Rookie Travel Mistakes

19 Rookie Mistakes All First Time Travelers Make

I remember the first international backpacking trip I ever took and oh man, I made so many mistakes it’s embarrassing. I think the biggest mistake I still make time to time is trying to plan too much for the time frame I have. It’s hard because I just want to see and do ALL of the things but I always remind myself to stay realistic. It’s never any fun coming back from a trip and feeling like you need a vacation from the vacation you just took. I think this list of rookie mistakes is something most travelers have experienced. What travel mistakes have you made in the past?

1. Putting way too much on your itinerary and overextending yourself on your trip.

2. Assuming everyone speaks English and not learning a few key phrases of the local language before arriving.

3. Underestimating the power of jet lag. The struggle is real.

4. Tipping on a bill that already includes gratuity or not realizing tipping is mostly an American custom.

5. Checking a bag in at the airport.

6. Drinking the tap water.

7. Overpacking – realizing you only needed about half of what you brought.

8. Not bringing a copy of your passport.


10. Thinking you don’t need travel insurance.

11. Flashing expensive items or wearing jewelry.

12. Not researching the culture and customs enough before arriving then showing up and being totally perplexed about the way things are.

13. Not giving yourself enough time at home to relax and recharge from your trip by flying home the day before you have to go back to work or school.

14. Not having extra cash for emergencies.

15. Thinking you’re going to save money by flying into a cheaper airport farther away from your main destination, then later realizing it was around the same cost with all the extra transportation.

16. Forgetting to notify your bank you’re traveling then getting stranded when your debit card suddenly doesn’t work.

17. Buying tons of new things for your trip you really don’t need.

18. Planning or booking too far in advance.

19. Picking the wrong travel partner. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Koty Neelis

Former senior staff writer and producer at Thought Catalog.