Travel Meltdowns

Similar to my Racing (Running) Mishaps post, I started looking back to travel meltdowns I have had over the years. One of my biggest travel meltdowns happened many years ago, before all of the security that happened as a result of 9/11. I was flying to the small Bahamian island, Harbour Island, and missed my flight, completely unaware of a time change by the airline until I showed up at the ticket counter.

So let’s go way back to the early 90’s when this travel meltdown happened. This was before smart phones or even cell phones, before everyone checked in online before their flight, when you were issued a paper ticket then just showed up at the airport to check in and check your bags. Continental Airlines, which doesn’t even exist any longer, changed my flight time, moving it up an hour earlier, unbeknownst to me. When I cheerfully told the ticket agent I’d like to check in for my flight to Harbour Island, and she said they just closed the gate and no one could board, I started to panic. “What do you mean I can’t board?” I asked, tears starting to form. I knew flights to this small island were extremely limited so it’s not like I could just wait an hour and board another flight there. In the end, the extremely nice gate agent booked me on a flight on a different airline entirely, which meant I would get to Harbour Island, but instead of arriving around 11 in the morning, I would arrive around 9 pm that evening. It meant I would pretty much miss an entire day on the island, and I was only going there for 3 nights, but still, it was better than waiting until the next day, so I took it.

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Harbour Island; photo credit meteoweb.eu

Many years later, my husband and I had a destination wedding on the island of St. Kitts and we were on the ferry to the island of Nevis for our honeymoon. We had just received a very nice camera as a wedding present from my mother-in-law, which we had used while were at St. Kitts. Pretty early in our ferry ride, my husband was going to take a picture of me when a nice man offered to take a picture of my husband and me together. Just as my husband was handing the camera to the man, the camera slipped, hit the boat, bounced, and never turned on again. It was broken. We wouldn’t have our camera for honeymoon pictures and we didn’t know if the memory card was still intact. I couldn’t help but give the man on the ferry dirty looks the rest of the ferry ride even though I knew it was an accident. When we reached Nisbet Plantation, where we were staying on the island, one of the workers offered to go into town and buy us a disposable camera. So yes, all of our honeymoon pictures were taken with a disposable camera, but at least we have photos!

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Beautiful St. Kitts

Not long after my wedding, I was planning a trip to Italy and realized my passport was still in my maiden name so I would need to change my name on my passport. There was no way I would have time to get it updated and there were no regional passport agencies near where I lived. Again, this was before 9/11 so you didn’t have to put in your passport number when you purchased an airline ticket, like you do now. I had already bought our airline tickets and it was only a couple weeks before our departure when I realized this about my passport. I started to panic, but then I remembered something. Lucky for me, we just so happened to be going to Philadelphia for a half marathon, The Philadelphia Distance Run, and Philadelphia also just so happened to have a regional passport agency. I went there and updated my passport on the spot, and breathed a sigh of relief.

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Beautiful Italy

Over the years, my family and I have also gotten hurt or injured (nothing life-threatening), forgotten items in hotel rooms (we discovered this after getting home), had to run through airports multiple times to get to the gate on time because of delayed connecting flights, gotten stuck at airports because of bad weather, gotten lost driving in strange places more times than I can count, gotten swindled by a taxi driver in Italy, and probably swindled by others more than I realize, and I’m sure there are more incidents that I can’t remember. We’ve been in countries where we barely (and pretty incoherently sometimes) spoke the language and have had to muddle our way through. While none of these experiences were exactly pleasant, they didn’t cause a meltdown either.

My daughter has had so many meltdowns on vacations, I could write a whole book about just that. I remember once when we were standing in a TSA line to go through security at an airport, my daughter was crying (I don’t remember about what) and a nice agent gestured to me to come through another area she just opened up, so we essentially got to go to the front of the line. Sometimes traveling with children can have its upsides even when things look down!

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One of my daughter’s not-so-happy moments. Just look at that face!

In the end, even with all of our travel mishaps and meltdowns, things have always worked out although not exactly what we had in mind originally. We certainly haven’t been deterred by all of this. On the contrary, the more we travel, the more we want to travel. We’ve been shown over and over again, we are resilient and people are generally helpful and honest.

What about you all?  What travel mishaps or meltdowns have you had that stand out in your mind? Please share them!

Happy traveling!

Donna

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Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

10 thoughts on “Travel Meltdowns”

  1. Lol, the bad is all part of the good as it makes fun stories to tell! I am thankful to say I’ve not had any travel mishaps (that I can remember), but then again, I don’t travel near as much as you nor as far. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve learned a lot from the bad too! My husband and I are still to this day extremely wary about handing our camera off to anyone (even family members) to take a photo of us. Usually we’ll just say, “No, thanks” when someone offers to take our photo. Hopefully my daughter has learned from all of our mishaps as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes bad experiences (aside from things like rape or murder) make for wonderful travel stories. For example, the wonderful security folks at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia thought I was a drug trafficker.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I can see where that could get really bad quickly. I know everything turned out OK, because you’re not in some prison in Colombia, but it must have sucked at the time! You’re right, that’s some travel story!

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      1. Yeah, it was fine because I knew that I did not swallow 20-40 bags of cocaine the night before my flight. I just looked like I did, because I drank like a fish (I smelled like a distillery) the night before and I slept with my contacts lenses on my eyes (so my eyes were bloodshot red).

        Liked by 2 people

  3. LOLOLOL. I’ve once missed a plane in Phoenix because of the time difference between CA and AZ. In the summer time, CA and AZ have the same time, but in winter they’re different because CA observes daylight savings. I’m normally visit AZ in the summer, but I was flying through Phoenix on my way back to Toronto where I was living at the time after celebrating Christmas with my family. I sat and read a book waiting for my plane. Meanwhile my plane took off without me.

    Thankfully the airline customer service provider had a sense of humor when I walked up to him and sheepishly started off with, “Hi, I’m from California.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll bet Arizona has gotten a bunch of people with the whole daylight savings difference. Hawaii also doesn’t observe daylight savings time. I wish the whole US would just do away with it then we wouldn’t have to deal with it!

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