Current State of Travel: Challenging/Patience Required

Current State of Travel: Challenging/Patience Required

Travel may seem a big old mess but really it’s just fine.

With business picking up, this past week has found me busy designing trips for both domestic and international destinations.  The stories being told are mostly true about the current state of travel and it can feel a bit like the wild west. 

With these headlines, you may well wonder if it’s worth going. The past 18 months have wreaked havoc across the travel and tourism industry. $5.6 billion worth of havoc and the recovery is slow with a common theme: lack of staffing, lack of supply, lack of resources. It’s frustrating and it’s making people surlier than usual. But, yes, it’s worth going, it’s how it will get better. 

What are travels current challenges? If you’ve not seen the news, here’s a few concerns…

  • Hawaii car rentals are mostly sold out until October and across the nation, the daily cost of rental cars has spiked to high prices due to supply and demand with shortages
  • National parks are overwhelmed with visitors – many parks are starting reservation systems to control the crowds
  • Flights are packed solid because of restricted routes and fewer planes
  • Passport renewals are running at 18 weeks 
  • Resorts and hotels are booked out through Sept/Oct in popular destinations

And that’s just the tiny tip of the challenges to booking a trip at the moment…  

So, let’s take a moment 

🦋 breathe in …. breathe out ….🦋 

Consider these 4 ideas to establishing a good mindset for facing the challenges of traveling right now

1. Focus on the Upsides – Travel can go sideways in a heartbeat.

This has always been true, but now more than ever, and it’s become a wee bit more common. Be prepared for this to occur, in fact, expect it, and then choose to find a way to be chill about it amid your frustration. HINT: being aggravated only gets your own knickers in a knot and makes you uncomfortable but does not change the situation.

  • Consider your airport delay an opportunity to start relaxing early. Strike up a conversation with another human being and pass the time chatting as if you are sitting on the front porch. 
  • Think of your room change as an opportunity to experience the destination in a new way, it may end up being a better way
  • Not having a rental car, that’s tough, but see how you can use public transport and really get an immersive experience with the locals

Choosing to see a challenge as an opportunity and chill is a choice.

🦋 breathe in …. breathe out ….🦋 

Your ability to fully travel does not mean the destination is operationally back to where it was pre-COVID. Long-time staff are gone, hiring/training is a slow process, and government regulations make once smooth things jagged. Patience is required!! 

2. Be Flexible – Travel is an adventure

“The strongest minds are flexible” according to Iris K. Schneider, PhD, a professor at Cologne University who studies emotions.  Each of us has a whole menu of different reactions to choose from when presented with difficult situations.

  • Choose a mindset of grace and flexibility.  Remember these are still weird times…. 
  • Purchase travel insurance, triple-check travel details, re-confirm hotels, cars, and excursions to ensure you’ve done your part. 
  • Be patient with staff if you arrive and find that they’ve had to adjust something. They are not purposely making your vacation less than what you booked. They want you to have an amazing experience, so you’ll tell all your friends.  

Part of the adventure of travel is in the mishaps, finding your sense of humor as you flex will help turn your misadventure into a memory. 

🦋 breathe in …. breathe out… 🦋

3. Be realistic and honest with your expectations and assumptions

We’ve all booked a beer budget vacation and then expected champagne level service only to be disappointed. These days even the high star properties are having some malfunctions and mishaps. It’s where the world is at. 

  • Keep top of mind that many destinations are severely understaffed, and staff are working long hours often covering areas they do not usually assist with Government regulations are strictly followed.
  • A room change might be because the guests before had to be quarantined so the room now needs to be deep cleaned and that takes 48 hours. 
  • Really read and pay attention to what your room includes or excludes. Booking a standard room and then demanding an upgrade or club level access and service just isn’t cool 
  • Read the details about the excursion you are taking – what’s included/excluded. Double-check the supplier you’ve booked with, verify they are currently in business, that they go regardless of how many people sign-up, and what the cancellation policies are.

Do your homework! 

🦋 Breathe in…. breathe out … 🦋

4. Be gracious and filled with patience

There is a quote by Stevie Nicks I quite like;

“Your graciousness is what carries you. What it is, is what comes out of your heart. If you are gracious, you have won the game.”

Sometimes at the end of a long day of travel when things go sideways, it is easy to set aside our consideration for others.

We forget that the person trying to assist us has just assisted all of the people who were standing in the line ahead of us. They’ve stood there and listened to the complaints, been told they are bad at their job, have had demands thrown at them with threats about negative reviews all while trying to maintain professionalism and get whatever the task is accomplished quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction.

  • Decide before you go that you choose to show up as the exception in their workday and be gracious.
  • Show them heart-felt kindness.
  • Offer a smile,
  • Find something to compliment to acknowledge the difficult work being done,

In short, find a way to provide them some mental relief, they aren’t thrilled about the situation either.
Allowing staff to take a breath is giving them a gift.

There may not be an upgrade resulting from it or even full resolution to the issue at hand but walking away having added to someone else’s day amid its challenges feels good. It will set the course for the rest of the experience to feel the same.

🦋 Breathe in…. breathe out … 🦋

Choose kindness, it will make all the difference for your trip. Your mindset about your trip is what will make or break it. You can choose to see goodness and delight or anger and frustration. 

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that many of these headaches can be avoided if you book with a professional travel advisor.  But you probably knew I’d suggest that. 😊 Connect with me about your next trip, email me at

At Opal & Finch, we craft custom travel experiences that connect you to your passions, to vibrant cultures, and to the world. Our itineraries are handcrafted, each trip is put together in such detail so you can temporarily set aside your professional responsibilities and truly engage with the world while you are away.
We desire that you return home rested and ready to step more boldly into your vision for the future. 

To connect with us about your next trip email us at

Inspiring Connections Through Travel
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