Rookie Wednesday: The most common travel mistakes I bet you make each year!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

I always think it is funny how many travel “pro’s” – that is, those who are always on the go or up in the air make some common mistakes. Some of them, I feel, they are well aware of but either just never get around to addressing or simply forget until it is too late. Let’s look at a few.

The first one is a simple one to fix. Heck you can even fix it in a few short clicks right now (and support the blog via Amazon – thank you). Let me ask you, frequent flyer – how long has it been since you replaced the battery in your phone (assuming you got a phone with a replaceable battery that is). I bet it has been over a year right? Take a look at this piece from that says:

“According to Battery University, your smartphone battery’s capacity can reduce down from about 94-88% capacity out-of-the-box down to 84-73% after just 250 cycles. That’s 10-15% in eight months. In a year, or 365 days, your battery’s capacity could reduce 15-22%.” – Bold Mine

And this is for “normal” people. For those of us on the go and constantly on our phones that 1 year number could mean your battery life could be only two thirds of what it was when manufactured. For a few bucks buy a new one once a year kids – this is not hard.

OK the battery thing is a simple one. What else? How about allowing things to expire you should not.

Points. If you are not using Award Wallet, at least for your little used programs, there is risk you could let points expire accidentally. Keep in mind most programs do now have the outstanding Delta rule that points never expire (well, until you do that is). AW will alert you and then you can do something simple like start at a company linked shopping portal and buy something you need anyway to reset your points expiration date.

Certs. Here is another one you many not think about until it is too late. Do you now and then check your My Delta – “Certificates and Ecredits” link to see what is in there (must be logged in for link to work btw). Do you have say a Delta Amex Bogo that you MUST FLY before the expiration date as one example or an RU or GU you have been saving that you have not spent that also must be used before it expires. Or maybe you have a credit you forgot about. Those you have to spend before they expire but you can fly them up to one year after that date. Just don’t let them go away.

HOOUs. What is that? It is a Have One On Us coupon. You may always be in 1st class so you really don’t need these. OK then print them and give them away to someone on the way back to coach or someone else who looks deserving. Why let them turn into digital dust if you will.

OK enough about the just Delta stuff. How about a few more. Like…

Forgetting (or not checking) your reservations. Have you ever thought you rented a car for wherever only to find you planned to do so but never did? What about hotels – ever book for the wrong date? With the hotels new punishing cancellation polices this could end up costing you a pretty penny nowadays. As much as I travel I always check the week before to see if I really have booked all I think I have booked. Let’s do one more.

Leaving your passport at home (or grabbing your +1’s passport). Ever get to the airport and look in your travel bag for your passport and it is not where you simply assumed it would be? Depending on how long it takes for you to travel round trip home and back to the airport this may not be a pleasant experience. Also, if you have a +1 (or kids) do you check that you really have your passport and not someone else’s in the home? Yikes, that is not fun either when you get to the gate and look!

I really could do this all day but would rather have some reader input on this one. You tell me. What are travel things you have made a rookie mistake with or know you should do but are too lazy to get around to or just keep forgetting about? – René






  1. I went to visit the Grandkids in Greenville SC. Got to the Hertz desk and was told that there wasn’t any reservation for me. I also checked with Alamo and Avis and finally I had to admit to myself that I had forgotten to make a car reservation. Not a problem, until every single car rental company told me they were completely sold out, or they only had 12 passenger vans available. SOLUTION – I used my Hertz APP and, Viola, I was able to book a Hertz car without any problem.

  2. Same thing happened on one of the few flights I take with my husband. Got to Tampa, picked out a national car (he’s whatever top tier their program calls you), went through the drive out and the service rep said, nope, you don’t have a reservation and we are booked solid. He hadn’t forgotten to book the reservation though. He called his company travel agency and they said the problem was at their end and they had failed to complete the reservation. First time that has happened in the 15 years my husband has had to use this travel agency. They found him a car but it took over two hours and the price was a great deal more. Lesson learned: double check your travel agency confirmations or lack thereof!

  3. This is my day to be humble and show how stupid I am. If anyone has a worse screw up, I would like to know. Here goes. I stayed almost 2 years in a Sheraton in 1995 and 1996 and lost every single point. Can you imagine how much probably 600 nights would be worth in the SPG program. I thought they were like Marriott and Delta at that time and the points did not disappear. They did and they were gone. At the time I kept a room at a Sheraton while travelling across the USA for business. I was in the air more than George Clooney was in the movie. I got over 3.6MM points in Marriott and gave away more miles than most people ever get. But now knowing how valuable SPG points just shows how dumb a person can be. I deserve to be flamed for such an idiot thing. My learning is to guard those points with your life.

  4. PIT doesn’t have CLEAR (yet?) nor a realID in the state. Dont be that guy or gal when the hammer is dropped on RealIDs where your biometrics won’t get you passed the TSA dragons. Assuming the deadlines will be like the CnS and CnP conversion you might have some time but woudl be the rookiest of mistakes for airtravel going forward. Without the extensions per state it will be interesting to see how TSa treats a plane worth of pax who are entering the secure side with essentially their Costco cards in hand. Can’t long search everyone…..can they!!!???

    I used to carry an extra CCW in the car which saved me from the extra ID hassle before, but wouldn’t satisfy going forward. Time to keep the Global Entry card in the car.

  5. my cousin charged up her camera battery before leaving…and left it on the counter charging. She was going on a cruise which isn’t an easy place to find a replacement battery!

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