What Stresses You Most When Traveling?
As with most travelers I know, I can’t go a month without traveling somewhere, even if it’s as simple as a beach holiday. Addiction or obsession is too strong a word, but it does capture how I feel about travel: a necessity.
Do I get stressed when I travel? Of course. All travelers (I think) do get stressed, especially when they’re going to a place they’ve never been before. In countries where the language is different, for example, there’s the stress of trying to make yourself understood, of knowing where and how to go to specific places, and of trying to adjust to a culture that’s totally different from yours.
Solo travelers have their share of anxieties too, including having to pay in full for accommodation (I try to use Couchsurfing as much as possible to avoid this stress!), transportation, and tour fees. Those who travel in groups have it easier in terms of cost; they can split the cab fare or van rentals, and even share a big room or big servings of food to reduce their expenses.
I struggle specifically with time management. I’ve been left behind by planes and trains because I always leave for the airport or terminal too late. When I was in Singapore last July, I arrived ten minutes too late at the airport and found the check-in counter closed. If I weren’t pressed for time, I would have enjoyed spending more time in the Lion City. Unfortunately, another scheduled trip required me to look for cheap Singapore flights later that day so that I could make it back on time. It was my most expensive mistake to date.
Interestingly, though, a global survey on which elements of travel international travelers find the most stressful showed that Filipinos in general are stressed out, not with the travel itself, but with its preparation. Flight comparison site Skyscanner surveyed 20,000 respondents from 12 countries around the world, and results showed that travelers from the Philippines find choosing a destination as their primary source of stress when traveling.
Other countries share the same sentiment, too; in fact, it was the highest with 30 percent of the respondents’ votes. It was followed by airport experience (25%) and looking for cheap flights (24%), which is another major concern for Filipinos.
I have used Skyscanner before when I was looking for the cheapest flights available. I found a 30-euro ticket there from Italy all the way to Belgium (yes, you can travel cheaply in Europe!). It was also the site I used to buy my return ticket from Manila to Brussels during my 70-day solo backpacking trip to Europe.
In the Philippines where there’s a lot of budget airlines staging seat sales almost every month, I can understand the stress of where to go. After all, you can only file a leave at the office for so many weeks a year, and given that so many Filipinos are competing with each other to get those few dirt-cheap flights the moment they become available, grabbing the best deal can indeed be very stressful.
Still, I would rather have this kind of stress than the ones most of us had a decade ago, and that is where to get the money to travel. With the proliferation of cheap flights nowadays, the best time to fly is definitely now.
How about you? What stresses you about traveling?
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Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!