Did you have a glorious trip to the Mexico planned? Did you bring your Go Pro to take up close and personal photos of whale sharks? Are you already salivating over the amazing tacos you’re about to devour?
Yeah…us too. But then we got stuck in a layover city for a week.
Now, when I say “layover city”, I just mean a city we were expecting to pass through briefly. Not a sleepy town, but a city that offers minimal tourist chutzpah. However, when you travel as spontaneously as we do, plans can change quickly. And here at Destination Rogue, we roll with the punches. Not every trip will be flawless, but every trip WILL be fun because we make it fun. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with, right?
But back to the point: what should you do when your plans go awry? We suggest…
1. Rent a (reliable) car
It’ll make things easier. Chances are, if you’re in a layover city, there will be a lot of things an hour or two away. To make the most of your time, just rent a car and go on your own tour of the area. When we unexpectedly stayed in Orlando for an extra couple days, Lyft and Uber rides around the city cost significantly more than renting a car would have. Once we rented, we saw more of the city, didn’t have to go by anyone else’s schedule, AND had the options to go on trips to Kennedy Space Center, Miami, and Crystal River to see manatee cutie patooties.
Here’s the catch with rental cars, and something we learned the hard way. Rent from reputable, well known rental companies unless you’re familiar with the area. EVEN IF THOSE CAR COMPANIES ARE MORE EXPENSIVE. The lesser known car companies (Nu, Right, etc.) make their money off of extra fees and typically have much more restricted hours of operation. Sami and I caught an early flight out of Orlando and had to pay a $25 fee for dropping off the car before 6:00.
More well known car rental companies like Avis, Alamo, Hertz, etc. have cheaper insurance policies are likely to accept the insurance policy offered by your credit card company. They also have better customer service, are available 24 hours/day, and are generally easier to pick up/drop off. If the price difference is within $40, go with the better company.
2. Enjoy the small luxuries
So you didn’t get to the Bahamas, but you DID end up at a Holiday Inn Express in Atlanta with a nice pool. Lounging around in the sun is a luxury in my book. So grab your sunscreen, magazines, kindle, audio book, whatever tickles your fancy, and spend the day relaxing and soaking up some Vitamin D. You deserve a little R&R regardless of what city you’re in.
Every town had good food somewhere. Go find it! Read some Yelp! reviews, ask some locals, drive around looking for a cute cafe or dinner spot. Getting out and experiencing local cuisine is an adventure in itself.
4. Go shopping
Sami and I stumbled across an entire neighborhood in Brussels with amazing second-hand shops. We weren’t expecting to go shopping, but we also couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to improve our wardrobes. North and South Carolina have several outlet malls along the highway with incredible sales (living in Manhattan, we don’t get to scour outlet stores very often). If you like shopping, there’s something fun and new in every city.
5. Stop complaining
Boo hoo. Your trip isn’t going as planned.
We took the picture above after being stranded at an airport in Japan for 18 hours over night. And we still managed to laugh and have fun and get excited for our next destination (home).
The point of traveling is to leave your home and experience someone else’s. Every town/city/country has something unique to offer. Accept it. Take in your new surroundings and enjoy the experience.