Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

We all have that one travel destination that sits on top of our travel list for ages, until one day, finally, the stars align for us. Your dream trip is about to become a reality. Naturally, you’ve already done your research, read every TripAdvisor review, explored the Instagram hashtags, and carefully curated your route. You also know where to eat, sleep, shop, where to go sightseeing, and even know which bus goes where. But then, anything can happen.

Like with most things in life, not everything can or will go according to plan. With travelling, it’s so easy to end up disappointed because there are so many tourist traps and Instagram hotspots that can trick you. Also, the weather can surprise us negatively, a lost bag at the airport or a missed train can completely ruin a few days.

So, keep your expectations realistic, and try not to idealise everything too much before you see it. Sometimes, stress is an inevitable part of the journey, but keep in mind why you’re there and try to make the most out of every situation.

Dealing with disappointment

When it seems like everything is falling apart, that’s the time you need to hit the reset button. Here are our tips on how to regroup and get back into the right mood:

1. Slow down

Usually, after the first few days of adrenalin-fuelled excitement, you’ll start to feel a bit slight dissatisfaction. Be it with the weather, accommodation, or plans, suddenly we’re easily irritated, moody, or uninterested. That is when we need to take a moment and remember the last time we slept well or ate.

Photo by Dardan via Unsplash

Travelling is sometimes overwhelming because we’re out of our comfort zone and routine, so many people go through mood swings and character shifts. Take a breather and sleep in a little more or pick a light sightseeing route. You don’t have to walk 20 kilometres every day or go to every museum/shop/hotspot. Take a nap, wash your face, and start fresh with no pressure to see or do everything.

2. Relax your body

Travelling can take a toll on your body. Whether you’re flying or taking a bus, if a journey lasts several hours, then it’s certainly not comfortable. Backpackers probably get aches in their back or shoulders, but even dragging your suitcase around the airport can stretch your muscles and cause pain. Also, walking around the entire can leave your leg muscles feeling sore.

We travel to relax and enjoy, not to come back home in pain and in need of another holiday. So, be gentle on yourself and take care of your body. Take a warm bath to relax the muscles, or perform a few simple stretching exercises, just to avoid sore muscles and to feel better.

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3. Stop overthinking

Some people tend to worry too much and overthink everything to the point they sabotage the trip without realising. This can happen regardless of if they travel alone or with someone. While controlling anxious thoughts may seem impossible, know that you can because they’re just that – thoughts.

Calm down a racing mind by remembering that it’s not the end of the world if you miss something or arrive late for museum entrance. Also, allow yourself to make spontaneous decisions and go with the flow.

Photo by Naitian (Tony) Wang via Unsplash
4. Remember why you went on this trip

when things don’t go according to plan, try remembering why you wanted to visit the country or town you’re at. What was so fascinating about it? What was so stunning about it that it kept you up at night? What were you daydreaming about?

Maybe the things you’re familiar with won’t bring so much joy, but you can still be surprised by the unknown. Small unexpected discoveries can improve your experience and renew your purpose for the journey. Go see the things that weren’t on your list and give them a chance.

5. Yes and no

It’s important to know when to say no. Like if you are not willing to ride a rollercoaster, but your crew is dying to do it, you needn’t succumb to peer pressure. Just offer to watch everyone’s belongings or to take photos instead. Friends will always understand, otherwise, you may want to rethink your travel crew.

These days the phrases like, “Get out of your comfort zone” have become so overused it’s more an excuse than a valid life motto. You don’t have to get out of your comfort zone if you don’t feel safe doing so. So if you don’t want to spend the night in a tent surrounded by bugs, don’t do it. Your idea of sleep safety needn’t match everyone else’s. However, keep in mind that occasional and spontaneous small slips into the unknown can turn into great memories. Whether it’s tasting new food or changing plans last minute.

The bottom line

You can’t stop the rain or find missing luggage, but everything else is pretty manageable, it just depends on your perspective. Be mentally prepared that there are going to be highs and lows, and try to stay focused on positive things. Remember that you can’t possibly see everything and leave some space for precious alone time. It also helps to stray away from the large crowds and long waiting lines. Take the day off from zipping about and try acting like a local for a day.

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