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Even the most seasoned traveler, like me, still makes mistakes. Here are the worst dumb mistakes that could have ruined my trips, but I’ve been very lucky. Learn from me and avoid unnecessary disasters.

You’ll be in the doghouse if you don’t make plans for your pooch . Don’t leave her on the sidewalk as you drive away.

Look Backwards

1.     Before you leave for your next destination, glance in the rear view mirror as you pull away from your home, hotel or rest stop. I’ve left a suitcase at the door of a hotel, a pet at a rest stop, and an unlocked bicycle in the driveway.  Retrieving the pet, the bike and the luggage was easy when I noticed it quickly.

The Devil is in the Details

2.     Double check your documents and reservations as soon as you get them. Confirm the correct time and location, and  the spelling of your name.  My last name was misspelled on an international plane ticket, and I almost missed my flight home due to all the red tape.

Slow Down

 3.     Re-read all reservations before you push the BUY button.  I’ve purchased two tickets because I grew impatient with the computer and clicked twice.

 Lock it up.

4.     Make sure you lock all your valuables, electronics, jewelry in your suitcase with a TSA Approved lock. Many hotel rooms and cruise ship staterooms do not offer a safe. It takes ten seconds to lock your valuables in your suitcase.  You may never notice that a pair of earrings is missing until you get home.  Also, keep your camera, binoculars, cell phone, laptop hidden under your clothes or locked in your pack or handbag when you’re out and about.

Think Ahead for Luggage

 5.     Anticipate being forced to check your roll-aboard suitcase when you get to the plane. Pack the essentials into a small bag that you can pull out of the carry-on and take on board with you.

Rental Car Rip-Offs

6..     Inspect your rental car when you pick it up and take photos of dents. A letter in the mail a month later with charges for car damage you didn’t occur is a very bad surprise.

Avoid Ouch

7.     Ouch. Avoid  sunburn.  Don’t suffer through a miserable sleepless night or long flight rubbing your blistered back on a scratchy airplane seat. Wear protective clothing, eyewear and use sunscreen.

 You Only Have Two Eyes

8.     Avoid eye strain that causes squinting and will interfere with your sightseeing.  I have actually burned my eyes by being on the water without sun protection. Changing from inside light to bright outside light, you want to make sure your eyes are comfortable, so make sure you wear proper eyewear.  Consider adaptive eyeglass lenses that are clear indoors and automatically darken outdoors to reduce glare and block 100 percent of UV rays, so they change with you, wherever you go on your trip.

Big Bills, Little Bills

9.     Cash is “King.”  If there’s an emergency, and power is out, (tornado, etc.), you won’t be able to charge with your credit cards. Taxi drivers sometimes demand cash too.  I survived a tornado on Cape Cod, but ran out of cash quickly and couldn’t buy batteries for flashlights or fresh food.

 Credit and ATM Planning

  1. 10.  Notify your credit card companies and bank for your ATM card of your travel plans. They will cancel your debit or credit card due to “unusual activity.”  In Budapest my credit cards were  frozen and I had to survive a three day holiday weekend with little cash before I could resolve the issue.