stupid things you do when you travel

Stupid things you do when you plan travel

Everyone’s travel style is different, and most people disagree on what makes for the perfect vacation. But no matter how you prefer to travel, there are certain things that are sure to make your vacation worse. These are the things that you should avoid at all costs, the stupid things you do when you plan travel.

Not staying in a convenient location

One of the easiest ways to save money on travel is to book hotels that are “just a little out of the way.” Sometimes this can save you up to double the cost. But this is also one of the stupid things you should avoid when traveling. Staying too far from city center or without convenient public transportation connections will only save you in the short run. What you’re saving on the hotel, you’ll probably end up spending on expensive taxis and Ubers when you’re too tired to wait 40 minutes for the one bus that takes you to your hotel.

Pro tip: Get familiar with the sights and activities you might want to do and stay somewhere that is most convenient to visit as many of them as possible.

Booking through third parties

If you lived through the Covid pandemic and you’re still booking flights on Kayak, do better. We’re not taking the chance with last minute changes or cancellations that we can’t personally handle without the help of a third-party travel agency anymore. The deals you might get on Expedia are not worth the hassle of getting stranded somewhere because you booked a hacker fare on two different airlines with a 30 minute connection in between. The airlines don’t have any responsibility to help people who book on third party sites, and the third part sites are not usually keen to help.

Overbooking yourself

There are two types of travelers: the ones who vacation to relax and get some rest and the ones who want to see and do everything possible on their trip. This stupid thing is usually a habit of the latter. Though it’s tempting to maximize the use of your time, it’s impossible to account for how long things are actually going to take. You might encounter delays, or god forbid, need a few minutes to sit down and have a coffee before running off to the next activity.

I recommend pre-booking a maximum of two things in one day that are at least 6 hours apart. For instance, a museum visit in the morning and dinner in the evening. You can still make the most of all your free time but you’re not forcing yourself to bounce around all day and risk cutting some enjoyable stop short.

Staying in Airbnbs

It’s 2024. The Airbnb experiment is over. Airbnbs are now more expensive than comparable hotels on average and offer way less amenities and flexibility. Not to mention the long list of scams that you might be subjected to like bogus damage charges. Unless you love the thrill of doing laundry and taking out trash on vacation, you’re better off paying for a hotel. These are just a few of the many reasons not to stay at Airbnbs.

Not researching places to eat ahead of time

Getting used to food abroad can be difficult. Eating at bad or overpriced restaurants only makes this worse. I’m not saying you need to make reservations for every meal of the day, but it’s good to have at least some idea of the places where you might want to eat on your trip. This will save you from walking into the closest and most convenient place and getting food poisoning.

By looking up restaurants ahead of time you’ll also know if you need reservations. There’s no greater disappointment than looking forward to a good meal and realizing the restaurant is booked for the entire week of your visit.

Not booking major attractions in advance

Some people travel without the need to see and do all the most popular things. But if the city’s top-rated museums are on your list, you should probably buy your tickets in advance. In many big cities, having to wait in a long line for tickets can put a damper on your trip and make you waste precious vacation time. In some instances, like specialty tours or limited entrance attractions, you may get shut out altogether. Which is exactly what happened to me the first time I tried to see The Last Supper in Milan.

Cheaping out on once-in-a-lifetime experiences

stupid things you do when you travel
We’re done with the backpacker lifestyle.

I know, inflation is high and salaries aren’t keeping up. Our budgets are not limitless. But the older I get and the more I look back on previous travel experiences, the more I realize what a disservice it is to not do everything you want to do because of the cost. Your money will come back eventually, but you don’t know for sure if you’ll ever come back to a certain place. So take the $500 helicopter excursion, go snorkeling in the reef. You probably won’t even remember the money you spent years later, but you’ll regret not doing it the one time you had the chance.

Trying to see an entire continent in two weeks

I know it’s long and expensive to fly across the world, but unless you’re spending an entire summer in Asia or Europe, there’s no reason why your short vacation should include more than two countries. If you’re spending less than a week in one entire country, I guarantee you’re not devoting enough time to that country. Explore the lesser known surroundings in the same country instead of planning a trip that takes you to the most popular city in each country. This will be cheaper and probably more enjoyable as it’ll give you the chance to get to know places that are not as crowded or overrated.

Taking round-trip flights when you’re visiting more than one city

One of the dumbest ways we all plan travel is to book round-trip flights when we intend to start the trip in one spot and end in another. Sure, round-trip flights are usually cheaper, but you’ll waste at least two days at the end of your trip doubling back to your start point by plane, train, or car, and paying for one awkward night of hotel when you don’t really have time to do much except be in transit. It adds a day of hassle and might even be more expensive.

Only ever going to the places you see online

Travel blogs like this one and apps like TikTok have a funny way of funneling tourist traffic to the same hot spots. In the worst scenarios, this makes those places hard to visit because they become impossibly packed. I’m not saying that one wagyu beef place in Tokyo isn’t worth it, but there is more to cities than the places that get a lot of digital clout. Don’t believe me? Check out the restaurants that travel influencers recommend in your city. And then think of all the much better places that exist there that no one knows about. Be the person that discovers those instead of the one that stands in line to recreate a video you saw on Instagram.


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