Hopefully, these disadvantages of traveling don’t keep you from planning your next trip. Most of us adore travel and experience it through rose-colored glasses. But there are downsides. It’s good to keep them in mind so you have a balanced perspective.
The way we look at it, the cons of travel provide some comfort when you’re unable to travel and just want to feel better about it. If nothing else, you can be proactive about countering these disadvantages once you know them. Keep reading to find out what they are.
CONTENTS – In this article, we review the disadvantages of traveling that you might want to consider, including:
- The 10 Worst Disadvantages of Traveling
- 1. Costs
- 2. Planning
- 3. Fear
- 4. Weather
- 5. Injuries
- 6. Language Barriers
- 7. Vulnerability
- 8. Time-suck
- 9. Disappointment
- 10. Jet Lag
- Final Thoughts on Disadvantages of Traveling
The 10 Worst Disadvantages of Traveling
Visiting new destinations is an incredible and worthwhile experience. Being able to travel is a privilege that only some people have. Many don’t get to experience the travel lifestyle, so it’s important to recognize that.
Even those who can travel don’t always have positive experiences. Finding the opportunity to go on trips, and the traveling process in general both come with several disadvantages.
In an ideal world, traveling would be a “con” free part of life. Realistically, traveling can be quite tricky. Here are the ten worst disadvantages of traveling, so you can meet them head on.
1. Costs | Travel is Expensive
The costs that go into funding your travel can be quite extreme.
Domestic travel is often cheaper, but when you want to explore outside of your country, you are usually faced with expensive prices.
Even when the airfare costs are reasonable, you’ve got to contend with:
- The cost of accomodations
- Ground travel and transfers
- Eating out
- Tipping costs
- International phone and data charges
- Admission and tour fees
- Souvenirs and gifts
International travel is a dream many people have. That dream can be immediately crushed when your finances and travel budget don’t comply with your traveling bucket list.
Some people may never make enough money to travel due to their low income and high costs of everyday life.
Others who earn extra money they can save may put some money aside every once in a while. The sad thing is, saving up can take years, and can raise an issue if you don’t want to wait that long.
Worse, some people put their vacations on their credit card and spend years paying it off at high interest rates.
Even those who are able to actually travel still end up enduring crazy costs when at their dream destinations.
Unfortunately, traveling is usually highly expensive, and can prevent you from getting to new places.
Ways to Save on Travel
Here are a few solutions you can put into action to mitigate high costs and save money on travel:
- Travel locally or plan a staycation
- Go for a day trip or overnight rather than a long vacation
- Stick to a budget your trip
- Set up a dedicated savings plan for travel
- Put any extra money (tax refunds, 2nd job, cash gifts) toward travel
- Look for the lowest airfares or take a road trip
2. Planning | Trip Planning is a Lot of Work!
When you haven’t traveled before, planning a trip is a confusing task!
You can invest hours of research and preparation to enjoy a well-planned trip.
First, you have to familiarize yourself with the location you’ll be visiting.
You have to learn about the activities, prices, and other features of the destination. You’ll want to take into account:
- How long each item on your itinerary will take to experience
- The time and means of getting to the destination
- The travel time between activities
- The cost of admissions, tips, and transportation
- Whether places might be closed when you want to visit
- and more.
You also want to make sure of any special entry requirements, such as immunizations or COVID testing.
You have to research which hotels will be a good fit, in your price range, are near to your activities, and has a room available for the dates you want.
After you do your research, you have to purchase plane tickets (after finding a good flight), pay for the place to stay, register for events and attractions, and consider extra factors such as trip insurance and health insurance.
Once you have paid for everything, you then have to confirm that your passport is up to date, your medical information is on-hand, and you have a visa for specific countries that require tourists to have them.
Now that you have the complicated steps finished, you have to pack and get other supplies ready for your trip. Oy!
It can take weeks to plan a trip, and some people don’t have time or the experience to thoroughly plan.
Better Ways to Plan A Trip
But what you can do to make trip planning easier is:
- Break the tasks down into smaller bites so you can do a little at a time
- Enlist the help of someone who is a more experienced traveler (even better if they’ve been where you’re going)
- Download free trip planning and packing sheets to make sure you don’t overlook important steps
- Sign-up for hotel and tourism newsletters that will let you know of sales and price-drops
- Install trip-alert apps that will let you know the best time to buy flight tickets
- Work with a travel agent who can coordinate all the moving parts; usually they can save you money, too!
Figure out which approach will make your trip planning easier before you get in too deep.
3. Fear | Sometimes Travel is Scary
Exploring new places evokes fear or anxiety in some travelers.
That’s because going to an unfamiliar place can be overwhelming. Each country operates differently, so there are tons of things travelers are unaware of when at a new destination.
The process of getting to a destination can also be a fear starter. The fear of plane crashes is common and can cause great distress. It can even prevent you from ever stepping on a plane.
You might be afraid of getting lost in a strange place. Perhaps you’re worried about the safety of a certain place. Maybe you won’t like the food, or not understand what people are saying in a foreign place. These are legitimate concerns.
If you’re unable to adapt to new situations, recognize that traveling may not always be a positive experience for you.
Ways to Overcome Travel Fears
You can try to cultivate a different outlook. It might mean getting some therapy for your fear of flying, or it may simply mean being better prepared for certain situations.
- Register your trip with your country’s embassy if you’re concerned about travel safety
- Do some research before your trip to decide which foods might best agree with your tastes
- Make sure you’ll have access to GPS on your smartphone, or print out or purchase some good old roadmaps
By evaluating exactly what you’re afraid of, you may be able to take the steps that help put your mind at ease.
4. Weather | It’s So Unpredictable
Weather isn’t always predictable. Worse, it can ruin your travel plans.
Even if you look at the forecast the day before you go, the weather can change and impact your trip.
Every day, planes are cancelled because of storms. Bad weather causes inconveniences for millions of travelers.
Besides delays, weather at a destination can be harmful. Many people are victims of tropical storms when they visit popular destinations.
Since weather is never fully predictable, it is a huge traveling disadvantage.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather. That’s all there is to it. But you can cope with it.
Dealing with Bad Weather on Vacation
Here are a few weather-related travel tips:
- Watch the forecast and be prepared for it with the right gear, like an umbrella or hand-held fan.
- Plan your trip during the best time of year for a visit.
- Pack appropriate clothing for the season.
- Have a back-up plan in case of bad weather, like a cozy clothes and a good book.
- Adjust your travel itinerary activities to those better suited for a rainy day as needed, like visiting a museum or going shopping.
5. Injuries | Be Careful While Traveling!
It happens. Injuries do sometimes occur when you travel, like twisting an ankle on a cobblestone walk or tripping on a day hike.
More serious injuries are usually caused by trying out new activities like zip lining and other adventure sports.
And, some countries do have deadly animals and insects that can pose a threat to you as a tourists. If you aren’t careful, your trip can be a life threatening experience.
That does’t mean you shouldn’t travel. You just need to be careful!
Preventing Travel Injuries
So, of course, the first thing you want to be sure of is that you’re aware and careful in all that you do. Stay present even though you’re “wowed” by your new environment or enjoying a few cocktails. That doesn’t mean you can’t try new things, but use caution.
Try not to be too impulsive when it comes to adventure travel. Do the research and realize the risks before taking on anything that could result in a serious injury.
If the place you’re visiting has dangerous wildlife, like Rattlesnakes in Arizona, or the Cone Snail in the coral reef of the Caribbean, do some homework. Find out how likely it is that you’ll encounter this danger, how to recognize it, and what to do if you do.
That way, in the unlikely chance you find yourself face-to-face with this threat, you can act accordingly.
Finally, it’s probably not a bad idea to pack a few first-aid items, like bandages and pain reliever–just in case..
6. Language Barriers | Wait, What?
Language barriers can make your vacation very frustrating.
Travelers who only speak one language, and aren’t familiar with the national languages or language of where they are staying, will face several struggles.
Without clear communication, you could get lost, misunderstand, miss out on certain activities, or worse, fail to get help in an emergency.
Don’t let this be you.
Overcoming Language Barriers While Traveling
So what should you do? Like many of the other disadvantages of traveling, this one can be solved (to a degree) with preparation. Here are ways you can overcome language barriers:
- Take a course to learn conversational Spanish (Greek, French, Chinese, etc.)
- Install an app like Duolingo to learn the language before your trip
- Practice important phrases using cheat sheets and flash cards
- Rely on Google Translate while you travel
- Carry a pad of paper to draw what you’re trying to communicate
- Ask if the person your speaking with knows your language
These solutions are most helpful when you have time to practice a new language before your trip. But in a pinch, look to Google Translate.
7. Vulnerability – Especially When Traveling Alone
Traveling alone may be a good idea if you want to be independent, but many individual travelers may feel at higher risk for danger. That’s one of the big disadvantages of traveling alone.
When you go on trips alone, you may be vulnerable. (The flip side of this is when you travel with someone, you may not get along!)
Locals can recognize tourists and take advantage of travelers without a companion. This vulnerability can lead to a lone traveler being robbed, assaulted, or even kidnapped.
That’s the worst case scenario, and of course, most of the time, you’re safe. If you’ve ever traveled alone, you know how empowering it can be! Still, you’ll want to take some preventative steps as a solo traveler.
Reducing Your Vulnerability as a Solo Traveler
Here are some common sense things you should do as a solo traveler for safety’s sake:
- Let people at home know where you are
- Take appropriate precautions to help prevent personal theft
- Avoid places where you may not be safe, like alleys and tougher parts of town
- Take a self-defense class so you’re more able to defend yourself
- Avoid putting yourself in potentially unsafe situations, like drinking too much, taking rides from a stranger, or letting others know you’re alone
Most people in the world are wonderful, but there are some dangerous ones. So, make sure you think that through and have a plan for different circumstances you may encounter if you will be traveling alone.
8. The Time-Suck | Travel Takes Time
Traveling eats up a lot of time, yet it can seem to pass in a blink!
Think about it.
If you’re not self-employed, requesting time off work may take a while.
Then, once you are approved for the time off, actually getting to your destination will be an even more lengthy process. A trans-continental or international trip can eat up 2 days on both ends of your vacation time.
If you’re crossing the International Date Line, you lose (or gain!) even more time.
While you’re in a destination, getting from one point to another may waste hours because you’re traversing the countryside or stuck in city traffic.
Then before you know it, it’s over.
The more time wasted on a trip can make it less enjoyable, so it’s another of the disadvantages of traveling. Time is valuable, so traveling requires a significant time investment.
Dealing with Time Issues
First, like the weather, accept that time is out of your hands.
What you can do is plan out your trip so you don’t waste time on things like missed flights, traveling during rush hour, and going around in circles on your itinerary.
You’ll also want to add a buffer into your activities so you’re not time-crunched. That alone will ease the pressure you might feel when you’re running late.
And, for those times that you do end up waiting, plan to enjoyably pass the time reading a book, taking photographs, writing postcards, or some other pre-planned activity.
9. Disappointment | An Unfortunate Reality
After investing your time, money, and effort in a trip, the last thing you would want is to feel disappointed. Sometimes though, you will feel this way.
Ultimately, it’s our expectations of how our traveling experiences will go that can hurt us. We may have dreamed that the place we always wanted to go to would be perfect. But once at a location, many of us travelers get a tough reality check.
Perhaps you’ll find the activities you planned are boring, or the scenery is unappealing. Don’t worry – many people feel disappointed a bit after their trips. However, you can play a role in minimizing it.
Avoiding Travel Disappointments
Remember that travel destinations are advertised to be perfect, magical places as an incentive for us to go there. When travelers realize how their dream destination truly is, they are often disappointed. That doesn’t necessarily mean the trip wasn’t fantastic.
The best thing to do is to go into a travel experience with an open mind and some curiosity. Sure, it might be exactly as you hope it will be, but it may fall short. Don’t write-off the whole experience because of that.
Instead, look for the unexpected moments, the unadvertised beauty, the unprecedented experiences before you. Don’t forget those who don’t even have the opportunity to travel, and make the best of the opportunities you do have.
That way, the only disappointment will be when it’s time to go home.
10. Jet Lag | Post-Trip Depression
Now that you are already sad that your trip is over, jet lag will kick in only to further dampen your mood. Jet lag is the exhaustion caused by adjusting to a new time zone and routine. When you arrive home, getting used to your regular lifestyle may take weeks.
This can put you behind at work, your social life, goals, and your interests or hobbies. A low-level malaise about missing the trip is also another disadvantage after you travel. Travelers lose focus on parts of their regular life because they crave the enjoyment of exploring the world. You spend all this time looking forward to the trip and then once it’s done, it’s done.
The exhaustion and desire to still be on vacation is one of the lasting disadvantages of travel.
Minimizing Jet Lag and Post-Trip Depression
So, what you want to do to avoid jet-lag is to try to get on the schedule of your location as soon as possible.
That means even if it’s midnight at your home destination when you arrive in Lisbon, you want to get on Lisbon’s eating and sleeping schedule as soon as possible. And vice-versa when you get home: return to your home-town time-zone for eating and sleeping immediately.
You’ll be less likely to suffer from lasting jet lag, or at least you will adjust more quickly this way.
As far as feeling post-trip depression, you have a couple of options. You can take the time to capture your travel experience in a scrapbook, on social media, and write about it to relive and fully appreciate your trip. But that’s only going to go so far. Then, you can get on to planning your next trip.
Either way might help you feel better when you’re not traveling.
Final Thoughts on the Disadvantages of Traveling
These disadvantages are encountered by a vast majority of travelers today. Though traveling can be a wonderful experience, it also comes with negatives as well. While it’s important to acknowledge each of them, it’s also good to do what you can to counteract them.
After all, let’s face it — travel is awesome.
Author Bio: Emily Henry writes for Write My Paper. She writes about traveling content.
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