7 rookie mistakes to avoid.
Let’s get straight into this post. I’ve traveled to 14 countries as of today and I would be lying to you if I’ve stated that I never made any of these mistakes or haven’t done all of them at one point in time- yeah, I’m a little embarrassed but that too is part of the endless adventures.
Mistakes can make or break you. I prefer the first, and thus am resilient, adoptable, and have learned from my past traveling mistakes.
I hope many of these faux pas will help you become a more efficient traveler.
Even the most experienced tourists/travelers make one or more of these mistakes. Click here to read about the differences between a tourist and a traveler. The key here is to not do so many of them for your own sanity! =)
Rookie Mistake 1: Not checking tourist visa
Scenario, you’ve purchased a ticket to visit Vietnam on a whim, you did no research and to be honest it was just a thought, you had a few hundred dollars lying
around and you want to see what Vietnam is like. Cool! We’ve all been here. You’ve packed your bag, informed your boss, etc. You just arrived at the airport,
presented your ticket and passport. You are almost there- the excitement is increasing and you almost can’t suppress them! 12 or so hours later, you’ve arrived in
Hanoi. You’ve exited the airplane and are going through immigration patrol. There is a long que but you keep yourself distracted, you’re looking around and
thinking about the first Vietnamese dish you’re going to eat. The que shortens and now it’s your turn, you provide your passport and boarding ticket, like
clockwork. However, a few minutes go by, you stare at the boarder control personnel, they look back at you blankly. They then ask you for your visa. You reply
aloofly “what visa?” and just like that your highly anticipated adventure quickly reversed and became your latest misadventure! DAMN!
Many of the surfers I’ve hosted via CouchSurfing have unfortunately told me personal stories identical to this one. And each time I would look at them in
complete disbelief and pity. A little research truly can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Check out these 5 must do each time you travel.
Rookie Mistake 2: Not checking vaccination requirements
This too is an easy to do mistake that can completely dissolve your planned vacation quickly! During the time of this writing, we are all living with the COVID-19
global PANDEMIC. Prior to traveling, you must always check your government’s and visiting governments travel requirements. Click here the read the latest
Covid-19 traveling APPs. With all of the advancements in technology, medicine, and aviation, traveling any where can be done with a few clicks.
However, you still have to do your due diligence to find out if your destination has had a recent virus/disease outbreak or whether they require you to show proof of certain vaccines such as (i.e. yellow fever).
I visited Benin, a fun key shaped East African country as a vacation a few years ago, this was the first African country I had visited and therefore did at least 6
months of research … the Benin Government requires a tourist visa and proof of Yellow fever vaccination for entry into Benin if you’re American. What did I do?
Paid for the tourist visa electronically and within a few minutes I’ve had it emailed to me, then I set up an appointment to the local hospital obtain the vaccine and
its vaccine booklet. That’s it, no fuss.Click here to read some of the fun things I did in Benin and you too could try.
Rookie Mistake 3: Failing to make photocopies of your passport page
I will not spend too much time on this one, it’s self explanatory. In the worst case scenario you misplaced your passport/ your passport is stolen when you are in a
foreign country; you will be in an awful situation because you have no internationally recognized document that proves your nationality and your identity. Rule of
thumb is to make 2 or three color/ black and white copies of your passport pages and store them in various places.
Rookie Mistake 4: Failing to know where the closest Embassy is located
This mistake is along the lines of the 3rd rookie traveling mistake. It’s more of a good tool of prevention. This could be done within seconds of using Dr. Google,
“Ethiopian Embassy in Thailand address”. I personally will take a screenshot of the embassy on my smartphone just in case something goes down however, I
haven’t had to visit any of the American Embassies during my vacations. Better safe than sorry, you know?
Rookie Mistake 5: Not telling your family or friends about your trip
There are layers to this but let me share a crazy story. I went to Haiti by myself a few years ago as a FUCK YOU to my annoying employer… I was there for 2
weeks. It was amazing, the thing is I had not informed my mom or my dad (I partially informed him and lied to him about my arrival date but w/e), I had only
informed my brother who couldn’t keep a secret lmao! So, two days in a half into my escape from America my mom started calling my dad and expressed extreme
worry and concern about my whereabouts in Haiti.
Long story short, I sat myself down and called my mom, listened to her and expressed my views on the situation and I apologized to her because she is a
wonderful mother who shouldn’t be treated like that. I learned a lot of hard lessons from that situation. Most importantly is to ALWAYS inform your family,
significant other and friends about your upcoming travels. It’s up to you if you chose to or not chose to inform them I personally am honest and transparent prior
and during my travels.
I send everyone in my family my detailed itinerary that states the locations, dates and people I will meet (using their full names and phone numbers). You
obviously can do whatever you want, I’ve learned over the years that transparency will save you from future annoyances and provide you with peace of mind
prior, during and post your trip.
Rookie Mistake 6: Not being selective
I deliberately kept this one vague because it is vague but crucial. Hold up, I’ll explain. Its common for us, ‘humans who are social creatures’ to flaunt and brag
about our upcoming vacations and travels however, I’ve learned to be selective regarding the people I would share this information with. Everyone at your job,
school, and church don’t need to know, unless you are genuinely close with them or if they’re supportive. For some people, hearing anyone is going on a fun
escape will immediately stir up envy, use, and hatred or they might try to pry for extra details as a means to sabotage your trip. It might not seem like much but its
a real thing, try practicing mindfulness and selectivity.
Rookie Mistake 7: Sharing too much personal details with strangers
This mistake is similar to #6 but with a slightly different angle. Again, we are social creatures, so its somewhat difficult to stop talking about ourselves especially
when we are happy, just achieved a milestone, or when someone expresses interest in us.
Be careful and observe them closely. There are differences between someone who is genuinely interested in your culture(s), fashion style, etc in contrast to a
would-be crook, stalker or predator. To keep it simple here are some questions you should avoid responding to, ignore, or act dumb if you don’t want to offend the
person. 1) How much money are you carrying on you? 2) where are you staying now? 3) Are you visiting/staying alone? 4) Can I come and visit you? 5)What day
and time will you fly out? 6) Come over to my home…
I hope you get the gist. Most of the questions are subjective but depending on the context you are in with this stranger it could lead to a trap.
Use sound judgements, ask questions if you’re uncertain, observe and follow your gut instincts!
Which mistake(s) have you committed?