What with being the travel experts and all that, we dealcheckers have been on our fair share of holidays. And while MANY have involved stretching out on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand, not all have been such plain sailing. So we have put together a selection of our most awful travel nightmares, with some words of wisdom so the same doesn’t happen to you (hopefully)…
Nightmare on 5th Avenue
Ollie, PPC Executive
My family and I were in a pre-booked taxi on our way back to JFK Airport after a week-long stay in Manhattan. About halfway into the journey our taxi crashed into another car at a junction. Instead of pulling over and dealing with the incident, our driver abandoned us and our luggage in the middle of Brooklyn. After frantically trying to wave down a cab an off-shift Uber driver came to our rescue.
What it taught me? To always have a plan B when it comes to travelling!
Meg, Account Executive
In Borneo my card got cloned from a cash point, so my friend and I shared her debit card, but six weeks later we realised that my friend’s card had also been cloned. Unfortunately, the bank would not let us get money out, so we met up with a man her dad knows in Melbourne to get enough cash out to last us two weeks in Sri Lanka, as we were flying out the next day. Pretty elaborate and sounds dodgy, but definitely a travel nightmare!
What it taught me? To always bring two bank cards!
Maeve, Content Writer
When I was in Australia, I drove from Toowoomba to Brisbane barefoot, the day before a flight. I got to the airport hotel with just 30 minutes until I’d have been charged another day for the rental car. I got out of the car to get my shoes from the boot and realised I had left them behind! They were my only pair as I’d broken my flip flops the day before. I was totally shoe-less at an airport hotel in Brisbane, with barely any time, and had to manically check in before driving to the nearest supermarket barefoot to buy a bright pink pair of $5 bejewelled flip flops. I arrived at the rental place with about a minute to spare – it was very stressful.
What it taught me? To always wear shoes when driving. And also, I don’t look good in hot pink!
Chaos Before Copenhagen
Rosie, Head of Content
My boyfriend once bought me a trip to Copenhagen for my birthday, and whilst I was uber excited, I didn’t look at the flight times between being given them and the day of departure. I just got a time stuck in my head. Five minutes away from the airport I realised that the time I had in mind for check in was actually the departure time. After a frantic sprint through the airport (where my boyfriend hadn’t realised that deodorant in a cannister is a liquid?!), we were told we couldn’t board the flight. Thankfully, we managed to get same-day flights for £50.
What it taught me? To double check the times of flights, trains and all types of other transport.
That Ship Has Sailed
Felicia, Content Writer
My friend and I were in the Philippines and due to fly out to Australia the next day. We arrived at the port to catch the boat back to the mainland at 4pm and were told it was cancelled “because it was Saturday” (it was a Monday…) and that there were no boats until the morning – by which time we’d miss our flight. We ended up going to a different port a couple of hours away, where there was a queue for the boats going down several streets. We waited in the queue for six hours and spoke to the coastguard about our situation. At 1am, someone came up to us and explained that the coastguard had sent him to put us on a boat, so that we wouldn’t miss our flight. When we reached the port, we were ushered on to a fancy boat but told to sit in the luggage area because they weren’t sure where else to put us. We got some odd looks, but we made our flight!
What it taught me? To relax more about things going wrong, as it’ll all turn out right in the end.
It’s All Downhill From Here
Polly, Social Media Executive
I went on a ski holiday and wasn’t allowed ski! My entire family booked to go skiing for Christmas – everyone was up for it and so excited. It was booked for 21 people in February and the very next week I dislocated my knee. Consequently, I needed an operation six weeks before we were due to fly to the Alps. My surgeon advised me not to do anything physical, so skiing was completely off the cards, but not going meant being alone at Christmas! I obviously went on holiday with my family to the ski lodge, but sat out the skiing part.
What it taught me? To embrace every opportunity and not to get hung up on things you can’t do, but focus on positives instead… i.e. more time to drink mulled wine and eat your body weight in cheese. Also, don’t show off on trampolines!
It’s an Exam-ergency
Jenny, Email Marketing Executive
After a lovely Christmas at home I was heading back to France to complete my year abroad Erasmus exams. However, my flight was cancelled 24 hours before my first exam and there we no other flights to Marseille that day. As a result, I missed the two exams and consequently had to repay six months of free Eramus money, around €2,400.
What it taught me? To always factor in extra time for delays and cancellations!
Going Down the Wrong Track
Georgia, Content Writer
To celebrate the end of our A Levels, I went with a group of friends to Barcelona for a few days of partying and exploring. We decided to go on a day trip to the Tibidabo Amusement Park and were really chuffed when we managed to navigate two different trains to get there – despite it being blisteringly hot and none of us speaking Spanish. However, on the way back, we weren’t so lucky. After deducing what we thought a man on the platform had said and hopping on the next train, it took us 40 minutes of slowly getting deeper into the Spanish countryside for one of us to realise that this was not the right train and we were in fact travelling in completely the wrong direction.
What it taught me? To learn key phrases when you are visiting a foreign country, or at least be willing to succumb to Google Translate when things get desperate.