Travel is awesome, but it doesn’t always go smoothly even at the best of times. You have to learn to roll with the punches and be ready to employ a backup plan at any given time. If you’re a person who does as little travel planning ahead of time as you can, you’re probably used to that, but if you’re not, it’s sometimes hard to change things up at a moment’s notice. Right now, with Covid restrictions changing all the time, things may be open or closed or have modified hours.
Know your alternatives
As an avid planner, I generally schedule out all my vacation days so I get to all the cool stuff I know I want to do. That said, I always add the alternate open times for things just in case something happens and I can’t go or I find something last minute that I really want to do. That way I can move things around if needed. Maybe something happened that delayed us on Monday and we missed X, but I know that X is also open on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, which means I can reschedule it to one of those days if it’s something we reeeally want to do.
You never know what you’ll find when you travel. Sometimes someone suggests a thing you’ve never heard of or an amazing opportunity pops up that is only available at a certain time. Don’t lock yourself into everything you want to do ahead of time.
The first time we went to London, we had a London Pass and went out to Chislehurst Caves, where we were also going to follow with a visit to Wimbledon, but when I asked our tour guide if we should do that or Eltham Palace (both on the Pass), he steered us to the much lesser known Eltham, and I was so glad he did. It was not crowded, it was interesting, and we never would have gone there had someone not recommended it.
Book most of your activities ahead of time
Avoid sold out tickets for things that you really want to do by purchasing tickets or making reservations before you leave home. Some things book months in advance, so it’s good to know what those are and to lock those in beforehand.
I bought tickets to Las Vegas’ new Omega Mart and Museum of Dream Space already, in order to assure we could go while we’re in the city for such a short time and can visit early in the day, avoiding crowds and so we don’t have to rush.
Don’t overbook yourself
Yes, I schedule out my days, to the point that we have an itinerary, but I always allow more time than I think we’ll need and usually that gives us extra downtime or time to wander around more or to do things we see on the fly.
I also plan in time to do laundry, which forces me to go back to my room and chill. I unwind from the day, rest my feet and go to bed on time to get enough sleep for my next day. Sometimes we get takeaway on these evenings, and then we don’t have to go back out. If you’re in a rental or a place with a kitchen, this might be when you make a meal in or eat leftovers.
Knowing that things don’t always work out the way you want them to doesn’t mean you can’t have a great vacation. Expect the unexpected and you’ll never be disappointed, or at least learn how to deal with it so you don’t feel like your whole trip has been ruined or you’re too stressed to go on. Knowing things can and will change is your key to making the most of your trip and the time you have at your destination.
How do you roll with the punches when you travel?