The more I travel the fewer places seem boring or disappointing, although you might think it should be the other way round. Coming to this point in my attitude to travelling took some time and wasn’t easy.

Do not compare.

Learn not to compare between places. Only a few places can be THE BEST, so all the other ones will have to be ‘worse’. So, do not compare, and you won’t talk about bad or worse places.

Angor Wat in Cambodia or Bagan in Myanmar? Which is better? – this is the argument that I hear more and more often among travellers to South-East Asia.  

Do not expect too much.

The higher your expectations, the more difficult you’ll find it to meet them. You might have seen stunning photos, but when you get there the weather is different and the light not good enough. Or, you might’ve read colourful descriptions and you expect to see the place the way the writer saw it a few years before. No, it won’t happen – it’s going to be different. Always.

Do not assume that touristy places will be bad.

Many independent travellers claim that you should avoid touristy places as they are too commercialized, too crowded, too messy. Still, the very same tourists go to those touristy places to check out themselves and they come back (well, of course) disappointed, complaing what a waste of time it was.
Sometimes it’s worth visiting a place in a different season, or even at a different time of day, or even better, from a different side – then, you might actually find out the place is worth seeing.
The famous places are famous for a reason, right?

Chitzen Itza (Mexico) at 8 in the morning and at noon – get up at the crack of dawn to arrive at the gates when they are opened and you’ll have the place for yourself!  

Take your time.

Lack of time, and rushing around are your biggest enemies. You need time to fully appreciate a place. I stopped counting how many times I’ve heard compaints that place X or Y was a waste of time – all those opinions voiced after a short visit to a city centre or a neighbourhood of a railway station. No, this is not how you find out if a place is worth visiting or not! Take your time to wander the streets, drink a coffee in a cosy place, look at the people, observe. Give yourself time to get to know the place.

Think about the day of the week.

There are days and there are days.
Travelling is the only time when I’m not really fond of weekeds. Cities become empty and it’s hard to learn about their true character, and everybody goes away to admire nature (which makes admiring nature difficult because of all the people around you). If you don’t like the place at the weekend, give it a chance on a weekday (or vice versa).

The town of Popayan in Colombia was pleasant enough at the weekedn, but empty. On a weekeday it was bustling with life and seemed a totally different place! 

Travel around.

Many people think that travelling in your neighbourhood is boring, no exotic sights, no fascinating stories, nothing unusual about people. It’s surprising how many people cannot appreciate what they have around – you need to keep your eyes and ears open – there are superb people and stories everywhere!

Travel far.

The further you go, the more interesting, isn’t it? Well, not always. It might be more interesting the first time you go there, or the second, or even third. But then… everything becomes familiar and you miss this first-timer’s excitation. You need to learn how to be happy with things you know. Or the things you seem to know, because although some places might look similar they are not. And you are absolutely wrong when you say that all South America is the same or all small European towns look alike.

Prepare yourself!

I’m not too keen on preparations, I’d rather experience unexpected. However, I often observe that many disappointments could have been avoided if one’d prepared better for the trip. If you read, you’ll know how much it rains in the rainy season, or that not all beaches are white and sandy.

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Not all the beaches are as white and sandy as this one…

Leave your bad mood at home!

It is only your fault! Noone can help you if you’re grumpy or moody!. If your attitude towards world is bad, if you are hurting (for whatever reason) or pissed off with what’s around, the whole world seems to be awful. To you. Only. So do not judge the world depending on your mood.
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Let us be different!

Everybody is different as are our preferences. Define your goals, plan, avoid places you know you won’t like (do go sunbathing for a week, if you prefer hiking in the mountains), take a bit more money, lots of good mood, be positive towards people and curious of the world.

No travels will ever be boring with the right attitude!

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  • Nice article! Shared it on Twitter! I agree about the “bad mood”, sometimes I find myself grumpy that no matter where you’d put me, I still wouldn’t like it. That’s why I love slow travel, grumpy moods usually last a day and the next day you are ready to truly appreciate the place :-) I tend to do quite a lot of research about the place I’m going to, the more you learn, the more value you get out of the trip I think.

  • Thanks for an interesting post! I was in Cambodia on my solo travel trip, and on the 2nd day i broke my phone! I told myself to enjoy the trip and stop thinking about it!

  • I love this and it is so true, I haven’t been anywhere yet that I really disliked or thought was boring because I always search out something interesting to do! It annoyed me when I heard people saying similar things about Bratislava but I honestly think the problem wasn’t the place but it was their attitudes.

  • You are so right, your travel experience is so much about attitude. I also try to avoid the most touristy places at the most crowded times and especially when it comes to food, I try to find my own gems. Nothing is more disappointing, when I am offered an English menu in a far away place. I am ready to get up and leave, when I see that.

  • Great points! Every destination may not be exactly what you want, but there is something good in every destination.

  • So much truth here! That’s true. If you are bored, it’s not anyone’s fault. I believe I’ve already mastered the art of finding my own joy in everything that I do. It’s difficult but helped me in the long run. I don’t get bored anymore! I now know how to be happy being ‘with’ myself. :) Thanks for this honest insight! Xx

  • Great attitude to have! I think the key is to find the happy medium between planning enough to avoid disappointment and leaving room for the unexpected.

  • I couldn’t agree more – although I’m sometimes guilty of some of these too, haha! But yeah, it all boils down to our own attitude.

  • I have my preferences, but I could never fairly compare one place to another. With different stories and histories in each, there is always something to love- anywhere I go!

  • Completely agree! Absolutely love this post. Trying not to compare places is one of the best things you can do in my opinion–yes, you may like one place more than another, but if you are focused on comparisons, you won’t see the place you are in for what it really is. Throwing all comparisons and preconceived notions out the window helps you focus on the beauty of the place you are in. Love the tip about thinking of the day of the week too–that’s an important one that can make such a huge difference!

  • This is a great post. Every city has a personality and sometimes you just don’t click. I have friends who actually didn’t like Paris or don’t like New York. Is it because of the hype or maybe they just didn’t click with that city

  • How can travel not change a bad mood to a good one? :)
    Nicely thought of and all good considerations…as much as we would like to be unplanned, every destination matters too much to go unplanned for now.
    Cheers :)

  • I so totally agree with you. You nailed it! With every new place I go, I appreciate what I see and experience more and more. Everything depends on attitude and expectations. One thing that bothers me these days is that people forgot (or never even realized) the primary purpose of travel. Instead of learning, experiencing new cultures, broadening horizons, seemingly, all they care about is to snap a photo (in many cases selfie) and rush to the next landmark.

  • Sarah

    Great article!!

  • Love this. I like to say that only boring people get bored. If someone is bored when they are traveling (or at home or doing anything else) then they need to change how they approach travel or whatever it is they’re doing.