A solo traveler made a grave mistake: booked their tickets to Machu Picchu without paying before it was too late. Then, feeling immense regret at their poor attention to detail, they took to a solo travel forum to ask for other stories about terrible mistakes made while traveling the world. From missed flights to sticky legal situations, you want to avoid being one of these people on your next trip.
1. Not Double-Checking Your Booked Dates
Please ensure you understand what dates you have entered for every booked aspect of your trip. Double-check the flight, accommodation, and attraction dates that you have booked. Make sure they all line up with when you're planning to go.
The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination and realize your accommodation and flights don't match. One traveler shares how she ruined a holiday for her and her boyfriend because she mistakenly booked the holiday for a month in the future.
Countless commenters share stories of booking the wrong month or year on their flights, hotels, or other activities. This is even worse if you only realize it once you get there.
2. Staying In a Sketchy Area
Getting stuck in an uncomfortable situation because you didn't scope out the area you're staying in is a situation that can be avoided. This happened to one traveler even though she purposely booked an all-female hostel for safety reasons. She heard these hostels were safer, so this is where she stayed in Paris.
However, when she went out alone one evening, she was dropped off by the bus behind the station at night when it was pitch black, only to be surrounded by pickpockets, drunk tourists, and prostitutes.
She had to make the walk by herself back to her hostel quickly. Even though she avoided eye contact, a creepy man put his arm around her, a prostitute propositioned her, and another man followed her to her hostel, even refusing to leave. Finally, a group of guys who witnessed the situation had to throw him out. The moral of the story is don't walk around an area you don't know well in the dark by yourself.
3. Not Checking Visa Requirements
Only book a trip to a country after searching for that country's visa laws. A traveler who failed to look up India's visa requirements before booking their flights. This led to them being turned away at the airport, wasting their money and derailing their trip since they had other flights booked from India. This mistake required them to rebook flights and messed with their plans to meet with friends on specific dates. Check visa laws first. Book later.
4. Losing Your Passport
Unless you're traveling to a territory of your own country, you'll need a passport to travel to another part of the world. One's passport is often the source of much stress. Some people don't realize theirs is expired, while others forgot to bring it or lost it.
Replacing a missing passport on short notice, especially when abroad, can cost a lot of money, and it will cause you even more stress. This can also get you into legal trouble, so always know where your passport is. In addition, it should be stored in a safe place where it is unlikely to be stolen.
5. Forgetting to Carry a Phone Charger With You
A traveler lamented that they forgot to put their phone charger in their hand luggage—a rookie mistake. I always place a phone charger in my purse when I have a long day of traveling. Preferably, this would be a portable charger, but if all you have is a USB wall charger, this can at least be used in the airport.
Another jet setter failed to bring a charger compatible with the country they arrived in, making things extremely difficult. They arrived at their destination with a dead phone before they found their hostel, forcing them to take another train back to the airport to buy a universal charger. For emergencies, you always want a charged phone.
6. Going to China Without Registering Your Location With the Police
Did you know foreigners must register their location with the police when they travel to China? While hotels will automatically do this for you, Airbnb doesn't. That means you're responsible for going to the police station to inform them where you are sleeping and for what duration.
Someone staying at one of these Airbnbs didn't get this memo and never communicated with the police during their entire one-year stay in Beijing, resulting in a 2000€ fine.
7. Forgetting to Inform Your Bank You're Traveling
Before you leave, make sure you can use all of your debit and credit cards by pre-authorizing them on the app or calling your bank and letting them know what date you will be traveling. Many travelers forget this detail, only to find their cards have been flagged for suspicious activity once they try to make a purchase in a foreign country.
One international traveler explained how they brought minimal cash on their trip to America. Since they forgot to inform their bank of travel, it was flagged for suspicious activity and temporarily suspended. They required this person to provide a bunch of documentation to prove their identity.
8. Falling for Tourist Scams
Whether traveling alone, with a partner, friend, or family, watch out for tourist scams. If you're going to a touristy area, they will be everywhere. You might be immune to tourist schemes, but that doesn't mean everyone in your group is.
A traveler who went to Rome regrets not stopping their travel partner from getting scammed out of $20 for a string bracelet. If it sounds like a scam, it likely is.
9. Going to the Wrong Airport or Missing Your Flight
This story is funny but sad. A group of guys ending their holiday decided to have a few drinks at the bar next to their gate. Unfortunately, since a wall was blocking their view of their gate, they didn't notice they had mistaken their departure time for their gate opening.
After drinking too much and being oblivious, they missed their flight, which was the last night. Other commenters remember mistakenly arriving at the wrong airport, which led them to miss their flight. Make sure you have accurate times and the location of the airport.
10. Revealing Too Much Information
It's always better to ere on the side of caution when revealing information to strangers. Revealing too much flew in one American's face when they were trying to purchase things at a market in Dubai. After mentioning they were from the US, they inferred they were unlikely to negotiate prices and began upselling them on everything. They were charged 500 USD for one souvenir and a little tea bag.
This thread was inspired by this post.
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