Five simple travel mistakes

Most of you will be back on the travel wagon again. But some of you may be just getting out and about again and, just maybe, you’ve forgotten some of the simple travel mistakes some people make.

Here’s our guide to those basic mistakes – and how to avoid them.


The spontaneous trip is over, crushed forever by the pandemic.

Planning is vital for any form of travel these days.

Passports can be delayed for months, each country has its own mask rules and prices are increasing dramatically.

You need to start early and get all your ducks in a row.

If going overseas, start with updating your passport and then checking, which provides travel advice on 178 countries as well as worldwide alerts on things such as monkeypox. It’s a great resource and a good idea to subscribe to its newsletter.

If you are technically minded there are also some great planning apps out there.

You simply input your preferred destinations, the app ‘adds’ them altogether to produce an itinerary but they also usually suggest side trips, additional attractions and can organise reservations such as car rentals and hotels. You can also add links and notes, and they will calculate journey times depending on the app. Visit here for a quick guide to some of the more popular offerings.

Allowing time

We get it, we haven’t had a holiday for a while, but don’t fill your itinerary with activity after activity followed by a full day’s travel to the next destination.

Allow room for spontaneity and rest. Stuff happens on holiday. People get sick, luggage goes missing, the weather is bad. If you have a flat-chat schedule, it only adds to the stress if there is a wobble.

It’s not for everyone, but we like to plan an activity or side tour every other day. Days ‘off’ are for strolling the surroundings, sitting by the pool or simple indulgences such as reading a book or a late lunch. A holiday is about breaking routine after all.

Also, it’s a good idea to allow plenty of time between flights, two hours at an absolute minimum for international flights. I thought this absurd once, but have been grateful for a couple of five-hour time differences that were absolutely necessary between delayed flights and wrangling luggage through customs.

Eating properly

It’s good to try the local cuisine, but be sensible about it. If you wouldn’t eat at some dodgy-looking side alley restaurant with clear hygiene issues at home, don’t do it abroad.

If you feel like being adventurous, go for it, but don’t be surprised about a monumental case of Bali belly afterwards.

And always have a snack and drink handy. Long day trips can be a great source of enjoyment, but deep jungles don’t often have convenient corner stores to top up your blood sugar levels. A muesli bar and bottle of water are ideal.

Sleeping properly

Of course, you want to squeeze every second out of your trip away, but not getting enough sleep will ruin a holiday super fast.

If you are travelling to another time zone, try to set your sleep schedule to the destination as soon as possible. It will cut down on jet lag.

And don’t overload your itinerary with too many overnight trips. Sure, they cut down on daylight travel time, but more than a couple a week and you are just courting crankiness, fatigue and illness.

Backing everything up

The internet is a wonderful thing, but sometimes paper can pay off.

Print out all your bookings and confirmations, travel insurance and a copy of your passport.

This has saved me more than once when a hotel had no record of my booking.

If you don’t feel like carrying all that paper, at least have everything backed up to a second location, which could be as simple as opening a new folder in your email and popping all documentation in there. Email yourself copies of important documents if you have to.

What are the biggest travel mistakes you’ve made? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments section below.

Also read: Crush packing for a cruise with these nine tips

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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