Pluto, has gave me an idea to share with you, that is a little "Embarrassing", but true.
Travel "Mistakes", I have made, that I hope YOU never DO!
Please add to this post, if you can share with others, "Experiences to AVOID", when traveling!
* "Wrong train station, or airport"!
As crazy as this sounds, I have done it multiple times. Once in Berlin, I bought a train ticket at one station, thinking that was were the train left from. WRONG! thank goodness an
alert desk clerk, corrected me, prior to going on the trip.
Did make the same mistake on a "Connection" thru London to Switzerland. Landed at Gatwick, and thought my connection was there, WRONG. The connection was from "City Airport"
Over and hour, and expensive trip away! Check and re-check departure points. This can happen in NYC, Chicago, and especially in Europe.
* "Rental Cars", this is the single most "Travel Mistake" experience!
First, NEVER rent a car, unless you are well planned and have an experience and competent "Navigator", if you are better at navigating than driving, do that, as driving is much easier.
Know exactly where you will go to after leaving the airport, this is where most mistakes occur, and is very dangerous for you because of fatigue.
Follow directions, and do not let "Your Gut" be your guide. I make this mistake on my recent trip to Germany. Leaving the Munich Airport, I thought I new a "Shortcut" to Munich.
Wasted over an hour, and if I had just followed the "Signs", would have had not problem. (Isn't this how so many pilots crash? They don't use their instruments!)
Check to insure the location you are turning a rental car in is open and located at where you think. Many are not open on week-ends or at night, and if it's at the airport, make sure
you have correct terminal!
Know how to "Pay" at parking lots. Many do not have attendants, and you must pay first, get a ticket, and use it upon exiting the lot.
* "Check the room first"!
Can't tell you how many times I have saved myself from a "Lousy room", by just looking at it PRIOR to taking my bags to the room. This has happened at even some of my favourite hotels.
* "You typically get what what you pay for with hotels"!
Staying at the wrong location, because of price is a mistake. The problem compounds itself because of increased travel expenses and then the weather is an issue.
* "Trying to do to much"
This is always a lead to disaster. One trip, we walked to much, and my friend "Fell down" on a curb. Not hurt seriously, but you have to "Know your limitations and those of your companions".
* "Keep your paperwork in order"!
This is so true with your passport, and boarding passes. Once, on a "Day trip" to London from Paris, I thought I put my "Eurostar boarding pass" with my wallet. I had actually put it in the "Sleeve of my jacket", at the last minute I found it, but it would have ruined the day for all of us, had I not found it! Take special care of all paperwork, and carry copies of all reservations and names.
Well, that's a START, for my travel "Mistakes", would love to hear about yours. Again, if this helps ONE person, this is worth it!
These are great for the travelors to be cognizant of. Another very important one is to be sure of your credit card status. there are some countries (especially third world) where refusal can get you arrested and taken to jail!!! Amex almost caused that for me in Indonesia, as they had called my house to verify all the sudden expenses that extended trips to Asia can incur. Since they couldn't contact me, they froze the card. Granted, that was a neophyte clerical error, But I was very happy that I had a long and very good relationship with that hotel (there were no Marriotts in Indonesia then).
Wow, that is a great one!
Yes, it happened to me on AMEX, upon arriving in Europe, over Christmas one year. If I did not have a MC, I would not have been able to get a rental car.
Advice is, let your CC company know where you are going, to allow the charges to go thru!
So important of a point, thank-you!
Know how to put your rental car into reverse before leaving the rental lot!!!
Some manual transmissions require you to pull the gear shift up, others require you to push it down, others may have a button requiring pushing, etc. Quite embarrassing to me, and very humerous to bystanders, when I couldn't figure it out in Florence.
Now I ask before leaving the rental car lot.
BTW, that rental had a ring around the shift stick that you had to pull up... not the entire shift knob!
These are great tips, Jerry. I especially like "you get what you pay for." Learned that with the last fly-by-night cheapest rate rental car company that we almost used. I also like the one about checking out the room in advance. Also, once when flying to Orlando for a hobby convention, I made the mistake of packing a small but expensive pair of craft scissors in my backpack as I had planned to finish my "swaps" during the flight. I hated saying good bye to those scissors.
Ones I can think of (mistakes I've made):
One more. Have a backup plan in case your debit card fails you and you need cash (abroad). This happened to me. I couldn't call the bank to get it fixed because of the time difference and the fact that it was a weekend. (And I contacted the bank in advance of the trip too.) I did not know the pin number for my credit card.
AAA Premier Membership
In addition to AAA Plus benefits, you can upgrade your membership to AAA Premier which provides one tow up to 200 driving miles per household, a complimentary rental car for one day (in conjunction with an authorized tow in Alabama), and home lockout service. AAA Premier also provides $1,500 Trip Interruption coverage, 24-hour global travel emergency assistance, and personalized concierge services, when traveling more than 100 miles from home, plus much more.
It seems like this would be a good backup plan for overseas travel.
Just wonderful advice!
You really "Nailed" on the dining recommendations. You really reach a point in life where your instinct tells you "This place is NOT for me", and as you say, "Move on"!
Having "Back up plans", is a great idea! In Europe, using the hotel for dining, when weather or "Fatigue" takes over is a good idea!
Good Tips Pluto...especially the taxi one. One of my first trips to New York I was flying into LaGuardia airport. I had a guy approach me and a friend at baggage claim and asked me if we needed a taxi. We said yes and he grabbed our bags and said to follow him. Well he lead us past the taxi cabs that were on the curb and far down into a parking lot to a mini van. He did take us to where we needed to go but I questioned the amount of fare he charged us it seemed much higher than the NYC taxi's.
You are right...I won't make that mistake again. If I was solo I probably would have refused to go along with the guy any further once he past the regular taxis which is what we should have done anyway but he was walking away with our bags at a brisk pace so we went along with it.
I can relate, Vabw. We encountered a similar problem when we debarked our train in Naples and encountered "porters" on the platform. Also, when engaging the "wrong" taxi in Rome at Stazione Termini (we were disoriented; first timers) and again at the train station in Sorrento with a dodgy taxi driver (by then, we were on the defensive, and I gave the guy what for, in typical "American Style" for which I am decidedly not ashamed.)
pluto77, great point on the concierge's recommendations. Usually they do well but sometimes they miss by a mile. That happened to us last year in Ft. Lauderdale. On the night of our arrival, we were looking for something close and they recommended the Bahia Cabana, a few blocks away. It was terrible - poor service, mediocre fare, and seriously overpriced. Upon returning to the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort, we shared our experience. The concierge, though surprised at first, listened intently, asked some probing questions, took notes, and thanked us for following up. The rest of their suggestions throughout the week were spot on.
I must say my travel advice from Marriott Concierges has been "Right on and wonderful"!
The dining, personal guides, and transportation have been exceptionally good in London, Paris, Zurich, Rome and Berlin! Can't say I have really used them in The US. However, I have a "Deep appreciation" for how much time and money I felt they saved me, and just as important is the "Safety issues" one has to remember when traveling!
All of these are really good tips. I just found this thread, so I'm kind of late.
GPS has definitely helped in finding things, but I try to see where it is on the map myself. Our Garmin will hardly do a left turn across traffic and will take us right and then left and left again to cross at a light. Then, it's sometimes isn't "aware" of a parking lot and try to take us left again at the road before the parking lot turn. It might be time to get a new one, but our son does update it often and it's not as bad as all the mistakes I had made before getting it, including going down the wrong side of the mountain when leaving Nevada City and trying to get to Reno. It probably took a couple of hours longer.
Beware of exits in OK and especially at night. We were on the hwy. by the base in Norman, OK when the sign showed our exit. It was just an arrow pointing right. No lights and the tightest circle exit we have ever seen. Since I was driving at a good clip on the hwy., I just took off to the right. We looked up since it was also going downhill at a steep grade at the same time, and saw cars pulling over because they thought we'd wreck the '73 Buick station wagon we were in at the time. This was in '78. I held the steering wheel in a tight circle and the car actually went around the curve on 2 wheels.
When traveling in the plains states, try to keep a half tank of gas instead of filling up at 1/4. When traveling through SD on the interstate, we got off to follow the Lewis and Clark route over to Pierre and the dam near there that, there was 1/4 of a tank of gas, so I thought that would be plenty. After miles of plains and no gas stations or towns, the tank went to empty. I was praying hard. After quite a few more miles, we finally saw Pierre off in the distance, got there, and went to the first gas station we found. Prayer answered.
You were so lucky! Good tip!
Have been to Pierre many times, and always admired "The largest earthen dam" in The US! This place is also historic because it was here that the largest congregation of Indians left here to go to "The Little Big Horn". The rest is "History"!
Great tips on here. Here's one I can add: when taking a taxi (esp. in Las Vegas, just saying....) be sure to count the # of bags you have so that when the cab driver helps unload your luggage, it is all accounted for. With all the traffic & rush & paying the cabbie, you can get very distracted & then as you watch the cabbie driving away, you look down & realize "where's my laptop?!" Not sure if this was an oversight by the cabbie or whether it is a clever scam, but we at least had the name of the cab company (but not the cab #) & called them right away. But no cabbie turned anything in so it was an expensive trip.
One thing I try to do when traveling by myself in a car is to hide my money in different places in the car.
If someone is hitchhiking, there is NOT safety in numbers. You're safer alone than with someone but make sure you have enough gas to get you to a really safe place. If you're behind the wheel, you have a weapon as dangerous as a gun or knife as long as it can't be used on someone you love. I check them out a few times first, though.
If you're traveling at night and a pedestrian tries to walk in front of you to get you to stop, they're the aggressors and you should just go ahead and aim the car for them, stepping on the gas. This happened to us one Thanksgiving weekend when we were going back home on Sat. night and on the KS turnpike I-35 just as the southbound part was exiting to go towards TX.
Be sure to notices any changes in driving patterns. Always be aware of what's going on and keeping track of other cars you pass and that are passing you if they're driving strangely. One night driving from Cola., SC to home when the traffic really thinned outside of Cola., I passed a gold colored car with heavily blackened windows that was going a lot slower than the limit. Then when I got about 20 miles farther out, a car went zooming past me, got into the same lane and slowed down. I noticed another car approaching quickly behind me, and figured they were going to sandwich me. Stepped on the gas and changed lanes, got the license number of the car in front of me as I passed, put my hazards on and flashed my brights rapidly. When I got off at my exit, I called hwy. patrol and gave them the details of what had happened and the cars.
While we've never put something in without checking the safe out first we have had a safe that wouldn't open on our second or third night at the Coronado Island Marriott just as we were getting ready to go out for dinner. Needless to say since my both our wallets were in the safe we didn't get out that evening for dinner as we waited for the maintenance folks to fix it. We did however; get anything on the menu we desired brought to the villa as well as the night both given to us free of charge as well as some bonus points and a bottle of champagne when the safe finally was opened.....still don't want to go through that event ever again!
Wow, that is scary!
I did have a somewhat similar situation at the RI Baltimore Waterfront.
They could not find their key to open the safety deposit box behind the front desk. They had to call someone to "Drill" it open. It was a nightmare, and it happened on the day I was leaving. Cost me a couple of hours.
That was a bad day!
I just remembered there were a couple of times when we got our room for free. Once, they gave us 15,000 points at a CY in Tallahassee, FL, so I considered that free. The other time, they credited our credit card for the full amt. at Atlanta Ren. Concourse.
Another potential mistake is to believe you're delayed flight departure time is actually correct and not arrive at the airport as if your flight was on time, particularly if the airline has a HUB operation in your departure city as they will often swap planes and your flight will in fact leave on time. This happened to us leaving IAH for SAN, our flight was showing 2 hours late coming into IAH to get us, but we left for the airport the normal 2 hours before departure time for the 25 minute drive. We figured we'd check when we got to the airport and if it was still late we would have some dinner at one of the nice spots the airport has opened. About 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time we got an email announcing a gate change and when we checked the flight status of the departure it showed ON TIME from the new gate with a different aircraft ship number......they had swapped airplanes and since we were not in the gate area or the club we had not heard of the change.
We left on time and arrived early into SAN so don't get fooled, you may spend a bit longer at the airport if they don't change airplanes but you may also spend much more time looking for a way to your destination if they do change.
Great tips - thanks for posting!
Only made this mistake once years ago. I arrived at Seattle for a connection to Boise a few hours later. Knowing I had hours I did not check the flight status board. When I finally did, I saw that my flight had been cancelled. I also found that an earlier flight had just closed the doors. Now, the first thing I do when landing it to check the status of my connection. If there is a problem, it is easier to fix earlier vs. later.
I always call my credit card company and my ATM bank to let them know I will be travelling so I don't have problems with approvals.
When I check out of a hotel I put my bags at the door and just before I walk out I stop, walk back in, and do a full walk through opening every drawer and door just to double check. I have found my wallet accidentally left behind, my computer charging cord, my phone and other things that way.
Get a good alarm for your house. I have a standard alarm system, plus I bought some cameras from Amazon and pay about $80/year to have the videos stored on line. The functioning cameras outside all my doors and in front of the house probably deter more burglars than the actual video. But I've also got on hidden in the living room "just in case".
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never announce to all your Facebook buddies that you will be travelling until after you get home. While you're at it, don't reveal travel plans ahead of time on this forum. I'd be willing to bet that more than one serious burglar monitors this forum.
By storing the videos online, does that mean you can view them from wherever you are to see what's going on at home? I'm pre-technical age and don't know how all this works.
I think it's probably a really smart move however it works.
Thanks for sharing.
I'm not sure about the professional thieves reviewing here since all the names are pretty much anonymous, except for the case that Marriott lets people know who we are when they forward messages to people. Really dumb of MI. merb, that really needs to be looked into and have something done about, too.
A lot of very useful advice here. We are still working on the 'do not overpack' principle and still failing abysmally. A couple from our own experience …
1. Always check that the hotel door has locked properly … I have found that a number do not. Fortunately, we haven't lost anything yet, but nothing is as disconcerting as finding the door slightly ajar when you return from breakfast.
2. Never walk in the USA unless you know it's safe … personal experience in Miami
3. Ensure that you don't run low on fuel … gas stations seem to be a long way apart in the USA and NZ and we have been left sucking fumes a couple of times!
4. Always carry a fair bit of cash … despite having a USD account and notifying our banks & CC companies, we have been unable to get cash in some small towns.
So true! I always carry one, a full stick with the "J" hook to hang on my arm. I just toss it in the overhead. I don't mess around with those collapsable ones. They're usually cheap, too small and break easily. Rain is always a consideration when traveling, and there's no way I will let it ruin my outdoor fun. If you have to check it at museums or castles, just be sure to remember to claim it, especially if the exit is not near the entrance! I left a good one at Versailles. Didn't remember until I was on the train back to Paris.
Since they come in very handy in Maine, at least for winter I just always buy coats with waterproof hoods. That way I don't have to add weight to my carry-on (since I rarely check-in luggage). Most of the hotels I've stayed at, Marriott or not, have had an umbrella stand that you can just pick one from on your way out. (But that's in Europe, not the US...)
Great point about the umbrellas at the hotels profchiara. That's what we use in SEA at the Waterfront Hotel, but they do tend to run out so you have to get them early on a rainy morning (it never rains in SEA)!!!