9 Common Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Travel like a pro with these tips from our expert team.

One of the most common travel mistakes is not making reservations for your “must do” activities, like restaurants or excursions.

Every seasoned traveler can remember at least one trip that didn’t go quite as planned (or worse!). A little preparation ahead of time can make all the difference between the perfect getaway and a vacation you’d rather forget.

Our team at Superior Executive Services has nearly 45 years of combined experience in the travel, hospitality, and sports industries. Tapping into that expertise, we’ve put together a list of nine common travel mistakes.

  1. Not making reservations
  2. Planning an overambitious itinerary
  3. Underestimating airport lines and layover times
  4. Underpacking
  5. Overpacking
  6. Expired or incorrect ID
  7. No backup of important documents
  8. Money hassles
  9. No cell phone connection/high cell phone fees

Read on to learn how to travel like a pro by avoiding the most common travel mistakes.

No reservations

It’s a disappointing feeling being turned away from the popular new restaurant you were craving or the guided tour you couldn’t wait for — all because you didn’t make reservations. It’s fine to leave time for spontaneous adventures and casual exploration. But once you identify the items on your itinerary that are a “must,” book them well in advance.

Overambitious itinerary

Speaking of itineraries: be careful not to pack in too many activities or destinations. Take into account the amount of travel time between each stop. Prioritize which plans or locations are more important and which you’d be willing to give up if time gets short. Above all, stay flexible!

Airport lines and layover times

Missing a connecting flight is a disappointing way to start (or end) a trip. When booking your air travel, be sure to schedule at least a few hours between flights to allow for any possible delays.

Give yourself plenty of time to get through the airport security line, as well. The TSA recommends arriving at the airport two hours before your flight (three hours for international travel). If you’re enrolled in TSA PreCheck, you may be able to save some time; just make sure the airport you’re flying out of participates in the program.


Once you know your itinerary and have checked the weather forecast at your destination, you should be able to pack exactly what you need for the time you’re away from home. Check for any dress codes at the events you’ll be attending. Pack comfortable footwear if you’ll be walking quite a bit or standing for long periods of time. Bring appropriate accessories if there’s a chance of rain. Finally, make sure you have enough prescription and over-the-counter medications to get you through your entire trip, plus any necessary documentation and identification (more on that later).

If you want to take your packing skills to the next level, see these 5 Tips to Travel Light and Dress Well at the Same Time.


While you don’t want to show up underdressed or unprepared for the weather, it’s also very easy to pack too much. Save yourself the hassle of paying for extra baggage (and having to haul it around) and the stress of deciding what to wear every day. Instead, choose a neutral color scheme for your clothing and consider what you can re-wear or wash to maximize suitcase space. Here’s a handy list of 15 Things You Don’t Need to Pack.

Expired or incorrect ID

In all the excitement of planning for a trip, it can be easy to forget to check the kinds of identification you need to travel.

For air travel within the United States, everyone over age 18 will need a REAL-ID compliant ID (driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID) by May 3, 2023.

If you’re traveling overseas, check your passport expiration date as soon as you book. Routine passport service can take up to 18 weeks from the day you submit your application to receive your new passport. Even expedited services (at an additional fee of $60) can take up to 12 weeks.

You may also need a visa or additional documentation, depending on where you are traveling. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information about your destination, including any entry and exit requirements, advisories or alerts, and more.

No backups

Travel experts recommend printing hard copies of documents such as your driver’s license, passport, travel insurance policy, and basic health information (e.g., medication prescriptions, health insurance). It can also be handy to print a backup of your itinerary and any reservations.

For the foreseeable future, you may also need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and/or proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Here’s a helpful Guide for Getting Your Travel Documents Together before you depart.

Money mishaps 

When you’re traveling overseas, make sure you have access to the money you’ll need for shopping, eating, and excursions. Before you leave home, notify your bank and credit card companies of your plans. Otherwise, they may put a temporary hold on your account when you start making foreign transactions.

Most travel experts will advise you to wait to withdraw foreign currency until you’re at your destination (unless you’d feel more comfortable having a small amount of local currency on you in case of emergency). Use your debit card at an ATM rather than exchanging dollars for foreign currency. And use your credit card to pay for larger items (and if you have multiple credit cards, use one that doesn’t charge international transaction fees when possible). Discover more cash and currency tips here.


Some of us travel to get away from phone calls, emails, and texts. But you still don’t want to find yourself stranded without communication tools. Before you leave, make sure you know what your cell phone plan covers to avoid expensive roaming fees. Each carrier has its own international travel policy; you may need to purchase a local SIM card or purchase a special prepaid plan to use your phone outside the U.S. (You can also connect to Wi-Fi in most places; just make sure to put your phone on airplane mode.) Here are some more Tips for Using Your Cellphone Internationally.

Superior Executive Services can help you avoid many of these common travel mistakes. Our seasoned professionals are on hand to help make your next getaway as hassle-free as possible.

Sports travel packages, music and film travel packages, and food and wine travel packages for 2022 and beyond are available now. Browse our catalog online or give us a call at 608-665-9070.

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