I recently took a three day trip to a location I’ve wanted to visit for a long while. I planned the trip several months ago and had been looking forward to exploring this spot with ever mounting enthusiasm. I bought two new camera batteries, fresh tick repellent and a flashlight. The day before I left, a big rainstorm rolled in. I started to wonder if I really wanted to drive several hours with the aches that arrived shortly before the rain. I decided to sleep on it. It was the thought of my pre-paid lodging and activities that ultimately spurred me on.
As I purposely drove back roads to enjoy the beautiful countryside rolling past, my spirits lifted. There was a break in the storm and I almost felt great. I pulled into the parking area beside the very sweet little riverfront Air B&B rental I’d found with a smile on my face and renewed excitement. Check in was a breeze and I spent a few relaxing hours reading a book while keeping an eye on the osprey wheeling overhead. He never came close enough for me to photograph him, but I was okay with that.
I hopped in the car to head to an evening lecture about photography. By the time I arrived back in the rental at 9 pm, the aches were back, as was the rain. The next morning, I dragged myself out of bed before dawn to meet up with some other photographers. (We never actually saw the dawn because of the rain, but it was out there somewhere!) We waited for a break in the downpour and headed to the beach with our cameras. I still genuinely had fun tramping around in the soggy weather, spotting birds and wild ponies. I enjoyed lunch and editing photos. The mistake was editing photos for too long. The aches settled in big time. By the time the rest of the group was ready to head out into the rain for an hour or so more of shooting before sunset, I was thoroughly miserable and ready to head home.
I drove back to the rental, packed my gear, made sure everything was as spotless as when I’d arrived, checked out with a quick text to the owners and headed out the short way. I arrived home over 24 hours earlier than planned.
A week later, I am now remembering the moments I liked about my trip, but I am not regretting leaving early. I needed to be in my own home, enjoying the comfort of my heated blanket, my favorite chair and copious amounts of hot tea!
What to Do When You Aren’t Enjoying a Vacation
- Pinpoint the problem – Sometimes it is easy to figure out what is making you feel disappointed or frustrated. Other times it can be a little challenging to decide what is making your vacation less than enjoyable. If you can’t figure out why you are hating your vacation, take a moment to think about what else is going on in your life. It could be that you are bringing stress with you from a problem at home.
- Make adjustments – If you are just feeling sick, as I was, you may not be able to fix it. If there is something concrete that is causing your unhappiness, you can simply make adjustments and continue your vacation. For example, a year ago, I was staying at a motel that, among other things, had billed itself as beach front and had no beach. I found that a lovely little spot nearby had a room available, booked it and changed hotels. The rest of my stay was amazing.
- Settle for less – In my case, I could have stayed the full three days and just blown off the rest of my plans – simply staying in the rental and finishing my mystery. If it is a weather related issue, you could embrace the rain, heat, or what have you and look for things that you can do in that weather. Admire a city’s architecture if the seas are too rough for the whale watching trip you had planned. Organize a four course traveling meal at four local restaurants when your amazing picnic on the beach plans fall through.
- Decide whether to call it a day or soldier on – Sometimes, there is no saving a vacation. If you make adjustments and are still feeling thoroughly unhappy, you may want to pack up and head home. Admit you are not having fun for whatever reason and cut it short. Other times, because of return tickets or travel companions, you may decide to simply soldier on. Do your best to find something good about each vacation day – the kind official who does his or her best to expedite a passport replacement or the wonderful wayside cafe you walked to when your car broke down.
Have you ever bailed out on vacation plans early?