I’ve been traveling for about five years now and in that time I’ve had my fair share of disasters abroad. To this day I continue to make mistakes and learn lessons while on the road. Looking back now I can laugh at some of those mistakes, but trust me, in the moment they felt like the world was going to end. So today I’m going to be sharing some of my mistakes and lessons I’ve learned over my years of travel, to hopefully prevent you from making the same mistakes I did!
Triple check the details before you book your flight
This actually happened only a few months ago, embarrassingly enough. You’d think by now I’d know to always make sure the details of flight bookings are correct, but nonetheless, I overlooked this one. When booking mine and Logan’s flights from Singapore to the Maldives I accidently booked our departure flight one day earlier than I was supposed to. UGH. This resulted in me having to pay a $200 fee to change the flights to the correct days. While I’m happy I caught the mistake at all, I’m definitely going to be paying a lot more attention when booking things in the future.
Always pack an outfit in your carry on
To this day I still tempt fate with this one and I’m not sure why, especially after being the victim of lost luggage a handful of times. Having at least one change of clothes or some basic necessities in your carry-on will be a lifesaver in the event that your luggage gets lost. Having to buy a new wardrobe on the road can be pricey, so make sure you’re always prepared for that worse cause scenario.
Don’t be afraid to make friends on the road
Growing up I was always taught that the Internet was dangerous and I should always exercise caution and never, ever meet anybody I only knew from social media. Well, not only did I meet my boyfriend due to the Internet, but I’ve actually made some incredible friendships through people I’ve talked to on Instagram and Twitter, that have eventually led me to travel to see them and have some of the most amazing adventures. A few exchanged Instagram messages led me on my most recent adventure to West Palm Beach where I was able to meet up with some of my new Internet friends and have an amazing time diving, shooting, visiting the springs I never would’ve found on my own, and swimming with sharks! Don’t be afraid to meet up with people while you’re on the road, they may be able to show you things you never could’ve seen on your own!
Being able to read a map is a huge help
I personally have a limited to a non-existent data plan on my phone while I’m traveling because I rely mostly on wifi to connect me; it’s cheaper and most public spaces have wifi now. However, this does become an issue when you’re trying to follow directions in your rental car in a new city. Not being able to have Google Maps on for the duration of the ride means I have to screenshot the directions and sometimes even, use an old-fashioned paper map (GASP?!) to help me get where I’m going. I’ll be the first to admit I used to be horrible with directions and have gotten myself lost one too many times. Learning how to read a map and follow directions is a pretty basic travel skill that will save you a lot of time and stress.
Planning trips with others requires A LOT of patience
Up until last year, I’ve planned my trips own my own, only having to consider me, myself, and I. Ah, those were the days. Just kidding, traveling with friends, family, significant others can be just as rewarding as solo travel, but the planning process does require a lot of patience – especially when trying to travel with four people or more. Think about having to coordinate dates based on four different schedules, and having four different preferences for accommodations, and four different personalities who may want to scuba dive every day or may want to hit the spa every day. My advice to those planning trips with a group of friends is to start planning early to give yourself enough time to work out all the details – and maybe have a glass of wine nearby too! 😉