Ever thought over a trip and wished you could go back and do something differently? Here are some of the things which have crossed my mind at some time, whether in discussions with friends seeking advice for their own trips or the bigger ones which come back to haunt me and keep me awake at night.
But I would hesitate to categorise them as ‘regrets’ as in most cases I’ve either moved on, learnt something for the future or determined I will realistically go back and try again.
Taking the longest (cheapest) flight path or mode of transport to save money
Call me a grown up but I no longer believe it should take 50 hours to get anywhere, regardless of the savings or airline points. This happened when I flew from Rome to Wellington via London, Abu Dhabi, Sydney and Auckland. The 26 hours of flying wasn’t the problem (that was expected)- it was the average of 5 hours wait between each flight.
I’m just grateful to have never experienced an overnight train or ferry (yet), though taking the bus between Wellington and Gisborne was up there.
Abandoning my OE after 9 months
At 26 I felt like I’d really failed when I couldn’t get a job in London. But when you have limited work experience in an industry which is not hiring due to a recession and installed values which say you must have a good job, chances of winning aren’t exactly high.
I’m now watching my younger brother head off to do something I feel I never did properly. As a UK passport holder I thought I’d have another chance later, so far that hasn’t eventuated (nor has the opportunity to live overseas somewhere else in the world) and I know that the longer I leave it the more life will get in the way.
Not wanting to spend money
This includes skipping several adventure sports in Austria (though I have done similar activities in other parts of the world), not going to Octoberfest, and not paying entrance fees for various museums and attractions.
Trips get expensive quickly and that’s often in the back of my mind. But realistically whatever it was would have been unlikely to amount to more than a few hours/days pay when I returned to work had I just put it on the credit card and got on with it.
Not travelling when I was at Uni
Fitting with the ‘not wanting to spend money’ theme, I wish I had taken a semester abroad or moved away from home for University. On the flip side I got rid of my student loan much faster than any of my friends.
Being put off by queues/ waiting times
The reason I did not get to the highest Eiffel tower deck (granted my visit was at night so how much more would I have seen?), the top of Saint Peters in Rome or in the elevator at La Sagrada Familia.
Would they have been worth it? I don’t know, but I will probably keep wondering until I go back and find out.
Not dressing correctly
Another inhibitor to entering sites of tourist interest is being dressed in typical tourist garb – jandals, shorts or skirts above the knee and bare shoulders. The number of times I’ve unexpectedly happened upon an amazing cathedral (including Milan’s) and not had a scarf or cardigan to cover up with is unbelievable.
I am often relying on the photographs of others to see the interiors and stained glass windows of such places.
Not speaking up when I really wanted to do something
I really wanted to go to Wimbledon, and effectively had a whole week in which I could have done it. But between a job interview (for a job I didn’t get), a spot of rain and friends and flatmates having jobs and set days they could go, it didn’t happen. I figured I would still be there a year later and could go then.
I don’t even remember where I was a year later. By dates it was in a job I didn’t like on the opposite side of the world (which should be a lesson in itself).
Ever regretted not spending your money on the right things when you’re travelling?