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As part of a Virgin Australia Travel Competition I am submitting this post as an entry, highlighting my Top Travel Tips.
I have done my fair share of world travel and in doing so I have made my fair share of travel mistakes. It’s like a lot of things in life – you learn from experience and eventually you almost get it right!
So here are the best (and worst) of my world travel bloopers:
On my first trip to Europe in 2007 I made the mistake of purchasing the biggest suitcase I could find and then proceeded to overload it with far too much clothing. Not only did I buy the biggest suitcase, but I bought the cheapest one! Hence the handle broke when I was dragging the suitcase up 100 stairs in the Metro in Paris, as I discovered not all subways have lifts or escalators. Not only did the handle break but the suitcase tumbled down about 20 stairs almost taking out innocent fellow travellers in the process! Luckily it did not hit anyone and a very nice Frenchman assisted me by carrying the suitcase up the remainder of the stairs for me.
Lesson No. 1 Don’t buy the biggest suitcase and don’t buy cheap. Look for quality luggage that is going to handle the rigours of world travel. Also do not attempt to drag a suitcase up the stairs in the subway!
Have you ever booked a flight online and then all of a sudden the website freezes and you have completed your booking but don’t know if it has actually worked? Years ago this happened to me when I booked a flight to Thailand. I phoned the airline to check that I had secured the booking and also paid the fares over the phone. I thought all was good when I received a booking confirmation via email. Fast forward to the day of the flight and we turn up at the airport after a 2 hour drive, only to discover that we never had a booking on the flight!
Lesson No. 2 To board a flight you need an E-Ticket not just a booking confirmation from the airline and it also pays to check that the credit card payment has gone through! This was an absolute catastrophe but fortunately we were able to get on the the flight.
My Mum and I were going through security to board a domestic flight and it was discovered by the X-Ray machine that my elderly mum had a metal nail file and nail scissors in her handbag! She was quickly whisked aside and given a lecture by the very humourless security officer. But the worst thing is that my Mum then complained bitterly about having her ‘lethal weapons’ confiscated!
Lesson No. 3 When you are travelling with the young or elderly ensure you check what they have packed in their onboard luggage prior to departure. They are likely to pack all sorts of strange items that are sometimes considered ‘illegal contraband’.
Yes you guessed it! Having purchased some very lovely French perfume at Singapore Airport enroute to the UK and being overloaded with far too much carry-on luggage, I put my duty-free bag down at Heathrow Airport and then left it there!
Lesson No. 4 Don’t attempt to take too much carry-on luggage as you only have two hands! You need at least one hand free to go through immigration and customs to fossick out your travel documentation, passport, etc. Save your duty-free purchases for the trip home.
There is nothing more frustrating than people who don’t have their travel documentation ready at hand when getting to the front of the queue at immigration and customs. I have witnessed so many people turning out the contents of their bags and pockets in a frenzied attempt to locate their passports or other documents.
Lesson No. 5 Have all of your travel documentation in one place and ready to produce upon request. Travel wallets are great for this. We have travel wallets that hang around our necks with all required documentation and our passports whilst we are going through the arduous check-in or disembarkation process.
So you have bought your brand new pair of comfy sensible Merrells for all the walking you are going to do on your overseas trip and you proudly pop them on your feet to embark on a big day out sightseeing and then within a few hours you have blisters everywhere on your feet! WTF? I thought these shoes were supposed to be the most comfortable ones available? So after ‘bandaiding’ over all the sore spots on your heels and toes you soldier on, but next day you are back to wearing your trusty old runners.
Lesson No. 6 COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR IS PARAMOUNT!! If you are going to wear a brand new pair of walking shoes on your trip make sure you test them out first and ‘run’ them in a bit prior to the trip. Some shoes take a while to soften up and allow your feet to mould into them. Forget all the high heels and uncomfortable footwear, go for comfort everytime. Here are the 12 Best Travel Shoes for Women.
How many times have I told myself I am going to pack light this trip? I’m pretty sure it has been over a hundred times and I still tend to overpack. My problem is that I pack for the eventuality of every climatic event such as torrential rain, cyclonic winds, intense heat and even driving snow! But seriously there is absolutely nothing wrong with ‘outfit repeating’ and washing your underwear out in the hotel basin every few days, rather than taking too much clothing. There are also going to be shops where you are going so what you don’t pack you can always buy.
Lesson No. 7 DO NOT OVERPACK! Experienced travellers will tell you less is more when it comes to packing. Lay all your clothing out on the floor and then halve it and don’t take too many pairs of shoes because they are just too heavy to lug around.
I’m sure I’m not alone and that most of us have made a few mistakes when it comes to overseas travel. Do you have any additional travel tips or travel bloopers to add to this list?
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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