Keep Calm and Travel On. Pretty inspiring words actually. A traveler’s mantra that when repeated often, can help get one through all sorts of stressful travel situations. And a good reminder that should appear at the top of any good travel planning t0-do list.
But what about the don’ts? We get so caught up in the vacation planning to do’s (adding things, crossing things off, modifying, condensing), that we forget the don’ts. Sometimes paying attention to the don’ts makes life easier and actually shrinks that to-do list into something more manageable.
Here are some of the things I recommend you don’t do when it comes to planning a vacation and having a great experience once you arrive:
- Don’t feel pressured to visit a place just because it’s in a guidebook.
- Don’t give Trip Advisor or other on-line reviews to much weight. There are loads of fake and/or paid reviews out there.
- Don’t spend too much time on the Internet researching. It’s a black hole. An endless time suck. It can be downright confusing and make you second- guess yourself.
- Don’t keep checking for lower prices on flights once you buy airline tickets. No good can come of it. Your time is better spent on other (more important) tasks. The same applies to booking hotels.
- Don’t carry lots of cash around with you.
- Don’t move around so much during your trip. For a trip of say 7-10 days, pick no more than two home bases and spend your time there, maybe taking a few day trips.
- Don’t overpack.
- Don’t drive in the city. Public transportation, taxis or walking is all you’ll need to get around.
- Don’t be afraid to travel to Italy or France because you aren’t fluent in the language.
- Don’t pack your itinerary chock full of activities. Leave space for down time, wandering and relaxing. That’s when the magic happens.
- Don’t overplan.
- Don’t leave the planning to the last minute.
- Don’t assume everything will go smoothly without any hitch or glitch. Always figure on something going wrong. If nothing does – it’s a bonus!
- Don’t underestimate a good guidebook. Or three.
- Don’t be afraid to hire a travel consultant to help with some or all of the planning.
- Don’t rely solely on GPS if you’re driving. A good map is worth its weight in gold.
- Don’t hesitate to follow a local’s recommendation.
- Don’t adopt a bad attitude. If you’re treated poorly or have anything unfortunate happen, get over it and move on. Quickly.
- Don’t feel bad about skipping a planned activity if you’re feeling tired, too hot or enjoying what you are currently doing. Live in the moment.
- Don’t travel in high-season.
- Don’t skimp on everything. It’s fine to travel on a budget, but you should splurge once in a while. It’s your vacation. You work hard and you deserve it, dammit!
- Don’t forget travel insurance.
- Don’t forget to notify your banks and credit cards of your travel plans and dates. Nothing kills a vacation faster than not having access to your money. Except maybe bedbugs.
- Don’t underestimate your travel budget. It’s better to overestimate and come home with money in your pocket.
- Don’t complain. It puts a damper on everything. A negative cloud of doom. Remember you’re on a fabulous vacation and no less than a thousand people would trade places with you in a heartbeat.
What did I miss? What don’t would you add to the list?