel essentials for more!
#7 Not trying local food/drink specialties
Why would you do that? Why did I myself do that as well? I mean, what’s the point of going somewhere, trying to learn about that place and avoiding the local goodies?
We did this mistake many times when I was a kid traveling with my parents. I’ve spoken to restaurant owners about this, but I’ve seen with my own eyes as well, that people are either not trying local dishes, either ordering always that same one that they already knew.
I’m not saying you have to start eating every creepy thing you see during your trips! But don’t be afraid of trying out new things! Experiencing the culinary world of other cultures! That can bring your trips to the next level!
If we’re just looking at my story, my soon to be published cookbook contains those local dishes, that I have tried over my travels and learned how to make them! And I’m telling you, those different tastes are amazing!
#8 Using just public transport/taxi/uber/tourist buses instead of walking
Here’s a great contrast from my own travel stories. The first time I’ve been in Barcelona with my mother in 2011. We got our hop-on/hop-off ticket for 3 days, and we were going around the city just with that. No wonder why I wasn’t that much fascinated by Barcelona!
In 2020 I went back, and I discovered the whole center of the city on foot. The only times I used public transport were when the distance was really too much. But that happened just once! Otherwise when I did actually get on the bus was on routes that I have already seen on foot, and I didn’t want to waste time seeing the same thing.
There’s no way any city can be discovered by using transportation. And to really feel the vibes of a place, walking is the only way!
#9 Stressing out about everything
You might not be that person, but maybe you have traveled with somebody who is! Stressing out on everything, from the start when you’re missing the flight, to them I am tired, I am sick of this and so on. It’s absolutely fine to be cautious and act accordingly! But if you’re stressing on every step of the trip, that’s not doing any good for you, or for anyone around you!
Things that have to happen will happen, good or bad! When you are on a trip, just focus on that! The joy, the pride, the happiness, the freedom, or whatever positive feeling you have… If you’re not doing this, you’ll just end up being sick from all the stress and never have the real chance to enjoy your travels.
When you’re accompanied by somebody who’s acting like this, just repeat to them what I just said, and calm them down! Don’t forget that if you’re reacting to stress with stress, you’ll just generate more of it. Always react with patience and support, and believe me if you do that, your companion will become more enjoyable too!
#10 We are not grateful for the possibilities
As I was saying at the beginning of the post, the many travel mistakes I have listed come from not being grateful. Disgrace can originate from anywhere, and any aspect of our lives! And that happens to anyone! But here’s the thing…
If we want to take a great example from nowadays, just see what the pandemic caused! We weren’t able to travel, or in most cases to at least leave the house.
How many of you evaluated what the freedom of travel meant to you? I know how frustrating it was for many, for having to cancel their trips. Also, there was no way we can actually plan a trip for the future!
When the whole virus situation started, I was planning so many trips to Italy for the spring. As I was planning to move here, I wanted to explore the region I have picked, choose my town, and find a house.
Obviously, it all went to the trash, and I thought over so many times, how natural travel became for me. That it was so normal to just fly over to Milan for the weekend. And now, that I couldn’t come to Italy for 5 months, while my plan was there, I learned to be grateful for the freedom of travel!
Also, being grateful for our opportunity of traveling means, that we can really enjoy ourselves, and our destination. It also means that we can appreciate more our destination! And by being grateful, we can always help and do something positive for that place we visit.
The smallest good we do always has an impact! Because as at home, on our travels, the tiniest piece you put into a community alone, imagine that when there are thousands or millions who do the same!
Being grateful for what we own, and the opportunities we have must mean, that we want to make a positive impact on it. Being grateful means you want to help, create, and protect!