3 Negatives of Traveling
With all the talk I do about traveling and how great I believe it to be, one might think it strange for me to say that there are actually some things that I do not like about traveling. I take them all as part of the sacrifice of traveling, and I have even found ways of overcoming them.
1.) Being ripped off. The number one thing that I cannot stand is being ripped off. I do not care if I am in my own country or I am on the road traveling, not too much bothers me more. It always leaves a bad taste in my mind, as I cannot forgive people who are dishonest and who take advantage of others who know less. To me, it is like the doer is taking you for a complete schmuck and slapping you in the face.
The reason that I (and others) get ripped off is because of a lack of knowledge. That is it. It is also the cure to overcoming being ripped off. What one needs to do is become educated. How does one do that? Well, you need to find out the local prices for things immediately. This can come from a combination of sources. Before leaving, you can do considerable research on the normal prices that people pay for specific items. This will only work in major well-reported places. For more remote areas, you will need to do some investigating by asking locals that you can trust. Be sure to find the most neutral people who you can to ask.
I have been ripped off by taxis more than anything else, but others have tried as well. I once paid 11 Euros for a Taxi ride between two Moroccan cities only to find out that locals usually paid around 8 total and split that cost between 3-4 people. In Bosnia, I paid 10 Euros for a ride that was less than 5 minutes only to find out from the woman who ran the hostel that I should have paid no more than 2. Even in Morocco, I had negotiated the price down a bit, and I thought that I was getting a good deal. Those are two small examples that I can think of, not to mention times paying much more.
You might be thinking, well 11 Euros here, 10 Euros there, that is not that much. You are right, in the grand scheme of things it is really not at all, and I’d be happy to spend it on a worthy cause. However, if you add in the local cost of living in those areas and take your travel budget into account it is quite substantial. 11 Euros in Marrakesh could pay for 3 full meals or two full nights at a hostel. 10 Euros in Bosnia would easily feed you for a day or two. Losing 10 Euros three times a week is roughly $120 less a month. This leakage of money will add up over time, especially for the long-term traveler.
2.) Being lost. Being lost is something that I never appreciate in the moment, but I always think about later as being a good experience. I guess we have a love-hate relationship. I need to distinguish here between getting lost and being lost. Getting lost is whenever you go explore and find things that you never would have found using a map. Being lost is having no direction whatsoever. Typically, when I arrive in a new city the most frustrating time is finding out where I need to be going (i.e. where my hostel, bed, or friend’s house is). There have been times when I have arrived in cities, and after walking around aimlessly for a few hours with my backpack I would be so frustrated that I would just wish to be at home. Later, I would obviously retract these thoughts, but in the moment the frustration can be nearly unbearable for a lone traveler. It is mainly because you have no one else to lean on. At the end of the day, I believe that it is these times that make you stronger.
How do I overcome it? I have always been fairly good at directions and finding my way, but a new city is always a challenge. To make things worse, I rarely plan out where I am going to stay, which puts me into an unnecessary bind at times. What I have learned is research can be quite beneficial. If you are fortunate enough to get a map from someone before hand, then you can plot out your route on your way to the city and know exactly where you need to go once you get there. If you have a place to stay lined up before, then you can get online and use a map source such as Google maps and plot out your course. One thing that I usually do now is to write down on a piece of paper directions, an address, local landmarks, and possibly even a contact number. This way, you can depend on what you have rather than having to pull out a map and if you need to ask for directions, you know the closest landmarks.
3.) Being tired. After being on the road for some time, you just have those days where you are really worn out. Let’s face it, carrying and living out of a backpack can get old, just as not having a steady place to lay your head at night. I understand wholeheartedly that this just comes with the turf. I want to get to know the world; therefore, I have to deal with both the positives and negatives of traveling.
What do I do to combat being tired? I have learned that I become most tired and frustrated whenever I am on the move a lot, meaning that I change cities frequently rather than staying in one place for a longer time period. Therefore, if I can stay in one place for a while it is better. Moreover, I learned that it is acceptable to take days off. When you need a down day, take one. On that day, just relax and do not do anything too strenuous. Lastly, every once in a while consider a vacation from your vacation.
What are your thoughts?
What things do you dislike about traveling, and how do you overcome them? Do you have any bad travel experiences that you’d like to share?