We made several rookie travel mistakes on our recent trip to Europe, so today I’m rounding up our dos and don’ts of international travel!
A huge component of travel is learning and expanding your world. Although making mistakes helps us to learn and grow, making them while traveling can be very costly. Read on to see which fumbles we made on our latest trip and learn from our mistakes to save time, stress, and money on your next adventure.
DON’T: Make Assumptions About Baggage Requirements
“I can bring one carry-on item and one personal item!” was my stubborn mantra as we waited in line to check our bags on our first flight, but I quickly learned that just because every other flight I’d ever been on had those rules, it didn’t apply to our EasyJet flight.
Thankfully, we were able to condense (AKA Adam let me shove my extra stuff into his backpack) to avoid paying for additional luggage allowance, which would have cost an additional $50-100 for most of the flights on our itinerary and blown my travel budget.
Besides the policy on hand luggage, sizing allowances continue to shrink, so a bag that would have been allowed as a carry-on just a few years ago may cost more to bring now. If you are flying on multiple airlines, check each one’s baggage policy and pack for the lowest common denominator to avoid excessive fees on the day of your flight.
DON’T: Forget Outlet Adapters and Converters
If you’ve never traveled abroad before, you may be surprised (I was) to learn that the outlets for plugging in electronics are different in some countries, both physically and in voltage output.
You need an adapter to physically change the plug shape so you can plug into the wall. Most cell phones are dual voltage, so an adapter is what you need to charge your phone. You need a converter to change the voltage that comes from the wall into the device (hair dryers and other hot tools usually need a transformer, unless you buy dual-voltage tools).
Pro tip: bring a 3- or 6-outlet surge protector so you can plug it into one adapter and instantly multiply the number of items you can charge at once. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling in a group, since it allows everyone to charges their devices from a single wall outlet and adapter.
I managed to only bring one adapter and one converter on our recent trip (whoops!), but thankfully I did remember to bring a 3-outlet adapter.
DON’T: Forget to Check the 10-day Forecast the Night Before Your Trip (and Bring Back-Ups Anyway)
There’s nothing worse than lugging around more luggage than you need, especially on a trip that involves many different stops and accommodations, so it’s key to pack for the weather to get the most use out of each article of clothing.
I checked the 10-day forecast a week before our trip and packed accordingly, but a heat wave came through right before we set out on our adventures (unbeknownst to me, because I had just checked the weather a week prior).
Although I had packed reasonably for the weather I expected, a lot of my clothes were too hot for the trip, causing me to repeat the same few outfits. This led to my next mistake…
DON’T: Do Laundry at the Hotel
Since much of our clothing was inadequate for the heat, we were re-wearing (and sweating profusely in) the same few pieces of clothing and needed to wash them. It’s easy to wash socks and underwear in the sink of a hotel, but bigger items are difficult to wash and dry. Rather than making time for a laundromat stop, we entrusted our laundry pile-up to the hotel we stayed at in Pilsen, CR.
This was our first time doing laundry at a hotel, so we loaded everything (socks, underwear, sleep clothes, day clothes, etc) into bags and handed it over. We were not-so-pleasantly surprised that the bill came to nearly 200 euro!
Lesson learned: if you end up in a bind where you run out of clean clothes, be strategic about what you have washed. We should have washed just enough to get us through the remainder of the trip and would have saved a ton of money.
DON’T: Forget About A/C
We spent the majority of our trip at accommodations that did not offer air conditioning and it was pretty brutal because we happened to be visiting during record-breaking high temps. In Amsterdam, I got so desperate that I soaked bath towels in cold water and used them for blankets so I could fall asleep.
If you’re accustomed to air conditioning (hi, American friends), it’s easy to forget that many destinations don’t have air conditioning in their buildings. If you’re traveling during warmer months and want to stay comfortable, consider filtering your AirBnB and hotel searches to those that include A/C as an amenity.
What’s the WORST travel mistake you’ve ever made and how did you overcome it? Let me know in the comments!