Managing Travel Expectations

Summer is here and with that peak travel season.  School’s out, vacation time needs to be spent, so many destinations are calling your name!  The world is your oyster and you are ready to explore it.

Chicago 2

Planning and preparing for your trip I bet you have a lot of thoughts on how the trip is going to be, what the destination will be like, how the food will taste…all of those things.  I’m sure you checked travel blogs, pinterest, Facebook, talked to friends and family and have a whole list of things you want to do.  That’s great!  Now forget most of it because in the ways of travel, things rarely happen as planned.

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I can tell you from personal experience, its so much better to have low expectations and be blown away than high expectations and be disappointed.  Case in point, I thought Rome was a city of ruins, walk-able and very…for lack of a better word…Roman.  When we got there it was a thriving metropolis with a few ruins here and there.  You could walk but everything was so spread out to make the best use of your time you needed to take public transit…and the food…oh Rome…the food was not very good at all (I blame this on off-season though).  On the flip slide, I didn’t know what to expect with Savannah and it was picturesque, better than what I could have imagined and the food was divine.  Two totally different experiences and mainly based on pre-conceived notions I had of my own.


To help you manage your expectations and really have a fantastic trip I have a few tips on managing expectations for your best travel experience!

amsterdam tuplis

  • Troll pinterest and blogs and facebook, talk with friends and family, read destination guides.  At the end of the day though, make a plan for your trip that makes you happy, not a plan that would make “someone” happy.


  • Remember that those pictures you see on Instagram/Facebook/Travel blogs…those are typically photo-shopped, might have taken hours to get the perfect shot, and are not amateur.  Don’t expect to see that exact picture on your trip its unrealistic to expect that.  Use those pictures as inspiration because that’s what they are good for.  Granted all the pictures here are all mine and have not been photoshopped but did take some time to find the right shot.


  • There is a point where you just need to stop researching.  You’ll probably know when you get to that point but just in case…that point is somewhere around the time you have so many notes and pins you cant keep them all straight.  Being prepared is wonderful, but knowing every detail about everything can take the magic out of the journey.


  • I almost want to say don’t make a plan for your trip just fly by the seat of your pants…but I’m way too OCD for that so what I will say is don’t plan your day out to the minute.  Some of the best things I’ve seen during my travels have been unexpected finds that I stumbled upon.  I do, however have sights that I want to see each day and I tend to cluster them in the same area.  Minimize travel time, maximize time at the places you want to be.


  • Don’t get upset when the weather isn’t perfect, or you get lost, or something isn’t quite what you thought it was going to be.  Things happen, you cant control the weather, be prepared to be flexible or hey enjoy less crowded streets when its raining!


  • When you book a place to stay make sure you book something you will like and not just because its trendy.  So many people are staying with Air B&B right now but I just cant do it.  Sleeping in someone else’s house in their bed using their things, that just makes me uncomfortable and I know that.  I would much rather pay a little more and stay in a hotel.  You, however may be adventurous and want to stay in a hostel and I say more power to you!  Just know what you are comfortable with before committing.  In my opinion an accommodation can make or break a trip so choose wisely


  • Expect to not see it all.  You know what they say about the best laid plans…well something almost always will happen and you will not be able to do everything…or you will hear about something super awesome after you left.  Instead of being disappointed, think about it like a reason to go back!  Tower Bridge I’m looking at you!!!

tracy arm

  • A surprise one for you…GET ENOUGH SLEEP!  Strange I know but its a lot easier to deal with curve balls when you aren’t exhausted.  Try your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep so you have enough energy to deal with what comes in the morning.


  • Expect there to be construction.  All the places I have visited have had some kind of construction going on obstructing the beautiful views in some way.  Its annoying but just like your hometown, destinations need to conduct routine maintenance.  This usually happens during the slow season but you just never know.  Don’t let some construction walls ruin your trip.  Disney is a huge culprit of this, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Disney when SOMETHING hasn’t been under construction.


  • Check the weather and be prepared for those conditions.  I have traveled quite a bit in the winter and if you aren’t prepared to be out in the cold conditions you are going to be miserable and not enjoy yourself.  The same could be said of being too hot.  As silly as it is small things like this do affect our experiences so make sure you pack and dress accordingly.


  • Don’t get so caught up in “being a local” you forget to be a tourist.  I know that sounds silly but its ok to have your camera out snapping pictures, taking corny pictures with the leaning tower of pisa, you know tourist stuff.  Some of these destinations would not be what they are today if not for your visit so you do you boo!  Don’t let being self conscious stop you from making memories.


  • Last one…Enjoy yourself!  Expect to have fun and enjoy a great destination.  Oh and don’t forget to tell me all about it when you get back 😉


CHIME IN!!!  Anything I forgot?  Where are you going next?  What has been your favorite travel memory?

4 thoughts on “Managing Travel Expectations

  1. Love this post! And I agree with everything you said! I’ve done enough impromptu trips to know I am way too OCD to enjoy that any more 😀 But I am also happy if I can manage to do 80% of the items on my exhaustive To Do lists 🙂 Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to organize my trips by planning a few “must-sees” & a few bonus sights. Sights I would love to see, but will live if I don’t. By only picking a few must-sees, depending on the number of days I’ll be somewhere I set myself up for travel success.

    I have no idea where I’m going next. I sort of find the good deals & let that dictate where I head. I haven’t seen anything I couldn’t resist yet, but I’m done with vacation for 2016 anyways, at least the big stuff. So, I’ve got some time to plan.

    Liked by 1 person

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