Have you ever been on your dream vacation but felt off? Like something didn’t feel quite right? Or despite the fact that you were on a trip of a lifetime, you felt miserable. As someone who has travelled quite a bit, I can say that it happens to everyone. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you’re ungrateful; travel can be A LOT.
For instance, one summer I went to Mallorca, Spain for the first time. I was traveling on my own and decided to splurge on a stay at a relatively nice hotel instead of hostel. The hotel accommodated my later than expected check in, had free breakfast and great WiFi. The trip was pretty awesome until the last day, when I felt itchy. I thought I was just itchy because of the summer bugs but later discovered that the true culprit of my feelings were BED BUGS. Freaking Bed Bugs!! It totally tainted my trip in a less than exceptional light. I was fortunate however to have this negative experience occur at the very end of my holiday to Spain but it did make me feel like “Why did I even bother coming here?”
There was another trip to Marrakech where it began with my phone provider sending me warnings of getting a $800 bill after turning my phone on once I landed in the city and a local scammer walking us to our hostel for 5 mins and getting 5 euros from me (like $10 USD). Later in the day, we ventured out to explore and had locals shouting at us and telling us “go here and there because we know where you want to be”, it was overwhelming. To say that I felt that Marrakech lost some of it’s shine on the first day was an understatement. I wasn’t feeling the trip at that moment but that was ok. Traveling is not always fun and it’s perfectly human to have a reaction while on vacation. You don’t need to have every moment to be Instagram worthy because life is messy, and that includes travel.
Why can travel lose it’s luster? I think one of the reasons is the travel industry. The current problem with the industry (in my mind) is the idea of a uniform travel experience or expectation. Traveling seems to always be presented as this pristine, perfect picture with hardly any rough edges. When you see Instagram photos from a specific island or a video about a booming city, you expect to receive a nearly similar experience to the one being shown to you. There’s nothing wrong with showing the highlights but I find people often forget that’s what they are being bombarded with, highlights. That doesn’t work. At least not in my eyes because people all interpret things differently. What might be a highlight for you could be an annoyance to someone else.
Every person is individual and every day is slightly different. Some woman could have went to the hotel I stayed in Mallorca and a had fabulous bed bug free time just because she came at a different point in the year. Another person would have never had to deal with a pushy local if they had already arranged airport pickup and drop off. Different circumstances lead to different results. Unrealistic expectations can lead to bad travels.
But that’s not the only way a trip can go sour. You can have a bad time not because of lofty travel expectations from influencers and tourism boards but just because of sheer dumb luck. Your luggage might get lost. You might have your credit card stolen. You may have gotten food poisoning. All of those things can lead to a bad trip and all of those things are out of your control. What is in your control is how you respond.
Little things happen which can really get you down but think of it this way, when you spend your money and take time off work to go on a trip, do you want to spend it wallowing and complaining? No. So you need to change your outlook. You can acknowledge the suckiness of whatever has just went down but then you need to keep it moving. Sort it out and look for the positives.
When the scammers scammed us in Marrakech, we said it sucked but then we made sure to be extra vigilant to stay clear of any more of those characters. When it started raining on my trip to Manchester, I changed my itinerary and found some fun inside activities to do and stepped out for fresh air and to see the monuments during the light drizzle. It sounds simple but it is because that’s all you need to do to turn around your travel frustrations. Look for things that make you happy at your destination or remind yourself why you wanted to go there to begin with!
Do you find yourself finding travel frustrating or not fun at times? Let me know!