Combating Travel Crankiness

After an hour and half check-in line for my favorite Ryanair flight (note sarcasm), an hour of standing in line just to board because they don’t assign seats, and a delayed flight to Pisa, I was left somewhat cranky on travel. The last bus to Florence from the Pisa airport left at 12:20AM. Otherwise I would be faced with waiting for another bus at 1:30AM, arriving to Florence around 4AM. Arriving to the baggage claim at 12:20AM, my crankiness only intensified for I knew I had missed my bus.

The miracle of miracles, my bag was the first on the baggage claim. I dashed through the moving doors to the exit with a whole audience of waiting Italians looking for their loved one’s just off the plane. Appearing ridiculous, I made the bus, hopping on 7 minutes late. They waited for me and probably received the biggest smile I have ever mustered.

My actual “travels” last week back from Portugal reminded me there are a million things to hate about travel. Ryanair. Delayed flights. Pushy flyers. No matter what, there is one thing that will push the crankiness aside and travel will redeem itself. My travel redemption came from an Italian bus company, that general kindness of waiting for a delayed flight to see if anyone else wanted on the last bus to Florence that night.

I realize I was extremely lucky to make that bus, to have my travel crankiness put aside. In the process, I came up with ways to deal with travel crankiness for the not so fortunate. You should never have to go sour on travel.

Keep In Mind, It Will Be Over Soon

At the time, plane, train, or bus travel or delays can seem never ending. Stop looking at the clock. It will all be over soon. I say this now because today I look back and laugh at how crazy I must have appeared to those Italians waiting at arrivals, scurrying to make my bus. It seemed like the end of the world if I missed by bus, but if I had, I would have dealt with the situation. Remind your travel crankiness, this too shall pass.

Stop watching the clock

Drink and Eat Something

Realizing I won’t get in until 2AM to Florence to a refrigerator full of ice cubes, I made myself eat before boarding, despite not being hungry. Even if you aren’t hungry and face a potentially long journey, eat, drink and be merry. An empty stomach will only intensify crankiness, creating a combination of anger and hunger I like to call “hangry”.

Don’t Take It Out on The Innocent

This is something I need to keep in mind constantly when travel crankiness plagues me. Delays, lost baggage and missed buses shouldn’t be the fault of innocent check-in clerks or passengers getting in your way. If you wouldn’t take your travel crankiness out a dog, don’t do so to an innocent human being. Not everyone is aware what you have been through so don’t expect them to know your travel problems.

Would you take your travel crankiness out on me?

Laugh Through Your Travel Crankiness

Even in the most ridiculous of circumstances, find something or someone to laugh about to set your mind at ease. The sky may be falling but it doesn’t have to be. Laugh at the ridiculousness of your travel situation. A good chuckle can relieve stress building up in backpack hunched over shoulders. Standing in the hour plus check-in line for Ryanair, a few Italians walked up to me asking if it was the right line. When I said yes, they exclaimed and clamored but in a jovial manner. I’m taking a note from the Italians here and throwing my hands in the air while laughing in the process of a travel hiccup.

How do you combat creeping travel crankiness?


  1. says

    Coffee and chocolate! As I feel that cranky fire start to build up inside of me, I make a beeline for the nearest establishment that sells coffee, and I buy a cup, no matter what. If it has chocolate, then all the better. One of my favorite memories of Kuala Lumpur was when I dragged myself into a Starbucks at a mall and ordered an iced mocha and the tall, dark, handsome barista smiled at me, a weary American girl, sagging all over his counter, and asked if I would like an extra shot of espresso. For free. I forgot all about the heat and the humidity and the squat toilets of Malaysia and gave him a big smile and had a much better day after that.

  2. says

    Great tips, Suzy. I was really amused by your word for being hungry and angry, “hangry.” Haha, I’m gonna have to start using that one.

    When I start feeling cranky about travel, I try to remind myself, like you do, that everything will be different in a day, or an hour. There’s no point sweating the small stuff. Plus, sometimes the travel delays and mishaps wind up leading to even better adventures and stories than the original plan would have. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes. So I try to remind myself of that. And if I come face to face with an unwanted situation, I try to just take a deep breath, think happy thoughts, and not dwell on it too much. If I took anything away from living in New Zealand, it’s the whole “no worries” attitude. Probably the best souvenir I could have brought back!

  3. says

    Cranky IS going to happen to everyone on a long trip. It is one of the things (along with travel depression) that you have to be ready for and deal with. For me, I just take time off when either hits. Take a day just to go to a coffee shop/bar and read a book. Or browse the internet and get tons of news from home, even on just mindless topics. Basically take a mental health break day.

    Good post — as always — Suzy.

  4. says

    Good Post. I agree with Amanda, sometimes when the “worst” happens you end up with something better. I have really great memories of 6 hours at the TGI Fridays in La Guardia Airport when we missed our plane. We just started trying cocktails down the list.

    I learned of an acronym for things that will cause you the most stress and most likely to push into panic when I was dealing with attacks.
    HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
    Fix these things first and most other problems are rally easily dealt with.

  5. says

    This is brilliant. I lost my temper recently while traveling and immediately regretted it. It’s amazing how helpful it can be to stop and take stock for a moment.

  6. says

    Hehe… I can so realate to hangry. What a great word. I definitely get hangry at regular interval which can lead to great travel woe.

    I think the more I travel, the more I realise that when something goes wrong there is no point in spacking out about it (I’m actually writing a post at the moment about my worst travel spacks… I’m pleased to find they have lessened over the years). I must be becoming wise. Yeah… probably not :). I think you are right, that laughing is a great way to relieve that stress. If something goes wrong it’s much more pleasant to be around someone who laughs than someone who throws a massive tantrum.

  7. says

    Very helpful post! I just know before going on a trip that plans are going to get changed and so that way I’m not disappointed and I just view changed plans as a new adventure. Chocolate and champagne always helps…or if I’m REALLY stressed a visit to a local spa. :)

  8. says

    I always try to remind myself that my travel experiences include every minute that I spend abroad – the good, the bad and the worst. A hiccup in travel plans ultimately becomes a part of my adventure and then it depends on my attitude as to whether or not the moment will be remembered in a positive or negative light.

    If we’re lucky enough to be traveling, a long line or a delayed flight sure isn’t anything worth ruining our day over!

  9. says

    Food works wonders for me. I definitely find myself getting cranky at the airport when Im hungry – so even if I have 10 minutes until boarding – I try and find something to eat

  10. says

    oh, Suzy- Ryanair! That airline is the pits (we flew them when we went from London to Genoa in route to Cinque Terre). waking up and knowing that I have to deal with Ryanair puts me in the worst mood!! Totally agree with you on the food and drink tip. snacks are a must- and usually make everyone more agreeable.

  11. says

    I can totally relate! I used to be able to handle those long, long flights easily, but now I find them so tiring, and traveling with a child makes them even harder. I always remind myself that it’s part of the journey and, more importantly, that whatever is making me cranky will just be a memory. No matter how bad it is, it’s over the next day, and life continues on as normal.
    I have heard bad things about Ryanair, and this confirms it– sounds like a terrible company!

  12. says

    Great Post!!! I can so relate to this! Having just finished backpacking China for 2 months which included a lot of overnight trains and busses and scarcely any sleep there were many occasions I was wearing some awful cranky pants. I’ve always found sitting outside in the fresh air helps to combat the anger, also ice-cream always if it’s summer and coffee never goes astray!

  13. says

    Tea and piece of cake are always a good remedy for my crankiness. Great advice. We’re heading from Warsaw to Krakow by train today. I think its a local train, which means it might be rough. I hope Krakow has some good tea!

  14. says

    First of all, you look brilliantly angry in that photo!

    I take travel crankiness as being part of the journey, and accept it for what it is. It’s all part of the journey and those little moments, like when the bus driver waits for you, makes it all worth it.

    Oh, and I make sure to drink plenty during travel days – cause that help with the stress as well!

  15. says

    I can relate to this in many ways… I do get “travel cranky” every once in a while. But what helps me overcome it is to always keep in ming that there are many things that are out of my control and that me being pissed off will won’t make the situation any better.

    Crankiness will always be part of any trip, I find it fun and laughable too (at some point). Besides, like they always say, you have to taste the sour to appreciate the sweet. You just have to avoid having the sour ruing your trip and experience.

  16. says

    Oh how I’ve been there so many times. Agreed that if you’re hungry it can get 10 times worse.

    If I’m not hungry sometimes I go for a beer. I’m not a huge beer drinker but I find that if you sit at a bar people will often start a conversation with you and it softens my furrowed brow.

    It’s usually when I’m lost so often people also will tell me where I need to go. It’s a win/win.


  1. […] Today we have a special blog post – our first interview with a travel blogger! We are very pleased to feature the very talented travel blogger Suzy Guese, who is answering our questions from Italy! Definitely check out Suzy’s travel writing at, and be sure to read her most recent, and very funny, blog post entitled Combatting Travel Crankiness. […]

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