I Hate to Travel – The Reluctant Traveller

This post has been written by Ankur Bhatia (aka The Filmy Fool). Equal parts crazy & passionate, hloves to write about films & entertainment, likes to read fantasy fiction and is a fan of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere. He relaxes by listening to classic rock and is an extremely Reluctant Traveller.

It may be hard to believe but it’s true, I am an extremely reluctant traveller and I plan to share some of my travel ordeals under the Reluctant Traveller series starting with this post.

Travel for me is not relaxation or meditation, rather it is the exact opposite. Be it travel for work or vacation, it is accompanied by major stress and anxiety. I guess there are 2 major reasons for this; 1) The intense planning before the travel (being on your toes even during the travel to make sure all goes according to plan) and 2) I simply am not comfortable leaving my space (my bed, my pillows, my washroom etc.) and my routine. There are other reasons as well which I will talk about a little later. I understand that the second reason is a bit on the side of OCD and I try to overlook it as much as possible. However, the planning required for a trip gives me panic attacks.

"A friend once told me that planning is the most fun part of the vacation, at times even better than the vacation itself. I honestly didn't know how to respond to that."

Most vacations that I have been to have been planned by my wife and I know she has not had a lot of fun doing it. After planning one too many, she put her hands up. So I had no choice but to dive into the dark abyss that is vacation planning.

I had never really planned a trip before...ok to be honest I did plan a trip to Goa with my family and it bombed (details in another post). Honestly, I almost felt like Zayed Khan from ‘Main Hoon Na’ who steps into the library for the first time and there are temple bells ringing etc. Seriously, In films, they never show the ugly parts of a vacation. I mean how the hell did Hrithik Roshan plan his dare in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara when he was so busy? I keep hoping that my vacation plans don’t end up like the plans of Kirsten Wiig from Bridesmaid. Anyway, the planning starts and the next thing I know I have lost one month of my life.

And this is the story with every vacation because there are so many variables and the added pressure of missing out on something fantastic. You know how you always find people who start playing Oh My God! And they have only 1 rule, they can never lose. It goes like this, "Hey you went to this country right? Did you see THAT?", "Yes I did, it was so...” (Abruptly stopped) "Oh but did you see THAT?", "Yeah I did but honestly...” (Cut, we are moving on) "Oh the best was THAT, did you go THERE?" "No!", "OH MY GOD, how could you miss THAT, I can't believe you went all the way and did not see THAT".

"I am happy to see the waves go by with a book in my hand and jazz/classic rock playing in the background. "

So you obviously ignore such people but then there is the dreadful Internet. Filled with choices that last for pages and pages. From "all-inclusive packaged tours" to "the terrain less travelled" and from "we will do everything for you and just take your life savings" to "Do everything on your own, we will just take a small amount for....umm...you know...motivating you to go on this trip" (else you would have stayed home, watched Netflix, ordered food and relaxed).

I understand that one should not get bogged by social pressure and do what they want, within the budget they can afford. Well, I don't know what kind of vacation I want, or what kind of a traveler I am. Do I want to visit the beaten down, clichéd tourist spots? Or do I want to take the path less traveled and explore the unexplored, blah blah...discovering myself ...blah blah....you get the idea. I honestly don't know. Sometimes I want everything done for me and sometimes I don't want to do anything.

Another crazy variable is traveling with another person. Wife, friend, family no matter who you are planning to travel with, each one brings their own dynamics, do's and don'ts, preferences, and a bucket list.

"What do you call a vacation that keeps everyone happy? A Dream! "

With so much to think of and so many things to balance, who has the wherewithal to have fun? Not me. I know people who start planning their next vacation as soon as they get back from one. I feel like every time I plan a vacation, I am in need of 2 vacations. One, where I plan everything and somehow manage to hold it together during the entire thing. And two, a follow-up vacation, which helps me get over the craziness of the first one. 

44 thoughts on “I Hate to Travel – The Reluctant Traveller”

  1. i too can be a reluctant traveler, although I have different things that make me reluctant. I LOVE the planning part, so that’s never it, but I have a pretty decent fear of flying that always stresses me out, so I can relate!

  2. As I am a travel lover, I cannot relate to Ankur so much. As for travel planning, he can take planned customized tours to keep away that homework. Even these services take care of visa services too. But many people love their comforts of home and have the different perspective. Loved to read about theories of reluctant traveller.

    1. I find it hard to believe that someone can hate the actual travel part. The planning and organising – sure. But being in a new country, exploring something new – that’s my favourite part of travel!

  3. I get so anxious purchasing my airfare! I research everything there is to do for weeks before committing to my flight times and no matter how much I research or how many days I add for padding, I’m always short on time. So frustrating!

  4. Good to see a different point of view although I don’t relate to it. I think for me the most stressful thing used to be going to office every day and waiting for the day to end. he he… which is why I left that life behind.
    But everyone has different preferences…

  5. An interesting perspective. I can relate to aspects of it. I hate the planning, the anxiety and unknown factors around it, and the act of going from point A to point B, but once I arrive, all that goes out the door and I can relax. I use to plan every detail of my trips (which is why I probably hate the planning process!), but now I only just have rough plans and figure it out as I go. This has gone a long way in making it more enjoyable!

    1. I personally love the planning part. But over a period of time, I’ve learned to keep some flexibility in the plan 🙂

  6. If you hate to travel, why do it? If it’s stressful and not enjoyable, it seems to me the better thing to do would be just to stay home.

    I used to read this one blog where the couple really just seemed to hate travel. They complained about everything in every place. I really could never understand why they even bothered to go when they were clearly going to be miserable.

    1. Well, I guess sometimes when you’re a couple, one does it because the other person really likes to!

  7. I like to mix it up. A bit or rest and a bit of adventures. I love planning vacations but it is the visa process that causes anxiety. Both me and my husband like to roughly plan the outline and then just play it by ear. We love the flexibility rather than sticking to a rigid itinerary.

  8. Well, I can hardly call my trips rest.. carrying backpack and going to mountains doesn’t sound like…
    But I stil love it. I have enough of comfortable chairs in the office, I look for freedom.

  9. We used to plan a lot. Now, we just book our 16 weeks of timeshare and go to the places they tell us to when we get there!

  10. Such an honest post and happy he talked about how he really feels about planning trips and the actual trips but It’s funny that some people can really immerse themselves into planning (some enjoy the planning more than the trip) and there are others like Ankur who absolutely hate planning. I guess from the things I’ve learned over the years planning isn’t really a stressful procedure for me, I have my go-to sites to check the basics out and get ideas of costs and a rough idea of what to see and do.

    1. I agree, while some people think it’s stressful, others like me enjoy it almost as much as the actual trip 🙂

  11. I really enjoy planning for trips – researching where to stay, places to visit and where to eat. However, I do understand that there is so much information out there you feel you don’t want to miss out on any sights. We like to take out time travelling and if you don’t have time to fit everything in, just do it next time when you return. I do all the planning and researching … I think my husband finds it stressful though so he can relate to Ankur!

  12. I understand your point of view on travel (I am the opposite). For you, that is why cruise ships are great and organized travel groups – they do everything for you. Not my choice, but I have lots of friends who prefer to let the planning and worry to someone else.

    I started my blog because I do such a great job at planning and people love to take my advice on travel. I also share how to be cost efficient. We visit both well-traveled and less traveled areas.

    I am one of those who starts thinking about the next place as soon as I get home – and why not if it allows us to be in the moment, making the most of it while traveling. I wish you great travel experiences!

  13. This is definitely an interesting perspective for me, as I’m the opposite of your poster Ankur. I get immense pleasure from researching and planning a trip, it’s not something I find at all stressful! I’m also very lucky that my husband is my ideal, and totally compatible travel partner.

    1. It’s the same with me, I love planning and research, it’s kind of the most important part because it builds up anticipation 😉 I found Ankur’s perspective quite interesting as well, mainly because it’s the complete opposite of mine!

  14. Love that Ankur was so honest about this! Not everyone loves planning, and not everyone would love to leave their routines.

    I used to LOVE planning so much, but lately, I’m like eh – maybe because I was feeling stress with graduate school, work and internship that it was just simply overwhelming for me to even make a plan. Now, I’m getting back into it since I’m done with grad school, work, and internship. Anyways, this post is really enjoyable and made me smile 🙂 Pretty much thought of myself and my boyfriend, even with my friend who I travel sometimes with.

  15. Thanks for this very honest blog post. I totally understand the stress that comes with travel planning. My husband and I usually share the planning. And then the blame when something doesn’t quite work out as planned. We have tried tour vacations where someone else does all the planning. But find we usually have more fun when we plan it ourself.

  16. I definitely relate to this, the planning can definitely be very stressful sometimes. It’s always worth it though – I’ve never regretted going somewhere!

  17. Loved reading the post. We travel to escape from our mundane corporate life…. no self-discovery or exploring the less trodden path for us too 😉 But, we love travel planning and all the excitement that comes with travel.

  18. Haha I can relate to this to some degree, but you still go? Have you ever been on package holidays where you allowed someone else to do all the planning? I totally know what you mean by loads of these points, but I am SUCH a travel addict I can’t pretend I’m not that person who is already planning their next holiday before they are back from their last. It drives my husband mad!

  19. Hahaha, My husband could totally relate to your dilemma. While I love travelling and planning our vacations, he just gives up the minute we decide on vacation. But yes, the option on things to do in a place boggles me most of the time, and the OMGs as well hahah.

    1. I know, right. For some people, it becomes all about checking the boxes and no matter how amazing an adventure you’ve embarked upon, as long as you’ve not done the ‘key’ things, your vacation just wasn’t complete, according to them 🙂

  20. Haha this is so funny! OMG-person, I have meet many during my trips! It doesnt matter if you tell them that you have seen a pink elephant flying and they could still go “What! You havent been there??”…

    I totally respect Ankur! And my husband is the same because this way I have all the control and the power to decide where to go and what to see.
    He just comes along and be the greatest travel partner ever!

    1. I think it’s perfect when the two partners are complete opposites – one loves to plan and the other doesn’t. It gives the planner total freedom and the other peace of mind to just sit back and enjoy the vacation which has been perfectly planned already 😉

  21. Oh god this is so sad. I cannot imagine feeling this way about travelling as I love the planning and the actual trip. I know people who hate the planning though. Maybe one way to overcome this is to not plan and just turn up at the airport and book something on the spot

  22. My partner isn’t the best traveller, but loves it when we arrive. I actually like the planning stage; it’s where you get to see the best things to do and see in a new destination! Travel is definitely what you make of it; just be sure to come home with good memories than bad ones!

    1. I guess some people just need everything to be laid out on a platter so that all they need to do is land up and enjoy the destination 😉

  23. I am so with you on planning! I never understood how people thought that was fun. Although I love travel and do it often, I always find the planning stage very stressful.

  24. Hahah! I am the complete OPPOSITE! I love to travel and the planning part is just as exciting as the actual experience. For the planning part creates the anticipation which is all part and parcel of the travel process. And I love to travel with my partner and daughter. Whilst I’m sure we are polar opposites, I can empathise. Maybe next time pay someone to do all the planning and you just get on the plane!

    1. I hear you, Amy! I love the planning part of travel as well, almost as much as I love travelling 🙂 But I can understand my guest writer’s point of view, not everyone sees ‘planning’ as anticipation, for some, it can be quite stressful!

  25. Ankur this is so so relatable, ’cause I share the OCD syndrome ? with you… and to top it my travels include a teenager boy and a little princess, I can moan about the issues for hours …. but in the end I do like holidays ?
    So as long as everyone promises to be happy with what we get and not compare it to the internet DREAM HOLIDAYS… it can work out…?

    A good read and a realistic view to travelling ?? looking forward o the next one !!!!

    1. I so appreciate reading your blog Ankur. While friends plan out of country travel with enthusiasm I feel so guilty for saying no thank you to their invitation to join them. The stress of planning minimal local jaunts is all I can handle. Home, books, pets….
      I look forward to your future posts.

  26. Fantastic. Too good. Finally someone like me. A courageous confession indeed and very hilarious one to read. Looking forward to more.

    1. I don’t think this is you at all! You love your excel sheets and print outs 😉

      1. I refer to the packing/unpacking and the disturbance it causes in my smooth daily schedule. Waiting at airports for hours and flight delays make me feel I have lost control over my schedules.

  27. Hi Ankur. I am grinning from ear to ear as I read this!! I could relate to everything you said. The anxiety behind the planning gets to me too. And so like I delegated all the planning to my husband. I am so bad that I dont even plan the weekend stuff. He checks out the movie listings and books for them too. While I kind of enjoy myself when I am at a nice resort, getting there is stress-filled. And of course, since I do none of the planning, if anything goes wrong, I blame my husband!! :(:( To add to it all, I often pack only the night before and we have also missed our flight once (didnt check the time on the ticket properly)!

    Looking forward to your series fellow reluctant traveller…esp the Goa trip! 🙂

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