Travel Confession: These Are All The Things I Dread About Travel

Travel Confession: These Are All The Things I Dread About Travel

Seeing the look on your boss’ face as you file another vacation leave is the absolute worst!

Oh, the rush and thrill of travelling! It’s addicting, isn’t it? Discovering new places, gaining new and life-changing experiences, and making unforgettable memories — travelling recharges the soul and makes life so worth living. What’s not to like about it? Well, it turns out there are quite a few things I dread about travel.

Here, we list down several nuisances every traveller has to put up with. If you’re a seasoned jet setter yourself, we’re sure you’ll be able to relate to some of these travel pains!

Before the trip


things i dread about travel: packing

Are you the type of traveller that puts off packing until the very last minute? Feel no shame. I’m the exact same way — packing is one of the things I dread most about travel. But I have to admit, it’s gotten me into trouble quite a few times. There were so many instances wherein I left something indispensable behind and I regretted being such an indolent packer.

Tip: Make a checklist of non-negotiable items you need on your trip. This takes away most of the stress of packing. When everything’s listed for you, all you have to do is dump the whole lot inside your luggage and desperately hope it all fits!

Also read: 7 Packing Videos That Every Traveller Needs to Watch

Filing a vacation leave

Is there anything more heart-pounding and dread-inducing than asking your boss if you can take a few days off work for a vacation? Yes, everyone’s entitled to some well-deserved vacation leaves. Nonetheless, it’s always a little nerve-wracking having to tell your workmates that you’ll be absent for a few days just so you can “get away from it all.”

Tip: Make sure to file your leave well in advance — the earlier the better! Your boss and fellow teammates will appreciate the extra time to make the necessary preps!

Competing with others to grab the flight promos

Sometimes, I get flash alerts about promotional seat sales. All over my email, I see airlines advertising their rock-bottom flight prices. Instead of feeling a sense of excitement, I instantly feel pressured to book at lightning speed — my fingers suddenly grow numb as I frantically go through the stressful booking process. Everybody wants to grab the promos while they’re still hot, so the competition is fierce.

While seat sales are among the things I dread most about travel, scoring a great deal is always fulfilling. Good thing there are some neat tricks on how to book quickly and efficiently!

During the trip


things i dread about travel: bathrooms

Image credit: Joe Goldberg

I come from a country that was heavily colonised by Western influences. That being said, the toilets I’m used to are very different from their counterparts in several East Asian regions, such as rural China and Taiwan. A confession? Finding myself in an uncomfortable bathroom situation is one of the things I dread about travel.

I distinctly recall an extremely vivid memory from my childhood — my first experience using a toilet in Shanghai. My weak, little legs could barely support me as I struggled hard to squat down as low as I could without allowing my bottom to touch the hole in the ground. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

At risk of sounding like a picky, high maintenance traveller, I’ll be blatantly honest and admit that cultural differences such as these make me wary about exploring exotic places. I’ll still grab any opportunity to go to new places, but I’ll make sure to condition my thighs first — I guess skipping leg day isn’t an option!

Dealing with pickpockets

things i dread about travel: pickpockets

I once had ₱500 stolen from me while I was enjoying a night out at a reggae bar with friends in Palawan. Admittedly, the fault was completely mine. Slightly inebriated and too comfortable with the psychedelic hippies surrounding me, I foolishly left my bag on a table before heading to the bathroom. As I reached into my wallet to pay for my drinks at the end of the night, I was taken aback — my wallet was completely empty. Oh, well.

One can argue though that thefts can happen anywhere and at any time. Yet, the stakes can be much higher while travelling. My grandmother once had her bag stolen in Europe. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal — bags can be replaced and lost money can always be earned again. But she had several invaluable items inside her purse: her passport and other valid IDs.

Being a Filipino citizen stuck in the middle of a Euro-trip (with multiple stopovers at several countries requiring the presentation of a passport), she was knee-deep in trouble. Luckily, we somehow managed to scrape our way through, but my poor old grandmother was traumatised throughout the entire vacation.

Tip: Invest in a stylish anti-theft bag and make sure to never, ever leave it lying around carelessly — no matter how intoxicated you are!

Also read: 8 Simple Ways to Avoid Pickpockets When Travelling

Disagreements among my travel group

If you haven’t found your ultimate travel buddy yet, then disagreements might crop up among your group of friends fairly often. I once disagreed with a friend about where to eat for lunch because of my restricted budget. Just because of a silly, petty spat, our whole afternoon was spoiled. Seems completely absurd, but little conflicts add up to become overblown arguments especially when you’re on a trip! 

Flight delays

You did everything in your power to be early for your flight — you even resisted the urge to hit snooze on your alarm clock. You even left hours before you were meant to. After breezing through check-in, you reach the peak of excitement as you eagerly wait to board the plane (which should be soon). Suddenly, you hear an annoying announcement and glance vexingly at the screen — congratulations. Your flight’s been delayed. Major facepalm!

Flight delays are truly among the top things I dread about travel. They don’t only test your patience, but they can also affect your itinerary. My brother and sister-in-law once booked a tour at the famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland for their honeymoon. Because they were on a tight schedule, they had no allowance for sudden changes. When their flight got delayed, they ended up missing an entire day in Iceland, and subsequently had to forgo their pre-paid tour!

Not only did they throw away valuable money — they wasted even more valuable time! Repeat after me: flight delays are the absolute worst.

Tip: To avoid unfortunate cases like these, try as much as possible to avoid booking tours on the day you’re meant to arrive. Give yourself some extra allowance for sudden unforeseen changes, such as wretched flight delays!

After the trip

Jet lag

Some people experience it, while other more fortunate travellers don’t. I consider myself one of the unlucky ones. Although travelling to unfamiliar, faraway places is always thrilling, it comes at a heavy price. Groggy mornings spent in a warped state of mind, oblivious to the elusive time of day — often in vain, every jet lag-ridden victim struggles to get some sense of normality in a topsy-turvy world where day is night and night is day.

Because of this, you just can’t help taking unproductive naps in the early afternoon. But this only leaves you wide awake and full of regret as the clock ticks ever so slowly while the rest of the world sleeps. What you’d give to get some precious shut-eye!

Tip: Depending on what time you’re travelling, make the immediate effort to kick jet lag to the curb — either stay up the entire plane ride, or force yourself into a long stupor. You can also drink melatonin at night to help your body return to its typical circadian rhythm!

Also read: 5 Simple Tips to Beat Jet Lag While Travelling

Recovering from expenses

Surely, this has to top most people’s lists of things to dread about travel! Yes, there are a myriad of ways to keep your long-awaited, fun-filled vacation within a reasonable budget. But you can’t deny that travelling will always create a considerable dent in your pocket. I recall moments of intense anxiety after noticing my quick financial drain — I tore through my savings in just half the time it took me to earn them. But do I regret shelling out so much for a short time spent vacationing abroad? No, of course not. Money can always be earned and saved, but travelling experiences create priceless memories to be cherished forever.

Tip: Set a budget for yourself beforehand and make sure to stick to it! I always make an Excel spreadsheet with my projected and actual expenses side-by-side, so I have a clear picture of my expenditures. You still spend, but at least you’re prepared for it!

The mountain heap of laundry awaiting you

You plan all your outfits to the tee and you look back at your travel photos with pride — how stunning you look in your perfectly curated ensembles! Here’s a warning though: You might not feel like too much of a fashion icon when you get back home. The moment you unpack, get ready for the intimidatingly tall stack of dirty laundry that’ll demand your attention.

You better do it quickly, too — you’ll need some decent clothes on your back (not to mention underwear!) to look socially acceptable. Unless you want to come to work in pyjamas, you’ve gotta get washing!

Tip: Plan ahead! Make sure you have at least a week’s set of post-vacation outfits put aside. This will take a load of pressure off you to cram your laundry! But remember — just because you have presentable clothes to wear, that doesn’t give you the right to carelessly watch the laundry basket pile up!

Adjusting back to life’s regular rhythm

things i dread about travel: going back to work

Haven’t we all fallen prey to reality’s brutishly hard slap? Here’s one of the things I dread most about travel: When it’s time to head back to regular programming, and the relaxed, worry-free days caring about nothing but enjoying your trip are over. It’s always tough to adjust back to the workplace, especially when you’ve grown so accustomed to the sweet life sipping cocktails by the beach, exploring picturesque towns, and waking up to no deadlines or requirements — just a fun-filled itinerary designed specifically for your enjoyment.

You might feel a bit lazy for the first few hours (or days… or weeks…), but eventually, you’ll rediscover your rhythm and pick up the pace! And before you know it, you’ll be boarding yet another plane for your next great adventure!

Who knew travelling could be so cumbersome? It can be such a hassle! Yet, despite all the inevitable snags and inconveniences every traveller experiences, one question is always asked after every trip: “Where to next?”

About Author

Raya Esteban
Raya Esteban

Raya Esteban is a lifetime education advocate who currently works as a Montessori primary school teacher. With every chance she gets, Raya loves stringing words together to create compelling travel pieces for everyone to enjoy. A nature-lover and a curious wanderer, she enjoys hiking, diving, and exploring the phenomenal world around her. If she isn’t in the classroom, you’ll probably spot her at a beach or on top of a mountain soaking up the sun.


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