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How to turn your travel mishaps into experiences you won’t forget

Deirdre still can't believe SheKnows pays her to do what she loves. She began telling stories before she could even write. Once someone gave her a pen, there was no prying it away; so a degree in journalism was the only thing that made s...

Mama says, "Grit your teeth and smile"

Travel should be exciting, even if it's for business. Sometimes it seems easier to let turbulence change your mood, but finding ways to grin and bear it will not only improve your trip but probably help ya live a little longer.
Lost couple
Photo credit: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/360/Getty images

Vacations are supposed to be escapes from reality, but sometimes the real world creeps in anyway and tries to crush your hopes for an amazing adventure. The best ways to keep a firm grasp on your good mood while traveling: Wedge happiness into the routine and go for the experience, not the souvenirs.

Wedge happiness into the routine

Here's the deal. If you're flying, there will probably be rude people, screaming children and delays. Now that you've learned to embrace the suck, there are still ways you can turn that country-hopping frown upside down. For instance, wear yellow on travel days. According to one survey, yellow is the happiest color and guaranteed to put you in a better mood. If yellow really washes you out, just wear your favorite, most comfy clothes. They should have the same effect.

Another way to force a smile during rough times: Don't sit through that extended layover. Scientists have found that walking actually stimulates happiness because it gets the blood pumping and your mind crankin'. Makes sense, right? Use that delayed flight to check out the airport, get in some exercise and unleash your smile. Just make sure you skip the stilettos and opt for some seriously comfortable footwear instead.

Go for the experience, not the souvenirs

You're in a new town (or at least a different one), but are you really getting to know the place? If you're only there to troll the tourist shops, you're sorely missing out on everything a city has to offer. Ditch the guidebook and grab a local paper. What restaurant is the local food critic raving about this week? Your sister would love a mango salsa recipe much more than another magnet from some place she's already visited. What local band has the music editor swooning? Your daughter would probably get a kick out of their CD.

More importantly, go big or stay home. Beach vacations are great, but don't let rain persuade you into seeing the same shell necklace at all six souvenir shops. What's the museum like? Buy an umbrella and hit the zoo when no one else is there. Hit the aquarium and pretend you're under those crashing waves.

Cheat a little

Finally, there are some instances in which things going wrong can work to your benefit.

  • Flight delayed until tomorrow? Cry and share a sob story. You might find yourself with tickets for another trip as an apology for your inconvenience.
  • Luggage lost? You're definitely allowed to buy that outrageously expensive but super-cute dress from the shop across from your hotel.
  • Room stinks? Politely tell them you need a new, smell-free room or you're going to go buy some candles and you might find yourself in an upgraded suite. (Making a non-b****y complaint on Twitter may also prove effective.)
  • Catch something from that coughing kid in seat 16B? Stay in and pay $15 for that Bradley Cooper flick. You deserve it.

No matter what the situation, there's probably a way to find the silver lining.

This post was sponsored by Sanuk.

More travel tips

6 Effective tips for stress-free business travel
How to zap the fear of flying
Tips for backpacking as an adult

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