As posted on Travel Pulse | June 23, 2017

When planning a trip, travelers want everything to go perfectly.

Unfortunately, travel agents see several mistakes that travelers make over and over again.

When you’re planning your next journey, here are a few things you should avoid:

Not Learning About a Destination

“We always make it a priority to educate our customers prior to their travels about the destinations they are planning to visit,” said Rafa Mayer, Founder and CEO of Say Hueque travel agency, in South America.

“However, sometimes when a person is using a travel agency, they don’t always do their homework as much as they might have if they were responsible for researching and booking a trip independently. So we recommend that people really develop an authentic understanding of wherever it is in the world that they’re visiting to eliminate confusion and ultimately ensure the best experiences for everyone involved.”

Booking a Trip Because Someone Else Liked It

“Your sister may have loved that super cheap resort in Cancun she went to with her college roommate, but do you really want to spend your honeymoon at a cheap resort during spring break?” said Sara Locke of Book Better Travel.

Booking Last Minute

“Waiting until the last minute to book with the hopes that prices will go down,” said Renee Tsang of Centre Holidays.

“In some cases, the price may go down after booking, but in most cases, the price will almost always increase as availability decreases. Or, by the time they are ready to book, there is no availability for what they are looking for and they may have to pay a higher price for it.”

“Winging It”

Some trips are better if you’re spontaneous, with no schedule or itinerary, but Kim DalPonte said that Disney isn’t one of those destinations.

“You must have a good plan in place, or you won’t have that magical family vacation that you had envisioned,” said DalPonte, Owner/Consultant of Pixie Dust & Paradise Travel, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois.

Deal Versus Value

Travelers who plan their own vacations often think that a “deal” is a good value for them, but often it is not,” said Margie Lenau of Wonderland Family Vacations in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“They make assumptions about what is included, and then find they have to pay more to get what they thought was included in their package. Travel insurance does not cross their mind. Or if it does, they deem it an unnecessary expense until they have a problem. They wish they had purchased it, but when they plan their next trip, they still may not see the value.”

Adjusting to Destinations Incorrectly

Travelers going to places where one’s body needs to adjust to altitude differences often do it incorrectly.

“Travelers going to Machu Picchu will often book hotels or Airbnb in the Sacred Valley because they think it will reduce their potential for symptoms of altitude sickness,” said Jacquie Whitt, a tour operator with Adios Adventure Travel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “What they don’t realize is that the logistics to get there on the first day of their trip adds more travel time and cost to their trip.

“After traveling two days by air to get to Cusco, the additional driving time can be 1 to 2 hours, and there is no public transportation. Although the SV is 2,000 feet lower than Cusco, which is 11,000 feet, we have not been able to prove there is a noticeable benefit. By the time they get to Machu Picchu, which is 8,000 foot, they will be past the period of initial adjustment to high altitude and will be ready to enjoy the ruins.”

Misunderstanding Driving Conditions

“Another big mistake that clients make is the expectation they can just go to another country and rent a car safely and securely as they do in their own country,” said Scott Ludlum, president, Panama Travel Consultants and Travel Journeys of a Lifetime in Riverview, Florida.

“They don’t understand local driving conditions and the adverse effect they can have on their experience. Roads are often not only in bad condition, but depending on where you are traveling, they are often much narrower and steeper than the clients are accustomed to at home. Driving regulations and the cultural adaptation of such regulations by locals may mean they drive unusually fast and aggressive and may not stop at lights or stop signs. Or, like in Panama, signs and stop lights are extremely scarce.”

Over Packing

“Traveling with large, heavy suitcases is burdensome, and it’s just more stuff to keep track of,” said Jeannette Candau, co-owner of European walking tour specialist, The Blue Walk.

“For most, each minute spent on vacation is valuable. How much time do you want to spend packing and unpacking, organizing your clothing, and deciding what to wear? We suggest to our clients that travel is an opportunity to try a kind of minimalism in your lifestyle: bring less, move more easily, enjoy more carefree moments.”