In our fairly brief traveling career we’ve already made some bad decisions when it came to planning and big mistakes on execution. We want your trip to go as smoothly as possible. So here are our biggest travel mistakes. Don’t judge.
Travel Blunder #1 – Always check where you are departing from. Then double-check it the day of.
“Liz, we’re at the wrong airport.”
Yes, that actually happened. We flew into JFK when we were visiting New York City for a four day trip. It was an awesome trip and the inspiration for our post 10 Free Things To Do in NYC. The date of our departure, we had it all figured out, our host even helped us get on the right train to head back to JFK really early in the morning. The problem was that when we arrived at the airport, I started to look for which terminal United Airlines was in. The name was actually scratched off of one of the signs. That’s when I got this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right.
So I checked the e-mail one more time on our spotty WiFi connection. LAGUARDIA AIRPORT was staring me right in the face, it might as well have been blinking it was so obvious. I had assumed that it was JFK because that was where we flew into. A $50 cab ride later and we weren’t even running to our departure gate, we thought there was no way we would make the flight. Well the good Lord was looking out for us, there were weather delays that day so we still made it in time! Talk about lucky!
Travel Blunder #2 – Consider the times of your flights carefully.
Let me lay out the scenario for you. We were leaving Taiwan for Tokyo, Japan. I decided the best (read: cheapest) option would be to fly out of Taipei at 12:40 am to Japan, which is a 3 hour flight. My reasoning was not only would we not have to get a hotel in Taipei, we would arrive in Japan early and rested from our 3-hour nap on the plane and have an entire day there to explore.
We got to this airport with no problems. The problem was that the budget airline we flew on was really, really uncomfortable. That 3 hour flight that I thought we’d be napping the whole way was actually filled with announcements by the flight crew. They didn’t even turn the lights out and let people rest! We landed in Japan and it was so early the trains weren’t even running, so we couldn’t head to our Airbnb. We had to lay around in the airport trying to nap for another 2 hours.
When we finally arrived at the Airbnb, it was around 7 or 8 am. Check-in wasn’t until noon. This was the time I thought we could head in and take a quick nap and wake up for a full day. Wrong.
We didn’t get to check-in until exactly 12:00 and by that time we were so exhausted all we actually did that day was crawl into bed and sleep the entire day away. Lesson learned. Don’t expect yourself to hit the ground running after not sleeping at all the night before.
We did, however, choose a great Airbnb. To learn how it’s done, check out Choosing the right Airbnb in 3 Easy Steps.
Travel Blunder #3 – You get what you pay for as far as budget airlines.
Sure the actual flight may cost a little less than some of the other bigger name airlines. But what you aren’t seeing are the fees that will add up pretty quickly. If you’re flying with someone and want to sit together, you may have to pay to even select your seat. Checked luggage is almost never included on budget airlines either. In our experience the planes are usually the most cramped and uncomfortable as well.
Travel Blunder #4 – Plan ahead for your accommodation, especially around holidays.
For New Year’s holidays we decided to visit Taipei, so the day we arrived there we started looking for a hotel to stay in. We must have walked to at least 12 different ones over a couple of hours and all of them were fully booked. We didn’t have internet access on our phone so we couldn’t just look up where to go next. Desperation set in and we actually talked about what we would do if we couldn’t find a room (stay in a 24-hr restaurant overnight, sleep in a park, etc.) Luckily, we found one. No one had to sleep outside. We were lucky because it actually ended up being a great, affordable hotel. See Top 3 Taipei Hotels on a Budget.
Travel Blunder #5 – Staying at a resort has its consequences.
Our honeymoon was great. We stayed at a nice condominium complex on an island off the coast of Belize. Everything was beautiful. The room, the view, I can’t say anything bad about it. The only problem was that we were like 8 miles away from the town. You know, the town where you can buy cheap food and drinks, get some groceries, all of that. So it was either take a ferry over to the town, which was cheap but not that cheap, or ride a bike down the beach for 8 miles. It was fun to take the bikes down there one time, then we were over it.
The place we were staying had a great restaurant, but guess what, it was really expensive! I like to spend the bulk of my money on experiences, not so much on what I’m eating. So if you stay in a resort, be prepared to kind of be stuck there. Sometimes they don’t make it very easy to leave, that’s kind of the whole point.
There you have our 5 travel blunders. None of these were life threatening, but they all were a little annoying or stressful in their own way. Do you have any bad decisions you made while you were on a trip, or even a blunder you might’ve made in the planning phase? Leave us a message in the comments below!