Unless you are returning to a location you have been before, you are making reservations and plans like everyone else. You make plans based on information you can get from trusted sources. Reviews on internet sites and recommendations from family and friends are top sources for this kind of information. What happens when it all goes wrong?
Recently, we found ourselves on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam. We had made a reservation for a week at what looked to be a nice boutique-style resort. It had several small bungalows which surrounded a nice pool. It appeared to be a 5-minute walk to the beach, and it had great reviews and the amenities we were looking for.
We arrived in Phu Quoc on the speedboat ferry and caught a cab to the northern end of the island. It was about a 20-minute cab ride. As we got closer to our accommodations, it became more rural as the busy city faded away behind us. Turning off of the paved road and onto the all-too-common red dirt road, we came upon our destination, where, much to our surprise, a cement truck and pumper were working right out front.
It seemed that the reviews about this place were so good that the owner was adding a whole new building with about 12-15 more rooms. There was an entire crew there spreading the new concrete floor to the 4th story of this new structure. We asked the front desk if this was going to be continuing, and she told us no, but we weren’t sure we believed her. About 6:30 that night, the truck and crew left, leaving us to peace and quiet. . . until the karaoke started across the street. These two things are not uncommon in Vietnam at all. The economy is growing, and tourism demands more hotels and restaurants. The locals work all day and love to unwind in the evenings with some beer and singing.
Our bungalow was the closest to the road, and there was more construction happening about a block away, so there was a very steady flow of trucks driving past our unit. The open-air design of these awesome bungalows did not help reduce the noise, however. It sounded like it was all happening inside our room. After two nights, we made the decision to go to another resort altogether.
After a day on foot around our neighborhood, we discovered that it was pretty far from the center of town and therefore had limited options for eating. We also discovered that the area we were in was going through major changes, as much of the property was being bought by foreign investment firms in anticipation for the opening of the new cruise boat dock being built. The beaches that were close were charming, but they were hardly a place you would sit and relax. There was not a restaurant nearby that could supply you with cold beverages on a hot day. It was more of a local spot for families to cool down and even bathe in the evenings.
Many people will ask for another room or even just deal with something so annoying that it has a negative effect on their stay and entire trip. Don’t be afraid to pivot and make a bold change. We were able to find another place, now that we were armed with information we did not have when we were booking from 100 miles away. We had been there for two days and were more familiar with the particulars of this place. We found a much more centralized place that was quiet and in the middle of the kind of things that make us happy. It was the right decision to make and saved the trip. Rather than just sucking it up, we moved and had a much better experience.
Travel Tip Tuesday – Don’t be afraid to make changes in your itinerary. The little bit of inconvenience could be the price to pay to really enjoy your trip!