I was humbled recently. I saw on Instagram that my girl friends took a trip and didn’t invite me. ME! The travel expert! I was hurt! I was confused! I was kind of insulted! But then I got a grip. This was a yearly trip I’d been on with them once in the past. It was a road trip (and anyone who knows me knows I hate road trips). It was a girls-only getaway, which meant I’d have to be away from Steve (anyone who knows me knows I don’t prefer that).
It was my fault. The one time I’d gone on that same trip with them in the past was enough for my friends to know they didn’t want me to join them again. Why? I complained the whole time. So, I got my feelings hurt this time, and I knew it was my fault, so I couldn’t blame them.
But by now I realize I’ve hopefully become a big enough person to know myself and take ownership of my actions. And, as an added bonus, the experience inspired a blog post! So here it is. Here are the top 10 ways to ruin any trip, guaranteed. Be forewarned so you don’t ruin your—and everyone else’s—trip!
It’s one thing to be flexible when plans go awry. It’s something else entirely to never have a plan to begin with! Showing up somewhere without a hotel reservation in the middle of the high season is just asking for trouble. Not Googling “do I need advance tickets for ____” and simply showing up at the most popular attraction without a ticket is the best way to be disappointed. Please don’t simply wing it in your travels, but do be flexible when plans change with little notice!
Not sure where to start? Check out my Travel Planning Page!
Talk About Your Next Trip All the Time
This is what people mean when they say, “Be present in the moment.” Enjoy the trip you’re on, with the people who are traveling with you! It’s tempting, as a traveler, to always be thinking about your next trip. But you don’t always need to be talking about it. Talk to your travel companions about the amazing trip that you’re currently experiencing.
People are always asking Steve and me about our upcoming travel plans, mostly because we have no other hobbies and people don’t know what else to ask us about! But generally, we try not to talk about upcoming travels with anyone but each other, or the friends or family members who may be traveling with us. It’s rude to talk about your travel plans with people who aren’t invited!
Also read this: The Top 5 Reasons Everyone Needs an Island Getaway
Constantly Compare this Trip to Any Previous Trip
Just like every person is different, every country and every trip is different from every other. You are totally allowed to have preferences and opinions, but constantly talking about how the destination you’re visiting is not as good as somewhere else (or even not as good as you think your home is), is kind of rude. Just take each place as it is, and find the fun, the good, and the positives it has to offer. It doesn’t do any good to compare!
More here: How to Truly Savor Your Travels
Accidents happen, but this one definitely deserves a place on this list. Nothing ruins a trip quite like an injury! It’s always important to take care of yourself, but especially when you’re traveling. Everything is just harder when you’re hurt, whether it’s a sprained ankle or a broken pinkie! Sometimes there’s nothing to be done, but as with most things, don’t go looking for trouble, y’all.
Keep reading: The Top 10 Life-Changing Trips for Every Traveler
Similarly, it’s not always within your control whether or not you get sick. Wash your hands all you want, but germs are still everywhere! I got sick the first day of our trip to St. Martin for our eighth anniversary, but I didn’t know it when we left the States! It made the whole trip a lot harder, and we spent quite a bit of time at pharmacies around the island and at urgent care on a Saturday morning. Not ideal! Do the best you can to stay healthy, eat well, have good hygiene, but know what to do if it happens to you!
This can ruin a trip in a totally preventable way! No matter what, there are always multiple ways to do anything, or solve any problem. You just might have to think outside the box, try a little harder, or learn something new! We have had to rebook flights in interesting ways, ask for directions from people whose language we didn’t know, and just generally get creative countless times in our travels. We love to have plans, but our best skill is the ability to create and execute a new plan in a pinch!
Assume Your Itinerary is Perfect
Travel is truly humbling. Not only does it give you a big dose of “you’re not the only person in the world,” it also shows you just how much you don’t know! As a travel blogger, I can come up with some pretty great itineraries. However, there is always something I didn’t come across in my research, something I didn’t know to consider when making plans, or something that changed without checking with me first!
This is where flexibility has to come in—there will be something imperfect about the itinerary you created, but there is also always a way to make it work anyway!
Spend All Your Time with Your Travel Buddy
I don’t care how close your friendship is, you are going to want to have some time apart on your trip! Whether you (or your travel buddy) just need some privacy or you want to do different things and can’t compromise for one reason or another, it’s totally fine, and even healthy, to take some time apart!
Would you rather miss each other for a couple of hours, then come back together to chat about your afternoon during dinner, or would you prefer to end your friendship because you’d both just had enough and not allowed each other a break? That’s the choice!
Essential reading: What to Know About Your Travel Buddy (so you still like each other after the trip)
Tell Your Travel Companions How Much You Hate this Trip
This was my major downfall, y’all. On the 5-hour road trip to the beach destination, and again on the 5-hour road trip back home 36 hours later, I mentioned a few too many times how much I hate road trips and miss my husband. Even just one mention is too much. Why be negative when I could have just said nothing?
Don’t get me wrong, road trips give me physical ailments (like mouth sores and anxiety), and I am terrified of dying in a fiery car crash. But you know what? I could have kept my thoughts to myself so as not to ruin everyone else’s trip!
More here: How to Plan Travel with a Group
Not Get Enough Rest to Be Pleasant
The key to traveling with others? Sufficient rest. You’ll be less crabby and more pleasant to be around if you just get enough sleep most nights! The first day after a long-haul flight with a big time difference is hard, but you’re also kind of excited and running on adrenaline. Over the course of a week, however, you and everyone around you has become a monster! The solution? Sleep. Or at least rest.
Coming soon: How to Get Better Sleep on Travel
Want more? Check out all my best destination ideas, tips, and more on my dedicated Travel Tips Page!
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