Girl sits in Machu Picchu

What They Don’t Tell You About Travel

Social media often misleads people into thinking that travel is cheerful 24/7 but I’m here to tell you that that’s not so. This does not affect my love for travel in the least, but I want to paint a more balanced picture. Travel can quickly become stressful and induce anxiety. I’ll start with my story.


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What’s In This Article?

  1. How My Dream Trip Got Affected By A Jamaican Strike
  2. Life Happens When You’re Busy Making Plans
  3. Benefits of Travelling
  4. Seven Tips to Prevent Travel Stress
  5. Wrap Up

How My Dream Trip Got Affected By A Jamaican Strike 

Finally made it to Peru in the end

On my first international trip from Jamaica since the pandemic, I booked a trip with my partner to Machu Picchu in Peru. This was a bucket list item for us in many ways– first time travelling together internationally and our first time in South America. It was also my first time leaving North America, and my first of the world’s Seven Wonders. Therefore, this was a high stakes thoroughly planned trip and we were super excited. 

However, the day we got to the Montego Bay airport for our departure, we sensed that something was off. There were a lot of travellers and little to no staff.  Every now and again, we’d overhear whispers from the few staff present about a strike. Eventually we got a formal announcement confirming same. The Jamaican air traffic controllers had striked at our international airports in protest for new equipment and better wages. The workers felt as if they had exhausted every possible channel for months leading up to the strike– and the strike just had to coincide with our major trip for which we worked hard to carve 8 days off. To make matters worse, getting to Machu Picchu required a flight to Panama City, a connecting flight to Lima then a domestic flight to Cusco. We had the times of these 3 flights perfectly synced so that we would’ve arrived in Cusco 20 hours after leaving Jamaica, and then we left about another 20 hours to acclimatize in Cusco for a Palccoyo Mountain excursion. Palccoyo was one of our two major excursions in Peru, the other being Machu Picchu of course. 

Found a small comfortable hotel called Verney’s Resort in Montego Bay for $9000JM/night (US$65/night)

Long story short, we ended up having to find a place to spend the night in Montego Bay and rescheduling our domestic flight in Peru after getting confirmation of our new international flight times. This meant we had to cancel Palccoyo too, and I’m grateful that that refund was processed quickly. Also, we had to reschedule our hotel and airport transfers. Imagine having to do all these last minute adjustments after planning your dream trip down to the tee for months! The Montego Bay hotel stay and last minute domestic flight reschedule also costed us close to US$200 each, putting us over budget.


Life Happens When You’re Busy Making Plans

I shared my first travel misfortune of sorts to say: life happens when you’re busy making plans! As a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason, I decided not to stay mad for long. Instead, I was just grateful I still got to go and remain grateful that I have reasonably good health and the means to travel! 


There are lots of things which can go wrong while travelling including:

  • Lost or delayed checked baggage– to avoid this problem, I travel light with a carry-on and backpack.
  • Getting sick or injured abroad and needing to navigate the health care system in a foreign country
  • Getting lost, worse if you don’t speak the native language fluently.
  • Flight delays which can result in missing a connecting flight 
  • Getting scammed, robbed or pickpocketed
  • Lost or stolen documents
  • Hidden fees and going over budget
  • Racism and prejudice 
  • Feeling drained during and after your vacation because of changing time zones, lots of travelling between different airports or different modes of transport. Also, if you like active vacations with lots of hiking or watersports, you may need a vacation after your vacation.

Benefits of Travelling 

That being said, should this stop you from travelling and enjoying the benefits of travel? I think not. 

  1. Travelling takes you out your comfort zone and challenges you to think on your feet.
  2. You get the fulfilling experience of meeting new cultures, food, music and sights. 
  3. You meet new people which widen your view of the world.
  4. The memories and lessons you learn make for interesting stories and last for a lifetime.

Tips to Prevent Travel Stress

  1. Travel with only a carry-on and personal item. Not only do you save money by not having to check luggage, but this will allow you to move smoothly through the airport and prevent luggage mishaps like lost bags. You save time as well, which is very necessary for persons with connecting flights to catch and a short layover.
  2. Leave wiggle room in your travel itinerary. If you plan every day to a tee, it is more stressful to make adjustments if one of those excursions doesn’t go according to plan. Also, if you wind up getting ill or having jetlag, you’ll be happy you left free time in your schedule.
  3. Get a SIM in the country you’re visiting to allow you to get in touch with locals while there e.g. hotel reception, tour guides.
  4. Download an offline map such as from Google Maps, or obtain a physical map so you can gather your bearings and avoid getting lost.
  5. Travel with as few valuables as possible. That goes for expensive cameras, laptops and jewelry– unless you absolutely need them. Securing these items can be a pain.
  6. If traveling to a country with an unfamiliar language, learn a few important phrases before you go such as greeting words and how to bargain/ haggle. Carry a guidebook or download a translation app such as Google Translate. Also, always research cultural norms and current affairs of a country before visiting.
  7. Keep physical and digital copies of all travel documents such as your passport, visas and vaccination cards. Find out if the country has a consulate or embassy for your country, and try to locate it or have a general idea of how to find it. It can be a nightmare replacing those documents if they go missing while traveling, but at least the copies will make it easier for them to get replaced.

Wrap Up

Have you ever had any travel mishaps? Please share them below. Also, I’ll start my Peru travel series soon. The week I spent in Peru was easily the best in my life so far so I’m super excited to share everything I did over the next coming weeks.

Lastly, subscribe to ensure you don’t miss new posts, and please purchase my books on Amazon.

Take care! ‘Til next time.

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Published by

Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a travel blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. The blog is curated by Rochelle Knight, a junior resident (M.D.) in internal medicine and published author. She began the blog in 2016 as a medical student & wants to see the world, starting with her home country. Purchase her book 'SIGHTSEE JAMAICA' on Amazon and join her in Jamaica!

22 thoughts on “What They Don’t Tell You About Travel

  1. I greatly appreciate your honesty! My least favourite part is border patrol. I learned a good trick though. I have a book called Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds and I hold it, or sometimes pretend to read it when I am waiting around in the border patrol area. I make sure the officers see the title. They are a lot kinder to me because of that, I have noticed. Same thing with luggage security. Although, I wouldn’t do that trick when I am entering the USA though. I know US border guards too well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing is that if you carry that book, they assume you are a Third Culture Kid, so they expect you to stay one step ahead of them (even if you aren’t). I tell this trick to everyone, even non-TCKs if it makes their lives easier at the border!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. really looking forward to hearing about how you found Peru, Cusco and of course Macchu Picchu! It’s a brilliant spot and looks so peaceful in your photos! So glad you were able to do this and get away finally! and it goes to show, it’s not just covid that can muck up your plans!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Andy! It’s been a blast and you’re so right. Peaceful is a perfect adjective to describe Machu Picchu. The only thing disturbing its peace these days are us– the hundreds of tourists who visit daily. I hope the rest of my trip is uneventful 🙏🏽


  3. I was so surprised when I saw you went to Peru! What a great choice of international trip after the pandemic (at least, after the worst of it…). It is true that there will be inconveniences during travel, whether big or small, but going in with the mindset of accepting the way it is, as well as having plan B (and C) makes the issue just a tad more manageable. I don’t know if you’re still in Peru, but if so, continue to have lots of fun– I’ve been enjoying your posts on IG!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I’m on my way back home today which is why I’m replying to everything so slowly, ha. I’ve been trying to absorb all the experiences without my phone or Internet as distraction. I ended up not even buying data for this trip!

      Anyway, that attitude is amazing to have. We just have to expect the unexpected and be ready to switch to plan B or C as needed. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart broke a little bit reading how things started but so glad your entire trip wasn’t derailed! Thank you for the helpful tips, as I’m thinking of doing my first non-US overseas trip for my 30th!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Rochelle, thank you for sharing these tips. The last time I went on a trip was two years ago on a mission trip to Uganda but I haven’t gone on a personal trip. I’ve been to Ghana but it wasn’t for leisure purposes. Honestly, social media portrays a lot of things but it’s not what it really seems.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same, I was so upset in the moment but I understand their plight. The new salary packages the GoJ is ‘trying’ to roll out this year will either result in even more brain drain or a civil war real soon. I’m about to make significantly less as a doctor in the public sector too if their new salary packages come to pass.. but anyway thanks dearie! One day late, but not denied 🙂


  6. We once spent a whole beach vacation stuck in Mexico City because of a strike, but the city was really great. But oh how great – you beat us to Peru and even hiked to the peak above Machu Picchu. We’re still planning our trip. I was advised that I needed my eye doctors advice because of my bad glaucoma but he had no idea why I should be concerned about several days at high altitude. Regardless of your delays I am really envious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Man, that sucks. I’m sorry you had to experience that. Ha, I can’t wait till you get to visit! I don’t think the slight raise in intraocular pressure is significant once you are still on your eyedrops but of course, please get a formal visit to ensure you’re fit for travel. The high altitude is much more likely to affect your breathing though. I never quite fully adjusted to the altitude 😅


  7. So happy for you! Sorry for the difficulties you experienced but it didn’t stop anything because delay is not denial! I am also so curious about this trip and I’m looking forward to the additional posts. Even in international travel you make such unique and interesting choices because I would have never thought of Peru for a vacay! I am so intrigued 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I like that saying a lot. Delay does not equal denial. Girl, Peru has been a dream. Machu Picchu is actually a heavily visited tourist destination and now I see why. It’s not overrated at all. I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long for the other blog posts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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