Things to Do When Your Travel Itinerary Did Not Go as Planned

I recently went on a trip to El Nido, Palawan with my family. El Nido is famous for its exciting island hopping tour where travelers can dive or snorkel to see magnificent coral reefs nestled deep into the Philippine sea. Unfortunately, in our three-day trip to El Nido, we have seen none of that. Yes, not even one coral.

When the morning of our island hopping tour came, we were informed that all water tours were cancelled by the Philippine Coast Guard. From our hotel, the weather seems perfect: bright sky, calm winds, and not even a drop of rain in sight. Little did we know that in the sea just a few kilometers away, there were strong currents ready to capsize our boats.

You see, this particular trip was six months in the making: six long months. You could just imagine our disappointment especially that we missed work and invested quite a lot for it.

But hey, we made it out alive!

If ever you find yourself in a similar situation, here are the things that you should do.


When you travel, you go out of your comfort zone. Thus, you should be open to all possibilities, good or bad, that can happen in the course of your trip. Having your plans cancelled on the last minute is sure disappointing, but do not let that define your entire vacation.

If you are with a group, try to be the one who uplifts the group’s spirit and look into the bright side of things. Point out nice things that you have gained from the unfortunate event. In our case, it’s our safety. And that, for me, is non-negotiable.

Do not cling to the negativity and put blames on people, especially if no one is at fault. Ultimately, do not blame your travel agent if they clearly have nothing to do with what happened. Stop thinking about what could have been and saying it out loud for everyone to hear. Because honestly, that wouldn’t do anything good. If you notice that your companions are no longer agreeing to all your negativity, I mean they are just mum about it, then maybe you have been saying too much, so just stop it.

El Nido local scene


If your travel itinerary did not go as planned, it is a mortal sin to wallow in boredom inside your hotel room. To be able to find some interesting activities, you must go out and explore the local area you are in. Make new friends with the locals and with your fellow travelers. This way, you will learn more about the place and will have awesome stories to tell when you get back.


The world is an interesting place. For sure, you wouldn’t go short of exciting things to do wherever you are. Strong sea currents? Go to the beach, swim in the shallow waters and just take pictures. Been robbed? Look for free things to do like sightseeing on a bicycle: that surely wouldn’t cost a lot.

Island hopping tour got cancelled? OK PROCEED TO PLAN B: Aura sa beach with cocktail on hand #pengandpaper

A post shared by Peng Desuyo (@peng_desuyo) on


Being a solo traveler, I am not really keen on preset itineraries c/o travel agencies. That last trip was with family so I opted to look for an agency to prepare our trip. But if given the choice, I’d just show up at the airport with no plans. I love spontaneous travels wherein I savor every moment and I wouldn’t be limited to the itinerary that has been previously scheduled.

That is why during this failed El Nido trip (sorry for the harsh word, you know I don’t mean it *wink), I just kept my chill, just absorb whatever event comes my way, and kept my smile wide. I believe that vacations should help you relaxed, and not leave you exhausted because of packed activities.

That’s it! Never forget to keep the positive vibes, enjoy and maximize your trip no matter what happens. Enjoy traveling!

Have you ever had your original itinerary cancelled?

What did you do?