The main trials and tribulations of travel lovers and adventure enthusiasts are well documented. We hear about the agony of returning back to a miserable office job after two weeks diving in the Maldives (ouch!). We hear about the things that sometimes go wrong- a stolen wallet here, a missing piece of luggage there. We hear tales of terrible hostel beds, torrential rainfall on the first day of a honeymoon, eating spiders legs for dinner.
Travel guides are now in their masses, with the number of them only increasing now that the internet has turned everyone into a writer. This means that people can feel safer, more in the know and overall, more guided!
All of this means that there is a huge wealth of information out there about what to try and avoid, and what to try and do.
But here is something that we hear far less about. And it’s an issue that travelers and adventurers come up against time and time again.
How to make the next trip even better than the one before.
Consider, for a moment, that a yearly holiday is like an incredible girlfriend. You fall in love with that holiday- let’s call it a week backpacking around the Greek Islands. You fall in love with it the same way you do this imaginary girlfriend. But then, if you leave the Island (meaning metaphorically that you break up with this imaginary girlfriend)? You can feel desolate. You can feel like you’ll never love in the same way again! You believe that what you had before was special and unique, and can never be matched. You can’t even imagine going on another holiday (or dating a new girl) that is quite as good.
Well, most of us know that there is love again after a breakup. It might take some time, and some big fat aches and pains. But as that time passes, you remember just how much else there is out there.
The same thing goes for travel. You may feel like you can never top an incredible journey and travel adventure that has gone before. But you can.
This guide is here to tell you how.
First, make a list. You can write it down if you want, but just making the list in your head will do too! You need two columns. One is for everything that you loved about your last incredible adventure. The other is for things that weren’t as good or went wrong.
Once you have this, you’ve given yourself a really clear picture of things that should stay the same. This might be a specific person that you went with, who you jived well with. You wanted to do similar activities and awkward silences were non-existent. There was minimal or no bickering whatsoever. Or, it could be that the type of accommodation sorrento had to offer was so good you want to stay there again! Maybe you hired a campervan to travel around Costa Rica or Australia. Or, you loved how much money camping left you for fun events and activities.
This list will stand you in good stead because it will make it clear what you shouldn’t change. However, you will also more clearly be able to see what you should change, thanks to column two. Here, you might have mentioned that your luggage was too heavy, and slowed you down a lot when trying to carry it. From this, you can learn to pack less this time. Or, invest in a more lightweight backpack or suitcase. This side of your list might mention other negatives that were in your control, like booking 2* hotels rather than 3* hotels. So, this time around, you’ll want to take budget from elsewhere in order to upgrade the type of places you’re staying.
It is also likely to feature things that were not necessarily in your control. This might be things like unexpected rain on a sunshine holiday, or your luggage being sent to Lisbon, not Lahore! While you can’t stop these kinds of things from happening again, you can make provisions for just in case they do. So, pack at least one change of clothes into your hold luggage this time, as well as any important medication.
Making these lists does not guarantee you a 100% perfect trip with no issues whatsoever. But what it does do is makes you more aware of how you can get close to that percentage. Get into the habit of going through this process every time you get back from a journey. Over time, you’ll start to notice patterns that you need to avoid. The idea is, after a few years of doing these lists, you’ll whittle it right down to a 99% perfect trip. You can’t ask for more than that!
Something else you can do to make your next adventure even better is to upgrade some aspects of it. Even just having an extra couple of hundred pounds in the budget pot for each traveler can make a huge difference. Maybe the last time you went, you missed out on doing certain activities because you just didn’t have the funds. Maybe you passed by an incredible looking restaurant but got a fast food burger instead. Perhaps you went somewhere that has incredible shopping opportunities, like the souks in Marrakech! Except you had no money to shop.
Obviously, one option is to save more. However, you can also do something else that we have briefly touched upon already. Namely, shuffle your budget around. Let’s say your favourite part of traveling is trying new and interesting foods. Whereas your accommodation is just a place to store your stuff and rest your head. This time around, rejig your budget, so that you spend less on where you stay, and put more in the kitty for meals. The same applies to anything that you want to downgrade in favor of upgrading.
As you can see from the above, whether you have more cash than the trip before, or the same amount, a bit of maths can also help you make your next adventure better than the last. Do this alongside the two-column list we’ve discussed, and your brand new love affair will be right around the corner!