As a travel blogger I spend a lot of time looking at other blogs, reading travel related articles, and do a lot of armchair traveling via Instagram and Pinterest. A lot of what I see are glamorous (edited) photos, blog posts of must see places, and a lot of unicorns and rainbows. I will admit, a lot of what I post is just like this as well. Why show you the ugly? After all, traveling is an investment for most people and the ugly shouldn’t be shown. Well today I will show you the not so glamorous side of traveling. But please know that, despite all of the ugly (which isn’t all that ugly in my opinion), there are so many more great things to travel that make things worth while and I still encourage all of you who are able to travel to do it as soon as possible! With this post I hope to expose you to the ugly side of traveling, yet show you how to overcome such unpleasant situations.
|Can you spot me in front of these sequoia trees?|
If you are new to a place you are bound to get lost, and that’s ok. I have got lost a couple of times. Sometimes it is great because you see something wonderful you didn’t plan on seeing. Sometimes it sucks because you waste a lot of time trying to find your way back, and the things you see along the way are not that all that great (like the time I saw a prostitute’s bare butt outside my car window in Florence). But getting lost has its benefits, especially if you happen to run into a local that knows some great spots to see, like the time I got lost on my way to Sequoia National Forest only to meet a local who happened to be a retired park ranger, and who showed me a better area to view the tall sequoia trees at the Trail of 100 Giants.
Delayed and Cancelled Flights
This will drive anyone bonkers. No one wants this to happen especially at the start of a trip. And this can become a nightmare if you fly with an airline which doesn’t compensate for your wasted time (most North American airlines do not offer compensation so check the fine print before booking and prepare yourself for the worst).
***TIP***: This can happen to anyone, anywhere, so plan ahead, and take a look at these tips of what to do at the airport to make time fly by.
Lost or Delayed Luggage
This happens more often than people think. It has happened to me several times. But it is something easy to deal with if you plan your carry on luggage appropriately. One thing you can do is avoid having short layovers. Research your layover airport to see how long you need to connect in order to make your layover times stress free. Some airports like Charles de Gaulle in Paris, and Heathrow in London require longer connecting times (sometimes more than 2 hours) in order to get to your connecting flight. Also, check airline policies on lost and delayed luggage. Don’t be left with an unpleasant surprise when it is too late.
***TIP***: Chances are if you are having a hard time making the connection, then so is your luggage.
The Language Barrier
I must admit I love that no one can understand Radojko and me when we speak Serbian here in Korea. We have yet to come across someone who can speak Serbian. This gives us the freedom to talk about private things wherever we are and not have people eavesdropping in on our conversation. The downside of not speaking a local language is not being able to communicate when you really are in need. Despite English being the number one language spoken in the world, most people don’t know it, and some who do speak English get intimidated speaking with a native speaker to the point that they will deny the fact that they can actually speak the language. I always make sure to compliment a local on their English, no matter how well they speak it, in order to encourage them to keep it up. Their smiles prove to me that my compliment is appreciated.
***TIP***:Before you go, be sure to learn some basic phrases such as “Thank You”, “Hello”, “Goodbye”, and “I need help” to make things easier for yourself.
High Expectations, Low Satisfaction
So many places are hyped up to be more exciting than they are in real life. The USA gets a lot of hype for cities like Miami, NYC, and LA. These are all cool cities but most of the beauty I have found in the US has been in nature. The US certainly has an underrated beauty when it comes to the nature. Although I have not been to Paris, a number of people have told me that it is not what they expected it to be (if you agree comment below), and that they found some smaller towns in France far more interesting. Zurich was a city that was a bit of a disappointment for me, so I made the most of it by exploring the surrounding area instead.
***TIP***: Just be prepared that the hype might not be all you expected it to be and learn to overcome this as to not ruin your trip.
These are the worst! The travel I have done in North America and here in Korea has been relaxed when it comes to this as I had never felt threatened by being pickpocketed. Europe is a whole other ball game. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas and do not give off clues as to where you keep your money. Research the frequent scams run in the country you are visiting as to not fall victim to any.
***TIP***: Don’t carry all of your money with you. Leave some of it in the hotel safe whenever you can.
|Charles Bridge in Prague|
Visiting popular tourist places, especially during peak season (usually the summer months) comes at a cost. During peak season, be prepared for crowds and some steep prices on items from food to hotels to tickets. Sometimes this can be annoying because you spend more time trying not to bump into someone and getting photo bombed, and spending more money than you wanted to. To overcome this, do your research and see when the crowds are at peak and avoid going during these times. I have seen Prague in the summer and in the spring, for example, and the spring was much nicer as there were less tourists.
Oh this is a fun one. Not. I had it, and it sucked! Be prepared and be careful what you eat. Also, carry some tissues with you as in some countries you will not find toilet paper in the public washrooms. Read my post here on how to prevent it from happening to you.
The Debbie Downer
So you have planned a trip with your “bestie” and it is your first trip away. You are both so excited to go. You talk about the things you plan on doing when you arrive to your destination. But when push comes to shove, your “bestie” doesn’t want to do anything and quickly becomes a nightmare. Some people are just not made to be your travel companion and unfortunately you won’t know this until you venture out with them. My advice, agree to do your own thing and meet up at a later time in the day. You might be alone but at least you get to see and do all the things you planned. This happened to me before, and I learned that it is much better to separate vs. fight.
|At the end of the day, traveling is always rewarding!!|
Like I said earlier, travel is rewarding and I highly encourage everyone to travel if they are able to. Don’t be scared. Don’t wait for retirement or for your kids to grow up. If you can do it then do it. Just be prepared that not everything will be rainbows and unicorns, but don’t let it ruin your trip.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Happy Travels Everyone!