Based on a lot of our travel pictures and posts, you might think that our time traveling has been next to perfect. I hate to burst your bubble, but that is sadly not always the case. Although we love all of our experiences traveling and we have learnt a lot from our mistakes, there is a side to traveling that is not so pretty! We thought it would be fun to review those memories with you here.
You almost always get lost.
Maybe you’ve heard this before, but it’s true. I don’t think there’s ever been a city where we haven’t gotten lost at some point. This can lead to arguing, frantic map turning and back-tracking.
Although this can be stressful in the moment, sometimes you stumble upon things you would have never seen before if you hadn’t gotten lost. For example, we would have never found our favorite restaurant in Paris had we not ventured off into the Latin Quarter. Now all I can dream about is Le Vieux Bistrot’s beef bourguignon! We’ve become better at embracing those moments with each trip, but there’s no denying that it’s frustrating to be lost!
Sometimes you don’t have time to shower…
Please hold off any judgements you may have until you only have 48 hours to explore Paris! Often times, weekend trips to new cities involve a lot of running around. By the end of the day you are so tired, there may not be any time (or motivation) left for a shower. The upside to this is that there are many products (such as dry shampoo, travel sized deodorant and hand wipes) that can make you feel clean while on the road.
Snacking becomes the name of the game.
There have been many occasions where Mark and I are so busy and excited while visiting a new city that we completely forget to eat lunch. Now in our normal lives, we never usually skip a meal, but when you’ve got a limited time and a bag full of snacks, you can easily forget to sit down and actually eat.
We’ve been much better at packing snacks that can keep us going longer (fruit, granola bars, etc.) or making short trips to a cafe for a sandwich mid-day.
You have to sleep in some uncomfortable places.
On a bus, on a plane, in an airport, on a train! Even though that sounds like part of a children’s book, it’s the life we live when traveling. If you have two hours on a train, the best thing to do is catch up on some sleep that you’ll most likely lose when out sightseeing! Due to our tight budget, we’ve been through it all.
We took an overnight bus to Madrid (7 hours) and attempted to trick our body’s into sleeping, before heading straight out to make the most of our day. We had a 4 hour overnight layover in the Barcelona airport on our way to Zadar where we laid down a sheet to take a nap before our next flight. (When we arrived, it was too early to check into our Airbnb so we laid the same sheet down on the beach to continue napping!) Even now that we are no longer on the strictest of budgets, we are still faced with flying economy overnight to most destinations. There are a lot of tricks we’ve picked up on the way (i.e. an eye mask can make all the difference), but we’ll save that for a separate post!
You may have to run to catch your train, plane or bus.
No one enjoys the stress of running through the airport, wondering if you’ll make it to your gate in time to board – but sometimes, it comes with the territory. For example, we arrived to the Cusco airport about 20 minutes before our flight was set to depart (yet somehow managed to make it through security and on to the plane in time thanks to a sprint through the airport).
One of my favorite examples of this was during our girls trip to visit the Christmas markets, where we spent the day in Salzburg, Austria and had to run in order to catch the last train back to Munich. Similarly – we made it just in time but Mark and I haven’t always been so lucky. We’ve missed plenty of busses, and even a flight. It’s unfortunate but it happens. We’ve only gotten better with age at giving ourselves plenty of time to get where we need to be.
Sometimes you’ll order some unfamiliar local cuisine on accident.
It’s hard to know what exactly you may be ordering at a restaurant, especially somewhere when you don’t speak the language. While we’ve had our fair share of incredible meals abroad, we’ve also come across some unique dishes. (Alpaca in Peru is a great example of this). The bright-side is that we have been able to connect better with local culture and get outside our comfort zone.
Often times you encounter bad weather.
I know we post a lot of pictures in bright, sunny places, but trust me, we’ve had our fair share of bad weather. (I’m talking rain, sleet, wind & snow).
The first weekend we visited Lagos, Portugal it poured the entire time! (However we made up for it with a second trip back the following year where we got in plenty of beach time). My Mom and I took a trip to London in the middle of a freak snowstorm, but nonetheless had afternoon tea and the British Museum to keep us warm. In Paris we got caught in a wind and rain storm while waiting outside of Notre Dame! (RIP to our umbrella that day).
We’ve had to dry our pants on a space-heaters and use a hair dryer on our soaked shoes – these are the things you sometimes have to do to keep going. No matter where you travel to, bad weather can and will happen! As long as you’re prepared with proper clothes / gear, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your time in a new place! (Plus, in bad weather – you often can enjoy the city with less people out and about).
You’ll get homesick.
Once you’ve been away from home for a few days, it’s inevitable, you start to miss it! You find yourself saying things like…”My bed at home is way more comfortable than this”, “My mom would love to see this”, and of course, “I miss American food!”
In the end, homesickness passes (like any illness) and you realize how incredibly lucky you are to be exploring some of the world’s most beautiful places! It’s important to live in the moment and know that the road you are on will lead you home again.
You most likely won’t understand the native language.
It’s true that traveling will sometimes involve some games of charades with locals. Although many people across this globalized world speak English, it’s not always the case and it’s something we’ve all dealt with when abroad. Whether trying to decipher a menu or ask for directions – not understanding the local language can be a difficult challenge to overcome but it certainly tests your non-verbal communication skills. (It also teaches you empathy to those visiting our country who do not speak English). In the end, we’ve found Google Translate to be a big help in these situations.
I hope this post made you chuckle and realize that you’re not alone in vacation disasters! Just know that as long as we are traveling – planes, trains and busses will continued to be missed, snacks will reign supreme and it will most definitely rain (so plan for it). In the end, it’s always worth it.
Cheers to all the good sports who continue to persist against all travel odds.