Epic Travel Fails

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Epic Travel Fails

Avatar for Will
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Hi everyone,

I’m going to put together an article for gapyear.com going something along the lines of ‘Travel Mistakes we won’t be making in 2014’

Basically, was wondering if you guys had any funny travel fails last year (or ever really) that taught you a lesson, a mistake you’ll never make again.

Any feedback very welcome. For me, I think it will be don’t go to the top of a red ski run having never skied before. The descent was undignified to say the least…

Our favourite lessons/fails will feature in the article smile

Cheers
Will

     
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A couple of years ago I flew into Oz. As part of the trip, I was attending a conference that had a fancy-dress after party. The theme was “battle” (so you might be able to see where this is going wink).

I decided it would be quite easy to go as a soldier, so I packed some cammo gear, a tin of face-paint, army style dog-tags and a plastic bullet belt prop that I’d picked up in a fancy dress shop. Didn’t really think that one through.

As sod’s law would have it, I ended up getting a random spot check on my case at Brisbane airport. They put it through the X-ray scanner and the conveyor belt stopped. For a long time. In my head, almost an eternity.

One security guard soon became three stern looking guys on walkie-talkies. Shortly after, a team of people looking very serious and frowning at a screen. I was quite beardy at the time and looking pretty damn bedraggled after numerous free whiskys and a 22 hour flight. Potential terrorist nutter? I was travelling on an Irish passport. I think it’s fair to say I was getting pretty worried. big surprise

I got called over, got a very stern talking to, and somehow managed to talk my way out of it after another period of time that seemed like another eternity. To be honest, I was very lucky that the guys were typical Aussies and had a sense of humour about the situation (I think they were mostly just testing me for fun). They actually had a bit of a laugh with me by the end of it, asking if Gaddafi (still alive at that point) was coming as the keynote speaker, and such.

I was actually doubly lucky as they were also filming the TV show Border Security: Australia’s Front Line at the airport that day, so I could have ended up immortalised as the idiot pom who got sent home for trying to bring plastic bullets into Australia!

I thought I might have got away with it completely, but on the return trip through Brisbane airport a month later I got “randomly selected” to go into a side room to be tested for gun-power residue. I hope it was a coincidence, but I might well be on a list.

Fail!

The moral of the story: Buy your fancy dress props upon arrival. Or maybe just don’t bring faux-weapons and / or ammunition into Australia! raspberry

     
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Double check your flight details a week beforehand so you don’t turn up at the airport and find your flight left the day before. Especially when there are only two flights a week and consequently all your plans for Christmas go to pot.

     
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Cormac - 08 January 2014 12:38 PM

A couple of years ago I flew into Oz. As part of the trip, I was attending a conference that had a fancy-dress after party. The theme was “battle” (so you might be able to see where this is going wink).

I decided it would be quite easy to go as a soldier, so I packed some cammo gear, a tin of face-paint, army style dog-tags and a plastic bullet belt prop that I’d picked up in a fancy dress shop. Didn’t really think that one through.

As sod’s law would have it, I ended up getting a random spot check on my case at Brisbane airport. They put it through the X-ray scanner and the conveyor belt stopped. For a long time. In my head, almost an eternity.

One security guard soon became three stern looking guys on walkie-talkies. Shortly after, a team of people looking very serious and frowning at a screen. I was quite beardy at the time and looking pretty damn bedraggled after numerous free whiskys and a 22 hour flight. Potential terrorist nutter? I was travelling on an Irish passport. I think it’s fair to say I was getting pretty worried. big surprise

I got called over, got a very stern talking to, and somehow managed to talk my way out of it after another period of time that seemed like another eternity. To be honest, I was very lucky that guys were typical Aussies and had a sense of humour about the situation (I think they were mostly just testing me for fun). They actually had a bit of a laugh with me by the end of it, asking if Gaddafi (still alive at that point) was coming as the keynote speaker, and such.

I was actually doubly lucky as they were also filming the TV show Border Security: Australia’s Front Line at the airport that day, so I could have ended up immortalised as the idiot pom who got sent home for trying to bring plastic bullets into Australia!

I thought I might have got away with it completely, but on the return trip through Brisbane airport a month later I got “randomly selected” to go into a side room to be tested for gun-power residue. I hope it was a coincidence, but I might well be on a list.

Fail!

The moral of the story: Buy your fancy dress props upon arrival. Or maybe just don’t bring faux-weapons and / or ammunition into Australia! raspberry

Brilliant!! grin

     
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hdsimmons - 08 January 2014 12:39 PM

Double check your flight details a week beforehand so you don’t turn up at the airport and find your flight left the day before. Especially when there are only two flights a week and consequently all your plans for Christmas go to pot.

Oh ouch! What a nightmare!

I also have a friend who lost his passport at the airport the day he was meant to go on a big holiday with a bunch of friends. He ended up having to catch the bus home and he lost all of the money he’d spent on the holiday!

     
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No major ones but a couple of small ones.

1) When taking time to lay on the beach in fiji, laying on a towel under the sun, music on my headphones, closed eyes under sunglasses make sure you are far enough away from the water!!! Out of nowhere a wave came completley over me, soaked me, my towel, my MPS player (which then no longer worked), ruined my book and made me look a right prat!

2) When in a city for only 1 evening before a flight out the next morning try to avoid meeting Germans! In Sydney had a one night stay before flying up to Cairns the next morning. May have met a group of german guys in the common room, may have started drinking with said germans, may have then gone clubbing with said Germans, may have then met a girl, gone back to theirs and woken up the next day having missed my flight, spend loads of money and having a stinking hangover. Bad times…......the fact I then had exactly the same situation happen 6 weeks later in LA (and then struggled to get another flight to Canda) leads me to think Germans are there to lead you secretly astray (while having a great night out at the same time!).

     
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hdsimmons - 08 January 2014 12:39 PM

Double check your flight details a week beforehand so you don’t turn up at the airport and find your flight left the day before. Especially when there are only two flights a week and consequently all your plans for Christmas go to pot.

Not my story but my mum did something similar. She booked a short break to Rome for hers and my dads 25th wedding anniversairy and booked what she thought was a 10pm flight home. Turned out it was a 10am flight which they had obviously missed and had to camp out in the airport overnight til they could get on a later flight home! My dad was not amused and it was a rather pricey mistake :D.

     
Avatar for Gimli of Glóin
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On a very long trek I once suggested that we pass through the Mines of Moria. My cousin was already dead and good friends died on route. The moral of the story: sometimes it’s best to take the long way round.

     
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I booked a return flight going the wrong direction…

So instead of booking a return from London to Germany, it was a return from Germany to London.

To this day, I still can’t believe I was stupid enough to do it…and I genuinely have NO idea how I did it as i’m so anal about planning shit properly. I blame their website (haha).

Set me back about £400 in wasted flights, so the moral is to triple check you definitely have the right flights before you buy!

     
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I was once part of a group of 6 cycling 300km from Paris to Riberac for charity and camping as we went.

It was in August and we wanted to be as light as possible so none of us took sleeping bags. Turns out it was absolutely f*&^ng freezing at night.

It was rural France so nowhere to buy any warmth either.

We did manage to get some tights at a petrol station though. So by the end of the trip the 6 of us boys and girls were squashed into a 3 man for warmth all decked out with as many pairs as they had left of black and skin colour tights.

Good times.  cheese

     
Avatar for Sharon Wheeler
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I’m travelling at the moment and had one epic fail so far…

As per advice, I decided to open a bank account with N&P who don’t charge fees for withdrawals at ATMs abroad (provided you make at least 5 transactions a month) before my trip.

3 weeks into my trip I get a phone call from N&P saying that my card details have been copied and they need to cancel the card. Turns out that they won’t re-issue me a new card until I’m back in the UK, which isn’t until November this year! I’m now relying on my other card with a different bank, which charges really high withdrawal fees abroad. Gutted to say the least!

     
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hdsimmons - 08 January 2014 12:39 PM

Double check your flight details a week beforehand so you don’t turn up at the airport and find your flight left the day before. Especially when there are only two flights a week and consequently all your plans for Christmas go to pot.

Absolutely agree - always double check your flights.

Waaaaay back in 2007 I went for a few drinks with some friends on my last night in Perth, as ever a few drinks turned into many drinks and led to me waking up with a very bad head in the morning. I didn’t merely wake up though, I woke up with a start and sat bolt upright in my bunk as the sudden realisation that I had made a very, very silly mistake washed over me. Yes, I had missed my flight to Cairns. I should have been at the Airport instead of the pub.

My flight was at the very strange time of 00.01 on say the 4th of April, but in my head for some reason I thought this meant that I didn’t have to be at the Airport until late on the 4th, obviously I had to be there late on the 3rd. So having woken with only 30 mins until hostel check out, I found myself sat on a park bench unwashed, looking dishevelled and smelling like an alcoholic as I counted up the cost of my error, I think it totalled up something like this;

Missed flight $350
Night out $80+
Unnecessary night in hostel $20

I then had to make the embarrassing call to the airline to explain my stupidity and purchase my new flight which on the day was around $450.

This expensive mistake messed up all my plans, I only had a few weeks left in Australia and had worked my arse off at a Margret River vineyard to save up enough money to do everything I wanted between Cairns and Brisbane. Now I found myself with a day less and not enough cash to cover everything.

red face

 

     
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I have a friend who had a flight from Turkey back to the UK at 00.30 and who totally mis-understood what time of day that meant. She turned up in the evening but the flight had left in the morning. I think it’s a common occurrence.

     
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Haha, yeah, seen lots about missed flight connections on this thread! I’ve never actually done it, though sure my time will come smile

Anyway, thanks all for contributing, the article went live yesterday - have screen grabbed all of your input (sorry Hannah, it had already gone live by the time you posted)

Here you go! http://www.gapyear.com/features/212240/epic-travel-fails-to-avoid-in-2014