5 More of my Very Worst Travel Fails


This past year I decided to open up about life on the road. Less luxury hotel reviews and more about the mad panic getting to them. I kicked it off with five of my very worst travel goofs, and although they were some good/bad travel fails, it got me thinking that I have only scratched the surface. I’ve been around the world five times, surely it’s not all champagne flutes and hot air balloon rides right?

God no.

With that in mind here are five more of my very worst travel fails and how you can avoid them.

That Time I Got Robbed

5 More of my Very Worst Travel Fails...and How you can Avoid Them

Yep.  It happened to me and in an incredibly avoidable way. After enjoying a night of Austrian rock bands at a street festival in Vienna, Erin and I decided to have one last drink on the soft and inviting Prater park grass. We were already drunk but it was past midnight and still 30° out so we were in no rush to return to our air-conditioner-less room.

There were tons of people drinking and socializing on the lawn in front of the well lit and historic Prater Ferris wheel. We plopped down with some beers and eventually laid on our backs. This was Europe at its best and we were enjoying the warm night with the locals.

At one point I noticed a kid walking past and eyeing me. I shrugged it off. Later he returned and tried to sell us drugs. We said no and he persisted. When I recognized him I sat up but it was too late. He distracted us long enough for his friend to swipe my iPhone that had fallen out of my pocket while lying on the ground.

Shit.

How you can avoid this travel goof:

This one stings. Normally I am well aware of my surroundings but I let my guard down and these kids capitalized. I’m not going to say don’t get drunk and don’t relax and enjoy local life. What’s the fun of being on edge all the time? Instead, I will say don’t buy shorts with shallow pockets. Every time I sat down with those shorts my phone would fall out. If my phone didn’t pop out this kid would not have seized the opportunity. Ironically, deep pockets would have saved me from having to dig deep into my pocket for a new phone.

That Time I Went to the Wrong Airport

I have missed three flights in my life. This is the worst of the bunch. Why? Because I went to the wrong airport! I was flying from Melbourne to Sydney and made the ASS-upmtion that I was flying out of the same airport I flew into. As noted in my post on why Australian’s didn’t win me over, it took a very abrupt and very unhelpful check-in attendant for myself and my travel partner to understand why we could not check in to a flight that did not exist.

How you can avoid this travel goof:

Check your itinerary then check it again. Know the airport code and save the embarrassment. Head to the right airport in the first place.

Is that as painfully obvious as it sounds?

That Time I Slept in an Airport

Sticking with airports, this travel goof involves sleeping in one. I’ve done this a few times in my budget-backpacking days however this one particular instance was unintentional.

We were flying through Rome and had little over 10 hours to spare on a layover.  We decided on sleeping at a hotel near the city centre and planned on having a good meal before our turnaround. This was spoiled when I received an email from the property saying that my reservation was cancelled because we failed to show up.

Turns out this property does not have a night staff and we had to be there to check-in before 8 PM. Thankfully we did not leave the airport and thankfully, Hotels.com, offered us a full refund even though the property didn’t.

How to avoid this travel goof:

Read the fine print. Not all hotels operate as a hotel should. Known the limitations and stick within them. Usually, when a price is too good to be true, there is a reason.

That Time I Lost my Own Luggage

5 More of my Very Worst Travel Fails...and How you can Avoid Them

This next one involves me losing my baggage.  Why did this make my travel fails list? Because it was my fault and not an airline.

Upon arriving by speedboat to Caye Caulker, Belize we noticed our bags did not make the trip. Turns out one of my friends who was checking our group’s bags accidentally said we were going to a different island.

Thankfully our bags were tracked down and arrived a few hours later. Those few hours, however, were an uneasy mix of ”they gone” and “trust the system.”

How to avoid this travel goof:

Mind your shit. Be responsible for your own bag and ensure it is tagged for the right place. Again, attention to detail and painfully obvious.

That Time I had to get a Rushed International Drivers Permit

5 More of my Very Worst Travel Fails...and How you can Avoid Them

Last up on this list of five more travel fails is the time I went to Ireland while I waited for my international drivers permit to arrive. I was already in Eastern Europe when I realize that the region requires the very-out-of-date international drivers permit for renting a car, something the rest of Europe and EU countries dropped some time ago.

5 More of my Very Worst Travel Fails...and How you can Avoid Them

With an upcoming week-long road trip around the Balkans, I had two choices, risk it or rush the permit. After reading some horror stories of crooked cops in the region I opted for the latter. Thankfully flights to Ireland were cheap so while we pulled some strings that involved a former Registrar of Motor Vehicles in Canada getting a notarized permit for us, we did an amazing 8 Day road trip around Ireland instead.

In the end, the rushed international driver’s permit was all for not as we were never asked for it, even though we got pulled over in the middle-of-nowhere Bosnia. Still, piece of mind does go a long way.

How to avoid this travel goof:

Once again the key to avoiding this travel goof comes down to details and assumptions. Know the local rules of the road and don’t assume you are covered to drive them.

Travel Smart

There you have it. 5 more of my very worst travel fails. I would like to say that covers them all but there is still the matter of paying $300+ for tempura when I thought it was $30 and missing a flight to Dublin all because of a one letter typo in my name.

I may still share those stories but not today. Today those still sting.


What say you?
Thoughts on my very worst travel fails?
Let’s hear it!

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