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What’s your cock-up?

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Macca
Participant

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all done it. Missed a bus, plane, train. Forgotten a passport. Lost a bag. We’ve all cocked-up.

So what is your biggest cock-up whilst travelling? What is the biggest con that you’ve had to fork out for?

Well, lets dive straight in.

I was 21 at the time, travelling on my own in central Thailand, half-way between Chang Mai and Bangkok. I thought I would check out a couple of small towns, but I was finally making my way to Bangkok. Standing at the station, 2 platforms to choose from. One massive sign point to Chang Mai, one massive sign pointing to Bangkok. A train pulls up. It is pointing to Bangkok. I get on.

After about 4 or 5 hours a ticket conductor comes round, looks at my ticket, and bursts out laughing. Everyone starts laughing. I roughly translated what he said in Thai to “ha ha ha. Look at this stupid pharang. He want to go to Bangkok. He go Chang Mai ! Stupid stupid pharang !”

So I ended up in Chang Mai again, exactly a week after I had left. Perfect.

Next time I got on the train I asked a Thai woman “This is the train to Bangkok, right?”. She grinned from ear-to-ear, knowing exactly what I had been though, and put my mind at rest. I think after that I always asked if I was on the right train …


Bcambridge
Participant

A very very close thing that went wrong was at Bangkok airport. We had just spent 2 months travelling around China/Vietnam/Cambodia/Thailand and had changed our flights forward by about 10 days for some extra time in Thailand, having paid £35 with STA Travel. Upon arrival at the check-in desk the woman told us that our names weren’t on the flight. After 4 hours of phone calls using a phone at the airport (which only accepted change which the travel desk which refused to give us after a while) and frantic running about, 5 minutes before the gate closed they put our names on the flights and let us go! Narrow escape… The woman at STA Travel had done something wrong and taken our money without actually changing the flight.


BeckiMer
Participant

2008 me and my boyfriend went traveling and diving in Egypt. We went to grab some dinner at the popular holiday destination of Sharm el Shekia. This local guy came up and said if we wanted to sign a guest book. Before I could say no, my boyfriendd has already followed this guy round a back alley.
This guy seemed all friendly as normal gave us a can of coke (which I didn’t open and my boyfriend stupidly did!) He then started pressuring us to buy perfume etc. I said no, I’m leaving. The guy started getting really angry demanding money for the coke, I said no we did not ask for this you gave us this and walked out. He then started cursing the English blah blah! I was quite terrfied how angry he got. I then told my boyfriend how much of an idoit he was for agreeing to this! After that he managed to stay out of trouble!


Jordan85
Participant

6 months in to a RTW trip and i was flying from Tokyo to Sydney on 2nd December. I had one night to spend in Sydney before flying up to Cairns that next night and make my way back down the East coast before getting back to Sydney in time for Xmas and NYE. Had already spent way more in Japan than i had budgeted so money was getting pretty tight. Anyway, after getting to my hostel (720 on George) and grabbing a bite to eat and some sleep ended meeting a load of German lads in the common room. Got introduced to Goon for the first time (including the Goon slapping game!). Sure enough ended going out to a few bars and clubs and ended up hooking up with this girl. As she was Aussie travelling in to Sydney for a night out didn’t have any where to go and…you know. So ended up paying for a double room for us for one night (cost about £40). Sure enough next morning i woke up late and missed my flight. A new flight was way out of my proce range and therefore instead of flying to Cairns and diving the reef, heading down to Byron Bay and the Whitsundays etc i got a bus to Newcastle! Damn that place is poor. Then i hit up Surfers Paradise (not sure which was worse to be honest) before finally getting a cheap flight to Melbourne.

Word of advice therefore don’t go drinking and trying to pick up when you have a flight the next morning. I did this again 2 months later in L.A and almost cost myself an £300 in flights in the check in lady hadn’t been so helpful!


ambermarie
Moderator

Haha is it bad that when I first read the title of this thread I momentarily thought it was going to be sexual in content and need editing? 😳

Anyway, I am really good at very nearly but not quite missing trains. No major cock-ups that have destroyed all my travel plans, but some close calls that have probably shaved a few years off my life due to the stress they caused.

In Sri Lanka, after a verrrry long day (climbing Adam’s Peak mountain at 2 a.m., then walking for 9 hours down the other side and having a lot of stress with buses), finally got on the train to Galle, only to then realise that it was going in the wrong direction (luckily more quickly than Macca!). So had to jump off at the next stop and wait for the actual train to come along. Was travelling with this guy I’d met a few days before and both of us were a bit pissy as we were so knackered, and so every little thing was getting to us.

It seemed like everyone around us was being deliberately unhelpful, although probably they just didn’t understand our English or why two mad sweaty foreigners were shouting questions at them … so we kept asking people when the train we wanted was coming, but were getting no replies.

Then suddenly a train pulled up, the guy I was with jumped on but I didn’t realise he was doing so, he then started yelling to me that it was the right one, but by this point it had started to move … so this resulted in me having to run alongside it, throw my huge backpack through the open door, and then be hoisted in by about five Sri Lankan men as the train sped up. All very dignified. A moment I’m proud of.


Ninjablossom
Participant

bcambridge – STA did the same to me.

I changed my flight at the STA ‘local office’ that they stated to use, in the Cameron Highlands. The woman said she couldn’t take my change fee but I would need to pay at the airport and I was confirmed on the SIN – Bali flight in 2 weeks.

2 weeks later I get to Sin airport (local airport bus never turned up, so 2 lovley locals insisted I get in their cab and they drop me at the airport so I don’t miss the flight)
The check in clerk then said I wasn’t on the flight for another week (my original flight). It was never changed, the check in guy was very friendly and said the flight was half full and he put me on that one and never requested the change fee.


Jamiebale
Participant

I got chucked out of a hostel in Oz for sleepwalking naked. A girl in the other bunk woke up with me standing naked… She obviously screamed and went running and when my girlfriend who was in the bunk above me tried to explain I sleepwalked he was like ok I think you should just both go… Not the best way to end last week of travels!!


Fingfang
Participant

I got chucked out of a hostel in Oz for sleepwalking naked. A girl in the other bunk woke up with me standing naked… She obviously screamed and went running and when my girlfriend who was in the bunk above me tried to explain I sleepwalked he was like ok I think you should just both go… Not the best way to end last week of travels!!

HAHAHA, maybe this wouldn’t have been a problem had you worn a pair of boxers or some shorts to sleep in. Especially in a shared dorm! lol.


kristiangodfrey
Participant

I haven’t had too many bad cock-ups whilst travelling (touch wood) although I did manage to cause a hairy incident for myself once.

I was hitch-hiking in Spain, and it had been a long and tiring day when a couple pulled up in their car. They had clearly been in the middle of a domestic as the atmosphere was decidedly frosty and probably wanted a distraction, so picked me up. Unfortunately they only spoke Spanish, and i only spoke english, so there wasn’t much conversation to be had.

Their car was stifingly hot, I was knackered, and so I think committed the ultimate hitch-hiker NO-NO – I fell asleep! I tried my best to avoid it, but after half an hour my body gave in. Sure enough, the couple didn’t take this too well and suddenly they just pulled over to the hard shoulder of this motorway in the middle of nowhere and told me to get out there.

There was only a couple of hours of light left, and I literally was in the middle of nowhere. So I hiked a couple of miles and saw a petrol station, which was quite abandoned and had nobody there to take me further. So I waited at a roundabout to see if anybody pitched up. Eventually a car did stop, and this guy shouted something incomprehensible at me. I assumed it was just Spanish, so I jumped in.

Once settled in the car I realised that whilst this guy was indeed Spanish, the reason I couldn’t make anything out he was saying was actually because he was absolutely plastered. He had a bottle of spirit next to his gear stick. The car reeked of booze. And it was too late to do anything about it as we were already going at about 140kph as speed limit signs of 70 flashed by….

Let’s just say I was bricking it.

Luckily, after what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes, civilisation appeared, and he screeched to a halt and left me within a couple miles walk of Caceres, a lovely town that I hadn’t heard of before but it was jolly nice and had a comfortable hostel. Phew.


Alexandra_q2
Moderator

Haha, there’s some great ones here. Mine have mostly been minor things:

1) I made the mistake of believing the Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring was fairly accurate. I read that that border crossings are free between the 4 countries which supposedly had a trade agreement (C4 agreement) and therefore no fees at the border would be required. It wasn’t true.
My fiancé and I rock up at the border between El Salvador and Honduras with about $1 between us. There’s no ATM at the border, no bank and we’d spend our emergency cash on the hotel we were dropped off at in the middle of San Salvador the previous night at 2am. The border people were demanding $10 each or we’ll be removed from the bus and left at the border. I had to go round asking passengers if they’d give us money (how embarrassing) but fortuantely a really nice man paid for us and all was well. Hence why I always recommend people travel with $100 emergency money and only spend it in an emergency!

2) We travelled 20 minutes from our hostel to the train station in China to buy our tickets. Wait 30 minutes in the queue and realise we left our wad of cash at the hostel and the nearest ATM is 5 mins walk away. Another 40 minute wait ensued. My other half was not happy.

3) Buying bus tickets in Nazca, I failed to ask how much the tickets cost (as I figured that they would be the same kind of cost that we had being paying for the similar journey). The guy printed off all the tickets and asked for the equivalent of about £80 (we’d been paying £20)! We had to pay it because he said he couldn’t refund them (possibly a lie). We had bought the most expensive tickets. Once my other half had gotten over how stupid I’d been for not asking (I speak Spanish and he doesn’t) we figured the cama bus would be well worth it. But no, there was a screaming child on the entire journey. We had an awesome view though – top of the bus at the front.

4) We wanted to go to the Shaolin temples in Luoyang but decided not to go on the organised tour the hostel was running because we wanted to do it independently (and cheaper). So we hopped on board a bus and headed off, picking up other passengers along the way. When we got moving, the conductor started talking and from my limited understanding of Mandarin as he passed through the bus collecting money and giving entry passes, we had not only just booked onto a tour – but a Chinese language only tour!
It was awesome though! 🙂

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