I always think I love to travel—that I am full of wanderlust and must hit the open road, fly the friendly skies, or sail the wild ocean once or twice a year to feel fulfilled. It used to be that any travel would suffice, but lately I find myself getting more particular about where I go, what I do, and where I’m staying. I don’t “go with the flow” in the same way, and to be honest, I’m easily annoyed or frustrated while travelling.
I like to be comfortable. I like to be well rested, hydrated, and fed, and these are not always easily accomplished during travel. But while a lack of well timed meals or rest is a bummer, so is complaining about it! No one wants a bellyacher for a travelling companion. It’s important to plan around your needs, and to get over them without ruining a trip.
Hence, my Travel tips to prevent whiners:
For me, food is the most important/exciting part of any trip. An excuse to eat out every night? Why, thank you! I’ll take it. And that lobster roll, and that side of curly fries, and yes, I would like to see the dessert menu.
Sometimes finding the right restaurant can take way too long and you end up walking the streets of Valencia for an hour until you are ready to eat your best friend in order to survive, and then you just get the pasta that you knew you would get in the first place. Avoid in-between-meals anger and pack a few snacks. I’m talking dried fruit and nuts, baby. Or go hog-wild and get a power bar! But not chocolate-covered—it will likely melt and you will cry into your gooey hands on the train.
If you have an internet connection try Yelp for restaurant suggestions. Otherwise, ask around!
I’m too hot/cold…
Check the weather report like you check your phone: Obsessively.
And, if you’re in Halifax and five different weather sites predict five different types of weather, pack for it all: Tiny umbrella, folding poncho, many layers, and sunscreen. That way, you got yourself a fret-free all-weather suit. Face the day unafraid!
Aren’t we all. AREN’T. WE. ALL. Sleeping on a trip can be a real pain in the back/shoulders/ears. Too cold or hot? Ask for extra sheets or a fan. Too loud or bright? Pack earplugs and a sleeping mask. Do what you can to make your sleep the best sleep ever. And don’t feel guilty if you want to go to bed early or sleep in until noon. Give your body the rest it needs—it’ll reward you during the day!
Shoes. Always pack a good pair of walking shoes, and stop worrying about how they look. Embrace your soul/soles’ inner Mom and find comfort in every step!
Also, stretch. And pack as light as possible. Get a good backpack for carrying all those clothing layers, some sunscreen, a guide book, and a water bottle. Drink a lot of water.
Take some time to be alone before you snap.
Sometimes this is really hard! It’s probably best if you don’t actually say, “I need some alone time,” out loud, because that kind of sours the mood. (But if you must, you must.)
If you can find a way to spend some solo time on the trip, you’ll probably enjoy the company of your friends/family/partner a lot more. Find time to take nap, read a book, or go for a quick walk to get some “me” time in. Sharing travel is lovely, but it can be overwhelming!
Where are we? Are we there yet? How much longer? Get a map and get it memorized. Don’t rely on others to guide you around. It’s too easy to blame them for the tiring walk, expensive cab ride, or wrong turn. Know your bearings so you can be helpful to yourself and others.
Too bad. You’re only as bored as you are boring, or something.
Collaborate on the itinerary. Before you go on your trip, hop onto TripAdvisor or WikiTravel and make a list of EVERYTHING you might be interested in. And know your interests! (I recently discovered I love caves. Can’t get enough caves!) When you arrive, head down to the city’s tourist information centre and interrogate staff about their fine city. They’ll talk. They always do. Find a hip barista and ask them for hot local tips. Get their number. Go out for a drink. Make prolonged eye contact. Hook up. Voilà! Winnipeg isn’t so boring after all.
Most of all, remember to take a moment to breathe. To be grateful. Travel is a luxury; treat it like one. Take control of your trip without being overbearing. Think about your needs and the needs of your travel companions. Take a few risks, try new things, scale back the negative thoughts, and remember: when you get back home, you’ll wish you were still on vacation.