Don’t Make These Travel Mistakes – Part 1

Written by Kim Milnes

I found a great article this week from the CNN Travel staff . They took all their collective travel knowledge and decided to share the big travel mistakes they have made over time to hopefully, help us from making the same mistakes.  I really could relate to the mistakes, especially having made some of they myself.  So check out the mistake, but with my Adventures By Kim advice, tips and helpful hints to help you and your family have a “mistake free” vacation.

1. Overpacking

OK, I have to admit I am guilty!! After all my travels, I should be much better at packing. As well, this is even worse when you are traveling with kids.  In my family, I am usually packing for 3 people, my husband is on his own.   According to a recent survey by Travelodge, 2/3 of travelers typically return from a trip with at least six unworn outfits.

To help with not over packing, I think it helps to layout everything and then edit.  Do you really need 5 pairs of shoes? Choose items that you can mix and match to make “new” outfits. Try to get more than one wear out of a garment.

Also, try using a packing list.  I have a great packing list in my Busy Mom’s Vacation Planning Kit. If you are on a long trip, plan on doing laundry.  Washeze has great 3 in 1 detergent/dryer sheets.

2. Not buying something you like as soon as you see it

Really, if you see a “perfect” gift or souvenir, buy it.  You might not make it back to that little shop.   I have so many times seen something I really liked, but thought I might find it cheaper somewhere else or maybe I will find something I like better.  Many times I did not and regretted it.   Live with no regrets.

3. Not checking your phone plan before traveling abroad

I have talked about this many times.  You do not want to get back and find a $1000 cell phone bill. It happens.  Check out my blog “10 Ways to SAVE and Stay Connected When Traveling” There are many ways to stay connected now and not spend a fortune.

4. Trusting “near city center” descriptions

I compare the use of this phrase to the use of “cozy” and “Beverly Hills adjacent” when looking at real estate. What someone else thinks is “near” might not be close to where you want to be.  I made this mistake myself when I went to Florence.  I thought I was saving money and “near” to where I wanted to be, but really after my long walks and cab fare, not so much.   However, as a Family Travel Specialist, I make it my job to make sure you staying at a hotel or resort that will get you the best value, as well as put you where you want to be.

5. Taking the “super” shuttle

Yes, the shuttle “seems” cheaper than taking a private car or cab. But really, you need to look at the value of your comfort and time.  When you are wrangling a family of 4 or more, bags, etc. do you really want to have to wait for the shuttle, then have to sit through all the stops before you finally make it to the resort?

From the CNN article, here is a quote that really says it all so well:

Adam Carolla brilliantly sums up this classic travel blunder in his book, “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.”

“The shuttle is the worst $20 you’ll ever save. It adds 90 minutes to whatever a Town Car or cab would have been. You have the unenviable choice between being dropped off last or being dropped off first and having a bunch of losers who can’t afford cab fare and have no friends or loved ones with cars knowing exactly where you live.”

6. Not tightening shampoo caps or any liquid.. all the way

I have learned this the hard way for sure.  I know a friend who had a bottle of wine open up inside her luggage. As well my husband had a can of baby formula EXPLODE inside his luggage. No fun!  So as a precaution make sure your toiletry bag is sealed and water proof. AS well, a good old fashioned zip-lock or even a plastic grocery bag for all your liquids works great.  If you will be bringing back wine, make sure to get these great wine diapers.

7. Thinking you know the perfect time to book a ticket

I am always on the search for the best price for airfare.  I have heard Tuesday at 3 pm. is great, or making sure to book  6-8 weeks out from your travel date.  When trying to book International travel, there is a different set of rules. I have written several blogs on this very subject: Best Time to Buy a Ticket, as well as Come Fly With Me!

Really, if the price looks good you should buy it. Don’t wait.  Know what a good rate for that flight should be, ex. NYC to Orlando, I think should be between $200-$250.  As well,  you have factor in your bag fees, etc.

Congrats, you just saved 50 cents. Now go get your blood pressure checked.

8. Trying too hard to chisel out a bargain

Hey, believe me I am the first one to hunt out a good bargain and I LOVE my coupons. But, don’t continue to make the “ugly american” stereotype true.  Yes, you can bargain or haggle to get a better price. I never take the first price, if I am in a market.  Just don’t be rude or demanding.  Also, remember relax you are on vacation.

9. Not buying the full insurance policy

Or not buying travel insurance, at all.  We all think “oh, nothing is going to happen, so why waste that money.” But, I think when kids are involved it is even MORE important to buy travel insurance.   Just think, you have paid over $3000 for that magical Disney trip and little Joey gets sick and you can’t go.  If you do not have insurance you have just lost all that money.  Sure you can change your plane tickets, but for the difference in price and the now over $200 change fee.  Check out my blog Will You Be Covered on Your Next Vacation?

10. Not changing money at the airport

While it can be a bit more expensive to exchange cash at the airport, it is worth having some foreign currency on hand, just in case. I think you should carry at least $100 in foreign currency.  But, really you do not need to carry a lot of cash.  You can use your ATM card to get money when you need it. However, make sure to check the fees you will be charged before you travel. As well, make sure to let your bank and credit card companies know you will be traveling, so they do not put a hold on your card thinking it was stolen.  It is no fun to be stuck with no money and not be able to use your cards.

What are your biggest travel mistakes? Add them to the list in the comments section below.

Hey Moms!  Are you ready to get away, relax, reconnect and create family vacation memories to last a lifetime? Adventures By Kim would love to you help take the hassle and stress out of planning your next family vacation. It is our passion to make sure you get the VIP service, special amenities and vacation you deserve. Mention you found us on JC Families and get a $25.00 gift card when you book your next vacation. 

About the author

Kim Milnes

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