We're all about doing our best to be smart, informed, adventurous travelers. In fact, one of our 2016 resolutions is to do a whole lot more of it! If, like us, you're planning a trip this year, it's important to be wary of the common pitfalls so you don't make them (duh!). Though this list centers on common mistakes of European travel, we think it's full of great reminders no matter where your ticket is taking you. Read on for five common mistakes and wisdom aplenty.
Leaving your cash at home
Cash is still the preferred method of payment abroad. When visiting local eateries, watering holes, and shops, make sure you have cash handy. A good rule of thumb is to take out a reasonable amount of cash every day so you avoid carrying too much on your person at any given time.
Jumping the gun on tours
Do your research. Scour Yelp reviews. Ask your concierge, and consult with friends who have traveled to your destination. There are all different types of tours for all different types of people. You want to find the one that matches your interests (art institutions rather than celebrity dwellings, for example!) so that you get the most out of your money spent.
Not learning the basics of the native language
There may be no hiding the fact that you're a tourist, but not being able to say even a simple "thank you" in the language of the country you are visiting is just a shade lazy. Brush up on the basic phrases before you embark on your journey. A little effort goes a long way toward endearing yourself to people you meet along the way.
If you can't carry your bags, you either have too many or you've packed too much. Streamline your luggage to carry-on size pieces made for easier mobility (cobblestones can be tricky) and to make room for any prized souvenirs you might pick up!
Only staying in big name hotels
We get it. The convenience and ease of booking a stay at the nearby Hyatt can be tempting, but you won't experience nearly as much local flavor by opting for an international hotel chain. If you are adventurous, stay in hostels or Airbnb rentals. If you're a bit more traditional and/or simply enjoy the creature comforts of a hotel stay, opt for a boutique hotel or charming bed and breakfast!
Traveling soon? Keep these travel necessities in your bag every time you take a journey.