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Top 10 reasons why summer vacation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for an international school teacher

July 27, 2014


One of the best things about being an international school teacher is that we have the ability to travel, sometimes much more than if we were teaching in our home country.  *Some items in this list are meant to be “tongue-in-cheek” and making fun of our “first world people problems” that we sometimes experience while traveling around the world. Of course we love this ability to travel and appreciate every minute of it!

1164604500_170359d4f7_z1. It makes you tired, if you travel a lot.

Traveling around everywhere does have its downside.  The downside is definitely all the waiting you do both on the plane and in airports.  One international school community member just recently commented that they had three layovers to get back to their host country!  Many layovers also means that you most likely are on long-haul flights as well. You can get used to 12-14 hour flights like some international school teachers have, but they still take a toll on your body.  It is unlikely that you are immune to the all-powerful jet-lag.

2. If you stay in one place, you get bored.

Some international school teachers come up with an elaborate and intensive travel itinerary for their summer vacation (let’s say…6 different countries in 6 six weeks!), but others like to just go to one place for the majority of their vacation time.  Maybe they go to their home country for the whole summer or to some popular beach-side city in a nearby country for a sizable chunk of their time off.  Many teaching couples have small children and that of course can affect your travel plans for the summer; sometimes making them less intensive. Even if it is your thing, getting time to really veg-out and relax (if you just stay in one place), it is bound to start getting a bit stale and routine for you.  It is possible these people are actually enjoying their time in one place (read: not boring), but these teachers are also the ones that say to the other teachers (who are traveling around much more) how jealous they are of their travel plans!

DSC_01513. If you are surrounded by tourists, especially ones from your home country, its annoying.

It is possibly the worst thing, to find yourself surrounded by tourists from your home country, when you are on vacation.  We all roll our eyes and let out a silent gasp at them as they are usually “so loud” and “obnoxious” as they are walking around annoying you and the locals. Yes, yes, those tourists are probably thinking the same about you, but we all know we are better than them. (wink!)

4. You get on a crazy time schedule of staying up late and waking up late, not good for going back to school

It happens every summer vacation: you stay up until sometime past midnight and then wake up well after the “normal” time to eat some breakfast…almost every day! Having a crazy timetable for your summer days also takes a toll on your internal body clock.  Changes to your body clock can affect your digestion, well-being, health, etc. It can also create some sleep problems for you, and “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

5. Crappy free wifi in your hotels and restaurants

After a long day of traveling in a country where you don’t have data access on your mobile (making you anxious because of the tariffs that your roaming provider would charge you), you just want quick access to the internet almost immediately after you get into your hotel room.  However, your goal for this almost always fails as hotel and hostel wifi access is often very unreliable.  If you have you a smart IT professional also traveling with you, sure they can do some magic (unbeknownst to the hotel owners) to make it work better for you, but most of us don’t have the knowledge to do anything…which can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless.  No wifi = angry traveler.

6. You lose track of what day it is

You get so lost in your day-to-day adventures during the summer, and you always start forgetting what day of the week it is. It is both good and bad not knowing what day it actually is.  Good because you aren’t stressed about going to work on Monday through Friday and you can just be free to do whatever you want any day of the week.  Not knowing the day of the week may be bad though too because you most likely still have a schedule of things you need to do or cities/countries to travel to next, and if you don’t have the right date and time straight in your head…then bad luck might start occurring for you (meaning an unwanted change in your plans, an extra fee/charge to pay for, miss meeting a special friend that you haven’t seen in a year, etc.)

7. You are with your family too much, after 1 day (hour for some people) with your mom can bring you too high anxiety levels.

Yes we all love our moms, but we don’t all love it when they are overseeing our every move again. Moms get over-obsessed with our presence when we return for a visit and sometimes revert back to how she acted when you were a teenager. It is nice when they do your laundry and cook you food while you are back, and you try your best to show a high appreciation for that. You go out to dinner with her and take her out shopping, good times. It is important to spend time with your mom and other family members, but you still need some alone time when you are visiting back home because you are also “on your vacation” and need time to yourself to veg and relax.

2014-06-27 13.42.248. You miss the food there in your home country too much

One of the favorite things to do as an international school teacher is to go back to your home country and buy and eat all the food that is your favorite and also not available in your host country.  Is this yearning for home country goods enough to make you move back? Unlikely.  So to solve this “dilemma”, international teachers crazily buy things (sometimes too many things) to bring back to our host country.  The worry of an overweight checked bag is always on our minds during summer vacation back home. It usually works our just fine in the end (just at or under 50 lbs), because no one wants to pay an overweight baggage fee (usually crazily over-priced) on their flight back to their host country for things that they “don’t really need”.

9. You end up spending too much money because you are going out to eat a lot and not all meals you get are worth it

When traveling, the biggest dilemma you have is where you are going to eat next in a city you don’t know at all. Even if you use websites like Foursquare and Tripadvisor for recommendations, you always end up eating at a “dud” restaurant. Paying more money for a meal too, doesn’t equal better eating experience and better taste.  Wasting your traveling-money away on bad restaurant is not the best scenario that your were hoping for in your summer holiday to a city that you were excited to go visit.  You don’t want to be worrying about wasting money either during a time when you should be relaxed and enjoying your break from work and exploring the world.

10. You have to go through all your photos and edit them before posting them to social media.

There are a few people who just post their traveling photos straight from their smart phone, that’s easy. Some of us though have an SLR camera and take a lot of photos while traveling around the world. We have blogs to write on, various social media websites to post on, family members to write emails to with attached pictures, etc.  That is a lot to worry about and think about when you are on summer vacation.  Good advice: it is better to edit and post your photos in small batches so you don’t get so overwhelmed with your 100s of photos to go through and edit.

This article was submitted by a guest author and member of International School Community.

Please comment and share your reason why summer vacation isn’t all it is cracked up to be!

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