Personal Travel Mistakes I’ve made – so you don’t have to repeat them

by Anna Maria Cos Alcantara


I travel outside of the country almost every year, and this year alone, I’ve been to 4 countries in a span of a little more than a month. While my passport stamp collection probably isn’t as impressive as my parents, I’d like to think that my travel experience is above average to my peers.

It might just be second nature for my family to be in a foreign land, but it wasn’t until I had my hand at planning my Spain itinerary that I realized that – wow, maybe I’m not so much of a pro as I thought I was. To be fair, I never participated in the planning process of my family’s trips my entire life, so it came to me as a surprise that there really is a lot more than just mapping out an itinerary.

For starters, my friend and I planned out a week’s worth of activities in Ibiza to maximize our stay, only to find out that we didn’t put thought into how physically tiring it would be to get ourselves from one point to another. The biggest mistake from that trip was putting our day trip to Formentera island on the same date as our scheduled night out to the Ushuaia, a super club where our favorite DJ was scheduled to play. Rookie mistake. We ended up spending the following day in bed, sleeping, just to try and recuperate. In hindsight, that we completely lost a day in Ibiza, but in the moment it totally felt necessary to take the day off.

Another rookie mistake that I made was using a credit card where the bank didn’t know that I would be taking the card outside of the country. While it’s great that the bank’s security runs around the clock and throughout the world, it was a nightmare trying to buy something with my credit card the first few times. It was either the transaction wouldn’t go through, or the bank would incessantly text me regarding an unknown transaction. It was kind of embarrassing.

In line with money-related travel mistakes, I still can’t get myself to stop converting. I was constantly running mental math computations if I was really about to spend 5 euros on a cone of gelato, if my 9 euro meal at McDonald’s was worth it, and if I was really about to spend 6 euros on a glass of sangria. It’s crazy really, because I was already in Europe but my mind was in Manila! But as my parents would say, “Ganun talaga!” – everything is much more expensive in Europe but it shouldn’t hinder you from experiences you can only find in that place, and it definitely shouldn’t hinder you from the basic necessities like food.

Last but not certainly not the least – I don’t know why, but up to this day, I still have a tendency to overpack. It’s crazy to think that I try to prepare for different climates and different occasions, only to find myself wearing the same format of clothing everyday. I don’t understand why I would think that my style would change if I were in a different country when I can wear leggings, a nice top, and a jacket everyday! Don’t even get me started on the shoes. Sometimes I find myself packing boots when I really just wear the same white sneakers everyday of my life, even when I’m in Manila.

Some habits certainly do not die – but these ones I hope to retire on my next trip.

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