Last weekend, hundreds of female travelers gathered together in NYC for the Women鈥檚 Travel Fest. While there, experts dished on everything from important solo travel safety tips to a pre-travel beauty prep routine. To say these ladies are professional travelers would be a massive understatement. But when you鈥檙e taking your first few explorations, everyone鈥檚 bound to mess up a few times 鈥 even the pros. So we decided to ask some of the speakers to share the biggest travel mistake they鈥檝e ever made. Scroll on down to hear what they had to say, and take note not to do the same.

travel mistakes

1. Always have your first night planned. 鈥淲hen I was younger, during my earlier days of traveling I would buy an airplane ticket and just show up. I would have nothing booked and I wouldn鈥檛 plan anything,鈥 says Stephanie Flor of Around the World Beauty. 鈥淚鈥檇 land in India and say, 鈥業 want to go to the Taj Mahal.鈥 I still don鈥檛 plan much, but now I always have my hotel booked for at least the first night and my transportation from the airport to the place I鈥檓 staying.鈥

2. Stay away from the big box hotel chains. Carol Cain of Girl Gone Travel says, 鈥淭he biggest mistake I鈥檝e made is thinking that because a hotel is more expensive than a local motel, that the service will be better. Something I鈥檝e learned a lot through traveling is that often you can not only save money, but also have a more personal and authentic experience by getting away from the big chains. It takes a lot of confidence to do that and venture into a neighborhood that you might not know, but I think limiting myself to the hotels that I recognized as opposed to renting a room or staying in a mom and pop place was a big mistake.鈥

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3. Read your Airbnb/Couchsurfing reservation very carefully.Shayla Martin, a freelance travel writer, offers her advice in the form of a Couchsurfing horror story. She tells us, 鈥淥n people鈥檚 profiles [on Couchsurfing] there is a very small section that describes what kind of lodging option they can offer. A lot of the time when you鈥檙e on Couchsurfing, you assume the person is going to have a couch or a room, and you don鈥檛 ask. In this situation, I didn鈥檛 ask.鈥 She goes on to explain that she arrived at a very small studio in Paris that didn鈥檛 even have a bed, only a single futon. 鈥淲e had to sleep next to each other on her futon bed. That got weird real fast.鈥 After her major mix up, she realized there is a section on Couchsurfing鈥檚 site that specifies whether your host has a couch available or a 鈥渟hared sleeping surface.鈥

4. PLEASE don鈥檛 overpack. Beauty expert and the founder of Passport 2 Pretty Kenecia Lashae admits she has been guilty of the cardinal travel sin: overpacking. She tells us, 鈥淚 mean it鈥檚 sort of a catch 22. I tend to under pack when I travel in the US because I have this notion that I can get whatever I need wherever, but those things take time. On the other hand, overpacking is awful. You can鈥檛 afford to throw things away because there are things you might need later, but it鈥檚 hell on your back. It鈥檚 like having a bolt and chain. Don鈥檛 do it!鈥

What鈥檚 the biggest travel mistake you鈥檝e made? Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)