What To Do When Travel Reality Doesn’t Meet Expectations

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A lot of things went wrong when I was in Rome.

You know, for starters, I got pickpocketed within 15 minutes of entering the city, the Trevi Fountain was closed, my accommodations were sketchy and many of the “must-sees” turned out to be fairly underwhelming.

The truth is: travel reality will sometimes fail to meet expectations, and that’s okay. Travelling is not always sunshine and rainbows, and sometimes, you will be disappointed. No worries – it’s all a part of life. The question is though, what should you do when your trip turns to crap? Here’s what got me through my Roman misadventure.

Trevi Fountain Drained Out

An underwhelming Trevi Fountain, drained out without warning…

Laugh it off.

I’ve found that when things go awry, you have two options: you can choose to be absolutely miserable, or you can laugh it off and carry on. My life has gotten substantially better since I’ve begun doing the latter. Most of the time, being sad is a mindset. Sure, we all want to wallow in our misery sometimes, but think about it: why would you choose to be sad when you can be happy? Odds are, the thing that is making you mad/upset isn’t even that big of a deal, so just brush it off, make a joke of it and move on to make sure the rest of your day isn’t ruined.

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Treat yo self. 

You know what really redeemed Rome for me? Gelato and pasta. I definitely belong to that camp of people that eats their feelings sometimes… And indulging a little really helped me get over the bad parts of my trip. Here’s my advice: get yourself a little treat, whether that’s food, a cool souvenir or a neat experience you wouldn’t otherwise splurge on. Nothing boosts morale quicker than indulging in some simple luxury.

Gelato in Rome by Christina Guan

There are few problems that gelato can’t fix.

Think big picture. 

Okay so maybe I was having an awful time in Rome, but you know what? I WAS IN ROME! At the end of the day, you really have to look at the big picture and realize how lucky you are to be where you are. Think about the countless people who would love to be in your place, and then you’ll start to feel a bit guilty about your sourpuss attitude.

Christina Guan at the Roman Coliseum

Me at the Coliseum, having a grand ol’ time.

Appreciate the little things.

Just down the block from my sketchy guesthouse was a little gelato shop with the nicest staff. They were warm, friendly and really helped me feel better. I feel like when we travel, we are witnessing so many cool things all the time that we can lose sight of the simple pleasures like a friendly interaction, a smile from a stranger, etc. When you count your little blessings, you tend to feel a lot happier as a whole. So practice this attitude of gratitude the next time your trip isn’t up to par.

The truth is: travel bummers are inevitable. The way you deal with it though is the most important part! Keep these tips in mind and I promise your next trip dud will not seem so bad. : )

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So… Have you ever had a situation where your travel reality failed to meet expectations? If so, what did you do?!

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