Bad Travel Days | The downside of travel

bad travel days

“Oh you get to travel the world all the time, that is so awesome!”  is the reaction of most of my friends and family. And yes travel is awesome!

The latest photo on social media pictures a beautiful beach somewhere exotic and me sipping on a fresh coconut while enjoying the sunset. This is after all what most of the people imagine travel days to be like.

But it’s not all sunshine and lollipops… You had a bad day at work; well guess what, sometimes you have a bad travel day too.

Here are a few of those moments when things go wrong whilst traveling.


I’m sure we would all like to stay in those awesome 4-5 star places, but when travelling for a longer time, simple and clean is usually all you need.

Whether you book online, ahead of time or follow the advice of a guidebook for the best places to stay, at some point of your travels you will end up sleeping somewhere rather grim, noisy, smelly or simply uncomfortable. The reasons for it can vary.

You arrived late and you are too tired to look for something else. The entire city is booked out for some other sport/concert/festival/holiday event.

You booked online and although the room is the same as advertised on the website, in reality, it leaves you disappointed (you couldn’t have known there was a karaoke bar underneath or that the room was really 12sq m.) Well, you know what they say: “You better sleep on it.”

Bad Travel Days - Accommodation

Arriving late night in Belize City has forced us to stay in this room

Bad Travel Days - Accommodation

The upside of staying somewhere grim. You tend to try harder to find something cozy and clean in your next city.

Bad Travel Days - Accommodation

Getting a free upgrade on a stopover in Qatar


Whether you are flying, taking a train, bus, van, tuk-tuk or a taxi I can guarantee you there will be a moment where the saying “It’s not about the destination, is about the journey” will get a whole new meaning.

A simple flight from Nepal to India can turn into a spine-chilling experience when taking off from a notoriously short runway in an old congested aircraft.

The 24-hour bus ride to Vietnam can quickly become 32-hour journey. “Don’t worry, very comfortable, you get VIP bus, reclining seats” is the reassurance from the ticket seller before the journey. However the reclining seats are designed for much smaller people, so most western travellers can only lay sideways.

Your overnight train-ride includes a carriage full of Russian workers drinking vodka and singing all night.

Your cheap rental car in Bali is a great deal until you find out that the brakes aren’t working whilst your rolling down a massive hill!

The Indian taxi driver with bloodshot eyes will drive you across Delhi without using brakes, blinkers or stopping for red lights.

And the taxi car in Cuba is missing part of the floor so you can see most of the road underneath. A real insight into Havana, don’t you think?

Bad Travel Days - Transport

A comfortable bus ride with reclining seats. Sadly, the seats were far from comfortable.

Bad Travel Days - Transport

Renting a car in Bali for 20$ a day – winning. Finding out the breaks don’t work as you’re rolling down the hill – not winning at all.


When nature calls, you gotta go. Not as easy while on the road. The definition of “bit unclean” and “rather smelly” can unexpectedly reach a whole new level.

From squad toilets in Vietnam, a hole in the ground in rural Kyrgyzstan to the un-flushable restroom at the gas station in Texas. Not to forget the open pasture intended as a pit stop on a bus journey in Bolivia. You know you had too many bad travel days with toilet tales when you get excited about provided toilet paper or a toilet with a seat.

Bad Travel Days - Toilet

After hours on a bus somewhere in Vietnam we were pleased to have a stop for the toilet break. Sadly the toilet did not meet our expectation.

Bad Travel Days - Toilet

Female public toilets in the hutongs of Beijing. Hope you are not shy.

Bad Travel Days - Toilet

Going to the toilet in Japan seems always pleasant. The toilet even has an option to play music!


When travelling, food becomes more than just a food. It becomes a task and a chore of every day.

Where am I going to eat? What am I going to eat? Will I be able to buy/eat something tasty and satisfying? Every traveller would have a great story of that time when they ordered a meal, which turned out to be a disaster. In fact, food can easily tip a good day into a bad travel day.

You will inevitably turn into a vegetarian in certain parts of the world, after walking past the butcher shop. It could be that your included lunch on a day trip might consist of hairy llama meat or questionable stew that you cannot identify.

The excitement of devouring your first lasagna in Italy is crushed to pieces as you are served a frozen meal.

You will find a hair in your meal and yes, you will get diarrhoea at some point.

Was it the fish from the market that has been reheated for the second day? Or the Milkshake that tasted funny?

After some days of traveling in Central Asia, Cuba or Burma, you simply settle for a chocolate bar as a dinner instead of trying your luck to get a tasty meal.

Bad Travel Days - Food

Trying to buy food in a foreign language can be challenging. Pictures usually help.

Bad Travel Days - Food

Walking the streets in India will eventually lead you past a butcher shop. We remained vegetarian for the rest of the trip.

Bad Travel Days - Food

A small pizza shop in Cuba. It might not have passed general standards of hygiene, but the pizza was tasty.


Yes. Bad Travel days do happen. But luckily the good travel days outweigh the bad ones, so here’s to another sunset on the perfect beach somewhere in Thailand.

Happy travels everyone!

How about you? Have you had any Bad Travel Days you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

I was born in Slovakia, a small country in the heart of Europe. I always wanted to see the world, learn languages and experience other cultures. So I packed my bags at the age of 18 and left to do it all. I've lived in 6 different countries, speak 5 languages and I am currently on a trip to visit every country in the world. Hopefully I'll be the first European woman to do so, with many more to follow.

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