Tuesday, 7 October 2014

How to avoid Disappointment while Traveling

There will come a time in every travelers life where they experience disappointment. This can range from a beach not having the crystal clear water you were expecting, the weather sucking the entire trip, staying at a hotel with no hot water, realizing you traveled during a public holiday and everything is closed, a city just not living up to the expectations you built in your head... and many more. These are all situations that happened to me while traveling, and although some may seem like such minor downfalls they can still put a damper on the whole experience. So here is my list of ways for you to avoid the same disappointments.

My Top 10 ways to avoid disappointment when traveling:  

1. GO EARLY!
Any tourist destination like the Acropolis in Greece, Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Colosseum in Rome will all have lengthy line ups. The earlier you arrive at these destinations will mean less waiting time and also less crowding once inside.

Long line-up at the Acropolis in Athens
2. Be on Alert:
There are many pick-pocketers and scammers around the world - in fact I would go as far to say that every city that has major tourist destinations probably has people looking to take advantage. Use techniques like keeping your purse closed and in front of you at all times, keeping valuables locked up, avoid showing strong interest in a specific item in a market (they will see how much you want it and knock the price up) and just be strong willed... remember to say No with intent if needed.

The String Trick near Sacre Coeur, Paris
3. Do your Research:
Do your Research - look up the weather, visa requirements, must-dos and places to skip, and anything else you think may make or break the trip. The worst thing for me is getting home and realizing that I was in the same city or close enough to something that I would have wanted to do and missed it. But equally as bad is when I waste time and money on something that I should have known better than to have done.

4. Read Reviews:
Reading reviews has saved me numerous times from booking horrible accommodation, or waiting in long line ups, or eating somewhere that would likely give me food poisoning. People have been there and done that before you so why not learn from their experiences. I always read hotel reviews and sometimes the place will have a horrible review and after some research I find that its because it had no tv or no wifi - things that I am willing to live without while traveling.

Our hotel in Malta said possible waterfront views - but they ended up putting us in a completely separate building to the main hotel.
5. Prioritize:
Sometimes planning goes out the window, since you spent half your day in one place when you expected to have visited 3 already... Learn to prioritize and drop the things that you wont be upset if you miss - or give yourself time limits at each place so you can fit them all in.

The Louvre in Paris is massive - pick which exhibits you want to see and move on
6. Cleanliness:
There will undoubtedly come a time when you visit a place that is dirtier than you would prefer; with garbage every where, or tagging on every wall. Cities that are heavily populated or visited by millions tourists have difficult times keeping up with the cleanliness (I think London does an amazing job at this but others not so much). I once visited a famous red sand beach in Santorini only to discover the entire beach was littered, but we noticed that everyone else was staying and enjoying it anyways so we did as well.

7. You Get What You Pay For:
You need to remember that when you get a super good deal for accommodation, a tour, a restaurant or a souvenir, etc that you get what you pay for. You cannot except a 5 start Hotel, Michelin Star Restaurant or for your souvenir to be an actual ancient artifact when you are only spending pennies (do those even exist anywhere anymore). But that doesn't mean you cant enjoy it anyways - a good deal means saving money for other things!

8. Weather:
Weather is something that is so out of our control that there is really no point in wasting energy being upset when it rains on your vacation or is freezing cold. You can find museums, shopping malls or some sort of indoor attraction to wander while it rains.

We had to leave Cairns, Australia in the middle of the night due to a Cyclone.

9. Set Realistic Expectations:
This is a difficult one - as its completely individual and sometimes feels out of your control. I always dreamed about going to Paris and what it would be like, and let me tell you that when I saw a guy peeing in the Metro within 15 minutes of being in the city my rose coloured glasses were shattered. Lets just say it wasn't the magically romantic city I once thought, but that didn't mean that I didn't enjoy my time there - I just had to alter my expectations.

The Crystal clear waters of the Bahamas were amazing.... or not.
10. Laugh it off:
Getting lost, overpaying, waiting in lines, missing out on something you wanted to do, bad weather, or things just not going your way is bound to happen at some point. How you react can make or break the trip. I tend to laugh off a lot of things - I try and remember this will be a great story one day... or blog post.

Raining on our picnic at the Ascot Races - London

         Experience any of your own travel disappointments.... let me know down below.

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