Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing and I wish I’d had a crystal ball on my trip to South Africa last summer; instead I was left feeling cheated following a conversation I had at a market stall.
You see, I’d gone to Victoria Street Market on a day trip to Durban to browse the fine wares, and I came across some beaded food nets; you know, the nets you put over dishes to keep the flies off.
They’re a practical item and nicely made, and something that you can take home as gifts for family and friends.
I started the haggling process after being told that each net was r40 (just over £2) and asked the woman if I bought five of them, could I pay r100 (about r20 each – r100 in total – just over £5).
She agreed and I was a happy customer. Then her boss came over and started to shout “No, no. That’s not the price!”
There were two problems with this.
1. I only had r120 in my purse.
2. A few days earlier, I had actually picked up a huge table net for r21, so I was aware of the mark up.
Actually, there was the third problem of course – a deal is a deal and they shouldn’t have retracted it in the first place.
But instead of re-haggling, I decided to walk away, hoping that they might just ‘call me back’ as most seem to do. They never did – and I just kept walking.
Playing on my mind
For days later, I regretted doing that. It played on my mind quite a lot – especially as it was nearing the end of the holiday and I still hadn’t purchased gifts.
What eventually happened was that I couldn’t find the nets anywhere I was staying (Scottburgh) and I ended up buying them from the airport on the way home – for five times the price!
So that’s just one of my big holiday regrets – and it appears we all have them – from choosing a destination that was too ‘British' and travelling with the in-laws, to failing to ‘switch off' from work according to one report.
We all have holiday regrets
The survey (of 2,000 adults) revealed that more than a third have returned from a break abroad only to feel disappointment at what they did or didn’t do.
For 14% of people the biggest reason for remorse was their own bad behaviour, while 24% regretted the location of their holiday.
Being too lazy to leave the resort to sightsee, sticking to known foods rather than trying local cuisine and being too scared to experiment with different activities also leaves Brits feeling dissatisfied with their overall experience.
Other holiday regrets include choosing a destination where there was literally nothing to do, and some wish they hadn’t booked the cheapest hotel as they found they were stuck in the middle of nowhere.
As in my example, opting NOT to buy a souvenir and then wishing you had, along with forgetting to wear sun cream and drinking alcohol to excess were other reasons for disappointment.
Incredibly, 22% of those polled don’t bother getting travel insurance when going on holiday and 61% don’t think to get their vaccinations up-to-date.
The Top 50 Holiday Regrets
- Letting others dictate how you spent your holiday, rather than doing what you wanted
- Choosing a destination that was too ‘touristy'
- Choosing a destination where there was literally nothing to do
- Falling out with the people you went on holiday with
- Deciding not to purchase a souvenir and then wishing you had
- Choosing a destination that was too ‘British'
- Forgetting to wear sun cream / sunbathing all day and getting badly burnt
- Drinking local alcohol to excess
- Drinking too much on a night out and behaving badly
- Getting food poisoning
- Not bringing plug adapters
- Choosing not to leave the resort, and failing to ‘sight see'
- Not making any effort to learn language basics
- Going on holiday with the wrong people (in-laws, annoying friends)
- Failing to try local foods when given the opportunity
- Getting ripped off (e.g. not knowing the exchange rate or currency value)
- Falling into a deep sleep on the sunbed and getting sunburnt
- Being too scared to experiment with different sports and activities
- Going out on the last night before a really early flight home
- Not taking more sun lotion / mosquito repellent and paying more for it abroad
- Walking through unsafe, unlit areas at night
- Not telling your bank you're going abroad
- Failing to ‘switch off' from work
- Forgetting your phone charger
- Embarking on a holiday romance
- Deciding not to embark on a holiday romance
- Not saving space for holiday purchases
- Choosing not to pay for priority boarding
- Talking about work on holiday, instead of enjoying the holiday
- Being overly trusting when approached by people
- Trusting a local and ending up lost
- Getting to a sun bed too late to reserve it with a towel
- Not querying your hotel room on booking – so you end up with a bad view
- Forgetting your ear plugs
- Not knowing local dangers (e.g. avoiding tap water, salads etc)
- Deciding to get a really early flight home
- Leaving your passport in the room
- Sleeping with a stranger
- Booking the cheapest hotel – and being stuck in the middle of nowhere (no research on locations, facilities etc)
- Working on holiday instead of relaxing
- Being hospitalised / sustaining injuries
- Not paying extra to take more luggage
- Failing to research the hotel, and its other residents, well enough
- Not knowing what to do in an emergency (e.g. 999 equivalent)
- Getting into unsafe taxis
- Travelling without insurance
- Taking all your currency out with you
- Not knowing local customs (e.g. appropriate dress)
- Riding mopeds without helmets
- Sleeping on the beach