5 things that ruin a holiday and how to avoid them

5 Things That Ruin A Holiday (and how to avoid them)

We all want our holidays to be perfect, don’t we? And why shouldn’t we, more often we plan and dream about our next trip for months. But when has reality been 100% like we’ve imagined? Unpredictable things can show up at any time and sometimes we don’t react the way we should. Here are a few things that can make you enjoy your holiday less…..and how to turn that frown upside down.

1. Stereotyping

Granted, this may be just a pet peeve of mine. Let me tell you a story… A while ago, I had a conversation with a coworker who, after hearing I went to Amsterdam last year, proceeded to ask me whether I’ve smoked any weed when I was there.  Upon receiving a negative answer, the next question obviously had to be “but have you paid a visit to the chicks in the Red Light District?”. A long disappointed sigh followed. From both of us. This wouldn’t have bothered me (much), had it been the only time that it has happened. Sometimes people don’t see beyond the stereotypes and there’s more to a city than the thing that everyone has heard about it. It would be a shame to miss the beautiful canals in Amsterdam because you were too busy getting wasted or the stunning Notre Dame cathedral in Paris because you were too busy shopping on Champs-Élysées.

2. Bad weather

Everyone has a different meaning for ‘bad weather’. Me, I hate it when it’s raining and I want/need to be outside. Others may dislike the hot temperatures of summer, while others may not be happy if there isn’t snow at Christmas time. Whichever it may be, this is a factor we can’t control (unless you see someone making a rain dance, then you can go ahead and punch them). What you can control is how you react to this uncertainty. Ask yourself: what matters more, the fact that it’s raining or the fact that you are in a wonderful city that’s waiting for you to explore it? I should know, take it from me 🙂

3. High expectations

I feel like the high expectations are the main reason people return with a bittersweet (or just plain bitter) taste in their mouths from an otherwise great destination. Now don’t get me wrong, it is perfectly okay to have expectations of the city you’re visiting. Some people have saved up for years, their whole lives maybe, to visit the city they’ve always dreamed of, and it’s only natural they are hoping their trip to be perfect. However, it’s not okay to have your holiday completely ruined the minute those expectations are not met entirely.

Take Paris for example. Most people have this image of a heavenly promise land of elegance, romance and style, but the minute they see a beggar or trash on the street, dark clouds start to appear above their heads and the “I can’t wait to return!” turns into an “I can’t wait to leave!”. Let’s be honest, people, no city is perfect and each one has its imperfections, even the most famous. Especially those, actually.

We all know the scenario, a friend comes back from a trip, they tell you all about this wonderful place they’ve visited and you decide to go yourself. After days of planning and research, your anticipation and excitement grows, but you get there and realize the hotel room is too small, the pillow is too soft, the weather is too cold, the food was better at home and so on. But behind that street where you’ve decided to go back to the hotel because you weren’t enjoying the weather might have been the most beautiful cathedral or the coziest restaurant with the best food in town.

I believe reading travel guides and travel blogs is the best thing you can do before a trip. It can also be the worst, because you’re reading about the experiences of one person who might have different interests than you and what they may find interesting, you could find absolutely boring. So it’s best to always take what you read with a grain of salt and not form any expectations based on other people’s opinions.

4. Not saying yes when you should

Some people never step out of their comfort zone and that’s okay, as long as you don’t wake up one day and regret the things that you could have done. While traveling, it’s an excellent idea to try out new things that may seem strange but exciting at the same time. I’m not saying to adopt a YOLO lifestyle (ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote YOLO), use your head, make good decisions and be spontaneous. I, for one, am dying to try the traditional dish in Porto called Francesinha, even though it looks like I’ll have to spend weeks in the gym afterwards. 😀

Have you seen the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey and the lovely Zooey Deschanel, in which Jim’s character would say yes to anything? While eventually it comes back to bite him, there is a lovely scene where they pick a flight at random and end up in an uninteresting, rather boring city, but they make the most of it. My point is, you should always try to make the most of any holiday and go back home to tell your friends and family about the magnificent memories you’ve made. As long as your only regret is “I wish I had more time”, it’s all good, since you have a reason to come back. 😉

5. Not having enough money

I believe we’re all trying to do our best with the budget we have, unless you’re that special case that has unlimited amounts of money, in which case….teach me, master! If you have a limited budget, you should know there are certain tips that can help you. First, you should study the prices in the city you will visit. Then you need to ask yourself what do you want the most from that trip. For example, do you want to eat every meal at a restaurant or can you buy food from the supermarket and self-cater, to afford going to another museum? Also, do you really want to see that very famous museum in town or do you want to take your significant other to a nice dinner?

 Are you guilty of any these travel mistakes? What else would you add to the list?