Travel — Great Expectations for the Holidays



James Gjaltema writes on travel for the Armchair Mayor News.

Sometimes we build up a wonderful image of something that we’re anticipating, such as a much needed holiday. Disappointment can easily happen if things don’t live up to the expectations we’ve built up in our mind, or if some unexpected issue arises.

Gjaltema, JamesThe best way to prevent disappointment is to be prepared. Have realistic expectations from the start and adjust your expectations as you acclimatize to reality. For example, when I went to Egypt, I had imagined the pyramids being out in the middle of the desert, far from the city. I was disappointed to discover that Cairo sprawls right up to the ancient site.

I was able to re-align my expectations and make the most of it and look on the bright side. I had pictured myself on an adventurous camel ride to see the Sphinx; it turned out to be easy and convenient to arrange, even if it wasn’t exactly as I had envisioned.

The discrepancy between my expectations and reality in this example created only a minor impact to my overall experience, kind of like ordering a salad with my restaurant meal and getting fries instead. There are many scenarios that could have a more serious impact.

Being blind-sided by an unpleasant surprise is never fun; at least if you knew what was coming, you’d be prepared to handle it. It is a good idea to research your destination in advance. Think about what would make or break a holiday and plan accordingly. For example, if an ocean view, balcony, aisle seat, or quiet resort is important, make it a clear priority. It may cost a bit more, but you should be able to book something suitable. If you are not willing to pay extra, you can make requests, but keep your expectations low and consider it a bonus if your requests are granted.

Don’t make assumptions. If you’re expecting something and don’t get it, you’re likely to be disappointed. Unfortunately, on many flights you now have to pay for luggage, food, seat selection and more. If you’re not sure about something, ask questions to avoid disappointment.

Unexpected issues such has illness, injury, lost or stolen items or delays can seriously dampen your holiday spirit and potentially cost a lot of money. The best thing to do is to protect yourself with good travel insurance. Not all insurance offers the same coverage, so make sure you know the details of your policy. Again, it is better to ask lots of questions than to make assumptions.

Sometimes a supplier fails to deliver what they promise. If you paid for an ocean view and you don’t get one, you will be justifiably upset. A broken air-conditioner, closed swimming pool, dirty room, or excessive noise are all complaints that should be brought to the attention of the supplier as soon as possible.

It is important to have a good attitude and make the most of the situation. However, if you don’t say anything, nothing will be done to improve the situation. Don’t wait, talk to the front desk or your resort rep right away. If you ordered a vegetarian meal at a restaurant and are brought a steak, you’ll make the issue known immediately before taking a bite. You should do the same if something is wrong with your room. Don’t start unpacking, because the best solution may be to move to a different room.

If you are pleasant and reasonable when explaining the issues hopefully the supplier will find a suitable solution. Think about what would improve your experience and make you feel better. Make reasonable suggestions. If serious issues aren’t dealt with try to escalate it, ask to speak to a manager or ask your travel agent to see if they can help.

Unfortunately, sometimes the supplier won’t take responsibility and may even make the situation worse with a poor attitude and terrible service. It’s natural to feel angry, but try to let it go and move on. Don’t let it ruin your holiday. Change what you can and accept what you can’t. Try to focus on the positives and make the most of it.

James Gjaltema is a founding member of the Kamloops Travel Club and a Flight Centre Associate. He can be reached at 250-879-0873 or through his web-site:

About Mel Rothenburger (7710 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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