20 Travel Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Trip

by | Jan 16, 2016 | List, Most Popular Blog Posts, Travel Tips

Whether you’re a full time traveler or a weekend tripper – at one point or the other, you are bound to make a travel mistake. We all do! While some mistakes can teach you what not to do, the others can seriously f*uck up your trip. Here is a list of travel mistakes that you should definitely avoid, so that you don’t end up ruining your trip:

1) Planning Too Many Things

While it’s good to have a general idea about what you want to do but planning your schedule from breakfast to nightcap can end up limiting your experience. Moreover, you risk missing out on places that no one wrote about on the internet.

Xam - Travel Mistakes by Drifter Planet

A packed itinerary can end up restricting you – Photo by Xam Julliarde

2) No Proper Research

Are you aware that there are many people that are denied to board their flights or are turned away from immigration because of things like passport expiry date in less than six months or not having booked a return ticket?  Even if you hold a passport that doesn’t require a visa for your destination country, you NEED to do some basic level research. Reaching the wrong airport terminal or not knowing about the scarcity of ATMs – these are situations that can be avoided if you read a few destination specific travel tips such as these travel tips about Myanmar or these tips about visiting New Delhi.

3) Not Buying Travel Insurance

While on the road, you never know what may happen.  Invest in a good travel insurance plan to guard you against thefts, lost baggage or medical emergencies.

4) Not Taking Vaccinations Seriously

There’s no better way to ruin your trip than getting a bout of flu on the road. Do take your vaccinations seriously to avoid such situations. Do you know that there are a few countries that you can’t enter without getting vaccinated?

5) Not Being Careful About Shampoo Caps

Let’s face it – this has happened to all of us at least once. This little “accident” can mess up your trip if your gadgets are in the same bag as your toiletries! This can be prevented by letting out extra air in the bottle, covering the bottle opening with two plastic bags and putting each product in its own zip lock bag.

Nomadic Boys - Travel Mistakes by Drifter Planet

A shampoo bottle leak can totally destroy your gadgets and your mood. Photo by Nomadic Boys

6) Over packing

I know it’s difficult to not pack all your favorite clothes but think about how much weight you will have to carry around if you don’t do this smartly. Additionally, your heavy luggage will restrict you from doing a few things, like what happened with me in Railay!

7) Not Alerting Your Bank before You Travel

If you try to use an ATM located in a new country without alerting your bank, it may appear to them as suspicious activity and they may just block your card. A few minutes of prework can save you hours of pain if you get stranded without money.

8) Not keeping enough time between connections (Flights / Buses / Trains / Boats, etc.)

Back in December 2014, I barely made it to Don Muang Airport from Suvarnabhumi Airport for my next flight because of a bad traffic situation. As I fidgeted nervously on my shuttle seat on the way, I cursed myself for not keeping enough time between these two flights. I was lucky that I made it on time but I promised myself not to take such risks going forward. It’s uncertain because of immigration delays, traffic jams or arriving at the wrong terminal. Don’t do it.

Keep Enough Time Between Connections - Travel Mistakes by Drifter Planet

Not keeping enough time between connections can sometimes go wrong

9) Keeping all your money in one place

If you keep all your money together, then you’re making things easy for the thieves. Do keep some emergency funds in a few secret spots in your hand luggage.

10) Drinking Tap Water

The fastest way to fall sick is by drinking unsafe water. In many countries, tap water may suit some locals because their stomach is immune to it but not you. Be safe and drink bottled water. Check out this infographic that will guide you where it’s safe to drink tap water.

Tap Water Travel Mistakes by Drifter Planet

Not all countries can guarantee clean, safe tap water.

11) Picking a Wrong Travel Companion

Traveling with someone who has a habit of cribbing, whining and being judgmental can turn your experience into hell. I recommend you check out this post about picking the right travel buddy, or just travel solo.

12) Not Carrying Comfortable Shoes

Your feet will hate you if you don’t carry at least ONE pair of comfortable shoes. Make them happy, because they have to take you everywhere! Even if you’re going for a bachelorette trip to a resort, you need comfortable shoes. I usually carry only one pair of flip flops and one pair of super comfortable flat sandals. I add on a pair of trekking shoes / ninja boots depending on the destination.

13) Being Clueless About the Local Laws

Yes, you may be from a country where it’s walk around with a can of beer in public and drink it, but in several other countries, you can get arrested for this! Do you want to spend a night (or more) behind the bars for this lack of knowledge about the local laws?

Travel Mistakes by Drifter Planet

Being clueless about the local laws can sometimes lead you into trouble. Photo – Santosh Kumar

14) Getting into a Fight with the Locals

This is common sense but I see it happening very often, especially when people get drunk. Do not ever get into a fight with a local wherever you are. You don’t want that local to bring a group of his friends to gang up against you.

15) Indulging in Unprotected Sex

This will cause you a lot of stress afterwards that will ruin your mood. You don’t want unwanted sexually transmitted infections or a pregnancy. Carry protection! You never know when you need it.

16) Getting Extremely Drunk and Overdosing on “YOLO”

Who doesn’t like a good party? I definitely do! I like drinking too! However, too much of anything is never good. I have seen many travelers that seriously injure themselves or do something stupid after getting drunk in a new country. Remember my post about the Full Moon Party of Koh Phangan where I wrote about people getting drunk and injuring themselves doing fire tricks? You don’t want to be that person.

Travel Mistakes Fire Dance when drunk

Playing with fire when you’re drunk is a bad idea !

17) Being on Your Smartphone Most of the Time

Not only do I see many people who see the beauty of their surrounding mostly through the lenses of their smart phones, but also people that spend a lot of time checking their social media accounts while their partner enjoys their meal or the view alone. Your Instagram or Facebook will still be there when you’re home but this view won’t be. Do click some good photos for memories but try not to be an obsessive photographer.

18) Not Backing Up Your Photos

How many times have you heard of incidents where people lose all their travel photos ? Well, carry a pen drive to back them up. Or better, save them on cloud! Nowadays, most of the gadgets have this option. Unless you have an unlimited 3G plan, I recommend you select the option of auto backup only when there’s a WiFi connection.

 19) Not Setting a Realistic Travel Budget

Traveling costs money. You may run out of money in the middle of your holiday if you don’t set a correct budget for your trip. Airfare, buses and hostels are obvious, but you must consider smaller expenses such as ATM surcharges, camp ground fee, etc., to set an accurate travel budget. Set a correct budget so that you know how much to spend per day on an average.

20) Traveling With a Bad Attitude

Even if you’re not making any of the above mentioned mistakes, you WILL end up ruining your trip if you travel with a bad attitude. Don’t let little things bother you. Travel with the right attitude, enjoy the local culture, different food and even long queues on a day with bad weather. You’re lucky if you’re traveling. Smile!

Have you ever made a travel mistake? Let us know in the comments section.

20 Travel Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Trip by Drifter Planet

20 Travel Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Trip

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A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sonal Kwatra Paladini



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Sonal from Drifter Planet in El Nido, Palawan

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