Travel teaches us so many things about the places we go and the people we meet. It also teaches us what we should never, ever do again. Things like ordering from a menu we can’t read with no help — on a squeamish stomach; or renting a car that is just too small for three across the back seat; or not packing swim shoes for a trek through a mangrove swamp.
But we’ve already learned from our plentiful travel blunders, so we asked you on Facebook: What travel mistake have you promised yourself you’ll never make again?
There were a few stories hidden in some of your gaffes. We can only imagine what happened to inspire Jacqueline Wong Miller to write: “I will always remember to check my carry-on bag for random fruit I may have put in there BEFORE I go through customs, especially if I ever go to Chile again!” Or Shereen Rayle to write: “I will never rent a car out of the country again without looking at the crime rate and researching parking garages/lots nearby.” We wouldn’t want to lose a rental car or be accused of trafficking plums, either.
We’ve all experienced goof-ups that have cost us money. Vida Morkunas learned to exchange currency at a bank, Sara Sarit Nakash discovered the value of travel insurance and Willis C. Self III found out why he shouldn’t forget to validate his ticket on an Italian train.
Some of your responses were familiar old lessons, well learned. We nodded in agreement when Dalia Garcia promised herself she’d never wait too long to book a flight using miles, always bring a sleep mask and earplugs, and never take more than three pairs of shoes. Elizabeth Hotchkiss Meade and Nancy J. Faria both agreed with Dalia’s last lesson, promising themselves they’d never over-pack again.
There were a few responses that we haven’t yet come upon ourselves, but we’ll certainly take note. Christi Couron will never again book too many tours. Marvin Washington won’t allow Expedia to randomly select a hotel for him.
We do, however, hope that no one will ever have to repeat the mistake Laurie Whitney Willits experienced — a mistake that wasn’t even her own. She wrote: “I will think twice and argue before I ever give my passport to the staff of a cruise ship … we were on the Costa Concordia and they told us they would give us [our] passport back when we got off the ship. But no one was there to hand it to us when we got into our lifeboat!”
We’re glad you’re safe, Laurie. We’re glad you’re safe.
Which travel mistake will you never repeat?
— written by Jodi Thompson