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map travel scared traveler“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new,” said Albert Einstein. As travelers, we couldn’t agree more.

We asked our well-traveled colleagues, readers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers to tell us about the biggest travel mistakes they’ve made while touring the globe. It turns out they’ve tried lots of “new” things, from sweet talking immigration officers to getting tangled up in timeshare schemes. (The most common mistake? Choosing the wrong travel partner.) Here’s a selection of 20 answers we received — but we want to hear from you too! Share your worst travel mistake with us in the comments.

“I think this happens to a lot of people, but we once booked the wrong return flight from a trip and it ended up costing us hundreds of dollars to rebook at the last minute (i.e., we thought we were going to leave on a Sunday morning but the flight we booked was actually for a Monday morning). D’oh!” — John Deiner, CruiseCritic.com

“Packing TOO much. Happens every time.” — Stacy Small, Elite Travel International

“Not having extra cash for emergencies.” — unerasia

“Forgetting my passport in my London apartment, and only realizing after stepping off the Eurostar in Paris. What did I do? Put on the charm! Sweet talked the exit officer in Paris and the immigration officer in London to get back into the U.K. Sadly, I’ve had more difficulty getting into bars, than back into the U.K.! That was [before the London bombings of July 7, 2005] though!” — funkstop

“The second time I ever flew, the TSA had just put the liquid and gel rules into effect, and I had packed full-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hairspray without realizing that was a no-no. So I checked in and went through security, at which point I was told I’d either have to throw away my $30 shampoo or check my bag. With 30 minutes left till takeoff, I tried to check my bag, which meant I had to go back downstairs (and, later, back through security) and wait in HUGE lines. I was so stressed out about it that I started crying, and an airline worker took me right to the front of the line, where the lovely woman at the counter tagged my bag for Fort Lauderdale. (Too bad I was Miami-bound.) I made my flight by the skin of my teeth, and when I got to Miami, I had no clothes for three days.” — Ashley Kosciolek, CruiseCritic.com

“Going to Krakow without any Polish money before ATM’s existed and not being able to buy anything (it was Sunday, maybe?).” — Holly Fink, The Culture Mom

“Opening a window in a hotel in London! … At 3 a.m., I was startled awake when I saw a light come into the room. … I woke up and saw a very dark hooded figure moving in our room. I screamed which woke my husband up and then he screamed too. The intruder quickly climbed back out the window, and he and his accomplice that was still on the stairs ran off. We called the front desk to let them call the police. And then we weren’t able to sleep until we could see daylight.” — Deb B.C., via Facebook

“I’ve made so many it’s hard to single this out. Probably the most recent worst mistake was not reading the fine print (or frankly any print) on an airline ticket from Helsinki to Copenhagen with an overnight, then on to New York. The overnight, which came at the tail end of a very relaxing vacation in Finland, got the big kibosh when I misread the date and missed the flight entirely. Twelve hours later I realized, to my horror, what I’d done and we were lucky enough to get on the first flight to Copenhagen the next morning (at a grand price tag) so I could catch my New York-bound plane, but the frenzy was expensive and erased the vacation mood. And I lost out on my time in Copenhagen.” — Carolyn Spencer Brown, CruiseCritic.com

“When I went to Kamakura from Tokyo, I didn’t write the correct station and left the train in the wrong place. I had to wait about an hour for the next train.” — ferussa

“Overpacking — definitely. EVERY time. I pack 20 oufits — I wear 5. Major major major problem.” — Natalie Eshaya

“I was traveling by myself in Maui and I stopped at one of the discount tour kiosks they have all over downtown Lahaina. The guy was offering a cool snorkeling excursion for a really cheap price. The catch, he said, was that I had to go to a hotel where they’d give me free breakfast and give a spiel about their property. How could free breakfast be bad — so I signed up. The hotel was actually a timeshare property and I had to meet one on one with a salesman, lie to him about how I owned my own apartment and had lots of money while he asked me probing questions, and then take a tour of various condos on site. Breakfast was a muffin and a slice of pineapple. I hate lying and spent a very uncomfortable hour or two there, wasting a morning of my vacation. The snorkel trip was fun — but not THAT fun. I won’t fall for that trick ever again.” — Erica Silverstein, CruiseCritic.com

“Went to the WRONG airport in London and missed one day of our vacation in Cannes. AHHH!!!” — Allyson Blake, Crossing This Pond

“Hanging my purse on the back of a restaurant chair in Paris. It was stolen!” — Veronica Stoddart, USA Today

“Booking the hotel for the day after I arrived — and arguing that their reservation system was wrong — turns out I was wrong!” — Julia Rosien, GoGirlfriend.com

“Years ago, as a college-age backpacker, I used a hostel booking site to reserve accommodations in Florence. I was vaguely aware that the hostel was a little outside the city center, but I didn’t worry about it — I liked to walk, after all. When I arrived in Florence, I followed the hostel’s directions and hopped on a bus … and didn’t get off until 45 minutes later. The hostel was more than a dozen miles out of town on winding country roads, which I’d have known if I’d taken a closer look at a map before booking. Having prepaid, I was stuck commuting an hour and a half a day for the four nights I stayed in Florence. Lesson learned.” — Sarah Schlichter, IndependentTraveler.com

“Inviting the wrong person to go with me (never again)!” — Laurie Weed, Songlines

“Four people, six bags, one bad back. Booked a hotel in Seville Barrio — all roads to hotel were pedestrian only; no cars, no parking. BIG mistake.” — Julie Reynolds

“To fly from New York to Bristol, England, I tried to save money by booking a cheap Aer Lingus flight to Dublin for about $500, and then a 40-minute Ryanair flight to Bristol, which cost one cent plus taxes. A real bargain! Of course, I got delayed in New York, missed the Ryanair flight and then had to spend $250 dollars to get from Dublin to Bristol — which made the trip much more expensive than the direct flight I could have taken in the first place.” — Carrie Gonzalez, IndependentTraveler.com

“Accidentally matching a high-risk profile. My parents, who live in another state, gave us a car. We bought one-way tickets, checked no luggage and, due to a misread of our departure time, arrived at the gate very early. We were pulled out of line and subjected to a VERY thorough screening. We barely made the flight!” — Meg A., via Facebook

“The worst travel mistake I ever made was because I was a new traveler going abroad for the first time. I didn’t put any clothes in my carry-on, and I put my coat, hat and gloves into my checked luggage. My first flight was heavily delayed and I narrowly missed my connection. As the passenger in front of me congratulated me on just making it, he wished me luck that my luggage would, and then I realized there was no chance. I spent my entire trip worried about where my luggage was. It truly spoiled my trip. But it was a blessing in disguise. I realized that no one cared that I wore the same black sweater and jeans all week and that I didn’t need to bring a change of clothes for every day, rather a few pieces that could be mixed and matched to change up my look (if only for photos!).” — Lissa Poirot, FamilyVacationCritic.com

— written by Caroline Costello

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50 Responses to “The 20 Worst Travel Mistakes”

  1. Patrick McIntyre says:

    Packing too much on the European airlines(Ryanair) in 2004. I would up paying $100(50£ or 50€) on baggage Fees each way from London to Dublin and back on top of my regular fare on BA from NY to London.

  2. World Nomads says:

    We cant believe that no-one has mentioned this (and sure, we might be a little biased) but Travel Insurance! If you are sick, involved in an accident, are injured, are robbed or worse – you could end up with a whopping medical bill or be out of pocket. If you are insured, you are able to make a claim if you require compensation. If you aren’t, then you are on your own!

    Check out http://www.worldnomads.com for more info.

  3. Rogard says:

    I was backpacking through Europe and was in Salzburg. Decided to take the train over the border to see the Konigsee in Berchtesgadener, Germany. I underestimated the travel time and by the time I got to the lake I had to turn around and rush back to the train station. I had checked the train schedule and seen that the last train was at 7 PM except on Sunday. I got to the station with minutes to spare, climbed aboard and wondered that the train was totally empty. After a few minutes I re-checked the schedule and discovered that the 7 PM train ran ONLY on Sundays.

    I got to spend half the night hitchhiking back to Austria, which included hiking up to the border checkpoint at nightfall. Overall it was quite an adventure.

  4. Lisa E says:

    I’ve got one…! A few years ago, I traveled to Eastern Turkey with a friend I didn’t know very well (someone I’d once worked with). We ran into some bad luck–and clashed–and things were never the same…

    We went to a town called Mardin, where there were two choices for accommodations at the time: very expensive (unaffordable) and super low budget (but beyond crappy). We ended up staying in the cheap place (we could smell the bathroom from down the hall) and suffering nearly the entire time.

    We then took a trip out to the countryside (hardcore Kurdish checkpoint along the way) for the day and my friend, for some reason, didn’t ask about the last minibus back. Turned out there wasn’t one (or a place to stay). It was nightmarish scrambling to find a way back. We ended up paying a lot of money to get back to Mardin and argued the entire way back. Our friendship ended shortly thereafter, once back in Istanbul.

    My mistake, as I see it, was traveling to Eastern Turkey, which can be tricky, with someone I didn’t know well with whom I’d seen a few signs of incompatibility early on. Fortunately, now, I can laugh about it, which is a good thing. :)

  5. Janis says:

    On a trip from New York JFK to Kolkata/Calcutta, India the flight had a plane change in Dehli. Our flight IndiaAir #102 is the only flight that connects at the international airport to a domestic flight – I didn’t know and evidently neither did anyone I spoke with at the Delhi International airport. As directed by two separate uniformed persons that I asked directions from, I went through immigration, took a transit bus to the domestic airport. I was denied entrance by an armed guard because my flight was not listed on the flight board. I had only one hour until my next flight, no rupees for a taxi and was told to walk to another building to take yet another bus back to international. Luckily a Kingfisher airlines captain saw the tears in my eyes and offered me a ride with the crew back to the correct airport. After begging immigration to let me back through and having the gate agent yell at me for them having to pull by bags off the flight because they couldn’t find me in the ‘TRANSIT lounge’ I did make my flight. My first three hours in India felt like a week – I was exhausted.

  6. SeaMarmot says:

    Forgot to bring hot sauce on a trip to Ireland. How can you eat an Irish breakfast without Frank’s?!

  7. Jackie Urow says:

    After I booked my flight to Cannes, a transportation strike was announced. Air France was willing to allow me to change my domestic flight to DeGaulle but I would have spent the entire day, after a red-eye from DC, at the airport. So I decided to keep with the original plan, taking the bus to Orly. The bus was hours late but neither trains nor cabs were running. At Orly I spent 45 minutes in line, to be told to go to another line, to be told that my noon airplane had left. The airport closed for three hours and I sat with the throngs on the floor. When I discovered that my flight had not left, I could not rebook as computers were down and most staff gone. Eventually I was told my seat had been taken and there were no later seats. After many hours, a supervisor saw my tears and hustled me through the gate onto a flight.

  8. Laura says:

    I lost my directionally-challenged husband in Fiesole, Italy, outside Florence, when he exited a restroom from the back (?)and I waited where he went in til I realized he wasn’t coming out. Couldn’t find each other for two hours! Much walking over the hillside. Found each other just before last bus. Stressed out to the point that I left my small purse on the bus. Remembered as bus was pulling out. Driver stopped and no one had lifted it, so it was still there! Lesson learned: always wear a cross-body small purse, under a cardigan if possible. Never take it off, even to use restroom. Has worked for many trips. And, keep better tabs on, and communication with, husband. Haven’t lost him since either!

  9. Jade says:

    Those FAST TRAINS in Europe are so FAST, we missed them for not knowing the right platform and understanding the announcement in GERMAN. There wasn’t any ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS either. Instead of riding the FAST TRAIN to Rome, we ended up with the inter-regio which stopped for an hour so that the train-driver/engineer can eat lunch :-( It’s FUNNY NOW, but it wasn’t FUNNY THEN!

  10. Jade says:

    Taxi drivers in Rome need to be fined for disservice to their country by taking tourists/visitors for a ride. Taxi drivers in Spain need to be given a medal of honor for being honest and helpful to tourists and visitors. But, be always wary of pickpockets, scammers wherever you go especially in Europe and Asia.

    • Kim says:

      We had just the opposite experience in September 2010. Despite having read that fares from/to the Barcelona, Spain airport were fixed from downtown, we were charged considerably more for a mere 7 mile ride to our airport hotel late at night. Though the meter was at 0 when I sat down, the cabbie quickly pushed a button a few times and voila lots of charges appeared before we ever started moving. I tried arguing with my high school Spanish (didn’t get too far). Note that cabbies will add fees for coming to pick you up from wherever they were if you call, fees for reserving a cab in advance, additional fees at night/early a.m., a per bag fee (even for small bags not luggage) that they put in “the boot” (the trunk) — tip: take whatever you can into the body of the cab with you to avoid this per bag extra fee. The cabbie then failed to remove a small bag containing a CPAP machine (medical equipment for breathing at night), and attempted to extort money from us to get it back. It was not without much effort and aggravation that we finally got it back on the last night of our vacation, before returning home from the U.S. after our Mediterranean cruise taken without the benefit of the machine that we had lugged along with us as a carry-on. As an additional note, apparently at least some foreign airlines do not follow the same policy as in the U.S. regarding medical equipment. On U.S. flights, medical equipment doesn’t count as a carry-on piece; on TAP (Air Portugal), we ended up having to pay $175 for an extra bag over the limit (they heavily fine having extra luggage) for the machine that the cabbie had held hostage throughout our travels. We had wonderful cab drivers in both Florence and Rome who took us on a whirlwind tours of the cities for no extra charge beyond the meter and stopped to let us get out and snap photos.

    • RichardNika says:

      Always wear a money belt that goes under your clothes, and keep just enough cash – and nothing else – in your pocket for incidentals. I’ve been all over the world, including poor 3d world countries. By far the worst country I’ve ever encountered for thievery is Italy. Anyone who knows anything about Italy and still goes there without a money belt needs psychiatric help.

  11. D.L. Smit says:

    We were booking a night-before-flight in Zurich, and not finding much. End of the story is that there was a MAJOR convention in town, but we knew nothing about that….just that we couldn’t find a hotel room on any of the regular websites. I FINALLY found a room at a highly-rated hotel for about $100. Looking back, I should have been suspicious of the price, but we were desperate and I booked it. We had no access to a printer, but I wrote down the confirmation number. When we showed up at the hotel (looking a bit haggard after a long day of travel), we found it to be a POSH hotel, with not one room for less than $400!! AND, they had NO RECORD of our reservation. At first I thought that they just didn’t think we were “classy” enough for their fine hotel, but they were more than happy to have us….for $400! We checked some more, but as far as we could tell, there were no rooms available anywhere. So we were stuck paying well over $400 with taxes for about 18 hours in a hotel, more than DOUBLE what we had ever paid before. What a disaster! LESSON LEARNED: there are occasionally incredible deals out there, but if you get one, make sure it is well documented!

  12. Jade says:

    Travel with your BEST FRIEND if you can. If you still stay BEST FRIENDS at the end of your trip, then, you’ve been tested and the FRIENDSHIP will be better for it :-)

  13. Rick says:

    So it seems most travel problems can be solved by bursting into tears. I assume this only works for women.

    • Dave says:

      Well, it helps. Not long after we married, my wife and I went on a cruise and got one of those assigned-at-sailing cabin deals. The cabin was under the kitchen, where they start work at 3am, apparently by rolling barrels across the floor. We asked for a different room, but “we’re full”.

      So she sat in front of the front desk in her nightgown, hugging her pillow, and sobbed loudly for about 10 minutes until a very nice room a couple of categories higher was miraculously discovered.

    • Katryn says:

      Yep, it’s always worked for me. Once when I missed a flight and was told I’d have to buy a new ticket (I ended up just having to pay a $50 change fee) and once when Alitalia stranded me and a friend in Paris, a wonderful Air France employee took pity on us and booked us on a flight the next morning, put us up in a hotel for the night, and gave us meal vouchers.

      I’ve never done it on purpose to manipulate someone, but it does seem to be a universal sign that you’ve reached the end of your rope!

  14. Laura says:

    On a three-week travel thru Europe. Half-way, we do undies’laundry in sink and hang on handy clothesline on little balcony overlooking narrow street right in front of our little hotel entrance, with little windowed cafe across the narrow street. (Typical European scene). Strong wind comes up during night. We wake up to someone whistling at us under balcony, holding up a pair of shorts and panties retrieved from the bushes adjacent to the hotel entrance. When we look out our balcony, he’s yelling: “Are these yours?”. Unfortunately, “he” was a traveling companion, documenting incident with pixs. (And, he’s a relative, so we are stuck with him!)

  15. After reading all these, the biggest mistake is not even mentioned! Most people run into problems by not making travel arrangements through an experienced(very important part) professional travel agent! Travel agents advise you about what to expect, offer travel insurance, warn you about timeshare solicitation practices, put you in hotels where it is safe to open your window and we DO NOT charge extra for our services. We are compensated by the airlines, cruise lines, tour companies or hotels for the same or better price plus upgrades and freebies! For your next trip, whether business or pleasure, try one of the best! http://www.travelwizenow.com

  16. Txtvlgal46 says:

    Did NO ONE consult a travel agent? I’ve been doing this over 20 years and we’ve been able to avoid lots of angst with our clients by being informed and then informing them!

    • snz55 says:

      Thank you for saying that. I was looking for that comment and coul dnot find any. So all independent travelers seems to have made mistakes? I have travelled for 38 years, with a travel agent, and cannot recall any problem or one that could not be solved without a quick call.
      Incidentally, best thing is to be nice, polite and kind to the airport agent, hotel clerk, car rental agent etc. Life happens, things happen and we need to make the best of it instead of finding faults.

  17. Kristi says:

    Not booking hotels in advance! My parents and grandmother came to Germany to visit while I was living there one summer in college. We traveled to Neuschwanstein Castle; during the summer, without advance reservations. BIG mistake! We spent the entire first evening going from small little B&B to another asking if they had room available! Everything was full! In the end we checked in to a little hotel; tired and irritable, over an hour’s drive away from the location we wanted. Lesson learned! Use a travel agent & book in advance!!

  18. uner says:

    not having emergency cash for (any) emergencies.

    well, incidents happened to me twice, both in Bali, Indonesia, different occasions. first in 2009 when friends and i met an accident, and we were on rented car. obviously we had to pay for mechanics.

    then in 2010, forgotten that all international travelers needs to pay airport tax before entering departure hall. extra cash is very important. of course it’s good to travel lightly, but not with empty pocket. i learned my lesson.

  19. Beth Hanson says:

    Most embarrassing was trying to check into the Hotel de Ville in Paris thinking it was a lovely looking hotel, and in such a good location! We learned very quickly that a “hotel de ville” is a government office, not a place for tourists to stay. Many, many years later, we still love France and especially barge cruises which we’ve made our business.

  20. Our worst mistake was when we reserved a car in Quito, Ecuador and discovered it was too small for all our luggage. (we had to upgrade to a truck!) And the GPS we reserved was out of order. (always carry backup maps/directions)

  21. Pat T says:

    We flew into Gatwick and were to fly out of Heathrow the next morning so we got a bus transfer and a hotel room. Only problem, we were on the bus to Heathrow before we realized that our hotel room was near Gatwick. Thank God for Travelers Aide.

    • RichardNika says:

      That reminds me of another blunder that my dear wife made. This was back in 1982. She was traveling on her own and had a ticket to return to Miami from Paris on Iberia, with a change of planes in Madrid. Back then, we had little money, in fact I had won that trip in a contest and had given it to her and she’d been traveling on a shoestring. She’d been to Paris several times before and decided to try a “shortcut” to the airport using a different Metro route. She missed her flight to Madrid because of that. She was able to take a later flight, but missed her Madrid-Miami flight, and the next one didn’t leave for two days. She had almost no money left and no credit cards. She had enough to make a one-minute call to me, and I made a person-to-person call back to her, after finding a Spanish-speaking operator (not hard to do in Miami) She spent two nights sleeping on a bench and eating thanks to the meal vouchers the Iberia people gave her. An airport cop kept coming by her bench and wanting to kiss her. She didn’t know until the last minute whether or not Iberia would extend her advance-purchase ticket and let her on that next flight, but they did.

      Many years later, we were visiting our daughter while she was studying in Spain. We drove right by the Madrid airport and I asked her if she wanted to stop for a few minutes and revisit her bench, but she declined.

  22. Bob Fisher says:

    During a formal function in France, I made a Freudian (?) slip. Although I am also French-speaking and meant to say (in French) “Would you please excuse but I have some business to take care of” I inadvertently said, “Would you please excuse me. I am having an affair.” Being French, the distinguished elderly woman I was speaking to replied (in French), “But of course…” as if she considered it quite de rigueur.

  23. Teresa Lim says:

    We took our own flight to visit Hangchou, China form Xiamen. We reserved a Hotel ,not knowing it will take an hour take a cab to visit the West Lake until the shuttle conductor informed us. On the transfer shuttle from the airport to the city, a woman conductor offers a hotel in the city. A shuttle van was to picked us up at the shuttle stop. We have to pay the conductor 100 RMB, applicable to our rooms. We have two rooms for 4 people. When we asked to look around, the hotel was on top of a restaurant. The smell of cooking was noted. We couldn’t sleep the whole night with the stinking sewage smell. Next AM, we got up early and complained again to the manager. She agreed the hotel rooms are old, she then recommended for us to look into the Chekiang Province Hotel in the next neighborhood. It was definitely a 5 star hotel with half the usual fall price. Unluckily we didn’t use a travel agent, could have avoided such nasty hotel and find at least 4-5 star hotel room.

  24. champagne charlotte says:

    Had a travel companion forced to pull out less than a week before I was due to sail – advertised in the paper for travelling companion – definitely not a good idea, got the travelling companion from hell. Now I gladly pay the single supplement for a room of my own.

  25. Charlene says:

    Never depend on one credit card. I put the bulk of my travel money on my Barclay Bank Carnival card so I could get the points and double points on the cruise expenses. I found out too late that Barclay Bank had decided to close my account two days before the cruise and two days after I put all that money down. I wss STRANDED! and had to scramble to borrow from friends. From now on I will use travelers checks. Hum? Wonder if my travel insurance will cover that?

  26. Jack Morris says:

    We stayed overnight in a hotel called the Friends of China Club, in Taipei, Taiwan some years back. When we checked out my young wife gathered up our belongings and stowed them inside several bags. Our houseboy stood by waiting for his tip and smiling from ear-to-ear. We walked down the stairs and joined a large group of American and European tourists who were also guests of this old hotel. It was then that we heard a voice calling out from on top of the stairs and the face of our houseboy. He had found something that we had left behind hanging on the back of our bathroom door. “Missy! Missy!” he hollared and everyone looked up including my embarassed wife. He was holding up as high as he could a douche bag and nozzle and racing toward us. She shoved the equipment into a handbag and we headed outdoors for our waiting taxi.

  27. Julie says:

    I have had two bad travel experiences and both involves TA’s. In 2007 a group of 38 found out 5 days before we were due to fly out we were not booked on a flight. We eventually arrived in Milan but it took 33 hours because of the route we needed to take. The same travel agent booked accommodation for 4 of our group staying in Europe but booked the accommodation for 2008 not 2007, oops.

    I flew to Prague via Seoul in Jan 2010. I booked everything independently, without the aid of a TA except our flights as we were flying back out of Rome. The flight came with a nights accommodation. I decided to spend an extra night in Seoul. I found out when we arrived home the TA paid for one of the two nights accommodation for us. The TA did not tell me the airline would not pay for either night. The TA booked us into a hotel in the red light district of Seoul. The area was not only seedy, but smelled awful. The room was like a sauna and we couldn’t communicate with reception because no one spoke English. If she had told me I would have booked the accommodation myself.

  28. Joyce says:

    How much would YOU pack for a month in Barbados, considering you have access to washers and dryers when you get there? We’ll be 2 adults driving 1200 miles and vacationing along the way before and after the flight. I’m thinking 3 pr of pants, 3 tops, a sweater and jacket for both, a small fold-up umbrella and toiletries. We’ll be in an apartment. I usually always over pack.

  29. Lisa says:

    @Joyce, you won’t have much use for a sweater there but a swimsuit for sure is a must.

  30. Vivian says:

    Being a senior citizen and not using a cell phone very much, I made a big mistake. While in Melbourne, Australia I called several people with Melbourne cell phone numbers on their cell phones. Little did I know that I was charged international rates. I had unexpected $$$ on my bill when I check out. Next time I will use a phone card!

  31. Pete Smith says:

    1.) Getting sick on a cruise the day before landing in China, where China had inspectors come on board and took the temperature of everyone on the ship — crew and passengers alike. Fortunately, this was the day before we landed and I didn’t get REALLY sick until that night. So I covered it. Canb you imagine not being allowed to get off the ship, and the next port of call (no cabin or reservation) was Thailand?

    2.) Taking eight (count them 8) large suitcases to Europe. Ten days on a cruise out of Genoa (needed summer clothes), then 10 days in Paris in October (ne3eded winter clothes). Imagine trying to fit them all into a small taxi in Italy and France. Also carrying them myself onto a train from Italy to Paris!

  32. Katryn says:

    I’m notorious for forgetting things — a camera on top of the car, a bag of newly purchased clothes in a bar, my purse on a train, my violin on a bus, plane tickets in a rental car — but the worst was my usually more-responsible friend and I forgetting to pick up our passports when we checked out of a hotel in Tunisia. We didn’t realize it until we got to our next destination — a 6-hour drive away. Fortunately, the brilliant clerk on duty at our hotel arranged for a friend to drive to the previous hotel and back overnight, so we could continue on the next day. The best part was that it only cost us $40, when we were expecting to pay more like $200, and this one mistake could have easily derailed our entire trip.

    That last one was about 5 years ago — I’ve since learned to always check that I have EVERYTHING before I leave anywhere! It’s heartening to know that people can be so unbelievably helpful and honest — the only one of those things I didn’t get back was the camera, which was not stolen but simply lost in the wilderness.

  33. Katherine Marie says:

    Biggest travel mistake is not being absolutely sure that you know the name of your destination. Our family planned a cruise to Canada out of New York and then my husband had a VERY IMPORTANT interview that could not be delayed for the first day of the cruise. No problem, he said, I will fly to the first port and meet you there. The problem was the ship docked in St. John in New Brunswick, Canada and my husband was in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Two flights and almost $800 later, he arrrived just before the ship left port. Since we travel twice a year, his sense of geography leads to many reminders as “where are you going?”

  34. RichardNika says:

    The wirst travel mistake I ever made happened just two weeks ago. I checked out of my hotel in Managua, Nicaragua. My money belt, which goes under my shirt, had gotten sweaty and I had hung it on the bathroom doorknob to dry out. I repacked, double checked the room and took a taxi to catch a minibus to the town of Leon. I took my seat – the bus was just beginning to take on passengers – and realized I’d left my money belt, with my passport, most of my money and all my cards, on said doorknob. I jumped out of the minibus, taxied back to the hotel, and the maid had found the money belt and they’d put it in the safe. Nothing was missing. I taxied back to the station and got on that same minibus, which by then was almost full, and drank the remaining two minibottles of booze that had been in my TSA-approved quart-sized ziplok baggie.

    I can also speak for my dear wife. Last year, we had just arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I decided to save some $ by taking a public bus and then the metro (subway, or subte as they call it) to our hotel. We were walking through a corridor to change trains and she was carrying her big purse and it wasn’t even closed. Why do women do that??? You guessed it, her wallet was stolen. Fortunately the thief didn’t bother with my ipod and her expensive new camera. The cash loss was minimal but she had to call our daughter and have her call all the credit card companies and the bank that held our debit card. Several charges had already been made but we didn’t have to pay them.

  35. Nancy says:

    I booked airine reservation to fly from Belize City to Ambergris Caye on an indepent shore excursion with a friend on a cruise. While I knew the time would be Belizean I did not know that the ship never changed time and we arrived an hour later than local time. We missed our flight, which they accomodated us on the next available one, but we also barely made it back in time for the last tender to the ship.

  36. SBarmania says:

    No GPS OR map for a drive from Pisa to Tuscany on windy country roads on a rainy dark night with my mother-in-law in the back seat. The normally 1.5 hour drive took 5 hours – we asked directions a few times but we don’t speak Italian and they didn’t know where the little 4 corner village was that we were staying at. We had no phone and even if we did, no phone number for the villa. We drove through the same towns about 3 times!! We eventually, just ran into our rented villa by chance – we were about go to a hotel and figure it out in the morning. We’re not planners by nature, but we learned a lesson that day – be at least a bit more prepared. Thank goodness the gas tank was full. I’m sure we’ll laugh about my mother-in-law’s nearly burst bladder one day :)

  37. Shari says:

    I’ve had my camera stolen out of my backpack (Italy), overcharged for tickets on the vaporetto (Italy), spent sleepless nights in a sleezy hotel in London where none of the staff spoke English, spent sleepless nights in a cruise ship cabin with a cousin who snored like a longshoreman (you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your relatives), and many other “notable” challenges while traveling but nothing tops being sick. On a 10 day Mediterranean cruise there was a serious outbreak of norovirus. Despite the cruise line trying it’s best to erradicate the virus by closing the buffet line to self-service, and disinfecting anything that didn’t move, passengers continued to come down with this overpowering virus. After bragging during the whole trip that I had somehow been lucky enough to stay healthy, the “bug” attacked me on the first leg of the flight home. I started feeling sick on our layover in the American Airlines terminal at JFK. No bed, no blankets, only the dirty floor to lie on with my suitcase for a pillow, while waiting the 4 hours for our flight home to Calif. Finally, we boarded the plane for the five hour flight home. Shortly after boarding, the crew started preparing the dinner service which smelled like warmed dog food. Stifling the urge to “loose it”, I began asking my traveling companions for anything resembling potent drugs. I don’t remember what or how many pills I took of the pain meds, anti-acids, muscle relaxers offered to me. At that point I didn’t care if I lived or died! LOL! Luckily, something in this cornucopia of drugs I took went to work and I finally slept. My advice is: never travel without some kind of medicine to treat traveler’s illnesses.

  38. D Manley says:

    Traveled to Venice Italy before going on a Cruise. My husband and I took 2 credit cards. Unfortunately we took the same ones. I had my cards stolen and had to cancel them. My husbands cards had to be cancelled also because we were both signers on accounts. We Had a real hassel with the cruise line even though they were given approvel from credit card company with new numbers. Had to call Credit card company daily for approval till we arrived home. We now carry different cards from different companys incase one of us looses a card the other still has theirs.

  39. Jamie says:

    While on a trip to Costa Rica me and my mom were exploring the streets of San Jose, making sure to stay out of the bad part of San Jose we knew was the most dangerous. It was just us walking when all of a sudden we realized we were in the worst part of the city and being young and blonde we stuck out pretty bad among the prostitutes, next time we will be sure of where we are wondering too!

  40. Rudyru says:

    On a 2 week trip to Berlin, Prauge and Budapest I caught a stomach flu 2 nights before we were to travel home. I was up all night before our flight @ 4:30 am. We had 3 flights to endure before arriving home. In future I will always try and book the most direct route for coming back from a vacation. Unless we are planning to break up the trip and stay a couple days on route.

  41. Aaron says:

    Over friendly women, if you’re an easily appeased male. Keep an eye on your wallet

  42. CJ says:

    1. Not supervising the packing of my luggage on a class tour in Turkey. Luckily I was reunited with my clothes and passport later the same day, as the bus my luggage was loaded onto traveled the same couple hundred miles as my tour bus. At the end of the day we were just a few blocks apart.

    2. I drank the water. It was an awesome experience. I made it home before my guts exploded.

    3. I didn’t believe the weather report. 60 degrees F is just as cold in California as it is anyplace else.

    4. Not having a back-up battery for my phone (internet, camera, navigation, ticket holder, communication device).

    5. Traveling with the wrong person (I’ve done this twice now. It’s awful.)

    6. Flying standby and getting stuck in the airport for two days.

    7. Not taking the photo, the chance, the excursion. Who cares that you’re tired, feet hurt, whatever. Be smart, but also just say yes.

    8. Wearing the wrong shoes. You don’t need to look like an urban hiker to travel comfortably, but you definitely need not new, very comfortable shoes.

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