How do you deal with travel disappointments?

Some of you who are followers of my Instagram might be aware that we were in Komodo for a liveaboard trip recently. I voiced some of my disappointments on Instagram and asked for suggestions on how to deal with setbacks on your much-anticipated vacation.

Kalor Island at sunset

Let me first start with some background. We came across an open trip on a Catamaran to the islands around Labuan Bajo and Komodo while doing our research. Our interests were piqued because most open trips were on wooden boats and Catamaran boat trips were only available via private charter.

There was nary a review online about this service provider. We did our checks and found out that they operate a resort in Indonesia and this boat trip is a new offering. We decided to take the leap of faith because we really wanted to sail on a Catamaran.

The Catamaran in front of Rinca Island

The most sought after sites on a Komodo boat trip would be the Pink Beach, the Padar Island, or the Manta Point at Komodo Islands. I was looking forward to hiking on Padar Island and taking some amazing photos. To me, Padar is the must-see spot in a Komodo trip and every boat provider has that stop prominently in their itinerary. I had built up so much expectations and excitement about hiking Padar and admiring the breathtaking view from there.

However, to my disappointment upon boarding the Catamaran, the head crew went through the boat’s route with us and all the spots that were advertised were not covered. Including Padar. The reason: weather.

I tried asking the crew members about considering sailing to Padar, only to be met with a resounding “No, big waves”. We later realised that the catamaran was only running on one engine (the other was faulty) and wouldn’t be able to sail the choppier waters to Padar. I checked on social media during those days we were on the boat and it seemed that many tourists were able to visit Padar Island with no issues.

I was so shattered. Along with other unacceptable situations that happened during the trip: broken toilet pump, no shower for the first night etc, I was pretty upset about making the wrong decision.

How do you deal with such disappointments, especially after building up such high expectations? Here were some suggestions from friends and followers alike:

  1. Try to focus on the positives to keep the mood up: I kept telling myself that the weather was great and I had an awesome travel companion. If I get moody, I will affect the mood of my companion and affect his vacation too.
  2. Drown your sorrows with alcohol: we were not drinkers but this was suggested by a friend.
  3. Plan to revisit this place again: Indeed, I vowed to do further research and plan a better trip to Komodo.
  4. Accept that the situation is upsetting and you are not alone: The other guests on the catamaran didn’t voice any comment and we weren’t sure if we were the only dissatisfied customers. We found out towards the end of the trip that we were not the only ones who felt that way!
  5. Learn from mistakes: After this experience, I don’t think I will ever “take the leap of faith” and put my money on a provider with no reviews again.

I am still deliberating whether to share my travel post on Komodo, because it felt incomplete. The islands were beautiful, the sunset was mesmerising, I got to see the Komodo dragons and I had a couple of decent snorkel trips…

Nonetheless, do share with us if you have had similar disappointing encounter while traveling! It would be great to hear from you too!

For those who are curious, you may check out this Tripadvisor thread on the boat trip that we took.

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