My Top 7 Travel Mistakes

Jim Ludwick, CFP®
Contributor

June is a good month to plan travel at the last minute.  For me, I’m usually planning summer travel around the Christmas holidays. Making plans at the last minute offers you the benefit of seeing last minute flight and hotel promotions, but it can lead to mistakes. Here are my top ten last minute travel mistakes:

 1.     Making hotel reservations where you pay in advance to get the cheap rate and then you must make a change. Costly.  Same goes for rental cars.  Yes, you save money, but the odds are good changes will come up and now you’re paying double, or more.

 2.     Forgetting my specialty razors that are mailed to me every other month. What did I have to do on my latest vacation when I forgot to pack them? Grew a beard. Kind of itchy now, but it reminds me to check everything twice in my bag when going on a big trip.

 3.     Forgetting to check on the rules of the road.  Recently I paid a 120 Euro fine in Austria for not having a tax sticker (costing 8 Euro 20 cents) on my rental car windshield. Seems since the last time I transited Austria and Switzerland they have instituted this tax which paid at the border or before you cross the border.  The Czech Republic has this too, but by that time I had reviewed all the road rules for our trip. A Very expensive mistake for thinking the rules never change.

 4.     Forgot the umbrella, or I made a conscious decision not to bring an umbrella. This is my most consistent travel mistake.  I look at the weather forecast and see no rain projected for the next ten days. I now have about ten umbrellas. Purple seems to be my favorite color.

 5.     Forgot to pack toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and deodorant in my carry-on bag. If I get stuck at the airport in the evening, these can make a big difference.  I think some store will be open later so I don’t worry. I have been wrong on several occasions.

 6.     Cleaned up my smartphone and deleted all the old movies that were taking up a lot of space.  Then I got stuck either at an airport or in the middle of nowhere and wished I hadn’t. No movies to watch because Wi-Fi was not available. This is a one, two punch. Several boring times have resulted because of this mistake.

 7.     Forgot to bring a second set of glasses and sunglasses. This is a prescription for disaster (no pun intended) and costly replacement when traveling. It has only has happened twice and both times the one-hour shops were open and I was back in business quickly but at a much higher than normal cost.

 There are a lot more mistakes you can make when traveling, especially at the last minute. These are the ones they haunt me. Travel, even last minute travel, can be fun, but beware of these mistakes.  Checklists help. Be sure to use one.

 

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