13 Travel Mistakes I’ll Never Make Again

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mandi

I was 18 the first time I ventured outside of the U.S. on my own. 

I only needed eight weeks’ worth of clothing, but I packed two huge suitcases, a carry-on bag, an extra backpack and at least half a dozen handbags. 

When I landed in the dead of winter in Salta, Argentina carting 100 lbs of summer dresses behind me, it was a wake-up call I’ve never forgotten. 

I’ve been learning to travel the hard way ever since – and tripping myself up plenty of times along the way.

I let a local talk me into a $ 500 bike rental.

I had the chance to check out a public bike share in Montreal for the first time last year.  But since I couldn’t read the instructions in French, I asked a local to explain the process.

It was free for the first 45 minutes, he said, and I would be charged a couple of extra bucks every hour after that. 

Unfortunately for me, he forgot to mention the $ 250 security deposit the company applied to my credit card for each bike. I rented two.

Good thing I had used a credit card and not my debit card, because it took well over a week for the temporary charge to disappear. 




I forgot to tell my bank about a D.C. road trip.

After President Obama was elected in 2008, I hatched a plan for the ultimate 48-hour road trip — from Athens, Ga. to D.C. for his Inaugural address.

I just forgot to tell my bank about it. 

Apparently, swiping my debit card at a slew of gas stations up and down the East coast in such a short period of time spelled “FRAUD” to them. They froze my account and I wound up stranded at a North Carolina pit stop until I could get a representative on the phone to correct the mistake.

If I had been overseas, it would have been an even bigger nightmare. 




I lost some serious haggling potential by not learning the native tongue.

Although I can count the number of Portuguese words I know on two hands, I hoped my decent Spanish skills would help me get by on a recent trip to Brazil. 

I was dead wrong. I could read signs well enough, but anything spoken sounded like pure gibberish.

Learning the language would have made haggling so much easier — especially when ordering at restaurants. 



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