Talking plainly from personal experience, I’ve let some really minor things darken what was supposed to be a wonderful trip. And over the last year or so, I’ve learned a few things about how to enjoy every trip, no matter where I’m heading, that I’d like to share with you.
1. Don’t Compare
This is so, so hard. All you have to do is follow a couple of friends (or mere acquaintances) on social media who are taking much more extravagant trips than you are to make you feel a little down. If this is something you struggle with, there are a couple things you can try:
- Change up the way you view others on social media. Instead of seeing what I don’t have like I used to, I get excited for the person who’s there now and look forward to when I get to go on an adventure like that, too.
- Cut yourself off. If you know it gets you down to see pictures of all the places you aren’t going to anytime soon, don’t look at it for a specific chunk of time every night, or take a social media fast for a few days.
- Remember that people use social media to show the very best moments of themselves. That picture looks bright and idyllic because it’s posed and edited. There is nothing wrong with people showing their best selves, but it can become a problem if you start to feel worse about yourself because of it.
Remember: the road trip you have planned is just as valid, and has just as much opportunity for enjoyment as your friend’s European backpacking excursion. And if we’re traveling just to Snapchat about it, we’ve missed the point of traveling entirely.
2. Plan it Out
Planning a trip gets you hyped for it, which only makes it more fun. Not only that, but the more planning you do in advance, the more prepared you are for things that might come your way.
3. Manage Your Own Expectations
Things happen. Things like pouring rain, being delayed, eating later than you thought, arriving too early and not being able to check in – it all happens. When you expect for there to be a few roadblocks along the way, it’s a lot easier for you to be flexible and face it head on when it comes.
4. Double Check Your Documents
Whether you’re supposed to bring passports, print tickets, or grab extra cash, double check that you have those irreplaceable things with you. Have a place you always keep those things and make sure you’ve got them, even if you could swear you remembered sticking them in your bag. Nothing makes a trip more stressful than realizing you left the most important things on the kitchen table before walking out the door.
5. Commit to a Positive Attitude
Before you leave for a trip, I encourage you to pause for a moment and say to yourself, “No matter what happens, I am going to have a good attitude about it.” It may sound odd, but I can’t tell you the number of times committing to having a good attitude has helped me to move past the little things that otherwise might have really bothered me and made a trip less enjoyable.
6. Make Social Media Secondary
Pictures were created to document moments. Moments should not be created so that you can take pictures. It is so much more freeing to be present and experience where you are, and of course, grab a few pictures while you’re there. But you shouldn’t be on social media so much that you can’t remember what it actually felt like to be there.
7. Always Bring Snacks
Whether it’s just a granola bar for the airplane or a massive supply for your road trip, always bring snacks in some form. They’re an instant mood booster for when things start to go awry, and it never hurts to have a little something stowed away for a hanger emergency.
No matter where you’re going, how long you’ll be there, or how extravagant your next trip is, these are all ways you can enjoy it just a little bit more.