Mistakes travelers makeWritten by Roger Holliday Claudia Fischer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
With the tourist season hovering tantalizingly — or ominously, depending on your present mindset — just over the horizon, what better time to look at some of the biggest errors routinely made by travelers. Because, as we all know, forewarned is forearmed.
Most common mistakes can be traced directly to insufficient research, which, given current technology and information availability, is frankly inexcusable.
There’s no reason why anyone embarking on a trip today — domestic or foreign — shouldn’t depart absolutely loaded down with details about the destination, the hotels, the air and train schedules and the sightseeing and cultural options.
And yet, a shocking number of people cheerfully shell out the price of a small car and then arrive at their destination asking, “So. What is there to do here?”
Add a badly conceived itinerary and you have a real recipe for disaster.
It’s very tempting, for instance, to construct an intricate flight schedule that’s meant to save a bit of money but actually opens up the endless opportunity for missed connections and lost luggage at every point.
Nothing can guarantee a perfect trip, but applying the KISS mantra (Keep It Simple, Stupid) whenever possible can save money in the long run and prevent many a personal meltdown.
And, although in today’s Internet world booking your flights online may seem obvious, we urge you to consider working with an experienced travel agent who, for a small fee, can anticipate and eliminate problems you never even knew existed. Better yet, if there’s a glitch, you’ll have someone to yell at!
Attempting to cram too much travel into too little time is another all too familiar error. In planning a trip, even experienced travelers can get carried away.
Instead of racing around to include everything into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, focus on a smaller, more manageable plan. Use a base city approach, stay several days in a single location, do day trips and take time to “smell the roses.” You can always come back later and see what you missed.
Too much stuff is the single most common — and easily correctable — error made by travel virgins and frequent travelers alike, especially in light of today’s increasingly stringent luggage allowances and multiple security checks.
Our answer, reached after decades of organizing and leading small groups around the world, is to pack everything into a single carry-on bag ( max size 22 inches), with wheels or without, which can easily be carried up and down stairs, pitched into overhead bins or the trunk of a car and then hauled for at least one mile over cobbled streets.
There are millions of articles (many of them ours) devoted to the subject of packing. And they all come to the same inevitable conclusion: “Traveling light is the best revenge!”
Beware of those “incompatible roommates.” Nothing is guaranteed to ruin an otherwise well-planned trip than the wrong companion. Vet your fellow travelers very carefully because a good friend at home can turn into a veritable monster on the road. And annoying habits like snoring, picky eating and penny pinching will only be exacerbated on the road.
It’s a problem that applies not only to the single traveler but to groups as well. We’ve heard countless horror stories in which a trip was spoiled by other travelers. Like a local banker and his wife who once found themselves on a leisurely river barge full of doctors whose talk of kidneys and prostates always trumped mutual funds and mortgages. They could hardly wait to get off the boat! Take a couple of weekend breaks with any potential travel partner before embarking on your dream trip. It can save a friendship and a trip.
E-mail Roger Holliday and Claudia Fischer at email@example.com.
Tags: Holliday Travels