Following on from my last post about some mistakes I made when travelling, there were more stories and reflections to be shared…
I thought I was so organised for my trip. I read about and researched europe for years. The 12 months leading up to my departure, Europe was the main thing on my mind. I went to travel expos, collected hundreds of pamphlets and catalogues, spoke to every friend who had ever been to Europe, studied books on various countries, and fell asleep reading travel blogs.
I thought I was organised. I created a spreadsheet to track my travel, but there were some things I just could not plan for. So here is part 2 of my three part series, with this post focusing on the various organisational aspects of my travel mistakes.
Mistakes with my organisation
Staying at each destination for only a few days
For the majority of my trip I stayed one or two days in each location. When booking my trip I thought that I could still “quickly see the sights” before I went to my next destination. I wanted to squeeze as much as I could into one trip. This is a big mistake.
Essentially my trip was quantity over quality. I underestimated travel times. I felt rushed. I ended up feeling exhausted. I missed a lot of things. It was extremely annoying carting my suitcase around every 2-3 days.
Even when I had read that you should stay more than two nights in each location, I didn’t listen.
Next time I would stay a minimum of 3 nights at a place. You can often do day trips to surrounding areas, or take an overnight bag and stay at a place near your accommodation. It’s much easier to do this when you have a few days. I’m sure a lot of people will read this and do exactly what I did and think “I’m ok with quickly seeing sights and constantly being on the go etc etc…” Yes, you get to see more places, but is it really worth it? Do you really get to see the sights? What if your transport is delayed or changed and you don’t get get as much time at your destination? What if you are sick?
A long holiday should be treated like a marathon not a race.
Locking myself into inflexible plans
I wanted to plan as much as I could before I went overseas. I prepaid a lot of accommodation and transport so I didn’t have to worry about it when I got overseas. Whilst this was good considering I ran out of money, all of these plans could not be changed. I wish I had given myself more flexibility so I could stay longer at some places or choose a cheaper location to stay at. This wasn’t such a big issue for me but my trip would have been different if I had flexible travel dates and plans.
Not getting a travel phone
It was annoying not being able to text or make calls on my iPhone when I was overseas. I had to wait until I was connected to the internet to connect with my family back home, or go online to check my bank balance or booking details.
TIP: if using a smartphone like an iPhone, load booking details in your confirmation email before travelling. You can go back to your email and load the confirmation email details such as address, booking number, rate and inclusions. You can also preload and save Google Maps to use offline. Definitely worth checking all of this prior to leaving as you might have trouble getting internet connection when abroad.
I was thinking about picking a phone up when I arrived in Europe and using this as my travel phone when overseas. I didn’t worry about it because I had my iPhone. However in hindsight it would have been extremely helpful. After losing my iPhone, my travel card and key card, I really needed to contact the bank, my phone company, the travel card company, and so on. But this was a a major headache without a phone. For example, in Croatia the pay phones do not take coins. Instead, you need to preload a phonecard with money and then use this phonecard on the pay phones. But they don’t work on many pay phones. And you don’t know how much money you have left on your card until it cuts out midway into a phone conversation. You have to reload your card hut only at specific places like post offices. So if they are not open, then bad luck. Yup, major headache.
I might not have lost my iPhone if I was using a travel phone. My iPhone was the only item on me that I did not want to loose and feel like I can not live without. It is true that you should not take something with you if you can’t live without it. But I really wanted to be able to upload photos to Facebook and Instagram as soon as I could so I could make everyone at home jealous of my awesome trip.
Oh how that seems stupid now.
For my next long trip, I will take a cheaper phone with me. If it gets lost or stolen or broken, then it will be ok. I would probably still take my smartphone, but I would leave it locked securely in my suitcase for the majority of the trip!
Losing my important belongings
I lost almost everything that was important to my on my Europe trip. My brand new camera I got for my birthday was stolen on my 3rd day of travel. I lost my travel money card, my key card and a large sum of cash when I was in Croatia. I had my iPhone and second camera stolen when I was in Rome. (I also left an umbrella at a coffee shop, a memory card at a hostel, an adaptor at a hotel and clothes on the beach…). I know I’m not very good with my belongings and I should have taken better care to avoid things going missing.
Firstly, I should not have taken my important belongings out when drinking heavily. My two cameras, cards and phone were lost because of not looking after my tons when I was drinking. I should not have taken any of these things out with me. If I had left the important things at my hostel/hotel, then I would have avoided a lot of trouble later.
Not backing up my photos
Speaking or losing my belongings, losing my cameras and iPhone meant I lost a lot of important things, such as photos. I did originally aim to transfer my photos from my camera to my ipad using the Camera Connection Kit. I was also going to have multiple memory cards so I could keep my photos safe when I had finished visiting an area.
I ended up forgetting to buy the multiple memory cards.
I forgot to check if there was enough space on my iPad for the transfer of photos. There was not.
If I had brought my netbook laptop with me I could have transferred photos very easily and backed them up onto dropbox as soon as I connected to wifi. If I had done that I probably would have my Croatia photos.
I am pretty disappointed in this as I had every intention on being prepared and organised and not losing my precious photographic memories. My only advice here would be to try and organise all of this as soon as you can. I was very busy leading up to my departure from Australia, and had put these things off until closer to the date. Had I been more organised and thought about these things beforehand, I would probably still have the majority, if not all, of my photos.
I also didn’t realise that your photos taken on your iphone are linked to a Photo Stream in your iCloud for up to 30 days. After 30 days they are deleted. I honestly had no idea about this and wish I figured it out or someone had told me about it sooner. I had been using my iPhone as my main camera after my awesome digital camera was stolen. But I did not back up the photos because I thought I needed to be connected to my computer at home. I also didn’t get around to uploading the photos on Facebook. So now those photos are lost forever. Luckily I still have photos from my topdeck tour. But I have lost the photos from Croatia, which was a big chunk of my trip. I wish I had done something with these photos beforehand, and in future I will most definitely be more proactive to keep these important memories safe.
Not printing out all of my tickets and documents before travel
Another thing I planned to do before I left but didn’t get around to doing. Well I printed off my flight details to and from Australia, some accommodation at the start of my trip and the bookings for my tours. I had wanted to print everything off and nicely organise it in a folder in chronological order with maps, details about the area and important information.
Life got in the way and I didn’t get to properly organise myself. My home printer was in storage because w were moving. It was too busy at work to even think about personal things. Luckily I had a completed a travel spreadsheet of my trip which I emailed myself. This definitely helped me figure out when and where I was going, if things were prepaid, and some important info that I needed to know.
In future I would organise myself ASAP and print off information as soon as I got it or had confirmed the booking.
Click here to read part 3 of my 3-part-series on mistakes I made with packing – This next post includes a list of the lessons I learnt!