One of my biggest travel mistakes? Paying too much for service that wasn't there
Stay away from the big box hotel chains. Carol Cain of Girl Gone Travel says, “One of the biggest travel mistakes I’ve made is thinking that because a hotel is more expensive than a local motel, that the service will be better. Something I’ve learned a lot through traveling is that often you can not only save money, but also have a more personal and authentic experience by getting away from the big chains. It takes a lot of confidence to do that and venture into a neighborhood that you might not know, but I think limiting myself to the hotels that I recognized as opposed to renting a room or staying in a mom and pop place was a big mistake.”
Don't sleep with strangers!
Read your Airbnb/Couchsurfing reservation very carefully. Shayla Martin, a freelance travel writer, offers her advice in the form of a Couchsurfing horror story. She tells us, “On people’s profiles [on Couchsurfing] there is a very small section that describes what kind of lodging option they can offer. A lot of the time when you’re on Couchsurfing, you assume the person is going to have a couch or a room, and you don’t ask. In this situation, I didn’t ask.” She goes on to explain that she arrived at a very small studio in Paris that didn’t even have a bed, only a single futon. Talk about major travel mistakes 101. “We had to sleep next to each other on her futon bed. That got weird real fast.” After her major mix up, she realized there is a section on Couchsurfing’s site that specifies whether your host has a couch available or a “shared sleeping surface.”
Leave the old ball and chain at home
PLEASE don’t overpack. Beauty expert and the founder of Passport 2 Pretty Kenecia Lashae admits she has been guilty of the cardinal travel sin: overpacking. She tells us, “I mean it’s sort of a catch 22. I tend to under pack when I travel in the US because I have this notion that I can get whatever I need wherever, but those things take time. On the other hand, overpacking is awful. You can’t afford to throw things away because there are things you might need later, but it’s hell on your back. It’s like having a ball and chain. Don’t do it!”