15 Common Travel Mistakes: What NOT to Do When Traveling

Travel Mistakes to Avoid While Traveling

Travel mistakes can lead to a waste of money, time, negative memories or missed opportunities. While it’s easy to say what to do when you travel, we forget to mention the don’ts.

Now that you know all of my travel hacks and secrets on how to save money and travel more, you are ready to book your tickets! But, before you set off, you should be ready for the common mistakes that you, and I, and everyone else do when visiting a new place.

I have made these travel mistakes so that you don’t have to!

By following my tips below, you will be able to truly enjoy your experience abroad and avoid any problems when traveling!

Travel Mistakes that Can Cause You to Lose Money

Some travel mistakes will end up costing you a lot of money, be ready and avoid those situations before they happen to you!

Travel Mistake #1: Don’t Book Your Vacation Without a Deal

There are so many awesome travel deals and ways to save thousands of dollars on your vacation, that not using them is just a waste of money. Always check for travel deals on multiple airline websites and booking platforms. Stay on top of the offers to get the best bang for your buck! People who just “click and go” when they book online will end up paying more. Put in some extra work. The less you spend, the more you can afford to travel!

Travel Mistake #2: Don’t Forget to Buy Travel Insurance

It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but you never know what can happen when you are traveling. Remember, if something happens to you, it can cost thousands of dollars. Insurance will protect you from medical and non-medical emergencies. It’s better to spend some money ahead of time than to be in a bad situation later! Most of the time insurance costs a lot. But it doesn’t have to. I just recently purchased travel insurance for 14 days for just $12. You just have to look! One of my favorites is Travel Guard, it’s a good place to start if you’re shopping.

Travel Mistake # 3: Don’t Exchange Currency at the Airport

Dont exchange Currency at the airport

Airports have the highest exchange rates. Instead, use your credit card where you can and withdraw money from an ATM in your destination country if needed. Many banks offer reimbursements for ATM fees worldwide and others offer no-foreign transaction fees. Look for a travel-friendly credit card and save while you travel!

Travel Mistake #4: Don’t Take a Taxi from the Airport

Taxis are overpriced and can be untrustworthy – often times they charge you a lot more than they would a local. Most places have a public train or bus that will take you to and from the airport. Look it up and make plans before you arrive to your destination instead of trying to catch a ride once you get there. Some other options could include a hotel shuttle or a local Uber or Lyft. Use public transport as much as possible when you are in the city – it will help you learn about the new place, give you a sense of adventure and save you quite a bit of money!

Travel Mistake #5: Don’t Eat at the Big Tourist Destinations

Don’t Eat at the Big Tourist Destinations

That’s a big one! Everywhere in the world, restaurants near big tourist spots are a lot more expensive than anywhere else AND aren’t so good. Since most restaurants know that you will not be going back there, they don’t worry about making it a great experience. You pay for convenience, not the food quality or service. And yet many people still go there. I learned on over-priced pasta in Rome that you need to walk a few blocks away from that famous square or a major fountain. That’s where the restaurants that are loved by the locals are. How do you find them: ask your Uber driver, send a question to a local Facebook group, read travel blogs before you go, or read reviews on the website platform, Like a Local. That way you will find truly amazing places to eat, hidden gems that are sure to give you a great service, food, and value!

Travel Mistake #6: Don’t Buy Magnets and Keychains for $4 each

Don’t Buy Magnets and Keychains for $4

I know you want to bring something from your trip for all of your friends and family. AND you don’t want to spend a fortune! But instead of buying magnets, look for a local product that this country/city is famous for. Finland is famous for licorice, Germany is famous for chocolate. Every country has something special, so I would definitely recommend buying something special! If you do decide that you would like to buy a few magnets, most of them should not be more expensive than $2! If you see some more than that, just keep going until you find a different spot.

Travel Mistake #7: Don’t Try to Save Money on Everything

Some things are worth spending money on. If you are trying to save on absolutely everything, you might not enjoy your vacation at all. Separate a budget that you are planning to spend. While you might want to save on flights or hotel, enjoy a night of amazing local cuisine or a local art show.

Travel Mistakes to Avoid to Stay Safe

Travel Mistakes to Avoid to Stay Safe

Travel Mistake #8: Don’t Forget to Read the Laws of the Country You are Going to

Remember to check for any things that you are not allowed to do by the laws of each country you are traveling to. Here are some things to watch out for. some countries don’t allow drinking alcohol on the street, while others do. Even if your destination is considered safe, don’t walk alone after dark. When traveling, read the reviews of the hotel or Airbnb before booking it and don’t get a ride with unauthorized drivers to stay safe. When wandering the streets of an unknown city, don’t forget that you could end up in a bad neighborhood. While nothing bad will probably happen, be always aware of your surroundings.

Travel Mistake #9: Check the Dress-Code Norms of the Place You Are Going

Always check the dressing norms of the country you’re visiting. Dressing immodestly can get you in bad situations with the local authorities. Also, always be aware of the dress code in temples, mosques, and churches. To be on the safe side, have a scarf in your travel checklist.

Travel Mistake #10: Don’t Let Others Take Advantage of You

Be aware of the prices and services you should expect in the country of your destination. Some people will notice that you are a tourist and try to charge more. Stay alert and let them know that you are aware of the prices in the area if you think someone is trying to scam you. If something goes really bad, tell the local authorities about what happened.

Travel Mistake #11: Don’t Forget Other People Live Here

It should go without saying, but I am going to say it anyway. Many people travel to enjoy the nicest beach in the Caribbean or the most luxury hotel in Europe. That’s a very big part of tourism appeal: to get out of your everyday life and to relax. “I deserve it” and “nobody here knows me” can lead to many negative situations when you are traveling. Don’t forget that while you are on a vacation, other people live there. Don’t forget to treat everyone around you with respect and don’t expect everyone to be happy you are there. It’s interesting, but many countries or travel destinations hate tourists. They literally throw riots to stop that many tourists coming to their city to destroy their everyday lives. Sure, tourism brings in a lot of money, but it doesn’t sustain the culture of the region. Travel responsibly, help other people that you meet along the way, don’t ruin their home.

Travel Mistake #12: Don’t Litter

This one goes along with the previous mistake many people do. People are more likely to litter abroad than they are at home. Don’t throw your trash on the ground, developing countries often don’t have a great trash recycling centers, so take care of the environment wherever you go. You might want to grab a refillable water bottle and a cloth grocery bag to avoid waste.

Travel Mistake #13: Don’t Assume Everyone Knows English

People don’t speak English all over the world. When you are traveling abroad, spend some time learning basic phrases in the language of the country you are going to. Many locals seem surprised when someone made an effort to thank them in their native language and are usually happy to help.

Travel Mistake #14: Don’t Compare Your Home with Your Destination

I have heard many people come from a vacation and say “I’m glad I didn’t grow up there”. Or during the entire trip compare their “developed and clean home country” with their “undeveloped” vacation spot. Locals definitely don’t like hearing that and it will make them feel not good enough. You are not traveling abroad to stay at home. Every country is different and it has developed under different circumstances. I believe that in travel, there is no better or worse, it is just different. Don’t leave your trip with the impression that something is better than something else. Instead, enjoy and note all of the interesting differences!

Travel Mistake #15: Don’t Expect a Stress-Free Vacation

Europe Packing List More Tips and Hacks

If you go into your trip expecting problems that may come up, you’ll be less frustrated if they happen and happy if they don’t. The best thing you can do is plan for things that happen beforehand and go along with what happens in the end.

Travel as a way to bring people from all over the world together, not to encourage stereotypes and be disrespectful of other cultures. Don’t forget that you represent your home country when you are abroad.

Avoiding these travel mistakes will help save money, time, get off the beaten path, and be a better traveler. If you haven’t yet, check out my tips on how to save money and travel more to become a world traveler!

5 top Travel mistakes
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What travel mistakes have you made while traveling? Or what you have seen people do when they travel? Let me know int he comments below!

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Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!


  1. Stephanie Bartlett
    February 21, 2019

    These are brilliant tips – I’ve made one or two of these mistakes – I think the biggest thing for me is trying to learn at least a little bit of the language rather than expecting everyone else to speak English !

  2. Suzan Dalia
    February 21, 2019

    These are some good and very thoughtful advice. I love this post, and thank you for sharing your advice based on your travel experience, that the rest of us can learn from!

  3. Chloe Daniels | Clo Bare
    February 21, 2019

    I love your idea of buying something local instead of a magnet that was made in China that says “Germany” on it. Like SERIOUSLY. I’d way rather have the chocolate that came from Germany than the plastic crap I’m never going to use! Great post. I’ve DEFINITELY made some of these mistakes before.

  4. Carla Natali
    February 21, 2019

    Hi Marina,

    Out of all the mistakes we can make while traveling I guess one that can really ruin our vacation is #15.
    Some people have this weird fantasy about traveling, they expect it to be a time for relaxing ONLY and when the tiniest thing goes wrong thew throw a fit as if things were not allowed to go wrong while they are spending money trying to get away from stress.
    It would be hilarious if it wasn´t tragic. 😉

  5. Anna McCluskey
    February 21, 2019

    This is a great list, but I gotta say, regarding #4….. Sometimes you’ve just spent the past day and a half on planes and trains, and it’s worth it to take a cab straight to your hotel instead of having to figure out a new public transit system and then find the hotel from the bus stop! I love taking public transit in strange places – it’s always an adventure. But not when I’m exhausted, jet-lagged, and smelly.

  6. online games
    March 1, 2019

    Awesome! Its truly amazing post, I have got much clear idea concerning from this article.

    1. Marina
      March 14, 2019


  7. Albany
    March 4, 2019

    Your blog is absolutely amazing! I am definitely a fan and sincerely hope to revisit you soon. For now, pinning this post to save on my travel board!

    1. Marina
      March 14, 2019

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!

  8. Catherine
    March 28, 2019

    Love this post! We love to travel! We will definitely use your tips for future adventures! Thank you!!

  9. Khadijah Almeade Diaz
    March 31, 2019

    #7 is my favorite. I once went to Vegas and got a super cheap hotel. Biggest mistake ever. I wish I had of spent the extra money. Not every deal with worth it. Now I am very strategic about where I spend my money. Great Post! I travel blog too!

  10. Alisa Infanti
    March 31, 2019

    Such a great list but I am one of those people who buy the $4 keychain. It is tradition.

    1. Marina
      April 23, 2019

      Yes, hard to resist something small and inexpensive!

  11. Annick
    April 1, 2019

    I LOVE the fact that you’ve included: don’t take a taxi from the airport, and research the dress code. Way too often I see people committing all the mistakes you’ve highlighted and it’s such a shame. Thank you from beautifully written article. I will pin it and hopefully it can help more people plan their next trip! 🙂

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  14. Heena
    May 30, 2019

    This are very important tips useful to everyone who are traveling or planing to travel. Good to know the dress code , rules and laws of the visiting country, the cultural values and the Dos-Don’ts before the travel. It is always better to do some basic research and little backup plan in case if anything goes wrong. Travel Insurance is the most valuable and smart thing to get. I have seen people don’t get insurance and feel smarter to save money by not getting it. I do travel and hiking a lot. We do believe and follow the principle of leave no trace #4. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    1. Marina
      June 7, 2019

      Glad you enjoyed my post! I have made these mistakes before and wanted to share them with people who are planning to travel soon!

  15. Bianca
    May 30, 2019

    #3 and #4 are my favorites – I opted for a no fee ATM card and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
    Also, I love that you recommended doing your airport transportation beforehand – a little time doing that can save you a LOT later on!

    1. Marina
      June 7, 2019

      Exactly! I like to save money and get the most out of my travel!

  16. Victoria
    May 31, 2019

    Great post!! I am going away soon and this helped answer a bunch of questions I had. I definitely also need to study some of the locations language too!

  17. imgrum
    July 11, 2019

    Love the tips! Thank you so much! It’s very useful. I rarely notice that I should choose to go by bus from the airport, I always think about taxi first, such a wrong decision. Next time I will choose bus.

    1. Marina
      July 15, 2019

      Yes, bus or subway to the city are usually an option at every major airport! You can save so much money if you use it!

  18. Kirby
    March 30, 2020

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your
    blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!


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