As travel ramps up more, mixed in with all those amazing destinations and fun experiences can be some of the realities of travel – delayed flights, difficult receptionists, confusion on where things are, etc. How you handle some of those inconveniences will greatly affect your overall perception of the trip.
A recent travel issue and handling challenging situations inspires this week’s article…
What’s your travel mindset?
Fifteen years ago, before I got into the travel industry, my husband and I were on a Northern European cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We had hit some hiccups in regard to transportation getting to Stockholm and then to the ship. When we finally got on board, I immediately headed to the spa to make my appointments. There was a long line of folks, and a number of people grousing about the line and the fact that they didn’t know they could book online ahead of time, and how all the good spots were already taken. There was this gripe, gripe, gripe mood going on, and quite frankly, I got into it as well. I was standing there thinking my annoyed and irritated thoughts, and then it dawned on me – ‘We are on this incredibly beautiful ship, we’re going to have amazing food and explore an area of the world we’ve never been to. We are so blessed.’
I went back to our stateroom, and told my husband the story, and then said, ‘we’re going to have a fabulous time every minute of this trip, and whatever little irritations come about, we will ignore them’. Any inconvenience was ignored, and we focused on being grateful for the wonderful opportunity to travel. It was an incredible trip and our positive attitude turned into a great relationship with the crew everywhere we went on the ship, and an invitation to dine with the general manager.
I tell this story because of an incident that happened recently, when a cruise ship in the Dominican Republic “made contact with the channel” – otherwise known as running aground, so the cruise had to be cut a few days short. The cruise line provided full onboard services to the passengers for the next two to four days until they could get the guests scheduled on the charter flights the cruise line arranged to fly the passengers back to the US, refunded the clients in full, and offered them a Future Cruise Credit for 100% value of the cruise.
In one of my travel agent forums, an agent shared that her client was onboard, and described the experience as ‘the cruise from hell”.
Other agents also had clients onboard, and one commented that her clients were very happy with the way things were handled by the cruise line. Those clients were having a great time, eating, drinking and going to shows on the ship until it was their turn to get the charter flight back to the US. Others were enjoying spa appointments and ziplining and enjoying the virtual reality games.
It’s a choice of how to respond, and you have to consciously choose which way you’ll look at things.
One of the topics in mindset is that what you focus on, expands. So if you focus on no spa appointments, or lack of service at the one bar, or the three hour flight delay, or that you can’t get the shore excursion that you wanted, you will stay in that space of unhappiness – and invite more of it. But if you focus on all of the fabulous sights you get to see, the little moments of exploring, the interactions with the locals, and look for the goodness in each step of the journey, your trip will be joyful. When you focus on the wonderment and amazing things that you get to do when you travel, the little things that come up will stay exactly that – little things.
There is a mindset of traveling well – of appreciating the incredible blessing of being able to explore the world as we get to do, and ignoring the inevitable inconvenience that will come up. The long lines, the flight delays, the cabby that charged an extra $10 – they definitely will happen, and they are not worthy of your focus and attention. You can look past those to the other aspects for your trip. The effect on your psyche of all those occurrences can be mitigated if you focus on the joyful experiences that are coming your way as you travel – that is the mindset and attitude to pack on every journey.