Having a bad travel day? Yikes. Been there. Every traveller has. Despite what your Instagram feed says, bad travel days happen regularly and to everyone. Here’s what to do when a bad travel day happens to you.
Accept that bad travel days happen. They are completely normal. They happen because travel is still real life and bad days are a part of real life. Even if you’re on vacation, you’re not immune from bad days.
It’s unfortunate – because sometimes bad days don’t work with our schedule. If you only have 10 days in Ireland, do you really want to spend one of them upset/sad/in the hospital/at the police station/etc.? Probably not. But that’s life!
Find the silver lining
Take a tip from our more optimistic travel brethren and look for the silver lining on a bad travel day. Yes, it’s pouring buckets and you can’t make it to that church on the other side of town. But now you get to spend the entire day reading a book by the fire or going bowling! Or your hotel reservation got lost, but at least you still made it to your destination in one piece and haven’t lost your passport (yet).
I know this exercise is easier said than done. I’m someone who really struggles with disappointment. If something I’m looking forward to falls through, even if it’s something small like the store being out of the chocolate I wanted, I get pretty down about it. So I’m definitely still learning to find the silver lining!
Treat yo self
Like Tom and Donna taught us (Parks n Rec, anyone?), sometimes you just need to treat yo self. And there’s really no better time than when you are having a bad travel day! Do something to make yourself feel better. Splurge on an afternoon at the spa or a nice meal. Or indulge in a habit that always makes you happy, like visiting a new coffee shop, watching a favourite movie or reading in the park.
Take a break
Be kind to yourself. Travelling is hard work. Sometimes a bad travel day is a sign that we need to take time off. After dealing with whatever shitty thing happened, it’s totally acceptable to head back to your hostel bed and try this travelling thing again tomorrow.
Travel burnout is real. No one can maintain a tourist lifestyle, visiting temple after monument after market, full-time without going insane. So give yourself permission to just take a break. Spend the day with Netflix and take out, just like you would if you were back home.
ET, phone home! (Spoiler alert: I don’t think I’ve actually seen that movie!) But one way to help get through a bad travel day is to connect with someone back home. When I was really struggling during my trip to China, I relied so heavily on my friends and family back home. I was calling my parents, Skyping my partner, and chatting with friends on Facebook.
Connecting with people back home can be a huge help. These are the people who love and care for you. They’re going to be there to support you, give you advice or wire you some money when your wallet gets stolen. They also know and understand you – which can be a welcome change when you’re constantly meeting new people as you travel.
Switch things up
Sometimes a bad travel day is a symptom of something bigger. Maybe you’re having a down day because you’re somewhere you don’t want to be doing something you don’t want to be doing. So, switch it up! If you’ve been temple hopping in Thailand for the last few weeks, head to Bali and learn how to surf. Or if you’ve been living the city life in London for a while, fly to Iceland and get back to nature.
It’s amazing how a change of scenery can affect our moods. Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t have any bad travel days in your new spot. But it might help you shake your current bad vibes!
Get off social media
A little louder for the travellers in the back: GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! I say this as someone who works in social media for a living – social media can be super toxic. Sure, it’s not all bad all of the time. It can be a great place to get inspired, share your journey and connect with people. But it can also cause some pretty shitty feelings.
When we’re on social media, we are constantly comparing ourselves to other people. We’re wondering why that one blogger has more likes than us, why that influencer got a more stunning photo in front of the Eiffel Tower, and why our friend from high school is having more fun in Tokyo.
As they say, social media is the highlight reel. People post their best self (and best selfies!) on social media. No one is posting about their bad travel day. And if they are, it’s curated imperfection. They’re choosing to share a specific “bad” moment, minus the worst details, and with a few filters on it.
I know many of us rely on social media to connect us to others or even for our jobs. But if you’re having a bad travel day, I can’t advise enough getting off social media and taking a bit of a digital detox. It will all still be there when you get back!
And there you have it! That’s my recipe for what to do when a bad travel day strikes – because you know it will. I’d love to know, how do you deal with bad travel days? Or what was the worst travel day you ever had? Let me know in the comments below!