Unfortunately, not-so-fun travel moments happen. It is not all hearts and flowers and there are definitely some unpleasant moments on the road. For me, those parts pale in comparison to all of the fun stuff. However, I think it might be worth mentioning the not-so-fun travel stuff for those who are new to travel and may be taken aback a little by them.
Not-so-fun travel experiences
When my coworker, who has done very little traveling overseas, returned from her dream vacation to Italy, she said to me, “you never talk about the hard stuff.” I thought about that for a moment and realized she was right. I don’t. I thought for another minute about why that is and came up with the following reasons: 1. My mother taught me to always focus on the positive; 2. When I think about my travel experiences, I usually only remember the good stuff; and 3. I figure some of the hard stuff is just the price one pays to see the world. But based on my coworker’s observation, I figured I would go ahead and share the 10 things I dislike the most about travel. Obviously, they are not enough to keep me from going on trips. But I suppose they are worth mentioning so that one can be prepared for those inevitable not-so-fun travel experiences.
1. Coming home
If you are like us, a vacation is something you look forward to and anticipate for much longer than you are actually gone. It is only natural to feel a little down when the vacation is over. I try to focus on the good things about coming home (e.g. sleeping in my own bed, having more than three outfits to choose from, etc.), but the truth is, the end of a vacation kind of sucks. R and I combat this by trying to have our next trip already in the books. That gives us something new to look forward to and helps with the end-of-vacation blues.
As much as I look forward to going on a trip, I absolutely HATE packing. I am proficient enough at it (practice makes perfect), but that does not mean I enjoy it. In fact, every trip I take makes me hate it a little more. The sorting and trying to figure out my best options, keeping in mind things like unpredictable weather, is just not fun. Also, I try to pack light, so that adds extra pressure. We have all sorts of tips and tricks we use—which we try to share on here with you all. But even with all the tricks in the book, packing remains a very unpleasant part of travel for me. (I just need to figure out how to get R to do it for me.)
We have talked about other tourists before and even wrote a post about how to deal with them. But regardless of how I deal with them, they remain one of my least favorite parts of travel. Yes, I realize I am a tourist. But there are different types of tourists out there and unfortunately, too many are disrespectful. And nothing ruins a moment faster than a tour bus full of people swarming all around you, selfie sticks waving to and fro. Tourist may actually top my list of not-so-fun travel moments.
I completely agree with the saying about how travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. I have never regretted buying a plane ticket to a new destination. That does not mean it is easy to hand over my hard-earned wages. It is especially hard to pay for things that do not feel worth the price. In addition, as I have gotten older, I find my tastes have gotten a little more expensive (no more hostels for me). Thankfully, I make more money than I did at 21. Even still, I spend a lot of time searching for deals and comparing value. It helps if you have travel companions to split expenses with. The worst are those unforeseen expenses. Unfortunately, they are just a part of travel—a part I really do not enjoy.
There is nothing you can do about flight delays. They are frustrating beyond belief, especially if they cut into your vacation time. Unfortunately, if you travel, eventually you will have to deal with a delay or two. Maybe even a cancellation. They definitely belong on this not-so-fun travel list. I can think of fewer things that ruin a vacation faster.
Along with delays, I feel like I should mention losing your luggage. It has only happened to me a couple of times and always on my way home. I feel like the airlines are getting better at tracking luggage (as they should with all of the new technology out there), but losing one’s luggage is still a pain in the butt and something I do not enjoy about travel.
We have discussed our general dislike (or rather loathing) of hot, humid places. We still visit them because I am not going to let a little sweat stop me from exploring. But I really, really dislike that part of travel. R put together some tips for what to pack when visiting hot and humid climates and even wrote about for how to survive the heat in a hot place. Packing the right clothes definitely helps, but I still feel miserable when the sweat is dripping down my back. Perhaps you feel about cold climates the way I do about humid climates. Regardless of your preference, climate will either be a pleasant or unpleasant part of your experience. Do your best to prepare for it, but do not let it ruin your experience.
Sorry for the overshare, but dealing with a period on a trip is the worst. There are a few options a gal can try in an effort to not have to deal with a period while traveling (talk to your doctor), but those options are not always a possibility. Until I find the perfect solution, periods will continue to be one of the most unpleasant parts of travel for me and make my not-so-fun travel list.
We have mentioned that we are not terribly high-maintenance girls. However, we are still girls and as such, we do put some effort into our appearance. That means some work often has to be done before we leave on a trip. We might need to get our hair trimmed or maybe a get a spray tan (this was a great idea when we traveled to Hawaii in February). My least favorite activity however, is a bikini wax. I would not do it at all, except that it makes life easier while traveling somewhere where I will be wearing a swimsuit. This type of maintenance is not mandatory. But since it makes travel a little easier, I do it. I just do not enjoy it at all.
9. Shorter days
If you travel to colder climates in the wintertime, or anywhere near the equator, daylight is limited. Around the equator, it gets dark at 6 p.m. (year-round). We were surprised to find that the sun went down around 4:30 p.m. in Amsterdam around Christmas time. Shorter days really limit what you can do and see. I find it a hassle to worry about and do not enjoy it at all. It is manageable, but not a not-so-fun travel thing.
10. Lack of comfort
Yes, I am talking about a very first-world problem here. But I really hate a cold shower at the end of the day…or first thing in the morning. I get frustrated when my hotel or Airbnb is not as described. I dislike loud noises when I am trying to sleep. When you stay in an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar land, things are different. Sometimes they are better. But sometimes they are not and you just have to make the most of it. A lack of comfort is not-so-fun travel at its finest.
Travel is wonderful, but there are certain parts of it that can be unpleasant. You can manage and prepare for some of the unpleasant stuff. However, if you want to have a good time and return home will good memories, you have to focus on the wonderful.