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  • Jessica White

7 Vacation Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them

There are so many things that make travel incredible - the unforgettable memories, time to have fun and unwind with loved ones, authentic cultural experiences, and the list goes on and on. However, with the many elements that go into planning a trip, there are common mistakes that travelers make without knowing it... unless you know how to prevent them.

Some of my packing essentials - my Away bag, comfy shoes, iPad, chargers, and neutral-colored clothing.

My 7 vacation pitfalls, and how to avoid them:

1. You over-pack, or, forget to pack something important (Oh, so I need a visa?).

I am a huge fan of packing light. I like to be mobile and just have a carry-on bag if at all possible. Yes, I know that is not for everyone and mostly just a result of my PTSD from having baggage damaged in the past, but it can make things easier to have your go-to travel items. For example, I carry the indestructible, life-time warranty Away bag which packs a ton into a small space - which I highly recommend. To make things simpler, I also have my dedicated travel clothes that meet my criteria of being wrinkle-free, comfortable, and in neutral colors so everything matches. Basically - find out what you really want and need to pack, and stick to it!

On the flip-side there are definitely some packing essentials that you don’t want to forget at home. There are the obvious ones like your passport and necessary visas, but there may be some not-so-obvious ones like compression socks for a long-haul flight, malaria meds for a safari, or an iPad complete with downloaded Netflix material so you can binge watch The Crown offline. If traveling with me, I always make sure to check all necessary travel documents and requirements, as well as provide a customizable packing list, so packing is a breeze.

2. You book the wrong date or time for one of the dozens of details that go into a trip.

There are a LOT of details that go into a vacation. An itinerary is a piece of art with many moving components. It can be stressful and time consuming to make sure all your reservations are correct and timed perfectly. Finding out you booked your hotel for June 2nd instead of July 2nd and your booking is nonrefundable is not a welcome surprise. One of the best things a travel advisor can offer is security that all of that will be done right - which means double and triple checked.

3. You are stressed about getting everything planned during the lead-up to your vacation, and time is running out!

The countdown to a big vacation is exciting! According to studies, the anticipation can bring just as much happiness as the trip itself. If you are not a "planner" being in charge of all the details and bookings can be quite stressful and take away from that pre-trip excitement - or maybe you are a "planner" but just too busy or tired to research hotel options when you get home from work. Partnering with an expert to take the stress off you so you can enjoy the planning process can be a real game changer.

4. You and your travel companions do not have compatible travel styles.

Just like good friends do not always make good roommates, it is the same with travel buds. Before you travel with someone, check to see if you have similar goals of what you want out of the vacation, and your preferred pace of traveling. If you want to wake up at 7am and go sightseeing all day, but your friend wants to sleep until noon and go party all night, you may be in for a rude awakening abroad. If you have a big group, it is important to pick a type of vacation where people can move at their own pace - cruises and resorts with lots of activities are great for this!

5. The hotel is NOT what it looked like in the pictures.

Have you seen that trick where a hotel takes fish-eye lens photos to make everything look bigger than it really is (aka. that gigantic lap pool is really more like a children's splash pool)? It is difficult when looking through reviews and browsing hotel websites to see what you are really getting. With the thousands of hotel partners through Brownell and Virtuoso, if you travel with me, I am able to ensure with confidence that the place you are staying is fully vetted.

6. You schedule too many things or too many destinations.

A vacation is just that, a vacation - you want to have fun and be able to relax and enjoy yourself, while also seeing everything you want to see. The pace of a vacation is a delicate balancing act, especially when you are going to multiple destinations. No one wants to be rushed when you are supposed to be having fun! A travel advisor can you help you figure out if you have allocated enough time per destination or per day based on your desired pace of travel.

7. Something goes wrong and you don’t have insurance.

They say you don’t need insurance until you need insurance. Although at the time getting insurance may seem like a pain, your vacation is an investment that you are investing your hard-earned dollars into, so you should protect it. Always, always, always get insurance.

Have questions about an upcoming trip? Let me know and I would be happy to help!


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