Does this title shock you? Me, too. I am a planner. I like to plan my travels, my day, my week, my blog schedule, my meals, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately, I have learned over the years that no amount of planning can make for a perfect trip. So, while I still subscribe to the old adage that “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail,” I also believe that the best laid plans can fall apart with little or no notice. Here are some reasons why.
People are Different
I not only run my own travel blog, I also read a lot of other people’s travel blogs! I scour the blogosphere via Pinterest and Google to help me plan all my trips. I’m always looking for suggestions on the best things to do, what to skip, tips about what to know before I go, photo ops, and more.
But people are different. Honestly, the things most bloggers want to do are not the things I want to do. Every single blog I read about Morocco said to stay in the medina (or old town) and shop at the souks (shops) or just walk around and let yourself get lost. This was not for us! We hated being lost in the souks, being on high alert for scammers and pickpockets all the time, and guess what: if you actually stay IN the medina, you will have to walk through those confusing streets to find your riad or dar (Moroccan guesthouses) because cars cannot get through.
Also, the things some people find surprising will not necessarily be shocking to you, but other things will. Most bloggers wrote about not being able to drink the water, and that bottled water was provided at riads and dars for brushing teeth. No one mentioned that sometimes you have to bring your own! The nicest riad we stayed in did not provide any bottled water, so we were glad we had stopped for a couple of bottles of water enroute.
Read on: Why I Will Not Recommend La Mamounia
Cultures are Different
No matter how much research you do on a culture, you don’t really know about it until you experience it—and then there will always be nuances you didn’t notice the first time around that will surprise you the next time. This can be very frustrating, and sometimes that frustration is greater when you really thought you did more than enough research!
Read on: Travel Planning
Sometimes You Get Sick and You Don’t Know Why
I’ll give it to you straight: even the strongest stomachs are unprepared for the food and beverages of the world. I rarely get sick at home, but I have had some of the worst diarrhea in Mexico, Turkey, Kauai, Bali, the Galapagos, and Cambodia. And in Morocco, I threw up for the first time in 10 years. Sometimes you know what made you sick, and sometimes you don’t. Pepto Bismol is actually supposed to kill the bacteria in your stomach and intestines that make you sick, so I always carry some with me wherever I travel. But you know what? No amount of planning stopped all that from happening.
Read on: Staying Healthy on Travel
Jet Lag is Rough, Man
And by rough, I mean awful. Unfortunately for me, sleep medications like diphenhydramine and even melatonin don’t always work for me, but even if I do get lucky and one of them helps me sleep, I almost always have very vivid nightmares those nights.
Beyond just the sleep deprivation, jet lag can also make you clumsier, disoriented, and forgetful, all of which can be frustrating to the point of anger or even depression. You can try to set your clock to your destination’s time zone as soon as you get on an aircraft, avoid alcohol and caffeine, caffeinate more than usual, take sleep aids, or try any number of other jet lag remedies, but the first day at a destination is always a “throw away.” Kind of like the first pancake every time you make pancakes.
Read on: Jet Lag: Your Secret Travel Weapon
What travel plans have you had that went awry? Comment below to tell your story!
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