10 Travel Mistakes Everyone Should Make at Least Once
Lost your luggage? Missed your flight? Before you let the panic set in, read on to find out how these travel blunders can actually be the highlight of your next trip.
Lose Your Daily Itinerary Plan
For once, send the planner in you on vacation, too, and ditch your carefully planned itinerary. Don’t have your map? Lost your list of the top locations you wanted to see? Perfect. Wandering around aimlessly can be a great way to explore a city and see a little of everything. Don’t waste your time trying to locate your lost list or panicking about it. Instead, walk around, find a local pub, meet some friendly faces and experience the city as a resident might—not a tourist. Aside from the sheer adventure of it, you might end up seeing the city in a whole different way.
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Whether you’re trying to ask for directions in broken Spanish and end up saying something totally insane, or you accidentally walk into the men’s room instead of the women’s room, don’t worry too much about an embarrassing moment. Not only can something like that pull you straight out of your comfort zone and teach you not to sweat the small stuff, but you’ll never have to see most of these people again. And while your embarrassing blunder may not seem funny at the time, it will be when you recount the story for years to come.
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Though you should probably try this one out in a safe destination, along with a few companions, getting lost may not be the nightmare you think it is. If you’re looking for an authentic place to eat at a reasonable price, travel suggestions from your hotel map may not have the answer. Instead, look for a place on your own. Walk around and you just may fall into a quaint little place you would never have otherwise discovered. You can even strike up a conversation with a friendly local and get their take on the best restaurants in town. You may even get to know the roads better if you have to find your way back on your own.
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Lose Your Tour Group
Oops! You lost the group and your guide is nowhere in sight. Before you decide to head back to your hotel and give up for the day, try to venture off on your own and discover things a tour group wouldn’t ever see, like a very small, hidden away restaurant with the best pasta in town, or a quiet little park that, although isn’t a special landmark, is beautiful in its own right.
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Visit a Country Where You Don’t Speak the Language
Visiting a country where communication is easy takes all the fun out of it sometimes. Instead, visit a country where you don’t speak the language at all. You might want to bring a dictionary with you to help you with key phrases but don’t fret if you can’t understand the menu. This is a great way to force anyone stuck in a comfort zone rut to try new things, explore new places, and meet new people. You may be surprised by the friendships (and even romances) that can exist between two people who speak different languages. You may also find it to be a rather humbling experience.
Lose Your Luggage
While this one is a little more dependent on the airline than it is on you, the key thing to remember is not to panic if your luggage is lost because it can actually be a good thing. You most likely over packed anyway and ditching your heavy suitcase can be a liberating experience. You now have nothing to carry around or keep track of, the opportunity to buy new clothing, and a funny story to tell. Just be sure to keep your passport and money on you so if your luggage is lost, it’s not a complete disaster.
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Book Seats Separate From Your Travel Companions
The goal for most people is to book their travel seats together. Instead, don’t be afraid to book them separately. This way, you can each meet new friends on your journey and get comfortable with being alone. While your travelling buddies may think you made a mistake booking the seats that way (and it probably was), you can turn it into a great experience by welcoming your new travel buddies in the next seat over.
Miss Your Flight
Most people don’t try to get this one done, but sometimes, it’s inevitable. If you do miss your flight, don’t panic. There is always something positive that comes out of a seemingly negative experience. You may strike up a convo with an unlikely friend at the airport while you wait, or spend a day or two extra in a tropical destination. No matter what happens, adventure surely awaits the traveller who has missed his or her flight, just so long as you are open to seeing it that way. You can sit at the airport huffing and puffing about the problem, or you can soak up the time you have at your destination a little longer.
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Visit a Third World Country
Your friends may think booking this destination was a huge mistake on your part, but visiting a third world country can be a life-changing experience. Little things like forgetting your tablet in a cab seem like a huge problem until you get a glimpse of how millions of people live with the bare minimum every day—and still manage to smile. A visit to a developing country might help you put your life into perspective. It may even awaken the volunteer in you and turn your life into one of giving.
Let People Know You’re a Tourist
You might want to convince the cab driver you’re a local to avoid getting ripped off, but let’s face it: you’re not fooling anyone. Instead, embrace the tourist title and let people know you’re from out of town. You may be pleasantly surprised with how many locals will try to go out of their way to make your stay in their city an enjoyable one. Friendly locals may even offer you some insider tips on the best places to visit, shop or eat.
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