Holidays from Hell: How to Survive When Things Do Not Go to Plan on Your Break

We’ve all been there. You plan the perfect getaway, envisioning days of relaxation, adventure, and joy. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, things don’t go to plan. Flights get cancelled, weather turns bad, or worse. While a “holiday from hell” experience can feel like a nightmare, it really doesn’t have to ruin your break. Here’s how you can make the most out of a holiday when things go awry.

Embrace the Unexpected

When plans fall apart, it’s natural to feel frustrated. But try to shift your perspective. Embracing the unexpected can lead to some of the most memorable experiences. Instead of fixating on what went wrong, look for new opportunities.

While having a detailed itinerary can be helpful, flexibility is key to handling unforeseen issues. Allow yourself some wiggle room for spontaneity. If a particular activity is canceled, use it as a chance to discover something new. Ask locals for recommendations—they often know the best hidden gems that aren’t in guidebooks.

To avoid stress, flexibility must apply to your finances as well. If you are hit with sudden extra charges then it can often feel very painful – disproportionately to the extra money you have to pay. The smart way to think is to go into any trip expecting to be hit with the odd extra charge. Then, if you are lucky enough to avoid this then it can feel like an extra bonus.

Stay Positive and Patient

A positive attitude can significantly impact your holiday experience. Stress and negativity only make bad situations worse. Practice patience and try to find humor in mishaps. Remember, the way you react to situations can influence the overall mood of your trip.

Other travelers can be a great source of support and camaraderie when things go wrong. Share your experiences, exchange tips, and maybe even join forces to explore new options together. You might make new friends and create shared memories that turn a bad situation into a highlight of your trip.

Plan and Pack Smart

Packing smart can make a huge difference when faced with unexpected events. Bring essentials like a small first-aid kit, extra snacks, and an emergency contact list. A good book or a deck of cards can help pass the time during delays, or for days when the weather doesn’t turn out as you would have liked. Also, consider travel insurance to cover potential disruptions or emergencies, even if just for peace of mind.

Before you travel, it’s wise to have a backup plan. Research alternative activities and accommodations in case your original plans fall through. This preparation can save you a lot of stress if things go wrong. Remember that with modern travel apps it should always be possible to find last minute accommodation, wherever you are on the planet. Knowing you have other options can provide peace of mind and allow you to adapt quickly.

Take Care of Yourself

Stressful situations can take a toll on your well-being. Ensure you get enough rest, stay hydrated, and eat well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will help you handle challenges more effectively. If needed, take a break to relax and recharge—whether it’s a nap, a quiet walk, or a meditation session.

Documenting your experience can be therapeutic and rewarding. Write about your adventures, take photos, and record videos. These memories, even the frustrating ones, can be looked back on with fondness. Plus, sharing your story might help others in similar situations.

Remember Why You’re Traveling

Lastly, remember the essence of travel. It’s not just about the destination but the journey itself. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural enrichment, focus on the bigger picture. The bumps along the way don’t define your entire trip. Keep your sense of wonder and curiosity alive.

When plans fall apart, it’s natural to feel frustrated. But try to shift your perspective. Embracing the unexpected can lead to some of the most memorable experiences. Many snags might feel painful at the time, but were less so when you look back on them. Remember that the most important feature of any trip is about spending time with the people you travel with – whatever else happens.


While no one wishes for a holiday from hell experience, how you respond to unexpected challenges can transform a potential disaster into a rewarding adventure. By staying positive, flexible, and prepared, you can make the most of any situation. Embrace the journey, with all its ups and downs, and you’ll find that even the worst holidays have the potential to become unforgettable experiences. Safe travels!

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