Travel Planning. Expert Advice.


August 5, 2013

How to Ruin Your Travels in 5 Easy Steps

How to ruin your travels

When most people leave on a trip, they expect to have a great time. However, it’s easier than most people realize to ruin your vacation.

It’s so easy, in fact, that I’ve presented you with five easy steps to ruin your travels.

Step 1: Don’t Plan Ahead

There is nothing that can ruin a trip faster than not planning. And, while I may like to plan out my trips more than most, even the most avid free-spirit needs to do some basic planning for their travels.

At the very least, you need to check into the travel requirements at your destination (visas, vaccines, length of stay); however, in my opinion, it’s also a good idea to spend some time looking online at the tops sites at your destination and plan your transportation at least a few days in advance. Otherwise, you might miss something amazing that you wanted to see.

It’s also a good idea to look into local scams. While you may never encounter one, knowing what to look out for will ensure that you don’t wind up wasting a day touring local gem shops or spending too much for your souvenirs.

Step 2: Plan Too Much

It might sound odd after the first point, but if you want to ensure that you have a bad time on your travels, make sure you plan every second of every day. That way, by the end of your trip, you’ll either be so tired or so hopelessly behind your schedule that you’ll be eager to go home.

If you don't book ahead, you might end up sleeping on a bench.

If you don’t plan ahead, you might end up sleeping on a bench.

Instead of planning every second, figure out what you want to see and make sure that there is plenty of free time in your schedule. That way, if you want to spend more time somewhere or if you hear about a great place to visit, you won’t have to worry nearly as much about your schedule.

If you’re traveling for more than ten days or so, it’s also a good idea to plan a day off. Instead of touring sites, spend the day sleeping in or relaxing in a cozy coffee shop, restaurant, or bar. Taking a day off from traveling every week or so will allow you to recharge your batteries for your travels ahead.

Step 3: Expect Everything to be Like Home

One major mistake that many make when traveling is to expect their destination to be just like home. After all, why do you think so many people take cruises where the motto seems to be, “The Caribbean: It would be great if it wasn’t for the local cultures”.

Anyway, I digress…

The point is that a foreign destination won’t be the same as home. There are different cultural norms and people value different things. Just because you may think that it’s dirty, congested, or dangerous doesn’t mean that it is. It just means that it’s different.

There’s nothing wrong with things being different. Isn’t that why you left your home?

Step 4: Don’t Buy Travel Insurance

When traveling internationally, it’s imperative that you buy travel insurance before leaving home. In many cases, your local insurance company won’t cover you abroad, plus travel insurance also gives you protection against things like theft and missed flights.

However, even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s stupid not to buy it. Otherwise, you might end up in a hospital with no way of getting home or paying your bills, forcing your family to mortgage or sell their house to pay to get you home (true story that happened to a friend of a friend).

A decent travel insurance policy really isn’t all that expensive. Don’t be stupid, if you have the money to travel, you have the money for travel insurance.

Beer bottles behind a hostel in Laos - Drinking every night is a great way to ruin your vacation.

If you get drunk every night, you won’t be able to enjoy the things you came to see.

Step 5: Get Drunk Every Night

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good libation as much as the next guy, but getting drunk every night is a sure-fire way to make sure that something will go wrong.

You know how you hear stories about people who had everything stolen from them when traveling, or they fell down and broke their leg on a beach in Thailand, or they drowned while tubing in Laos? Most likely, those people were drunk at the time. Drinking excessively can lead to you taking chances that you wouldn’t otherwise take. When you combine that with being unfamiliar with a foreign city or local customs, it can lead to trouble far too quickly.

However, even if nothing bad happens to you, getting drunk every night can make it hard to see the local sites and culture you came so far to experience. If you plan on getting drunk with a bunch of foreigners anyway, why not just stay at home?

Do you have any other suggestions of things that could ruin your travels? Let me know in the comments below.

And don’t forget, if you want to help make sure you have the best possible trip, consider hiring me to help you plan your travels.


  1. We definitely agree with all of these- especially #4 and 5! Great advice, happy to pass it on.

  2. Step 5, 100% agree and yet it sometimes seems that a lot of others are travelling purely for a nightly all-out session…

    Step 4 – seems to be less travelling without insurance, but more travelling instead without basic back-ups; passport photocopy, number for bank, etc. and then being very stuck in the immediate aftermath of a ‘problem’…


  3. Rashmi

    Perfectly explained .These tips will help us in the future travels , thank you …..

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