Day 4 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project* is all about mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.
Yes, everyone makes mistakes. I have been extremely lucky thus far (knock on wood) that I have not made any horribly damaging or costly travel mistakes.
Rather than picking just one, I thought I would present my top ten – in descending order from not too horrible to what I would consider my worst mistake to date. Let’s hope these are as bad as they get!
My Top Ten Worst Travel Mistakes
10. The time I didn’t know I could check my bag all the way through when I flew multiple airlines from Chicago to Melbourne via San Francisco and Sydney. This led to a mad dash to retrieve it and get through customs in Sydney before boarding my flight to Melbourne, which luckily ended up being delayed.
9. The time I didn’t realize that Tallinn has more than one ferry port and that my boat arrived at the one furthest from my hostel. What I thought would be a fifteen-minute walk ended up being a forty-minute walk.
8. The time I thought it would be a good idea for my mom and I to walk from our hotel high on a hill in Sorrento to the bus station on the other side of town at 6:00 a.m. It was still pitch-black outside, we had to walk down a winding road with no sidewalk, and street lights were nowhere to be found. Oh, and I also horribly underestimated how long it would take, which meant we ended up running to catch our bus with just a couple minutes to spare.
7. The time I kissed a guy in my tour group in Eastern Europe on New Year’s Eve. This led to him sliding notes under my door over the next few days and eventually talking a hotel worker into letting him into my hotel room so he could leave me a gigantic plastic flower that he took from the lobby. Needless to say, the rest of the trip was a bit awkward.
6. The time I got caught in a sudden snowstorm while hiking outside of Bergen, Norway (in the middle of May!). When I started my hike it was chilly but sunny, but once I was about as far away from my starting point as I could get, a storm rolled in. I took cover in the doorway of an old wood hut until it passed and I felt okay trying to find my way back.
5. The time I consumed so many coca candies while hiking the Inca Trail in an attempt to prevent altitude sickness that I ended up making myself sick from too much coca. I was so determined NOT to get sick – I took Diamox, drank coca tea and continuously sucked on these yummy coca candies. By the second day I was doubled over with horrible stomach cramps and couldn’t figure out why – until I talked to my tour guide and told him about all of the coca I consumed. He just laughed and said I overdid it.
4. The time I kissed a guy in my tour group (really, I don’t do this often, I swear!) during the first week of a three and a half week tour of Europe. Instead of being cool about it and just enjoying what could have been a fun fling, I got insecure and jealous when he started hanging out with other girls in the group and let it put a damper on the last two weeks of my trip.
3. The time I spent an entire day getting lost and scammed in Cairo. I followed an alleged law student who said he would take me to the Khan el Khalili market and instead took me to his friend’s shop and tried to sell me stuff. Then I found the market and spent over an hour wandering around completely lost trying to locate a particular madrassa. Finally, I went to a madrassa where I wanted to climb the minaret. I let a guy there lead me down the street to another minaret and charge for leading me there, to enter that mosque and to climb the minaret – I finally put my foot down when he tried to charge me for taking pictures at the top of the minaret.
2. The time I left my backpack on a bus heading to the Budapest airport. I got on the bus with a suitcase and my daypack. The bus was crowded, so I set my daypack on a ledge between the seats to save room. As more and more people boarded the bus, I kept moving further back, but did not take my pack with me. By the time we arrived at the airport, I was by the back door and just hopped off the bus, not realizing until about twenty minutes later than I didn’t have my backpack. Amazingly, I managed to get it back after the bus driver turned it in at the lost and found at another terminal. Even more amazing – everything inside was still intact!
1. The time I went to Peru for two weeks with a friend from high school I had not seen in 15 years. Let’s just say, we did not end up being the most compatible travel companions. While the trip was still memorable, there will always be a bit of a shadow over it. Lesson learned: never again will I travel with someone I don’t know well – and who I know has a travel style similar to mine.
Which of these do you think was the worst? What has been your worst travel mistake?
*Throughout the month of November, BootsnAll is inviting bloggers from around the world to join them in a daily blogging effort – the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project – designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.