My soon to be friend Alan has assumed that I’ve become terribly concerned about saving face. What he seemed to be referring to was a post I wrote while back about how I got scammed by a homeless person who we were trying to help. Admittedly I wasn’t at the peak of my game, but ended up calling him out on a few of his lies- I told him he lied, and long story short it blew up. Well, as I wrote about here, he actually came two days later to my house to apologize. Which… totally shocked me. Although I’m under no delusions about the situation.
Anyways, for whatever reason Alan doesn’t believe that I’m not just trying to save face and avoid looking like a stooge. So I thought, I wonder if I spend too much time on my blog trying to make myself look good. You know, I’m an expert, people are likely to listen. And while I don’t want to paint a picture of me being aloof, there are a few times while traveling where there have been too many things on my plate and somewhere along the line something goes wrong. I can think of 8 times for example when things went terribly wrong.
First of all, know that we wing it for a lot of our travel. Maybe one time we booked a ticket 6 months in advance but many of our tickets are booked… very last minute. In some cases… too last minute.
8) For starters, I booked travel and forgot to cancel until after the free cancelation date. Many times this has happened, but mostly with hotels. With hotels I’ve remembered the day of the booking and have called the hotel and asked for them to please cancel. This happened three times last year, and I’ve gotten all of my hotels cancelled for free. This year. My problem is that I put them all in google calendar and forget to check back and the alerts thing doesn’t always come up.
I later learned that I need to set email alerts. I still forget…
7) Free lounge? Not! I once wrote about how to get two people in to the lounges when you have Priority Pass. Two people, one lounge, free. Which is pretty cool because the top Priority Pass membership is free for the first person and $27 for the second. But, we didn’t know that until maybe our… 6th lounge. So here we are thinking we’re dining in lounges for free, but we’re really paying.
6) One time I left my wallet in a taxi in China. Which isn’t the stooge part. The stooge part is seeing me sprint through traffic in China. I’m lucky that the taxi driver eventually saw me and that I didn’t die.
5) Apparently you need an outbound flight booked to get into Indonesia. I told everyone how much I love Bali, but I don’t think I told you all how I almost wasn’t allowed to board my Cathay flight to Bali. I made it to Hong Kong okay and then they realized I was going to Indonesia and that I didn’t have a mandatory outbound flight. Easy solution, book a flight, show them and then cancel, right? Stupid me picked a discount airliner, AirAsia flight. But you don’t need both cheap and cancelable… and those two things don’t go together anyways. But $100 is a small price to pay I guess. Oops.
My second time to Bali I booked an exit ticket on Expedia that was cancelable for 24 hours after booking. Then as soon as I landed in Indonesia I canceled the exit ticket. It worked much better.
4) How we accidentally slept in the crappy airports in Bogata, Asuncion and Buenos Aires. So you know how I wrote about how United allows long layovers? Well, I booked a United flight to South America in a time where Star Alliance wasn’t terribly strong in South America. But at least I got to route through Columbia, Paraguay and Argentina and thought perhaps I could see them even if for 1 day/night. Turns out they all have $150 “reciprocity fees” for their visa and I’m too cheap to pay $150 x3 (countries) x2 (people) for barely any time in a country. So we slept in the crappiest of airports.
3) The time we were in between Cambodia and Vietnam with no visa! So it turns out the visa you get for Vietnam online is only good for air entry. When we came by bus we were informed that we could not go to Vietnam. But determined to get to my nice hotel and wanting to see Vietnam and wanting to at least get there before my outbound flight, I pressed. We had no Vietnam visa and therefore Cambodia wasn’t going to stamp us out. But I begged until the exit control man agreed to let me go talk to Vietnam, under the condition that I left Caroline at the Cambodia border. I agreed to the first part and took her with me. Long story short, Cambodia told us that we weren’t getting back in and eventually we found someone in this weird Vietnam barracks that could print Visas for a small fee. Our bus was long gone but we crossed the border as another bus rolled up with 2 seats. “$5 to Saigon?” Done.
2) The time we missed our flight out of Sri Lanka. We were meeting a friend in Bangkok for a short trip but for some reason I assumed 2:15 meant p.m. So I showed up to the airport 10 hours after my flight took off. The next Cathay flight was in 3 days- half of friend’s visit. So I shelled out $200 for a Sri Lankan flight. The first and only time I missed a flight. Hopefully the last!
1) The time I ruined our Cooke Islands trip and then saved the day. Because my mom reads the story posts on my blog, I think, I’ll be discrete. But have you noticed how much wine they give you on Air New Zealand Business Premier!? “Champagne?” “Oh this wine would go well with that dish.” “Try a desert wine?” “Port?” “More champagne?” Not my fault! Right?
Well, when landing in Rarotonga every hotel owner on the island is at the airport. They know the daily flight time. And are ready to sell their hotels. But by the time I was done with my nap on the bench, every taxi and staff member was gone. Caroline said the ones she did talk to were $200 a night and there were no points options. Caroline was slightly panicked and slightly *cough* mad at me. Seriously no one was at the airport and nothing was near it except a hostel and one hotel. To show you the cheapest option, the hostel, I mean a dorm bunk bed price per person was over $60. Which is like… our weekly budget!
Redemption. But it’s good to end on a good note. I woke up, assessed that we were screwed on this side of the island and so we stood on the road hoping to hitch a ride. The first car to go by picked us up (hitch hiking there is so easy btw). When asked where we were going we said the other side of the island, hoping to find a cheap hotel. The lady kind of had to laugh and informed us that there are no cheap hotels on the other side of the tiny island. And upon inquiring about “cheap” hotels, she informed us that our expectations of cheap were way off. Like the wrong island. So while driving and answering my questions she asked us how long we’d be there. “Two weeks.” She called her partner and they agreed to rent their rental house which was currently in between tenants to us for $250. Three bedroom house with a kitchen. Situation redeemed.