Travel Tip Tuesday: Three Tips to Help Check Your Traveler’s Attitude at the Gate

The single best thing about owning a bed and breakfast, besides working side-by-side with a hunky descendant of the Roman gods, is the energetic, adventure-seeking people we meet as they come through Catanzaro.

In recent weeks we’ve had a hodgepodge of nationalities representing various regions within Italy, the US, Australia and Canada. They take one step inside the door, say their hellos and we know instantly if they are going to have a memorial vacation.

We know because successful travelers have one thing in common.

They have a good attitude!

Lost in downtown Catanzaro?

They call us laughing and ask for help.

Luggage held up for four days?

They make jokes of wearing the same dress and buying new shoes.

No bus?

No problem. They walk back.

Train delayed?

They spend an hour taking pictures of the Calabrese scenery.

These people are successful travelers because they don’t sweat the small stuff when traveling. Their attitudes are adjusted well before they stepped onto Italian soil and they have made a conscious choice to enjoy their vacations.

Easier said than done?


But here are three tips to help keep your traveler’s attitude in check before your travel partner checks you in for the next flight home.

1. Stifle that inner voice.

Negative self-talk is harmful to your mental attitude, your mood and your vacation. No one wants to end up hungry in Palermo with no open pizzeria in sight, but if you allow your thoughts to focus on what you don’t have, you will miss your current journey. And you know what they say? Getting there is half the fun.

2. Find the funny.

Look for humor in every situation and you will find it. Your hotel lost your reservation, is now fully booked and you have to walk the streets of Salzburg looking for a new bed? Yea. That sucks. Believe me, I’ve been there. But instead of allowing that to ruin your vacation, think of how your best friend is going to laugh when you tell him or imagine how funny the story will be in 10 years when you retell it to your children.

3. Choose to have fun.

As with our recent B&B guests, successful travelers CHOOSE to have fun. On any given day, on any given vacation, there are countless things that can go wrong. Alarms don’t go off, the coffee is crap, the taxi driver rips you off. Are these things really more important than the vacation you’ve been planning and possibly dreaming of for years? Heck no! So don’t let them get you down. Make that conscious decision to enjoy your vacation, your attitude will follow suit and you and your travel partners will have the vacation you deserve.

What tips do you have for controlling your attitude when you are on vacation? How do you refocus your negative attitude and turn yourself around?

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!


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12 Responses
  1. Oh, Cherrye, I definitely agree!

    Though don’t you think this also goes beyond travel, and maybe making the best of the expat life?

    The past couple years we’ve faced serious challenges, and let me say that those with a good sense of humor and positive attitude are the ones who I saw, not only overcome difficulties, but actually do the best out of all of us. Yup. 🙂
    Oh, I absolutely agree. Not only does attitude affect your travel or your expat life, but it can help with your job, your life at “home,” and most other aspects, as well.

  2. Jessica

    Great tips as usual! Due to the expat lifestyle I am traveling way more than ever before and some really crappy situations always tend to pop up. But I’ve just stopped wasting my energy being mad and know that with the way things are these days, there will always be a wrench thrown into my plans: air strikes, rude airline workers, canceled reservations, Fiumicino eating my luggage, ect. But if I am happy and let it roll of my back, dealing with people becomes easier and the situation becomes manageable!
    FCO ate your luggage, too? Hungry bastards! 🙂

  3. Great tips. Will fully admit, I don’t always follow them. I am a purty high-stung, Type-A gal, but I ususally know what pushes my buttons the most. Which is precisely why I try never to take connecting flights.

    I fly direct- even if I have to pay a little more. Can’t take the possibility of running like a mad-woman with baggage through the airport to make the connection ’cause the first flight was delayed. My heart can’t take it anymore 🙁

    I’ll try your tips, with a wine chaser, breathe deeply and repeat *goose-frah-bah*..and all will be better!!!
    Having that direct flight option is nice. Sadly I don’t have that choice often. Try these tips next time and see if they help. If not – double up on the wine!

  4. I try to plan ahead as much as possible when traveling and give myself plenty of time (esp. when dealing with connecting flights).

    I’m a glass half full person and would rather have fun than stew over what went wrong.

    That said I am kinda Type A. I can roll with the punches when it’s an act of nature. I have a more difficult time when it’s an act of incompetence. Luckily I haven’t had too many of those problems. ha
    I totally agree with you on that one, NYC Gal. It is sooo hard overlook incompetence or poor customer service. Those are the times when I have to check my attitude!

  5. Excellent advice. I like to save my bitching sessions for when I’m back at home (the annoyance has to go somewhere!) 😉
    Good for you! I usually find that if I “put off” bitching, I don’t really miss it and I’ve somehow “gotten over” what was upsetting me in the first place.

  6. Good tips – especially about the “have fun” part. Things will go wrong. But if you get lost (as we did constantly when most recently in Italy) then we got to see things that weren’t on the intinerary. And sometimes they were even cooler than the ones we had anticipated. Sometimes, they just made for good stories (like the time I drove into a too-narrow street in Noceto and my patient husband folded the mirrors in on the car and directed me in backing up, turning around, and somehow getting out of an impossible spot without a scratch. Or getting towed in Alessandria. Or the eternal quest for different versions farinata (all of which tastes equally bland to me, but my Italian can somehow tell the difference). Flexibility in attitude and joy in the moment make all the difference in traveling – but also in everyday life. If you find joy in the here and now, travel will also be full of joy. If your daily life is a grind, then the vicissitudes (spelling?) of travel may also be difficult to manage.
    You know, sometimes I see people in the airports who are *so* up tight and have such a horrible attitude. I wonder why they even bother to travel if they apparently aren’t going to enjoy it. That being said, I am all about talking to managers, etc to resolve issues, but little things going wrong are NOT going to ruin my vacation!

  7. I totally agree that your attitude will make/break your vacation.

    When I missed a train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre I found another family waiting for the next train too. They were Americans (two daughters traveling with their elderly father) visiting his birth country. We struck up a conversation and bumped into each other throughout Cinque Terre and in Florence. We ended of visiting the Uffizi Gallery, dining at this great Trattoria, and enjoying each others company. As a single traveler I enjoyed the company and speaking English. We traded email, photos, and stayed incontact. Had I not missed my train this never would have happened.

    Travel Tip: With the US Dollar/Euro variance so bad I put the rose colored glasses on and think the US Dollar & Euro are equal – $1 = 1Euro. It would ruin my trip if I converted that amazing dinner I ate, the gorgeous Italian leather purse I had to have, or all the caffe’ and gelato I consumed into US Dollars. It’s vacation, plan on spending more then you thought and just Forget About It and enjoy yourself! Reality will come soon enough when you get home.
    That is a wonderful story, Ice Tea. I think it worked out for you exactly how it was supposed to! Also with the $$ thing. I “try” not to think about it, either … but sometimes that is HARD to do. 🙂

  8. j

    I’ve made a similar observation with backpacking and mountaineering which I’ve done a lot of. This isn’t really a value judgment, but it seems some people just want to be safe and comfortable while others think the adventure is worth the risk and discomfort. I bet people who like backpacking and mountaineering are the same types that enjoy traveling.

    As for price ITFM, I always think that in 10 years I’ll still remember the trip, but I won’t remember how much it cost.
    You are probably right. I also think like you do … in 10 years you’ll have your pictures, your memories and the experiences. Somehow that light bill will get paid! lol

  9. Carla from Alabama

    As the lost person with no luggage for 4 days, I appreciate your kind words. Especially after I accidentally locked you out of your house! I hope you didn’t have to wait too long to get back in.

    It really is a choice to not be upset or angry at the things you can’t control and not let things get to you. We had lots of opportunity to practice making that choice. Of course wine helps a lot.

    Mom did end up having to pay Delta for the ticket switch. My ticket was separate so Delta didn’t charge for my iterinary change and Alitalia *says* they’ll reimburse the tax (which was more than the ticket, go figure) but it will be six months or some such.

    Thanks again for your warm hospitality. I think our time in Calabria was our favorite of the whole trip. Give the kitty a pet for me!
    You are so welcome and thank you for checking in on the blog! And you are right, wine helps. I failed to mention that extra motivator, didn’t I?

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