“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. -air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. -all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
Traveling is my favourite pastime but it does have its challenges, and these are my top ones in no particular order.
1.The time it takes to find the best deal
A challenge for me has always been finding the best deal possible for a trip and I always spend a considerable amount of time researching prices on different websites before booking the trip. In recent years I have found that flying on a Tuesday is considerably cheaper and also the length of your trip can alter the price. In some cases I have found it is actually cheaper to go for a longer period!
Although it can be challenging pouring over different websites and making notes in spreadsheets on different costs and itineraries to compare them and find the best one, I do feel it is worth it as every extra bit that you can save can be spent on excursions and meals when you are eventually on your holiday!
2.Travelling at the right time
In recent years I have also found the time you decide to go to a certain destination really does matter. For instance, I have realised that travelling to certain destinations in Europe is actually better if you avoid the summer months. Between January and April and September-November seem to be the best for me personally.
I recently visited Rome in early April and the weather was amazing (temperatures of 25 degrees celsius) and it was less touristy than in the summer months or school holidays. I have also been to Portugal in November where it was a balmy 23 degrees as well as Athens in January, where it was 18 degrees.
Especially when you are visiting popular spots in destinations such as the Acropolis, Colosseum or Vatican City, it makes such a difference in terms of crowds and queues.
The best part is it is often much cheaper to travel at these times.
3. Travelling with someone that has the same interests as you
For me it would be a massive challenge if the person I went on a trip with didn’t have the same interests as me. I love a balance between relaxing and sightseeing, and often like going off exploring on my own as opposed to with a guided tour, unless it is of a benefit to me. I am not that person that doesn’t leave the resort when in a different country. What’s the point of even going somewhere if all you are going to do is stay at your hotel for the entire time?
I have found in the past that if your travel partner doesn’t enjoy the same things as you, this could lead to you missing out on things you wanted to see or do or could even lead to a falling out in an extreme situation. (This has not happened to me yet thankfully)
4. Being able to take decent photos of destinations
As a travel blogger I really value taking a good photo to showcase a destination well but sometimes it can be really annoying if there are hoards of tourists hogging up time and space of a point of interest because they are either taking selfies and swinging their selfie sticks all over the place, or worse, what I have seen more and more of recently, is clambering all over buildings to take wedding photos or crowding around areas to get their perfect shot.
Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against people taking photos for their wedding slideshows in beautiful destinations. It is when they disrespect the destination by climbing up in places that they shouldn’t be doing that in that really bothers me. Beautiful places in the world can really be eroded and ruined if this kind of activity continues.
5. Someone being able to take decent photos of you
Sometimes if I am somewhere and have to ask a complete stranger to take a photo of me I have to accept that it may not always be a great shot if the individual is not a good photographer. I have found a way to try and overcome this is to try and set up the shot exactly how I would like, take a test shot and show them and hope for the best!
6. Animal cruelty and environmental damage
This is something really close to my heart and I am totally against animals being used for rides, such as elephants and donkeys, or for performances. As a tourist in a destination we should not be engaging in these activities or encouraging it. I have added this as one of my travel challenges as I found myself recently trying to educate tourists on riding elephants to try and stop them from doing it. This can be such a challenge as I feel sometimes people just care more about their selfie than about animal welfare.
Throwing rubbish in the sea or on the ground and not in bins is another major bug bear for me. If you can’t find a bin hold on to whatever it is until you do come across one.
Single use plastic is also something I am trying to cut down use of and consciously pick fruit and veg that is not wrapped in plastic as well as travel with a re-usable bottle that I fill with water rather than purchasing plastic bottles.
I am also refusing plastic straws when I am in restaurants and bars. They really are not needed, and instead if you really need a straw, its worthwhile investing in bio-degradable ones and sticking some in your bag.
Sometimes language can be a real issue if you need to ask something. I have recently founded that Google Translate is a massive help as is noting down a few phrases on your phone beforehand.
8. Managing your time efficiently at a destination
If you only have a few days in a destination that has a plethora of things to see and do, I often find that mapping it all out and then splitting your day according to different areas that your places of interest are really help.
I like to plan this all out in advance as well as do lots of research by reading other blogs and guides. In the past where I haven’t done this I have been disappointed to find that I missed out on seeing something in the destination.
9. Finding Authentic restaurants
As a food and travel blogger, I try and find restaurants or cafes that are off the beaten track and not smack bang in the main tourist trap areas. I find the best way to find local gems are to ask the residents, whether these are people working at your hotel or people you may end up striking up a conversation with along the way.
10. Enjoying the moment
My final challenge as a blogger, solopreneur and wife are splitting my time fairly between working on my blog, managing my clients social media platforms and spending quality time with my husband whilst on a trip.
So as not to be on the phone constantly whilst with him, I wake up earlier than him, get showered and ready and do an hour of work before he gets up. If we are out and about and I am taking photos or video clips with my camera or phone, I try and be quick about it or involve him in it so that he isn’t just standing around waiting for me.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and would love to know what some of your travel challenges are. Let me know in the comments section below xx
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