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8 Travel Fails to Avoid on Your Next Trip

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Whether you’re planning the holiday of a lifetime or an annual trip to your favorite beach resort, there are many to do’s to check off your list and details to confirm before leaving home. Even experienced travelers, however, can make mistakes. Here are eight travel fails to avoid on your next trip.

8 Travel fails to avoid for your next trip

8 Travel fails to avoid for your next trip (Photo credit: Pixabay)

1. Expired Passport

You’ve spent months planning your amazing vacation, only to be denied border entry or an airplane seat because your passport has expired. Nooooo! Renewing an out-of-date passport, or one that is three months from expiring, is an easy fix, but one that is easily overlooked. When you book your vacation, be sure to check and double check expiration dates for every traveler’s passport. Make a note in your calendar four months prior to your passport expiry to ensure renewal in a timely manner, then take those inmate-like photos and send in the application without delay.

2. Fanny Packs

Fanny packs are a pickpocket’s dream come true. They’re just too easy to cut and remove from your body, or cover with a newspaper while one thief distracts you and another robs your valuables. Fanny packs are also a serious fashion fail, and scream tourist target from a mile away. Instead, keep your money safe in a pair of pickpocket proof pants, in a travel wallet, or in an anti-theft travel bag.

3. No Memory or Battery for Photos

It used to be film that was forgotten, now it’s those tiny memory cards in your camera. (I recommend the compact and awesome Canon Powershot for traveling.)Always double-check your camera equipment and chargers before departure. Think about packing an extra memory card for long trips too, especially if you like to document your travels with tons of photos. While you can upload photos to the Cloud for extra security on your travels, that may require serious Wifi bandwidth that may not always be available.

If you plan take most of your photos using your smart phone, be sure to download your pictures before you leave home so you have enough memory to spare during your travels. You’ll also want to bring along a trustworthy portable phone charger so you don’t miss out on capturing memories when your battery wanes after a long day on the go.

Don't assume GPS is correct - make sure you have a navigational backup plan - from 8 Travel Fails to Avoid on Your Next Trip

Don’t assume GPS is correct – make sure you have a navigational backup plan! (Photo credit: Bixabay)

4. Too Much Faith in GPS

GPS can be a wonderful tool for reaching your destination, but it’s not fool proof. Print out directions via MapQuest or Google Maps before leaving home and pack a paper map in case the GPS and all electronics fail. Yes, it does happen and I can tell you from experience that it is not fun to get lost in the dark in the Black Forest in Germany. Also, keep your eyes on the road and surroundings. You don’t want to follow your GPS around in circles,  passing the same windmill three times.

5. Wrong Power Converter

You’re going to need to plug in all of your electronic gadgets while on the go. If visiting a foreign country, be sure to purchase a good quality universal multi-prong adapter. Many name-brand hotels and cruise lines offer dual electrical wattage outlets, but don’t assume that convenience will be there.

6. Traveling without Medical Insurance

Contract an infectious disease and need an EVAC home? That will be $50,000 please. Traveling in a foreign country without insurance is gambling on your health and your wallet. Don’t make that mistake. It will only take one incident or accident to clarify the importance of being insured in a foreign country. Arrange medical coverage ahead of time before you leave, and hopefully you’ll never need to use it. Check if your health insurance plan offers extended coverage, or get coverage with a trusted insurance provider of your choice. Be sure EVERYONE in the family is covered should anything unexpected happen during your travels.

Money makes the world go round. Make sure you have local currency when you land.

Make sure you have local currency when you arrive in a foreign country (Photo credit: Pixabay)

7. No Way to Pay

Before departing on a trip to a foreign country, exchange some money (even if only a little bit) so you arrive with the local currency. Currency exchanges and banks may be closed when you arrive, leaving you in the lurch without a penny in your pocket. You should be able to use credit cards overseas, but you will want to have some cash on hand to give tips and buy from vendors who don’t accept charges. You should also make payments on your credit cards before leaving home to ensure you don’t reach your credit limit so you can charge purchases freely, especially in case of emergencies. Ask your bank about obtaining a chip-enabled card if you don’t already have one since many locations in Canada and Europe use chip technology for extra security.

8. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Of course you want to be respectful of other cultures during your travels. Do some research before your trip to learn some of your destination’s dos (like burping to show you enjoyed a meal in Japan) and don’ts (like pointing the sole of your shoe at someone in Buddhist or Muslim countries). This will help you fit in and reduce potential negative attention. Know what is acceptable attire before you go, too. For example, covering your upper arms and legs to enter the Vatican or other holy sites around the world is a rule that is enforced by local authorities. They don’t care that you’ve traveled halfway around the world to visit St. Peter’s. Save the cutoffs and tank tops for the beach.

Have you ever experienced a travel fail? Share your experience below!

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons. She started traveling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about the travel experience and the value of traveling as a family. She is the founder of, and contributes to many online and print media publications around the world. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom or Instagram as @itsclaudiatravels.

  1. Ann-Marie says

    Nappies. ALWAYS pack more than you need. At least 3 more than you need. Not every airport has nappies/diapers for sale, and rarely will find anyone to help you.

    Our then almost 2yo had an “explosion” on the plane between Sydney (Aust) and Doha (Qatar), on our way to Italy. We went through all 6 nappies that I counted we would need for the entire flight time. When we arrived for our stopover in Doha, we found NOWHERE in the airport that sold babies nappies/diapers. We even went to the First Aid Office and they only had Adult diapers or newborn.

    With 15mins to our boarding time, my husband and son held the changing room hostage while I ran around the airport trying to find someone willing to part with a nappy or two. No-one was able to. It was another dad, waiting to use the room, who finally offered us 3 nappies – just in time for us to bolt for the plane to Rome.


    • Claudia Laroye says

      Thanks for sharing your experience and sage advice, Ann-Marie! Love that you held the changing room hostage – that’s fabulous. 🙂

      You are SO right about the extra diapers. We had a 24-hour flight delay when our eldest was 5 months old, and while the airline put us up in a hotel, I was frantic trying to locate an extra day’s worth of diapers at Heathrow!! A harried Air Canada employee ended up locating a six-pack of diapers for us (from who knows where!), and I’ve been eternally grateful.

  2. Amie O'Shaughnessy says

    All great reminders!!

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