Travel Mistakes Everyone Should Make at Least Once

Lost your itinerary—or even your luggage? Before you let the panic set in, find out how these travel blunders can actually be the highlight of your next trip.

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Travel mistakes everyone should make - woman looking at map
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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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Travel mistakes - friends sharing drink in bar
Photo: Rido /

Embarrass Yourself

Whether you’re trying to ask for directions in broken Spanish and end up saying something totally insane, or you accidentally walk into the wrong washroom, 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.

Here are the common Spanish phrases you should commit to memory.

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Travel mistakes - street in Montmartre, Paris
Photo: Catarina Belova /

Get Lost

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.

Take a virtual stroll down the world’s most famous streets.

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Woman on boat approaching Taj Mahal, India
Photo: Phuong D. Nguyen /

Visit a Country Where You’re Not Fluent in the Language

Why not challenge yourself by visiting a country where service in English isn’t guaranteed? You’ll want to pack a dictionary (or at the very least a phone loaded with the relevant apps) to help you with key phrases, but don’t fret if you can’t understand the menu word for word. This is a great way to force anyone stuck in a comfort zone rut to try new things, pick up a new language, 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.

Don’t miss these helpful hints for Canadians travelling to India for the first time.

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Covent Garden, London
Photo: Tupungato /

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.

Check out 50 London attractions worth adding to your itinerary.

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Travel mistakes - luggage on conveyor at airport
Photo: Jaromir Chalabala /

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 overpacked 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.

These travel hacks could save your next vacation.

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Woman being a tourist in New York City
Photo: AboutLife /

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.

Next, discover 10 budget travel tips that could save you a bundle.

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