As everyone who has ever travelled anywhere knows only too well sometimes things go wrong and even the most well-planned vacation can have those “oh damn” moments. While these moments are a pain when happening, they usually make for really great travel stories later. I love travelling and I personally have a few horror (for me) stories that my family and friends find really funny and which they (my dad especially) like bringing up to tease me. It’s ALWAYS more fun to hear some crazy horror (funny) story than some too-perfect-for-words-idyllic one. It sucks when it happens to you though, travelling is brilliant… except when it’s not.
While you might find yourself in a situation, which was absolutely unavoidable, there are others, which might have been preventable. Below are some general and some not too common mistakes to avoid while travelling to a foreign country.
Forget your passport
This one’s really a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at the number of people who actually forget their passports at home only to realize halfway to the airport or actually at the airport that they’ve done so. These people usually miss flights and as tickets are not generally refundable PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THAT YOU HAVE YOUR PASSPORT BEFORE LEAVING. When travelling with friends something I’ve found works quite well is making one person (the most responsible) in charge of all documents.
Not fully research your accommodation
This is especially important when booking with tours as some shady tours can make your accommodation sound and look great in pictures whereas it might actually be total crap. Like one Reddit user who thought he had signed up for a 3 day stay in the centre of Amsterdam whereas it turned out to be a houseboat in the middle of nowhere with no food, no heat and a malfunctioning sewage system. Thank God for AirBnB!
Exchange currency at airport
Do you WANT to be robbed? Currency exchange rates at airports are usually way higher than other places.
Not look at what you eat
One of the best parts of travelling to new place is getting to experience a whole other culture, way of life and food! I’m the first one to say that you should open yourself to new experiences, try food you wouldn’t normally have, eat like the locals etc. BUT be careful you don’t carried away like Derek did in Vang Vieng, Laos where in order to try something new he bought a RAT for dinner from a local market. He found maggots while eating it. Needless to say, this is the stuff nightmares are made of. Yuck!!
Not invest in Travel Insurance
For the love of God buy travel insurance before you travel. Its what smart people do who know that the unforeseen does happen and you may just end up losing your luggage or cancelling your flight. It’s not even that expensive; spend a little less on shopping.
Buy drugs from local street dealers
While I’m not saying you should buy drugs AT ALL, if you were to experiment (some drugs are legal in some countries) be careful who you buy them from. As one Reddit user experienced- what he thought was some weed actually turned out to be a powerful laxative and he spent the next 2 days in the bathroom. Not how you’d want to spend your precious vacation days I’m sure.
Be a generic tourist
When trips are short it’s understandable that you end up doing the things everyone recommends. However, if possible try to create your own unique experiences. Go beyond what people usually do, it might be the best experience of your life.
Also take the time to research the place you’re visiting thoroughly so that you know as much as possible about your destination especially about the local customs as something you wont think twice about doing in your city might be very offensive in another.