Here are the worst holiday travel mistakes you’ve ever made

Travelers make mistakes every day of the year. Believe me, I know. I’m one of them.

But they seem to happen more often during the traditional travel holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. We have a lot of occasional travelers navigating the roads and airports. We also have higher demand and weather issues.

It all adds up.

A few holiday seasons ago, we asked you to name your worst holiday errors. Here are the results:

1. Forgetting to pack the right things (24%)
2. Booking the wrong days on your ticket or hotel (15%)
3. Forgetting to take pictures of your rental car (13%)
4. Not purchasing travel insurance (10%)
5. Not reading your confirmation after booking (8%)
6. Complaining to the wrong person when something goes wrong (7%)
7. Not preparing for seasonal road conditions (7%)
8. Forgetting to confirm a reservation (6%)
9. Not reviewing a contract before signing (5%)
10. Not remembering your ID/passport/visa (5%)

My second question: I want your holiday travel horror story. You can leave it in the comments or email me directly with it.

Oh, OK. I’ll tell you mine. It was Thanksgiving 1998, and as is always the case, I waited until the last minute to pack for my trip. Ten minutes before leaving for the airport, I shuffled into my bedroom, loaded up my rollaway, zipped it up and headed to the car.

No checklist.

Turns out, I’d packed everything I needed … except my wallet. Halfway to the airport, I reached for my wallet, which contained my ID and credit cards, and felt the void.

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It took me years to admit that I’d done something so foolish. I missed my flight. Served me right!

So what’s your story?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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