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 suffer from travel stress? 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 experience travel stress 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 buy another ticket on the spot 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 travel stress.
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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@ Jeffrey: Yeah, most of the time I don’t have an itinerary too haha It’s less of laziness as the willingness to go with the flow! (chos)
@ Shalu Sharma: I know, that’s one of my nightmares too. I’m very glad it hasn’t happened to me yet, and I’ll make sure it won’t! Has it happened to you?
What stresses me most when travelling is the fear of being stranded without any money. The worst nightmare is when you wake up and realise that everything has been stolen and you’ve got no money to go back home and not even travel documents. A scary thought. The airport at Singapore looks so clean. Amazing.
One of the best post I’ve read this morning. CouchSurfing is a big help for budget travelers, I should be active na tlaga 🙂 And the most important ang kinatatamaran ko na lagi na gawin na- ITI hahaha
@ Claire: Wow, love ko yang solo travel for 10 days in SoKor! Hope I can do that someday too!
@ Joan: Flights are really the most expensive things when we travel, esp if we get left behind! Hope it doesn’t happen to us again 😀
Trying to cut down on expenses was the most stressing thing to do for me. Lalo na nung 2x na naiwan ako ng plane back to Manila and I had to buy a more expensive plane ticket.
Indeed, prep for itinerary is stressful but a good one. Looking forward for that good stress next year for my 10-day solo travel to South Korea..your 70-day backpacking in Europe inspired me.:-)
@ Rona: Yeah, it’s also stressful when you go to another developing country and hear of people ripping tourists off. Best way to deal with it is to know beforehand how much the regular rate is and which company to take. Still, there are so many scammers as well so I guess we just have to be careful!
@ Franc: Yeah, I had fun. It’s a matter of perspective anyways 😀
It’s always a challenge to fit in itineraries in the limited time especially if flights get delayed. Also, budgeting is a major issue when it comes to trips as you’d want to travel at most cost-efficient way possible. Seeing the list of travels, it looks like you had a great fun even despite the usual travel stress.
I rather call it fear. It is the chance of getting ripped off by taxi drivers and anything that has something to do with transportation like how much should be the pay for this particular distance. I fear of confronting them or fighting with them if I feel I am charged a more than the correct price.
@ Gelo: True, me too hehe
@ Fifi Leigh: That’s 100% true. Unfortunately, oftentimes I don’t do research, which is why i get stressed when I learn too late that the ride to the airport is longer than I thought it would be 🙁 But yeah, it makes travel more exciting!
yeah, traveling is fun and exciting, especially when visiting a place that you have never been before. it is fun to explore it, take interesting photos, and keep a journal about the trip. but new places can also be scary because you don’t know what to expect from the lifestyle and people there. a different culture and environment presents different adjustments. therefore, it is best to research the area ahead of time in order to stay safe, enjoy your time there, and avoid any problems that might otherwise occur.
For me, I think what stresses me most are the expenses =P
@ Reiza: That’s one thing I’m really grateful for: I don’t have a sensitive stomach! Like you, I also love eating streetfood, esp in Asia!
@ Mhe-Anne: Yikes! Then again, you can easily afford it naman eh hehe
another well written, informative post Aleah. I am usually stressed about the huge budget i need to leave home to fund expenses when i’m gone haha.
Great post, Aleah! What stresses me out when travelling is my tummy. I have a very sensitive tummy, got some food allergies, and I have a big appetite! So I really have to watch what I put in my mouth, which is quite frustrating as I love street food. 🙂