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Mistakes First-Time Travelers Make

Traveller with too much luggage

  • Trying to see absolutely everything instead of letting plans happen naturally.
    • Living in NYC, where a lot of friends come to visit, this one tops my list. Folks rush around getting stressed out trying to see absolutely everything without the patience and go-with-the-flow to enjoy any of it.
    • Just be prepared to come back home not having seen everything you wanted. It’s normal.
  • Not calling your bank before leaving
    • If you bank doesn’t know you’re going to be in Tahiti, they may think charges from there are fradulent and automatically block them.
    • Depending on your connectivity, it may be difficult to communicate with your bank that the charges are legitimate.
    • Worse, it may happen on a day the bank isn’t open anyway.
    • Take 5 minutes to call the number on the back of any card you intend to use and let them know where you’ll be and when.
  • Get on the plane as soon as possible.
    • Being on the plane sucks. When it lands, we want to be the first one off. So why be anywhere closer than the end of the line when boarding begins?
  • Buy an expensive lock
    • Baggage handlers are known to take off your lock without returning it to the luggage–even TSA-approved locks.
  • Cheap luggage.
    • Even if you’re an infrequent traveller, bad luggage can ruin your whole trip.
    • This is one of those few things that’s worth paying extra for.
  • Believing “Free Wifi” claims.
    • Hotel and restaurant wifi doesn’t have a devops team behind it to troubleshoot when it goes down. To them, the wifi is just a little perk.
    • Some bars and restaurants will advertise free wifi to trap tourists. Once you’ve already started a tab, the wifi “isn’t working today.”
    • Hotels will intentionally block your service provider’s signal
    • I carry around a personal hotspot that gives me the option to buy a day’s worth of wifi anywhere in the world for $10. It costs $100 and includes 5 days free.
  • Poor cost-evaluation of airline tickets
    • Your United ticket may be $70 cheaper than the Delta ticket, but United will charge you $50 each way to check your luggage whereas it’s free with Delta.
    • United breaks guitars.
    • You may be trying to fly as cheap as possible, but ask yourself if it’s really worth it not to pay a bit extra for more sleep the night before.


  • You may have a great outlet converter the size of a grapefruit, but USB is already universal.
    • I haven’t brought one of these clunky things on a trip in at least three years.
    • If you have a MacBook, you can buy a cable replacement for the charger to charge your laptop in the destination country.
    • Your MacBook is now a USB hub and external battery. No converter needed.
    • More and more things are becoming USB chargeable, even electric toothbrushes.
    • Airports are starting to provide USB ports.