With the nonstop stream of dreamy destinations on Instagram it’s hard to imagine anyone having a bad time while traveling. Even I don’t like to admit when I’ve had a hard day. But if you travel long enough or far enough eventually you will hit walls and have bad travel days. This usually happens to me when I’m on long trips and have been away for awhile. These are four times that it’s happened to me.

Vientiane, Laos

My friend Emily and I had just left our travel companions after two weeks of non stop action together where everything and every place had been a high. In general, arriving in Vientiane was pretty underwhelming as a city. There weren’t the same cute and welcoming hostals that we had found in Luang Prabang or Chiang Mai. We walked up and down a few streets and finally just settled on something that looked halfway decent but definitely not our first choice.

After getting food we were just so exhausted but we felt like we had to do something during our one night in the city. We forced ourselves to see two sights before going straight back to our rooms and literally lying in bed watching bad tv (I believe we watched the subtitled and very bad horror movie Piranha) and proceeded to be vegetables for the next 24 hours.

I have no regrets about doing that at all. It was what we needed at the time. Sometimes you just need rest.


This was back before wifi was everywhere and we were still trying to find accommodation on arrival. Something much harder to do in a big city like Singapore. Nowadays with so many apps and websites right on my phone I probably wouldn’t ever be in this situation again but it was part of the adventure back then.

I was with my same friend and it was at this point that we were really starting to hate our big backpacks. We hadn’t done that much research and had no idea where the usual area was for hotels and hostels. After taking the metro to the Holiday Inn Express, realizing it was a little pricey for us, trying to find somewhere else in the hotel lobby with their computers, we finally gave in and decided to splurge and just stay there.

The second part? It was late and we hadn’t eaten dinner, we went to Little India which was closed and there was no food to be found. We were grumpy, unhappy and hungry. We wandered the empty neighborhood before finally getting on the train again to find a bar on the water. Even though we never got dinner that night, it ended being a great evening of conversation and drinks.

Puno, Peru

Oh Puno, I’m still not sure how I feel about you. Because I hadn’t researched ahead of time that you usually go from Copacabana, Bolivia across Lake Titicaca to Puno and then into the rest of Peru I was going the wrong way.

I took the bus from Cusco which was fine. But on arrival, I had to carry my suitcase up what seemed like a million stairs because of the altitude. I got there and they couldn’t find my reservation (because I had booked the wrong dates, oops!) and when they gave me my room, it had no heat (it was cold!), no wifi and no windows. I also had no idea what I was going to do in Puno. I just remember crawling into bed so miserable and being so excited to wake up to start all over the next day.

The next day did end up turning around. I got a new room, with heat and windows and wifi. The weather warmed up and I got my bearings on the city and the day. I even had a pretty great meal.

Bogota, Colombia

So to start. I did not want to come to Colombia. Well correction. I didn’t want to come to Colombia that day. I was coming off such a high in Peru that Bogota kind of slapped me in the face. I think the universe wanted to remind me I was too comfortable and that traveling isn’t supposed to be easy. And I wasn’t on vacation. I was traveling.

I was a little bit disappointed that I was coming to Colombia so soon. I had originally planned on going from Lima to Quito, Ecuador for a Galapagos and Amazon adventures but after I did the math it was just too expensive.

The cab to the airport from my hotel in Lima was supposed to be a short 30 minute ride. And then the whole thing started. The traffic was miserable and it ended up taking an hour to get there. I arrived, checked in and went to my gate. Then I found out there wasn’t assigned seating and I was in the last zone. My phone battery was dying and my extra charger died so I couldn’t listen to music so I could save my power for my arrival in Bogota.

I arrived and for some reason I was so befuddled at the ATM that I only withdrew about $30. I found a cab driver and quickly realized that the accent was completely different than in Peru where I become so comfortable with their Spanish. I made it to my hostal but was 1am in the morning. There was major confusion with my reservation and after my credit card refused to work eventually I found my bed and passed out.

And then…Bogota. I will say Colombia is one of my favorite places but Bogota was not part of that. I tried to “dive right in” as my friend recommended but I just couldn’t like it. These were probably a few of my least favorite days in all of South America. Thank goodness I finally got to Medellin and Cartagena and fell in love with those cities.

Have you ever had a bad travel day? Tell me about it below!