20 Travel Mistakes I’ve Made in the Past 5 Years

Summer is over, but fall travels have just started. Although it is still an unsure time for some, I’m sure others will continue to take this chance to get up and go. Regardless of whether you’ll partake in travel and how you may, I couldn’t help but think about just some of the mistakes I’ve made when planning and leaving on my own.

I hope you find use in my lessons learned or try these mistakes for yourself because they sure do make your experience a little more interesting.

  1. Planning a 19-21 hour car ride back home. Thinking “yeah, we got this” but you don’t really. (Portland to Los Angeles with gas and food stops accounted for.)
  2. Not checking whether the Airbnb has WiFi or not and you’re in Coarsegold, CA which seems like the middle of nowhere when the sun goes down.
  3. Not planning where to eat and how much food to bring.
  4. Not bringing enough water on that- 5 mile, 1500ft. elevation gain- hike in the middle of August. In Utah.
  5. Referring back to #4— Eating 3 giant scoops of ice cream before aforementioned hike and, ultimately, throwing up from elevation gain, switchbacks, and overall stomach ache.
  6. Trying to sneak into a bar in Oregon, already intoxicated, when you’re only a few months shy of 21. But your face, lack of ID, and briskly walking out when they were checking- definitely screams underaged.
  7. Arriving at the campsite in Kaibab Forest, Arizona at 10pm with a few flashlights, no firewood, and still having to set up a tent and cook dinner.
  8. Referring back to #7— forgetting the poles to the second tent, but really… forgetting to check if we even packed the poles of the second tent.
  9. Praying – out loud- to see a snake right before embarking on the hike in Yosemite. And God answering by putting a snake right in your path at the John Muir switchbacks. Luckily, a baby garter snake.
  10. Forgetting to pack a toothbrush, hair brush, and facial wipes on the 3 day, 2 night trip from Melbourne to Sydney then Canberra. I went with my dad and little brother, but I can’t remember why I never bothered to ask him if I could buy any of those items. (Therefore, always ask to buy essentials when you need to and are able.)
  11. Not checking if Mirror Lake in Yosemite is in season before making the short hike just to be disappointed and unnecessarily sweaty.
  12. Making the trip to East Jesus and Salvation Mountain in the middle of July in 105 degree weather with only a few water bottles.
  13. Going home from Sequoia National Park in a 2005 Toyota Prius with only one headlight working. It was early January, pitch black, and we had just come back from a hike. It was quite the memorable drive.
  14. Not taking the chance to explore Changi Airport during that layover in Singapore then later realizing how close, but so far you were to some of your Tumblr dreams. I was young and naive, I know.
  15. Deciding to leave at 3AM for a single night in Las Vegas. The 6AM sunrise at the Seven Magic Mountains and 7AM tacos made it worth it- I think.
  16. Stopping at the shores of the Salton Sea thinking you’re standing on sand, seashells, and small rocks, but it’s really a compilation of bones from dead birds and fish with a dash of barnacles. Not to mention— some of it was covered in bird poop. Gotta love that high salinity level and scorching hot desert heat.
  17. Buying our table *$9 well shots at the lakeside restaurant at Bass Lake. Yup, a mistake I hold dear to my heart. *(Can’t forget the overall tip)
  18. Not listening to Jacob when he said that I should hurry because more bugs come out at night.
  19. Booking an Airbnb in Cane Beds, Arizona only to be told the day of by someone at Jacob’s Lake Inn that it’s known for a polygamy. (In my defense, it was cheap for 2 nights, an hour from Zion, and the Airbnb and the owners themselves were not polygamists- our stay was actually really nice and I would definitely go back to that specific one.)
  20. Deciding to road trip it from San Francisco, CA to Las Vegas, NV for a friend’s birthday on New Year’s Eve – again, thinking “yeah, we can so do this.” Left at 4/4:30AM and didn’t arrive at the hotel until 4PM – 12 hours on the road and let me tell you, most of the drive isn’t very scenic, either. It was obviously well worth it in the end because we all love friendship.

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