I have made some travel mistakes, and I thought I could share them in the hopes they are not repeated. Here are some of the travel mistakes I have made:
Not traveling sooner-
It wasn’t until the past few years that I really started traveling on a consistent basis. I had visited a handful of states and a couple countries, but I have seen more places in the last few years than the rest of my life put together. I would try to get other people to travel with me, but school and job commitments would usually get in the way. Also, I didn’t know how good hostels could be or about using credit card points and miles, so money was another obstacle. I also didn’t realize there were opportunities to do things like teach English as a foreign language in another country. I have met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences while traveling. I wish I would have begun traveling like this sooner.
Missing a flight-
When planning out my trip to the Montreal to catch a flight to Toronto, I glanced at my flight information to see when I needed to be at the airport. However, when I looked at the information I read the arrival time as the departure time. I didn’t realize my mistake until I was on the bus to the airport and tried to check in to my flight. Because it was too close to the departure time, the airline app would not allow me to check in, and I realized I was in trouble. Instead of arriving with plenty of time to get to my gate and relax, I arrived less than 30 minutes prior to takeoff and without a boarding pass. Fortunately I had Chase points I could use to book a new flight, and I could get some food in the lounge while waiting for that next flight. However, I could have used those points towards something else, and overall it was a little embarrassing. Now I make sure to double check flight times and use apps like Tripit that will remind me to check in and notify me of any changes.
Flying at odd hours-
There are some great deals to be had at certain hours of the day. However, many times the “price” I’ve paid doesn’t outweigh the money I save in booking these flights. Sometimes I have been so tired from missing a night of sleep that it throws off the next couple days of the trip. Also, transportation options after landing in a city can be limited to nonexistent at certain hours. I realize now that sleep is not only important to my health, but getting good sleep can also make a trip significantly better. This makes it worth it to me to spend a few extra points or dollars to be much more comfortable.
Buying denture glue-
When I was teaching English Camps in Italy with ACLE, I needed to buy some toothpaste. At that time my Italian was very, very basic. I knew just enough to get myself into trouble. I set off to the pharmacy in search of regular toothpaste. Using some words that I knew combined with hand motions and English words that the pharmacist knew, I tried to explain that I needed toothpaste. She brought me two tubes of something that resembled toothpaste, and asked if I wanted “regular” or “extra strength.” When she said they were the same price, I figured I would get extra strength to get a better clean for the same price. However I didn’t realize what she was actually asking until I opened the package in my hotel room later. What I had bought was extra strength denture glue and not toothpaste. Needless to say, I now know the Italian word for toothpaste is dentifricio.
Not keeping an eye on my phone-
Barcelona is an absolutely beautiful city, easy to get around, plenty of things to do, it is very well priced in relation to other major cities, and it has some great food and drink. It is also a safe city overall. However, it is notorious for petty theft and pick pockets. I had heard of some of my friends being pick pocketed in Barcelona, but Ididn't think it would happen to me. I assumed I would be able to tell when someone was trying to steal from me. One day when I was riding the metro, I put my phone into my back pocket while I was standing. The metro was relatively crowded as it was a Saturday afternoon in the center of the city. I felt someone bump into me and turned around to look. When I turned around the man who bumped into me had a frightened look on his face, so I figured I had an angry look on my face or he thought I was going to retaliate. I apologized to him and turned back around. It was until I reached the next metro stop that I realized my phone was gone and he was actually frightened because he’d thought I was onto him. By that time it was already too late. A few months later I had my phone stolen a second time while I was walking through the city. A man pushed into me under the guise of trying to desperately sell something to me. I put my hands up by my face to signal that I forgave him for bumping into me and signaling that I didn’t want to start a fight. However, he used this opportunity to take my phone out of my front jacket pocket, and by the time I realized he had taken it (about 30 seconds later) he was long gone. Having said this, I would still highly recommend visiting the city of Barcelona, I just take much more caution with my belongings. Now I use the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack and a Datsusara fanny pack (AKA bum bag) to help prevent future theft.
I have learned from these mistakes myself, and I hope this information helps you in your travels also.
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