As I always say, I’m not the best at planning my travels. Heck, if anything, I might the worst. I try to find cheap stays, cheap flights, cheap trains, and plan my whole trip around that. Then, I figure out that I have done so many mistakes, and I wasted all the time looking for the cheap hostel that’s in city center and forgot to what is actually there to see in that city center! So without further introductions, here are the eight mistakes I did on my previous 11 days trip in the Netherlands and Italy.
- Not going to Amsterdam on a weekend
For so many reasons!
I only decided to start traveling on a Monday as I know I’m needed in the restaurant where I work on weekends most of the time, so the wise thing to do is to take only 1 weekend off in my 10 days and start and end my travels during weekdays.
Apart from the main reason that Amsterdam is a weekend city, and it is quieter during the week (not that ‘not much was happening’; Amsterdam is still Amsterdam, everything happens), but I am guessing it would’ve been a lot more on a weekend. But the other big reason was that; one of my childhood best friends who lives in the Netherlands, 2 hours away from Amsterdam, if it was a weekend he would’ve came and stayed all the time in Amsterdam with me, but because he had and university during the week, he only came twice in the evenings, and had to catch the last train home every time, only at 11 pm.
- Going to Venice on a weekend
Mistake #1 lead to mistake #2, spending Monday to Thursday in Amsterdam, then heading to my first destination in Italy (which could have been anywhere else, but I don’t plan well), I ended up spending Friday to Monday morning in Venice.
Now Venice is beautiful; a really pretty city, but A. There is no nightlife AT ALL! Apart from Campo Santa Margarita, which has a few bars that are opened until 2 am, there is nowhere else to go for a young solo traveler who’s looking for a night out. B. There isn’t much of activities to do, and if I wasn’t lazy, all of the things to be done in Venice could be done in 2 days (refer to point 5.)
- Not going to Florence on a weekend
It seems like most of my problems on this trip were scheduling problems. I know I don’t research my destinations enough before going.
I loved Florence! So much! Typical Italian beauty, plus the sense of a real city, not like Venice, so it would have been wiser to spend a weekend there, I’m sure the night life (which was already amazing, I am looking at you Santa Croce church) would have been even better.
- Staying in Leidseplein in Amsterdam
I thought I was lucky to find a hostel in what seemed to be the center of everything in Amsterdam for only about 20 Euros per night. Boy was I wrong. I will write a whole review of that hostel. But the idea is; if you’re staying in Amsterdam for a few days and you’re going to buy an “I Amsterdam” card, then there is no point of staying in the city center in the first place! You’ll get free access to transportation, which I did and barely used! You’re just staying in the loudest place of town for nothing.
- Spending only 2 days in Florence, and 3 in Venice
Again, scheduling and time management. I am not saying that Venice is bad, or is not worth your time to visit, but 3 days were a bit too much, especially for a solo traveler, not a romantic couple. Florence, on the other hand, had the exact vibe of the city that I love when traveling. Nice young travelers all around, great place to meet other people and everyone is open to spending time together. 2 nights were definitely not long enough for Florence.
- 1 day in Cinque Terre??!
I’ve been told that Cinque Terre is worth only 1 day/1 night. And it could be like that, if you’re active enough to walk a lot in that day and explore as many places as possible. What I loved about Cinque Terre, apart from the spectacular views, is that it is very relaxing and very laid back, a perfect place to wind down and free your mind. I only had 1 full day there, and I spent it exploring as much as possible, hiking about 7 hours of that day from Monterosso to Corniglia.
I was willing to walk more, through the mountains to Manarola, but time and legs got in my way. I’ll definitely go back to Cinque Terre for a longer time, walk a lot more and have more time to relax.
- Forgetting my passport
I wrote a whole post about this, and how angels that I have never met helped me not ruin my future, but it is never enough. That was a plain stupid mistake, and I can never be thankful enough to everyone who helped me.
- Not deciding what is a must see for me before going
I always do that, and I never learn. I rarely look at what is to see in a city before I go there, then I end up spending half my time in that city wandering around aimlessly and visiting random places, some of which turn out amazing places. But I always learn about a place or two which I wish I would have visited when it’s too late.