Travel Series: 7 Travel Mistakes I’ve Made And How to Avoid Them

I’m so excited because school is out for Spring Break today and I’m ready to GO!  My family loves to travel….road trips, planes, trains and boats don’t scare us.  We come from a long line of adventurers and so exploring is a family tradition.

But travel woes are real too.

Ever since I got lost at 16 with my best friend, Caroline, in Paris ……I’ve found travel fun, exciting, frustrating, thrilling, scary, and sometimes stressful.

So before you set off on your next adventure, I thought I would share with you 7 travel mistakes I’ve made and how to avoid them.

Also in this post, I’ll put in some photos of some of my favorite travel accessories.

In the next post, I interview THREE world travelers that make me look like a lightweight for all the travel they do.  They tell me their BEST Tips For Travel Success On LONG Flights.  They will also share products they love and their inflight travel routine for preventing jetlag.  You won’t want to miss this one next Friday!

Buckle up, baby and lets get our big girl travel pants on!

Mistake #1 Thinking my luggage wouldn’t get lost especially if it was a direct flight!  HA, HA, HA, HA!!! I’ve found myself shopping immediately before business cocktail events with my husband in the Bahamas to arriving freezing direct from Houston  to Aspen.  Really?  When will I learn?  My first 24 hours of my 20th anniversary trip were spent trying to get toiletries and makeup and underwear on the tiny island of Capri.  Not fun.  It’s just not that hard to pack a little tiny extra set of clothing or a bathing suit or whatever in your carry on.  Even worse, are the times with young children where planes were delayed and I ran out of diapers or snacks.  YIKES!  The carry on is crucial!!

Personalized Currency Wallet by Smythsons keeps currency or tickets separated and slides flat into your bag. Smythson’s

Mistake #2 Overpacking.  Usually this happens if I leave it to the last minute, grabbing everything and thinking I might need it.  Overpacking is a burden.  It’s a pain because I just have too much to pull or unpack or choose from to make decisions dressing.  It’s a mess to repack, there’s no extra room for gifts or souvenirs.  It’s a pain.  I LOVE this website. Trust me, this will help you out if you are an overpacker…..Travel Fashion Girl.  I love her packing lists, capsule wardrobe photos and tips for travel packing.

Packable Travel Slippers by Land’s End but I didn’t see them on their website now.  I also like these from Etsy

Mistake #3 Packing without travel cubes.  This has changed my travel life.  Packing everything in separately is fine but this is better.  I have some trips that require formalwear to hunting gear so this allows me to separate like items together.  I can pack more in less space and unpack in five minutes.  These are from  Eagle Creek at Amazon.

I use the small squares for camisoles, underwear, bathing suits, socks.

Larger ones for workout gear, t-shirts, sweaters, shorts.

The folding envelopes are for suits, dresses, pants, blouses, larger and more formal pieces.  I stack these with tissue or plastic dry-cleaning bags and it all comes out perfectly.

All I have to do at the hotel I’m going to is pull out by the handles and everything is together with it’s same kind.

Mistake #4 Forgetting my headphones, cords, reading or any other thing I might want the second I finally sit down on that flight.  UGH.  That is so annoying.

I have some friends who keep their carry on packed at home.  The earphones in that bag are for flights only.  I now try to bring an  extra pair because inevitably one of my kids will forget their headphones and want to borrow mine.  I’m usually too tired or too much of a pushover starting vacation to fuss or hold firm, watching them pout so we share…..bummer.  (I get that this is a parenting mistake not a travel mistake but so far it hasn’t floated up to the top of disciplinary issues I need to deal with). MOVING on…..

Travel Laundry bag to keep sweaty, dirty clothes away from others, Woolite and a mini lint brush. Mine’s old but this is cute from Amazon.

Mistake #5 Thinking my husband had it/did it.  Or him thinking I had it/did it.  Jumping in the car focused on the flight and then there’s the “Hey, did you feed the dog? close the garage? lock the front door? get the travel documents? passport? adaptor? bring that list of the reservations?  Fill in the blank…….PULL MY HAIR OUT!!!

We should really go through a checklist before we jump in the car and start going.  I’m talking to myself right now.

My friend, Kim’s, travel wallet with everything she needs in one place!  LOVE!

We have literally had to have someone break into our house on more than one occasion and Fed Ex something or drive like a crazy person to meet us at the airport with a passport!  I KNOW right?  You are all feeling SO much better about yourselves and your own family right now!  I’m getting way to old to travel this way.

Be each other’s brain BEFORE leaving!

All her cards, Global entry and passport are here. She lives in Hong Kong…her tips for long flights in the blog next week.

Mistakes #6  Underestimating the time it takes …..Gosh, I just don’t know where to start with this.  I am now getting stressed out just writing this post.

Should I tell you about the time we were in a car with a driver and had a flat tire on I-10 and had to race to the airport after being moved with luggage to another car beside speeding cars on the freeway?

….or the many times we thought the walk to the gate was just around the corner only to figure out that they reversed the numbers at THIS airport and Gate 2 is 30 minutes away with a tram ride?

Vera Bradly pill case to keep vitamins and prescriptions together. Vera Bradley Travel.

What’s wrong with time?  Extra time?  A nice easy cushion?

My husband prefers to OJ Simpson through the airport and argue with people to open the door of the plane because there is still 60 seconds before it should be closed.

We have had harrowing trips to the airport  because we forgot to add in how many times our family has to run back in the house to get something they forgot when packing the car!  My family needs a full 20 minutes to pack the car!

My husband and I have started a new thing in the last five years where we each take our OWN plane ticket and meet at the gate.   Completely saved my marriage!  But I still wear Nikes!

Travel toiletries from some of my favorite brands and earplugs for when you need a jet lag nap but there’s construction on the street below your hotel room.

Mistake #7 Dressing too light or too heavy.  Don’t you hate it when you first sit down on the flight and you realize that you wore jeans that are uncomfortable on a flight?  They slide down or crimp at the knee?   Or you are too hot from running (well NOT if you solved Mistake #6) and then that AC gets going and you think you will freeze?  They never seem to have blankets on planes anymore.  I really try to think about what will be comfortable sitting crammed in a row on a flight right under a wind blower.

Want some inspiration?

Flight Jackets!

What are your biggest travel mistakes?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment below or jumping over to the Ivy and Sprig Facebook Page.  Like us while you are there! Need Travel location ideas?  Here are a few in my post Beaches To Go Back To.

8 thoughts on “Travel Series: 7 Travel Mistakes I’ve Made And How to Avoid Them”

  1. Fun post, Ivy! Love the idea of travel cubes. Do you have any tips for selecting and handling jewelry on trips? I often wear what I have on then wish I had something else once I get “there.” I justify the lack of accessories by thinking,” who wants the risk of traveling with jewelry anyway?” And if I bring it, it usually winds up in a Gordian knot even if I find and use little pouches. Help!

    1. That’s actually a really good question! I think that could be a post in and of itself. I’ll ask around and look online to see what I can find. I agree….it’s definitely hard to figure that out.

  2. Love your tips! I envision more than one OJ run through the airport Sunday for those that forgot to Spring Forward….
    Safe travels?

  3. Omg, racing to the gate with no time to spare must be a man thing! Yes, what is wrong with a little extra time to people watch?!? Loved your tips! Reminds me I need to start packing today! Have a great Spring Break!

  4. I have this weird OCD thing that kicks in before I start packing… I have to reorganize my closet + purge a few things first!!!!! I now start packing 2-3 days early (my mother starts packing one week ahead + I used to think that was strange! Ha!)… this helps SO much as the trip-adrenaline gets going I still have plenty of time to organize and pack! Another tip that helps a TON… I pull out a rolling rack and put everything by day and event on there I am considering taking… then I can see the big picture and edit before putting everything in the suitcase! There’s nothing worse than getting the suitcase filled to the top and then start the editing! xxooo

    1. Oh my gosh I love all these comments! I think I need a notary and a rolling rack today! And we are gone no to start charging now! Great tips! Also Wunderlist app allows you to make lists to email to your family so I need to send packing lists to my people today.

  5. I keep looking at those travel cubes online and have hesitated pulling the trigger because I wasn’t sure if they were really that beneficial. Too late for our trip to Hawaii tomorrow morning, but I think I’ll definitely get some for our next trip!

    The other thing we struggle with at our house is making sure all of the electronics are charged. before we head to the airport. Inevitably, someone who wanted to use something on the plane has forgotten to charge it. Noise-cancelling headphones, iPads, phones, laptops, handheld video games — so many electronics and so many cables!!

  6. Great article and so timely! That reminds me to pack early & to reserve parking in advance at the airport for the Spring break crunch. Also reminds me of the time we neglected to get a notary signed document when we were travelling with my child’s friend (under 18) to Belize- every country has different requirements- and her parents had to scramble and get us the necessary papers. Thank you for all the great tips and tools & enjoy your Spring break!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want me to write stories for you?


Don't miss a thing

Join Our Happy Subscribers

Bringing encouragement, humor, faith, and support. I give ideas for ways to do things faster, easier, and more efficient so that the chaos is minimized and there is more time for their greater priorities.

I only send really good stuff occasionally. Promise.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Scroll to Top