Ever had a friend (or maybe even yourself!) go to say, Europe, Hawaii or the Maldives and when they get back, you excitedly ask them, “Well how was it!!?” and all you get is either a barrage of complaints or an underwhelmed reply?
There are factors that come up when we travel which we have no control of like weather, being sick, etc. In this post, I will talk about things that one can control beforehand in order to minimise being a sook while travelling.
Here are 6 Reasons Why You’re Not Enjoying Your Holiday:
1.) Lack of Research / Planning
Did you just rush to one of the city’s train stations only to find out that it is actually closed every second Sunday of the week? Did you go on a 2-day road trip to Yellowstone National Park only to find out that the West Entrance is closed during the season? You didn’t expect that it will be winter in Australia in July?
At this day and age, we are lucky that travel research is easier than ever. You don’t even need to read physical guide books anymore. There are now digital versions of every Lonely Planet and Fodors’ Books. Every single day, dozens of new travel blogs are born. All you need to do is google something about your destination and without a doubt you will be overwhelmed with information.
I cannot believe my ears when I heard one lady say to me that she was just in Bora-Bora and she found it SO boring because there were no shopping malls. I almost had a seizure forcing myself not to roll my eyes. (This was a business meeting so I had to be professional!)
As ‘cool’ and carefree as it is to say, “I’ll just wing it when I get there!”, I urge you to do your research before you go. This way, you can plan things better and also, you may be able to decide whether a place is up your alley or not.
2.) Over-Researching / Setting solid expectations about a place
Then there are the complete opposite of the laid-back travellers. There are some who think travelling is a textbook checklist that they must adhere to.
“But the guidebook / app / travel site says this restaurant’s rated more spoons/ stars than THAT restaurant!”
“This travel app / guide says these are the TOP TEN MUST DO’s”
Please know that travel books, reviews, sites and apps are just GUIDES. They are not instructions. If you stick to the lists and must-do’s / must-eats, you will miss out on a lot of things.
Let me tell you that the best things that ever happened on my travels were not found in any travel guide, book or site. You need to still be open to new and unheard of experiences when you travel. The best restaurants I’ve been to while travelling are those that I’ve accidentally entered (due to a sudden pouring rain) and those that I just stroll up to because, well it looked interesting.
Don’t get so worked up and overly research places that you already set up an expectation in your head. And when the place turns out to be different (not worse, just different), don’t fret. That’s what travelling is about. If everything should play out as we expect, then we might as well just virtually visit places.
As much there are a lot of travel sites and blogs out there with numerous advise- bear in mind that these “top 10/ top 5” lists are all subject to the personal tastes of each author.
3.) Not Letting Go
As I said there will be things that are out of your control that may surface when you travel. Things like bad weather, minor accidents, theft.
Yes they are a bummer, for sure. But it shouldn’t affect majority of your vacation mood.
I’m quite guilty of this as I find this the hardest to overcome.
During my trip to Istanbul just a few weeks ago, I got duped by a very slick cab driver who insisted I gave him the wrong bill. (I did give the correct one, the bugger did a sleight of hand and said I gave a smaller bill!) Anyway after much confusion and before things escalated to a bigger argument, my cousin and I just left. It bugged the hell out of me for HOURS! It wasn’t a huge amount but the feeling of having been had just sucks big time.
There was no point going to a police for 50 Liras (almost 20 USD), and slowly, I let it out of my system and decided that I will not let one bad experience ruin my entire travel.
Brushing things off and letting go is much easier said than done because there’s so many bigger things that can happen while travelling – theft and loss of bigger things and amounts, accidents, etc.
I guess the simplest way to look at it is, if you cannot recover the loss anymore (whatever the loss is, be it material or time), the next best thing is to cut your losses and try to still enjoy the remaining time you have on your travels.
If you let one or two incidents rile you up for the rest of your trip, then you would have added to your existing loss!
4.) Booking the Wrong Accommodation
Let me be clear in saying that this doesn’t necessarily mean that a motel / backpacker is immediately the WRONG accommodation. Different travellers have different needs.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again): Your accommodation can make or break your travel / holiday. I personally don’t believe in that oft-heard phrase that accommodations are just “places to sleep and store our bags in”
Well, sleep is very important and how well or how badly you sleep will affect how you function during the day. Book wisely.
Booking a luxury hotel that will require you to commute 2 hours everyday to where you need to be is just silly. So is booking a centrally located accommodation with filthy beddings and dodgy surroundings.
Location is a priority, but don’t let it sacrifice safety and comfort.
5.) You’re very busy making your holiday look like someone else’s
…or posing and taking photographs.
Many of us are guilty of this, myself included. Blame it on Instagram and the picture perfect posts that we see and double tap in our feed everyday. No doubt those images are breathtaking and they truly inspired us to go to a certain place.
We want to go exactly where Mr / Ms Famous Instagrammer had his/her fabulous ‘take me there’ shot. The exact balcony / cliff where Mr/Ms Instagrammer had a very “I’m-so-enlightened” pose.
We are not to blame. The power of images is supreme and we are but human beings.
Sometimes though, we need to look up from that smartphone / camera, stop re-arranging that breakfast table for the perfect lay flat photo, and take a break from editing because the best moments in travel occur when you’re not snapping away.
Also remember that the point of travelling is to be able to SEE and FEEL beautiful things and experiences, not to SEEM beautiful in photographs.
6.) You’re travelling with the Wrong company
This, to me is the MOST IMPORTANT factor. Numbers 1-5 can be liveable if you have the right travelling companion.
But even the most ideal travel conditions, accommodations, weather and scenery can be at it’s most perfect– if you are travelling with the wrong person/s, it will be torture.
There is an African proverb that goes, “It is better to travel alone than with bad companion”.
While that proverb was necessary during tribal and seasonal hunting, it is still applicable to today’s leisure travels.
There’s so many factors to consider before heading to a destination with another person. Even friends who seem to get along during occasional lunch and dinners out may end up wanting to tear each others’ eyes out after being together for 5 consecutive days.
The dynamics of travel completely test any kind of relationship. There’s so many things to consider. Do you and your travel buddy / buddies have the same interests? Same budget? Same level of physical fitness? Same interests?
You must be extremely choosy with who you travel because there’s nothing worse than being in a beautiful place with annoying company.
Angie Silver (@SilverSpoonLDN) says
I’m number two… I try not to have ridiculously high expectations but I can’t help it! My husband is so laid back that it’s super frustrating for him. I do build in time for us to be spontaneous now 😉
Lots of love,
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Angie I love that you have built in time to be spontaneous! 😉 Zombie and I are abit of both, we need a balance in the itinerary but between us two I’m the more spontaneous one – but even then I’m not the type to just say “oh let’s just see how it goes” my spontaneous time only runs for maybe an afternoon- max!
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says
I’m all for number four! We once tried to cut costs with the accommodation and we learned our lesson the hard way. These days we buy the best we can afford because we like our creature comforts. And yes, when it comes to research, it should be in the style of Goldilocks. Not too little, not too much, just right!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Sammie I love your analogy to Goldilocks!! You’re so creative hahaha I never would have thought of that 🙂 Yes agree, for one to enjoy the trip as a whole, I reckon you need to be comfortable in all aspects!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Great list Jean! I think choosing the right company is really important. Some friends (although none of my close ones) aren’t necessarily great travellers or they just have different wants and needs 🙂
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks Loraine! 🙂 Yes, the right company for travel is the most important! I’ve seen good friendships get strained over travelling together, though some have been strengthened. It works both ways 🙂