Alina’s Biggest Travel Regrets

I haven’t done a tag in a long, long time! And I haven’t even been tagged for this one, I just stole it from  here 🙂 I try my best not to have regrets because as brilliant Robbie put it, “they don’t work.” That does not mean I have never gotten anything wrong, especially when it comes to travel! I did and I’d like to use those moments as lessons to do better on my next trip.

1. Istanbul, Turkey – not seeing the Dolmabahce Palace. Yes, my friends, I’ve been to Istanbul three times so far and each time I managed not to see Dolmabahce. The first time, I was traveling to meet my boyfriend’s family, so at lest I had a good excuse. The second time, we arrived at Dolmabahce on the one day of the week when it was closed down and the third time I just did not plan my time there right.

Photo by Anton Lefterov, via Wikipedia

2. Oludeniz, Turkey, being way too tired to see everything. I’ve spent three weeks in Oludeniz, three wonderful weeks visiting beaches, taking cruises and going paragliding. Saying it was great or fun or one of the best vacations ever would be an understatement.

I was however exhausted for the most part. Crazy two years at work with no vacation, being the only driver (about 1200 kilometers from Bucharest to Oludeniz, and I did it all in 26 hours with two longer breaks – 2 hours for sleep and 1 hour on the ferry). All I wanted to do most days was swim, stuff myself with Turkish food which I adored, catch up on my reading and get a nice tan. I did drive around a lot, but I didn’t manage to see half of the things I wanted to see. In retrospect, my new found relaxation went down the drain the moment I stepped back into the office, so I could have pushed myself a little harder and see more of the region.

3. Wasting precious hours of my vacation on things I should have left home. This I think is a habit I’ve picked in the past couple of years. It happened during last winter’s trip to Prague and again this summer in Dusseldorf. I spent two perfectly good half-days (ok, more, almost a full day each time) in stupid arguments, debating problems that were not fixable and that could have waited till I went back home. Unless you’re traveling long term, everything that isn’t urgent and life changing should just be left at home, you can solve it when you go back. I knew it was silly the first time, I guess I had to do it twice just to make sure!

Prague just before Christmas

4. Ever feeling bad because other people acted close-minded. I am Romanian, and while I say that with all the pride in the world, it does not mean there is no bias or full-blown hate when it comes to my nationality. This June, while I was driving from the Netherlands to Dunkerque to catch the ferry to Dover, I stopped at a gas station to fill up the tank and a much needed toilet break. I was greeted by this message:

I felt like crap for a while. Although I had heard stories about fellow Romanians having issues when traveling, or when trying to rent an apartment as students, or when working abroad, this was my first such experience. I’ve been traveling abroad for the past 16 years and my first such experience was at 29. I was pissed, I told all of my friends about it, I immediately decided to never ever set foot in Belgium and never spend any money there. I later figured I’d have to cross off half the world if that was reason enough for me to skip a destination. I also realized I was doing the same wrong thing – blaming a whole country for the actions of just a few. I drove through Belgium about two weeks later, and it was absolutely awesome.

Who else feels like sharing their biggest travel regrets? Consider yourselves tagged!