Travel horror stories…

This time I’d really love to know yours!

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The Garden. Kensington Palace, London, England. October, 2014.

In honor of All Hallows’ Eve week, we’ll be looking at some travel horror stories and maybe things to do to avoid them.

Part of the reason for this week’s post is my sister. In the past few weeks, she traveled out to visit me in London, before heading back home, only to leave – days later – for a friend’s wedding in North Carolina.

The basic story goes: after being invited to the wedding, Ki booked the cheapest flight she could find online – she went with an airline called “Spirit”. She took the cheapest options available which meant she had a quick layover in Chicago, coming and going. On the way home, Ki’s flight into Chicago was delayed, meaning she missed her second flight which was set to take off 30 minutes after her other flight landed – needless to say that wasn’t going to happen. Then, Ki was stuck in a ‘strange’ city without plans and a connecting flight set for the next morning (6 am).

So a breakdown:

Trouble 1: She booked a flight on an airline she didn’t know anything about (except for prices).

Trouble 2: She didn’t consider the weather when planning the time between connecting flights.

Trouble 3: She got stuck in an unexpected city on her own dime.

When one looks at these factors, it’s easy to see where things went wrong and planning was only he tip of the iceberg.

When booking a flight anywhere, you have to do your research. While you want to look for cheap flights that let you get where you need as cheaply as you can, you need to look at the reviews (with a grain of salt of course – people only review when anything was really bad or really good, and usually the former wins out) and what you get for that investment.

It’s better to look for deals with airlines you are familiar with as these will be less surprises – you’ll be a little more familiar with what’s normal and can leverage your history a little if trouble occurs. It’s even better if it is one whose policies you know (ie. missed flights, lost luggage, ect.) just in case something goes wrong, you’re covered.

Next, when you are booking a flight, don’t just take the cheapest layover because it’s cheap, especially in an area where weather tends to be an issue – Chicago is not called the ‘Windy City’ because of the occasional breeze! Never schedule a layover where you may have to sprint from one terminal to the next, and always check the weather forecasts when available to know if you’re going to have to make different arrangements.

If that should happen, you have two options (that is if your delay – like Ki’s – is longer that the few hours you’re supposed to be at the airport before your flight): 1. Complain and complain loud enough that maybe someone will listen to you (it’s not too likely but who knows); or 2. Make the most of your stop. See what arrangement can be made through your insurance (which you should always purchase) and the airline for staying overnight (if need be), or if there are places nearby that will store your luggage. If you can manage it, take advantage of your misfortune and explore where you have ended up. Go get food and think of all the spontaneous travel possibilities! Silver linings and all that.

Basically, plan well, research well, and roll with the punches.

While this ‘horror story’ isn’t too bad (mostly poor planning), it is one horror of a headache you don’t want, or need, on your vacation.

In an earlier post, I talked about other debacles like lost luggage and 4 days in Ireland with only one outfit per person, and Colin’s very drunken night in Dublin (quickly followed by his day in jail). There are all kinds of trouble, and travel troubles come in all shapes and sizes.

So what was yours?

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Travel horror stories…

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