Traveling is often equal parts exciting and anxiety-provoking. With so many things to remember, checklists to complete and details to square away before the fun really starts, the days leading up to a trip can be especially hectic.
But they don’t have to be.
It’s easy to forget that mistakes are a part of traveling. Yet once you accept that no trip is perfect, you’re that much closer to becoming a travel expert.
After all, it’s only after you’ve gone on countless trips that you really learn what to do and what to avoid both before and after you’ve set sail.
You’ve got to make mistakes before you can learn from them.
But lucky for you, we’ve done some of the dirty work. Here are 10 mistakes never to make again while traveling.
1. Make sure you give yourself a crash course in the country’s exchange rate.
Before arriving in a new country, you should have a basic understanding of its currency. If you spend pounds like they’re dollars or shekels like they’re euros, you’ll wind up broke before the end of your first week.
Before you leave for your next trip, research the current exchange rate so you understand how far your money will go.
2. Lose the maps and embrace the journey.
If there is one thing you learn over time, it’s that the most memorable experiences are often unplanned. Once you push outside of your comfort zone, you realize that it really is about the journey, not the destination.
Don’t get bogged down in trip-planning — allow yourself to genuinely experience a new culture.
3. Remember to bring chargers for your electronic devices (and an adapter if you’re traveling abroad).
The definition of misery: A 12-hour flight with a dead phone and computer. Don’t forget to pack your chargers so you don’t wind up bored, lost and confused. If you’re going to a foreign country, you’ll be running into the same problem if you don't remember to bring a converter.
4. Don’t put diesel in a petrol rental car.
This may sound basic, but trust me it happens more often than you’d think. Your car will start vibrating or simply stop working if you opt for the incorrect kind of fuel. The last thing you want is your rental to break down on some side road in a foreign country.
It’s not easy to communicate to a mechanic in another language that you didn’t know what you were doing. Do your research beforehand.
5. Ditch the umbrella; pack a raincoat.
Most umbrellas do not stand up against the wind, and they are awkward to carry while hiking. Raincoats, on the other hand, are versatile and often durable.
No matter where you’re traveling, don’t forget clothing for all types of weather. You don’t need to bring ski boots if you’re going to the tropics, but don’t be that person who forgets to pack a sweater for when temperatures drop late at night on the beach.
6. Don’t end up isolated and without a way to contact your support net.
No matter how far away from home, you still need to be able to connect with your lifelines. That doesn’t mean you need to write out a step-by-step procedure, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought either.
Before traveling, make sure you have a fail-safe way of contacting someone you trust back home. Get a reliable phone, add at least basic international coverage to your phone plan and make the most of Skype and FaceTime.
A little forethought will save you from winding up in an Internet café in Barcelona with only three Euros in your pocket and two minutes left on your connection.
7. Keep your passport somewhere SAFE.
A passport isn’t something you want to lose. Apart from containing sensitive personal information, passports require a lot of paperwork — and patience — to replace. And that’s not counting the toll doing so takes on your bank account and state of mind.
Also, before you even book a plane ticket, check your destination’s passport policy. It’s up to a country’s discretion to deny entry if your passport is within six months of expiration.
8. Let yourself kiss a stranger.
One of the worst mistakes you can make while traveling is having your guard so high that you close yourself off from new experiences.
While you shouldn’t throw away your morals or do anything that makes you feel truly uncomfortable, you also don’t want to eliminate the potential for romantic escapades just because you’re afraid of the unknown.
Allow yourself to be swept up in the arms of a handsome, interesting person you may never see again. You only live once.
9. You don’t need to travel with a group to have a good time.
Traveling with the wrong people can bring you down and negatively affect your overall experience. Once you’ve been on a trip with people who don’t get your vibes, you won’t ever do it again.
Yet some of the most valuable life lessons can be learned while traveling solo. Why not try it? It may sound scary, but it is so worth it.
10. Don’t fall prey to over-packing.
Have you ever dragged an awkward suitcase stuffed with clothes you’ve never even worn? Have you ever been unable to buy any souvenirs because you didn’t have the room in your bag? Has your back ever ached from the excessive weight of your luggage? If so, you know firsthand that, when it comes to packing, less is more.
Instead of packing your entire wardrobe, bring only a few, essential items with you. You need memories and photographs — not countless costume changes.
Compensation for this post was provided by Discover it® via Elite Daily. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Discover it® or Elite Daily.