Traveling is supposed to be fun, exciting, and even life-changing, and it can be, if done properly. But it can also turn into a true disaster really quick if you’re not careful. Even as a seasoned traveler who’s had his fair share of adventures around the world, you can still make mistakes that can ruin your trip before it begins.

Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush you get when you set out on an adventure that makes you lose sight of some very important aspects. Maybe it’s your carelessness or your lack of experience. The truth is, most trips don’t go according to plan, and there’s almost always something you wish you’d have done differently. Some will say that’s part of the beauty of traveling – leaving a bit of room for the unexpected – and they wouldn’t be wrong.

However, there’s a big difference between accepting you can’t control everything and leaving it all to chance, or being completely oblivious to how a few slip-ups can completely ruin your holiday. If you want to make the most of your trip and return home with tons of wonderful memories, here are some of the most common travel mistakes to avoid.  


1. Overpacking

By far the most common mistake that probably 99% of travelers worldwide are guilty of is overpacking. People simply tend to overestimate their needs when they travel and that makes them pack all kinds of stuff that they won’t actually use while they’re away. And that’s how they end up taking a lot of unnecessary luggage with them.  

Stop making up unlikely scenarios in your head where you’ll need this or that item. If you’re asking yourself whether you’ll be needing something or not, the answer should already be obvious: you won’t, so don’t take it with you! Instead, pack only the essentials and enjoy the perks of traveling light. 


2. Not buying travel insurance 

This one is a mistake that can cost you dearly when you’re away. No one wants to start a trip thinking about all the terrible things that can go wrong, but as unpleasant as it might be, it’s worth taking worst-case scenarios into consideration. 

That’s why you need to buy travel insurance, to keep you safe in case something bad happens to you out there. Chances are you’re going to come back home safe and sound and you won’t need to use your travel insurance, but why take the risk? If you have the money to pay for a trip abroad, you also have the money to buy travel insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry, always. 


3. Not making copies of your documents 

Just like you probably won’t need to use your travel insurance, you probably won’t have to use copies of your documents either, but there’s always that tiny little chance that you might. You wouldn’t be the first tourist in the world who’s had his belongings stolen or lost in an accident. Unfortunately, things like these happen all the time to travelers all around the globe, so you should be cautious about it. 

Besides, making a few copies of your important documents will cost you next to nothing and will give you that extra peace of mind you need when traveling. Also, storing your documents digitally can add an extra layer of safety. In case you do lose the originals, these copies can make your life a lot easier. 


4. Not doing research 

Every great trip should start with a carefully devised plan. Even if you’re keen on venturing into the unknown, you should still take the time to read about what flying to different locations implies and plan your itinerary accordingly. You don’t want to reach your destination completely unprepared. 

Fortunately, these days getting informed on travel topics is easier than ever. The internet gives you access to all sorts of guides and travel resources where you can find useful information about the locations you plan on visiting. While you don’t have to read them all, it’s a good idea to consult some of these resources to learn the basics. 


5. Not informing your bank of your travel plans 

Does your bank know that you’re going to make transactions abroad? If you haven’t notified them yet, it’s time to do it before you set out. A lot of people don’t know they should let their bank know when they’re traveling, and some have the unpleasant surprise of getting their accounts frozen for that period of time, due to unusual activity. That’s a precautionary measure taken by banks to prevent fraud. 

However, if you notify your bank of your plans in due time, there’s nothing to worry about. So, make sure you put this task on your to-do list before you travel. 


6. Overestimating your abilities 

Due to all the excitement and thrill you experience when planning a trip to a new destination, you might be tempted to include tons of activities on your to-do list. Then, when you get there, you might realize that your plans don’t match the context or your personal abilities, and that can make you feel disappointed. 

It’s good to keep in mind that traveling is not about checking a bunch of points on a to-do list. It’s about exploring, living the moment, and appreciating the things you’re experiencing, even if they might look a little different than you imagine. There’s no right or wrong when traveling, so try to be flexible and just go with the flow at times. 

Being aware of these common slipups and knowing how to avoid them can make your trip a lot safer and more comfortable. So, next time you plan an escape, make sure to keep these aspects in mind.