35 Biggest Backpacker Mistakes

Learn from other people’s travel mistakes…

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  • 10 April 2017
  • • 5 min read


Whether it's realising your passport expires the day before your flight or losing it altogether, we all make rookie mistakes when travelling. We asked our readers on Facebook for their biggest backpacker mistakes and we received an overwhelming response. Here are some of our favourites…

Are you guilty of any of these?

Melanie Mercado

Not printing your boarding pass for a non refundable $250 flight with Ryanair. Then finding out it costs an arm and a leg to print it at the airport, and even if you wanted to pay for it, you couldn't, because in order for that to be an option you had to arrive 4 hours prior to your flight.”

Siobhän Isa

Not attempting to learn some of the local language and pronunciations before or while you're there. Even some basic "survival" vocabulary for greetings, food, and public services can save you...especially in a country where English is not commonly spoken.

Bradley Cowling

The biggest mistake I made was going to the wrong airport! I was due to fly in an hour and I was at the other end of Tokyo!

Charlotte Lomax

Forgetting to change the timezone from the last country you were in, chilling in the reclining chairs at the capital's major multi-terminal airport (in my case, London Gatwick) for your next flight thinking you've got so long you don't need to check the board yet, then realising all too late that your watch is back an hour and that you have 20 minutes to race through the airport 'Love Actually' style with 5-10-kg cabin baggage in hand

Becky Bolton

Submitting your Visa details wrong and not realising until you are at security in your destination (Vietnam) and your visa starts the next day and your friends start today

Sophie Beaumont

Leaving food on your bed in a hut in Thailand and then having to sleep through the night with ants crawling all over you because there are no other beds available and it's completely your own fault!

Helen Hield

Not trusting people or trusting them too much. Both are just as bad! Learn to trust your instincts and you'll have the trip of a lifetime!

Cathal Mone

Not exchanging all the currencies you'll need before your trip and losing 40% to commission in "reputable" bureau's last minute!

Samantha Yendall

Wrapping stuff in your backpack in plastic bags and then arriving late at night. Haha. Absolutely hate that noise in the middle of the night!

Rebecca Downey

Focusing on getting Instagram shots instead of just experiencing the culture. You can Photoshop cool photos later...it’s fine. Lol.

Lauren Murphy

Overpacking!!! Just take your basic necessities with you and it will make for a more comfortable and enjoyable backpacking experience!

Agostino Mantice

Biggest mistake? HOTEL! You pay for a hotel for luxury...you pay for a hostel for the experience.

Anna Maria Home

Losing your passport just an hour and a half before you're heading home...I had an hour to get an emergency passport and get to Eindhoven airport. Believe it or not. I bloody made it!

Samantha Zárate

Being shy and not making friends during your trip!

Claudia Kerr

Forgetting the names of your dorm mates in the first 5 seconds.

Kate Ward

Not keeping an open mind is for sure a mistake...

Norbert Krysiuk

Wearing uncomfortable shoes, biggest mistake ever.

Serena Grimaldi

Making cheese and tomato sandwiches for my journey, then packing them in my rucksack which went in the hold of the coach for a 3 day trip to Greece from London......Not a pretty sight (or smell) after 3 days in extreme heat...

Onur Demir

Take fresh clothes for citywalking OR fresh water or food in case you need. I had no other place to buy some as it was a Sunday in Germany and Austria.

Robyn Tánya

I brought two giant boxes of tea to England... just in case


Yak Leneid

The biggest mistake is to do backpacking without a backpack. #suitcase   #stcristophersinn

Esmail Mohammed Jobran

Packing way too many things and dragging our luggage through Amsterdam trying to get to the hostel

Fiorella Matos Guerra

No health insurance. Found out the hard way...

Ash Lóvac

Not Packing Condoms

Kyle N Hereygers

Forgetting your backpack somewhere and have no idea where you left it.

Martin Thorn

Biggest mistake? Not using St Christopher's before I was 55! I have been using them frequently since.

Angela Bording

Not going in the first place! Life is short, take the trip

Joe Olver

Returning home.


Shereen Sagoo

Only packing one jumper because I thought the West Coast of America was boiling. Then, we started trekking Yosemite and the Grand Canyon and it was absolutely freezing. I then had to use that one jumper for everything (even to sleep in when the hostel was cold). Gross.

Shereen at The Grand Canyon (in the only jumper she took)

In Rome, my friend and I bought a travel pass that allowed access on all public transport. We thought it also included the Overground train back to the airport (it didn’t). We ended up arguing with the ticket man on board the train, trying to charge us 50 euros each! He wasn’t having any of it. The result? A very angry Italian man, two very poor British girls.

Forgot to print Disneyland Paris tickets so we had to go on a hunt in the local town to find a printer. Luckily, we found an estate agents who let us borrow their printer after a long confusing discourse (and weird hand gestures) as none of us speak French!

Ellie Roberts

Budget during your trip! Very important

Don't buy too many souvenirs. You don't need 10 souvenirs to remember one place. Waste of money...

Alfredo Goncalves

Only using a quarter of the stuff you packed!


The lesson learned from this article? Some of the funniest memories to look back on are the mistakes we make when travelling. Sometimes you can’t control them, sometimes you can. But whatever the situation, it makes backpacking, backpacking! And would travelling be without the hilarious moments to reminisce on in 10 years time.

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