Travel experts at reveal what not to do on vacation

Although traveling is meant to be one of life’s greatest pleasures, logistics, mishaps, and pure dumb luck can conspire to make the experience practically intolerable. Luckily the members of™ (, not only have great hotel reviews but great advice about ways to avoid calamity, as general manager of VirtualTourist® Giampiero Ambrosi explains:

“Every experienced traveler has a war story or two of missed flights, nights spent in train stations, or full vacation days at an embassy trying to get missing paperwork. While there are always situations that can’t be avoided, this is a great checklist to help you avoid some very common blunders. The list may help you avert disaster, but remember that the biggest travel mistake of all is not to keep a sense of humor about your mistakes!”

1. Overpacking. A good rule of thumb is, if you have to sit on the suitcase to zip it up, you’ve packed too much.
2. Not anticipating passport expiration. Double-check the expiration date the day you start planning your trip and be sure to confirm that it won’t expire while you’re on vacation!
3. Leaving too little time between flight connections. As any seasoned traveler will advise, any between-connection time less than two hours and you’re really rolling the dice.
4. Forgetting time differences. Not taking into account time differences is a very common mistake travelers make, along with not realizing that some countries count time from one to 12 while others count from one to 24.
5. Not renewing prescription medication. Getting refills in some countries isn’t easy, so ask your pharmacist about an advance refill.
6. Neglecting to confirm hotel reservations. Even if you booked months ago and made a deposit, always call a few weeks before to confirm and if possible, get something in writing.
7. Not bringing an adaptor. If a day without a hairdryer is a day spent in agony, make sure to bring the appropriate adaptor.
8. Not checking to see if your ATM card works in other countries. Even if you’ve used your ATM card somewhere before, always check with your bank and keep in mind that different countries often require shorter or longer PIN numbers so ask about that as well.
9. Leaving valuables in a hotel safe. When you come back to the hotel each night, make it a habit to leave your key on the safe so when you’re ready for a final departure you’ll be reminded to have one last look.
10. Not learning how to say “help” in another language. Before arriving, learn words like “help” and “fire,” and make sure you know the local equivalent of 911.

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About, part of the TripAdvisor® media group, is one of the largest online travel communities in the world and a premier resource for travelers seeking an insider perspective on travel information, from hotels in Las Vegas to restaurants in Paris. At VirtualTourist, (, real people share real advice on places they’ve traveled as well as their hometowns; they research and plan trips, and they interact with other avid travelers via travel forums and email; over six million travelers use the site monthly. VirtualTourist boasts more than 1.6 million travel reviews and 3 million photos on more than 58,000 destinations worldwide. Unbiased, user-generated content on Hotels, Attractions, Local Customs, Tourist Traps and much more is posted entirely by VirtualTourist’s more than one million registered members from over 220 countries and territories, and the site’s Trip Planner feature allows users to create custom print-and-go travel guides. Among VirtualTourist’s awards and accolades: ‘Sites that Changed Our World,’ The Guardian; ‘Favorite Website,’ Newsweek; ‘35 Best Travel Sites,’ Travel Leisure.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".