No one goes on vacation expecting everything to go wrong. But sometimes, despite our best intentions, that’s exactly what happens. If you find yourself in the middle of a bad vacation and it’s not going as planned, don’t despair!
There are plenty of ways to turn things around and salvage even the most disastrous of trips. After all, sometimes the biggest disasters end up being the funniest stories – or they turn into new adventures!
Here are a few tips on how to salvage a trip from hell.
Tip #1: Keep a Positive Outlook
I know, I know, easier said than done. But first and foremost, try to stay positive. It can be hard to do when everything seems to be going wrong, but it’s important to remember that a few mishaps don’t have to ruin your entire trip. Things will get better, I promise! Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is supposed to be a fun experience.
Second, take stock of the situation and figure out what’s gone wrong. Is it something major like you’ve lost your passport or your wallet was stolen? Or is it something small like you’re getting homesick or you’re not enjoying the food? Once you know what the problem is, you can start brainstorming ways to fix it.
Tip #2: Be Proactive in Problem Solving
If you’ve lost your passport, the first thing you’ll need to do is contact your embassy or consulate and ask for assistance. They’ll be able to help you replace your passport so you can continue on with your trip. On the other hand, if you’re just feeling homesick, try Facetiming or Skyping with your friends or family back home. Sometimes all it takes is hearing a friendly voice to make you feel better.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help from those around you. If you’re really struggling, chances are there’s someone who can help – whether it’s a hotel staff member, a tour guide, or even just a fellow traveler. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for assistance – people are generally happy to help when they see someone in need.
Tip #3: Be Honest About What You Need
One of the biggest problems we hear about happens when you’re not getting along with the person you’re traveling with.
It can be hard to be with someone all day in the best of times, but add to that a heat wave, walking around for 5 hours a day, dehydration, hunger, and jetlag. Suddenly you’re snapping at your bestie and wishing you never came on this trip.
If this is the case, try to spend some time apart. Go explore on your own for a day or two and give each other some space. This can help you reset and come back together with a fresh perspective. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up and share what you need! If you don’t ask, you don’t get it.
Tip #4: Look for Alternatives
If your original plans have gone completely awry, don’t be afraid to look for alternative options. If you were supposed to go hiking but the weather is terrible, see if there’s a nearby museum or indoor activity you can do instead. If you’re stuck in a city that’s not quite what you wanted, look up day trips or excursions to nearby towns or landmarks.
The point is, don’t just sit around and sulk because things aren’t going the way you wanted. There’s always something else to do, even if it’s not what you had planned. Be flexible and go with the flow!
Tip #5: Make New Friends
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice for any trip, but it’s especially important when things are going wrong. Talk to the locals and get their recommendations for what to do, see, and eat. Go to a bar, grab a drink (or even just soda water), and sit there by yourself. You never know how your trip might turn around!
Tip #6: Keep a Sense of Humor
When I was in college my roommate and I booked a cruise to Central America with Carnival. We were so excited to get on board, so much so, that we lied about our age when booking the ship. International waters, right?
Honestly, we were so naive we never even thought it would be a problem – until we were trying to board the ship, and they wouldn’t let us on. Suddenly our spring break took a wildly different turn!
There we were, 18, stranded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After a few tears, we decided to make the best of a bad situation. We called a family friend who happened to live in the area, he had an extra car he let us use, and we turned our Spring Break into a road trip. We went to Disney World, we drove up to Savannah, and we saw family we wouldn’t have otherwise. It was a totally random, but totally fun trip in the end. It just wasn’t the one we had planned.
Tip #7: Keep it in perspective
Did lesson learn from all of this? Try to keep things in perspective and don’t take yourself too seriously. Things will go wrong on any trip, no matter how well-planned it is. The important thing is to roll with the punches and not let the bad things that happen ruin your whole vacation.
Tip #8: Flexibility is Key
Sometimes shi* happens. Your Uber breaks down, the trains that were scheduled to run are suddenly not running, and a bird pooped all over your luggage. Remember that travel, even at its worst, is still a privilege. For better or worse, travel always teaches us something.
Those who are tied to the details of an itinerary, who can’t see beyond the bad things that are happening and to the greater experience, just aren’t going to have fun. So do your best to be flexible, roll with the punches, and know that you really can’t control everything.
That being said…
Tip #9: Follow Your Intuition
Always listen to your gut while you’re traveling. If something feels off or dangerous, it probably is. Trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to walk away from a situation that makes you feel uneasy. Even if that means changing your hotel, breaking off from your friends, or making an independent decision.
Your intuition is your best asset when it comes to traveling safely. If something doesn’t feel right, steer clear and change course.
A vacation is supposed to be a time for relaxation and fun – but sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. If you find yourself in the midst of a trip from hell, don’t despair!
There are plenty of ways to turn around a bad vacation and salvage even the most disastrous of trips. Just stay positive, identify the problem, and reach out for help when needed and things will start looking up.
And who knows? Maybe your vacation from hell will turn into the story of how you randomly met your husband on the side of the road after your rental car broke down at 2 a.m. Stranger things have happened!