There are many ways to be unhappy in life. Here are some ways to be unhappy while traveling.
Pack more than you can carry.
Cram the equivalent of your body weight into rolling luggage that resembles the leaning tower of Pisa. Make sure you struggle just getting your bag to the airport – that will ensure your trip will be entirely consumed with organizing, moving and stressing about your heavy bags. Start fantasizing someone will steal your luggage, so you don’t have to deal with it anymore.
Instead try this: For a ten day vacation abroad you need just one medium sized piece of luggage. Don’t pack it tight cause you’ll want space for new purchases. Make sure you can comfortably carry your luggage in your hands for semi long distances as wheels are useless on stairs and over cobblestones. See my ideas for the best carry on luggage.
Be an ass to the staff.
Act like the taxi driver, the waiter and the airline staff are there to serve only you. Be rude to people doing their job when things don’t go your way. Bonus points if you complain to everyone around you who’ll listen.
Instead try this: Be the classiest person in the group/plane/restaurant/coffee line and use impeccable manners, yes, even if someone is doing a substandard job. You’ll walk away from the situation feeling better. Remember that everyone you come in contact with are moms, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers or kids when they go home. Besides, who doesn’t need more kindness in their life?
Focus only on yourself.
Walk in the middle of the road and hold up traffic to get a better view of the Gothic cathedral. Cut someone off in the coffee line because you didn’t notice there was one. Ignore traffic lights, local customs and general niceties – cause you’re on holidays and the world is your Disneyland.
Instead try this: No one said the I’ve-got-my-head-up-my-arse-tourist was a sexy look. Let the local order first, she’s probably rushing somewhere to do something. While you’re at it, paying for the coffee is also an exciting experiment in human happiness. You might be on vacation — but most of the people around you are not, so move over and take your time cause you’ve got lots of it.
Get into scary debt you can’t pay off.
Splurge on fancy hotels you can’t afford. Buy too many things you don’t actually need. Travel with people who don’t understand you have a budget to keep. Feel trapped when you get home and then decide traveling is “too expensive”.
Instead try this: Stretch your budget on each trip so you can take more. Lodging is the easiest way to save money while traveling so focus on scouring Airbnb and bidding on Priceline with this tool. Also read up on travel hacking and how to stay for free in Italy.
Dwell in “what ifs”.
Worry that you’ll get ripped off and be on guard constantly. Assume that most people want something from you. Travel with expensive gear that will hurt if it goes missing.
Instead try this: Schedule pre-travel peace of mind. If you bring your computer, back up all files on thumb drives before you leave. Store passwords and phone numbers somewhere in the cloud (gmail or skype are easy) so you can access them from any computer. Don’t travel with anything you couldn’t stand losing. Bring backup credit or debit cards and use hotel safes or money belts to stash extra cards.
What would you add to this list? We’d love to hear what you think.
This article was inspired by Chris Guillebeau’s, How to Be Unhappy.
Photo: Victoria Nevland