Every traveler has been a new traveler before. This is a time when they learn about themselves and how to travel. At some point in time, new travelers tend to make mistakes. These mistakes are due to their inexperience with travelling. Here are 10 mistakes that most new travelers make and some experienced traveler’s advice to help you avoid these mistakes.
- Poor Trip Planning: People who are new to travelling usually have no idea where to even begin. They aren’t sure if they should plan every detail themselves or take the easy way out and use a travel agent. There are also some new travelers that plan a strict schedule of what they are going to do and see before they even get there. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: Depending upon what kind of person you are is how you should approach travel planning. If you are more organized, then you should give a shot at planning your trip yourself. If you like someone else planning for you, then have an experienced traveler friend or a travel agent help you plan. Also, try to avoid having a strict schedule of things to do. Be flexible and spontaneous when travelling! It’s more fun!
- Overpacking: This is your first big trip that isn’t just going to visit your aunt that lives on the other side of the country. So, naturally, you want to make sure you have everything you need, including an outfit for every occasion, right? Wrong. New travelers are notorious for overpacking their suitcases with clothes that aren’t needed. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: Minimalism is a traveler’s best friend. Stick to the bare minimum of what you need for your trip and save some space. A good step-by-step on how to properly pack for a long trip can be found here.
- Airport Intimidation: Most new travelers have never set foot inside of an airport. Once they get inside, they have absolutely no idea what to do or where to go. If you look around and see people that look severely stressed or anxious, it’s probably their first time dealing with the madness of an airport. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: Don’t let your first time in an airport be a stressful one. If you follow my Airport Survival Guide, then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
- Looking Like A Tourist: This is something that a lot of people are bad about. Most people don’t do research on what kind of styles that the locals tend to wear, and thus end up sticking out in a crowd. But there is a difference in looking like a traveler and looking like a tourist. Tourists tend to be carrying around a bunch of guidebooks and maps and have one of those ridiculous money pouches strapped around their waist. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: I have noticed that in most places, not going overboard with colors is a great way to blend in. Neutral colors are what a lot of cultures tend to wear more than vibrant colors. And please, leave the denim at home.
- No Adventurous Eating: “Oh look, a pizza place!” Something similar to this has been said by many people on their first trip abroad. New travelers can have a tendency to be stuck in their culinary comfort zone and not want to try new foods. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: Don’t be close-minded about trying something that you have never heard or seen before. You could be missing out on a delicious delicacy! Many travelers find that some of their favorite dishes are ones that they have eaten while abroad.
- Sticking to Tourist Traps: Tourist traps are the places that make destinations famous, so that’s all that you should go see, right? Many new travelers think this, but it is far from the truth. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: Go take pictures of the big monuments and other tourist traps, but use that as a starting point. There is plenty of other things that you would miss if you just visited those places. Many travelers find the most memorable and interesting places when they go exploring.
- No Local Interaction: This mistake is due to many new traveler’s fears when they go abroad. They are afraid that the locals won’t know their language, so they shouldn’t try and communicate with them. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: What many travelers don’t realize is that many people who live in different countries learn different languages. Just go up to someone and say “Hello” and their response will tell you if they understand you or not. Even if they don’t, hand gestures can help when neither of you can understand each other’s languages. Just this simple act will give them a better impression of you and could lead to you having a new friend! Many travelers have best friends that live in totally different countries.
- Too Many Souvenirs: Bringing a ton of stuff back is a great way to remember a place, or at least that’s what some new travelers think. They have to make sure to buy a souvenir for every friend and family member that is back home. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: While buying 1 or 2 souvenirs from your trip is fine, don’t go overboard. Buying things from your trip can turn into a waste of money. Plus, if you buy too many things, then you are going to have to deal with trying to get them home undamaged. These things can also add weight to your luggage, which can then turn into issues at the airport. Again, minimalism is a traveler’s best friend.
- Face Stuck In A Camera: It is common for new travelers to want to make sure to take a picture of EVERYTHING that they see so everyone can have an idea of what their trip was like. Taking pictures is a great way to chronicle your trip, but new travelers can go overboard at times. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: When you leave your face stuck in a camera for the entire trip, you tend to miss out on a lot of other great things that are going on. Take a break from the camera for a while and just take in the beautiful surroundings that you are getting to experience. Getting to see a place through your eyes is a lot better than getting to see it through a camera lens.
- Having No Stories To Tell: You’ve gone on your trip, bought a ton of souvenirs, taken hundreds of photos, and when you get back, someone asks you, “Tell me something about your trip!” You tell them about the monuments you saw and that’s about it. You can’t think of any unique stories to tell them. This is the biggest mistake that a new traveler can make. You went on the trip of a lifetime and didn’t bring back with you the most important souvenir for travelers: stories. Experienced Traveler’s Advice: Stories are the best way that travelers can connect with people and communicate how amazing their travels have been. How do you make stories? Arrive at your destination, go get lost, try new things, meet new people, and have a great time while abroad. Sounds easy, right? Well that’s because it is! If you do all of these things, then it’s likely that you will develop some pretty amazing stories during your travels.
(Know of any other mistakes that new travelers make or have any advice you could give to new travelers? Leave them in the comments!)
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