Top 5 Travel Mistakes
Our last list featured five of our best travel decisions, we’re following up now with our Top 5 Travel Mistakes. These aren’t major mistakes and they did not cause us any significant problems, but they are five things that we feel we could have better planned and given more thought to. If we had avoided making or not making these five decisions our travels would have not only been much more comfortable, but we would have very likely had a bit of extra cash left in our pockets.
In no particular order:
1. Bringing Sleeping Bags, a Tent and Hiking Boots
Unless you are going to do some serious trekking and camping leave the outdoors gear at home. These things take up a lot of room and add considerable weight to your backpack. We have been carrying our boots and sleeping bags since day 1 and we have only used them a handful of times. Luckily we had the good sense to send our tent home after year one. We purchased a cheap one while we were in Southern Africa since we camped a lot, but we didn’t bring it forward. The boots and sleeping bags were otherwise really only essential in Nepal. We could have purchased or rented adequate, cheap knockoff sleeping bags in Kathmandu and had our hiking boots shipped to a guesthouse in advance instead of lugging them all around the world for two and a half years.
2. Not Buying an E-Reader
As our trip stats indicate we love to read! And we read a lot! This creates a bit of a problem as we go through a lot of books fairly quickly. Fearing that we will be hard pressed to find any decent English literature on the road we tend to stock pile good books when we find them. This usually means that we are carrying on average two or three books each at any given time. This not only adds extra weight to our good old packs but also takes up valuable space. If we had purchased an E-reader it would only have taken up a fraction of the space and we could have had 1000s of books already pre-loaded and ready to read. But then again we would have missed out on going from hotel to hotel on our ever popular book hunts…
3. Not Having an Airmiles/Rewards Card
After reading our trip stats one day my good friend Greg made a little comment stating that “with all of your flights you guys must have racked up a lot of airmiles by now!” Actually no. We haven’t. I have a MBNA SensReward card and managed to earn a few points on it and we signed up for Hawaiian Miles while in Hawaii but we haven’t earned anything anywhere near substantial yet. Add to the fact that we used our Aussie ANZ Visa to buy a bunch of air tickets, our purchases were spread out over 3 or 4 credit cards. Going back I would have chosen one high rewards card to book all of our plane tickets. We most likely would have gotten a free flight or two out of it by now. Such a missed opportunity!
4. Not Having 48 Page Passports
Sigh. This has probably been my biggest mistake to date. I got a new passport a month before we left Canada and for some reason I did not check the “48 page passport” box. Call it a brain fart or just a plain oversight but that one mistake has played a role in deciding the last month of our travels. I have two blank pages left and with 3 countries to go we had to alter our plans and opt out of visiting Laos. It is really a shame but I couldn’t take a chance of not being allowed to re-enter Thailand afterwards (flight from Chiang Mai to Hong Kong already purchased). Anyways, I could have renewed my passport like Kendall did (she also did not have a 48 page passport and Canada does not add blank visa pages to passports like some other countries do), but I thought I would make it. This entire situation could have been avoided if I gotten the 48 page passport in the first place.
5. Not Working for a Longer Period of Time in Australia
We had a yearlong working holiday visa in Australia but only worked in the country for 6 months, with a month long holiday to Hawaii thrown in the middle. Looking back if we could have somehow managed to spend more time working in Perth it would likely have allowed us to travel for a much longer period of time. In comparison with New Zealand, where we also worked, the wages were much higher in Perth and with a stronger Aussie dollar the money we did make would have gone so much further. If we could do it over we would have spent more of our working months in Perth and less in NZ. This doesn’t mean we don’t love NZ though!