Posted 23 Jun, 2014 | 14 Comments
Posted in: Planning, Travel Blogs

You’ve got your flights booked and your destination(s) planned. Everything is ready to go and you’re excited for your next big trip. But what if your perfectly good trip doesn’t turn out as good as you thought it would? Sadly, this happens often and it’s usually because people make a few simple mistakes along the way that can really effect the outcome of their trip. Perhaps if we point out just a few of these mistakes here, we can help you to ensure that your next vacation is just as amazing as you hoped it would be.

1. Over-Planning

planningOne of the best parts of travel is spontaneity and travellers should always leave room for plenty of change in their itinerary. If you’re planning to go to X, Y and Z, but a friendly local family in Y invites you to a wedding, don’t miss it! Your travel plans should be flexible enough to allow you to just go with the flow. Sometimes when we miss out on things we had planned, we actually have a much better experience instead. Keep your calendar open to change and you’ll have a better trip.

2. Seeing Too Much:

sight seeingThis often goes hand-in-hand with #1 on this list. If you over-plan and then you stick to trying to see everything you had on your list, you may find that you get exhausted. Try to stay in each city, town or village for at least three days so that you can get a feel for the place and the people who live there. If you plan to move every other day (or every day), you’ll start to realize that you’re seeing everything through a bus window. If you’re looking at your itinerary and see that there’s an event planned on every day, try scratching something out. Trying to see too much is one of the main reasons that people end up disappointed after their holiday.

3. Not Doing Any Research:

Before you hop on the plane and head to your next destination, make sure you’ve done plenty of research about the place you are visiting. There may be a festival you would like to attend or a busy holiday period that you want to avoid. Most of us only research the weather before going somewhere and this is a huge mistake! The weather is changing and is very unpredictable these days. Your time may be better spent looking up local customs and cultural quirks. What are the people like where you are going? What do they believe in? What have their ancestors been through? A better understanding of culture and history will enhance your trip and allow you to connect better with the local people.

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A Little Research Can Go A Long Way!

4. Poor Budgeting:

budget for small tripSo often we book our vacations, holidays or world trips using a random budget we read online or found in our guidebooks. It’s important to know what kind of traveller you are and how you will spend your money. Guidebooks have a budget section that can definitely help you plan your spending, but these days it’s often better to find a travel blog that you like and find out their daily budget. Bloggers will give you a pretty good idea of how they travel and you can match your travel style with that of your favourite blogger’s, and ask them how much they spend in certain countries. When you’ve figured out how much you THINK you’ll spend, bring 20% more just in case!

5. Not Letting Go Of Home:

This is a hard one to overcome, but it’s an easy way to ruin a perfectly good trip. On shorter trips and vacations, it can be hard to let go, but if you can leave your stresses and worries back at your office, you’ll likely gain much more from your travels. This may sound obvious, but people are so connected to work these days, that they often bring iPhones, Blackberries and laptops just so they can keep up with the workload. Sometimes it’s not possible to completely disconnect from work, but if you can plan to be away from your travel electronics for a few days at a time, you’ll have a much more enjoyable holiday. On extended trips, it may take a long time to disconnect from the stresses of home, but once you free yourself from the pressures and anxiety, a feeling of calm will come over you that may just change your life. Travel by definition, means to leave home, so give it a try!

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Before you pack your bags and head out on your next holiday, consider these 5 warnings and you may just have a better trip. The road should be a retreat for your mind and your body. Allow yourself the time to re-energize and un-organize. Plan a little bit but don’t try to see everything and you’ll have a trip that’s even better than you had ever imagined.

Have you ever ruined a perfectly good trip? What was the main reason? Share in the comments below and save other travellers from making the same mistakes!

5 Ways To Ruin A Perfectly Good Trip (and How to Avoid Them)

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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14 thoughts on “5 Ways To Ruin A Perfectly Good Trip (and How to Avoid Them)

  1. In our previous travels we’ve had so limited time I’ve tended to overplan and rush around. I am so happy with our current trip – we are taking it much slower and opting to stay longer if we really love a place.

  2. Thanks for the great suggestions, Dariece and Nick! I think there is a very fine line between doing ample research, over planning and seeing too much. Usually I am finding that the more research I am doing, the more I want to see. But in the end, letting go of things and going with the flow seems to be the better recipe for a great trip…:)

  3. Great tips! I always seem to struggle with budgeting aspect, so I will have to add an extra 20% next time!

  4. I’m afraid our issue is trying to pack too much in. When you go so far, you always want to see as much as you possibly can. Unfortunately, we tend to short change ourselves on everything because we try to do too much. Hopefully, that is a lesson learned for our next trip.

  5. In some places, renting a car and trying to drive can have that effect. I wouldn’t drive in Europe again, it didn’t ruin it, but I can’t help but suspect that a train would’ve been somehow easier.

  6. That’s definitely the way to do it – you don’t want to end up exhausted after a trip!

  7. haha, good point Dennis! After doing research we always find that there are more places that we have to see. Unless we’re staying for a long time though, we try to cut some out.

  8. It’s hard isn’t it. On one hand, you want to see everything the city/country has to offer, but on the other hand, if you try to do that, all you’ll end up seeing is the view from a bus window!

    Cheers 🙂

  9. True, it could add some stress to a trip, but I think renting a car is definitely an adventure 🙂 Not ideal for every country, but I think everyone should try it at least once.


  10. With the intense heat that’s been beating down here in Toronto, I’ve been guilty of #2 the past couple of days!

  11. Great post guys – I can go a bit research crazy in the lead-up to our trips but always ensure there’s ‘room to move’. In fact the last couple of times away I’ve booked just the flights in and out of Melbourne and gone from there – friends and family thought I’d gone mad, but it was awesome – no pressure to be anywhere (always out of high season too, which helps). Maybe it’s me, but I cannot wait to leave my work phone and emails at home! It takes a couple of days to really ‘switch off’ but it’s the best feeling. Our biggest hurdle is leaving our two dogs. There’s usually a case of separation anxiety at the beginning 🙂 I also think (as a couple) sharing the load over the course of the trip helps too (bookings, planning etc) – takes the pressure off a little and keeps things a little spontaneous. 🙂

  12. That’s the best way to do it! Just booking the initial flight out of home and back home…and then leaving the rest totally up to how you’re feeling while on the road. We just book flights as we go, unless we know we want to be somewhere on a particular month, then we will try to book in advance so it’s cheaper 🙂

    Cheers and happy travels!

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