Missing out on royal hotel treatment:
Too many times people travel because of a special occasion, and don’t take advantage of it. If it is a birthday getaway, anniversary, bachelor party, or something else, a lot of the times hotels will accommodate you. As long as you mention an event like this when you book, or when you check in, some perks may be tossed in. Whether it is a room upgrade, a free meal, or a bottle of booze, it’s worth a shot. It isn’t a guarantee it will work, but asking isn’t going to hurt. If the hotel isn’t fully booked, there’s a great chance they will go out of their way to make your special occasion a memorable one, in hopes you refer them in the future.
Being scared of a great destination because of warnings:
Sure, some countries such as Syria or Afghanistan are probably best to avoid right now, but that doesn’t mean every country the U.S. puts a travel warning out for should be marked with a big X for no traveling. A lot of the times it is just one city in these countries, and if you stay away from there, you are more than okay. Too often people stay home from an exciting opportunity when in reality it is actually safe to travel, the U.S. just puts out a warning to cover their butts. On top of it all, travel fees to these destinations are usually considerably cheaper than other places.
Paying airline change fees:
Don’t forget that there are ways around the painfully large $200 change fees put out by American, Delta, and United. JetBlue and Virgin America charge only $100, and Southwest charges no change fees at all. American now offers a Choice Essential Fare option: For an extra $68, you avoid any change fee and you also get one checked bag and Group 1 Boarding.
Losing out on V.I.P. hotel perks and free nights:
Too few travelers—even those who are mileage- and points-obsessed—are aware that hotel credit cards can save you hundreds of dollars, yielding benefits worth far more than the card’s fee. Too many times people back away from credit cards because of the potential debt. The Fairmont Visa, for instance, provides two free nights plus breakfast, elite status that means free in-room Internet, and $50 in savings on meals or spa services and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. You can’t beat a deal like that. The Hyatt Visa provides two free nights at any Hyatt worldwide (including $700-a-night Park Hyatts in Paris and Tokyo) as well as elite status, which also gets free Internet and upgrades based on availability for only $75 a year.
Assuming your passport is valid until it expires:
You checked the expiration date on your passport to make sure it precedes the date of your flight home, but you forgot that certain countries—China, Russia, and the U.A.E., among others require that passports be valid for six months past the date of your flight home, and 26 European nations require that passports be valid for three months past. Check the State Department’s Web site for entry and exit requirements for the destination you’re headed to next.
Making sure everyone knows you’re a tourist:
Nothing marks you as an out-of-towner more than your brand-new white sneakers, fanny pack, and expensive camera. Comfy footwear is a must, but the goal is to blend in, so pack beloved broken-in shoes and buy new ones upon your return (to break in for the next trip). Similarly, pack old clothes that you’re ready to throw out; leave them behind at your destination to make room in your bag for clothing you buy locally—which helps you blend in and makes for good souvenirs. No one wants to get robbed on a vacation, talk about buzz kill.