Hangover dilemna


David Whitley wonders whether it’s ever justified to cancel travel plans due to overenjoyment of a city’s fine hostelries.

The few of us who are not due for sainthood will have been here before. You’ve got a limited period of time somewhere and want to make the most of it. And one evening you go out for something to eat and maybe a couple of drinks. 

Alas, that couple of drinks turns into a couple more. Then you get bored of beers and switch to spirits. Then some idiot goes and buys some shots. Then it all becomes a bit of a blur as you start bellowing down the ears of strangers and demanding a DJ plays Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Eventually, with the contents of your stomach resembling an out of control chemistry lab, you stagger back to your bed (or a handy park bench), possibly via a kebab shop. Conversations on the great white telephone are optional at this point.

The problem, as with all great nights, comes the next morning. If you’ve got something you absolutely can’t miss (such as a flight or a connecting train), then bad luck – you’re going to have to grin and bear it. But the big traveller’s dilemma is when there’s nothing absolutely urgent to do the next day, but there’s lots you’ll miss out on if you don’t do it then. Do you still force yourself up and get on that day trip? Do you take it as an opportunity to lie in, or do you trudge over to those museums and photogenic sights?

If, by strange twist of fate, you’ve not been in this situation, take it from me that going round museums with a blistering hangover is HORRIBLE. Getting up for a 7am tour after only a couple of hours’ sleep is also horrible. There’s no escaping it – if you do the noble thing and plough on with the original plan, it’s probably not going to be pretty.

So is it best to just sack everything of, stay in bed for as long as necessary and then just mooch around a bit feeling sorry for yourself?

I probably usually lean towards the military option. Fight through the pain, old chap, don’t let the buggers get you. Sometimes this pays off – eventually you’ll feel at least vaguely human enough to take things in. Sometimes it turns into a miserable, pointless box-ticking exercise. And, if I think about it, the times when the latter has happened have always been when I was going to things I felt I ought to go to rather than things I really wanted to go to. So, I think that’s probably the dividing line. If you can ask yourself “is this something I want to see?” or “will I regret not seeing it?” then it’s time to get out of bed and drink plenty of water...

Should you stay or should you go? When does a hangover justify writing off the next day on the road? Share your thoughts y leaving a comment below.