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Bad, traveller! Bad!


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Posts: 3454
Joined: November 19th, 2004

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Tags: horror stories, travel horror stories
  • Added on: December 25th, 2007
I'm going to make this short. You'll laugh anyways.

I got a cheap ticket from schipol to praque. I went to the gate. I waited at the gate, the stewardess took my ticket without note,, tore it. I was allowed onto the plane. I sat on the plane. Someone came to me, had my seat number. Stewardess, whbo had read my ticket bfore, looked at it carefully.

The plane I was on was going to KRAKOW. I had to get off, collect my luggage, and try again.

No luck. Apparently Sky Europe thought that since it said it had called my name on the loudspeakers(they hadn't), they were free of liability. Have you ever tried to argue with a dutchman who knows they're correct? I left my sweater there out of frustration, and took a train to Prague. It was a great train. It cost twice as much as my plane ticket.

Have you stopped laughing yet?


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Librarian Gone Wild
Posts: 1049
Joined: December 3rd, 2004

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  • Added on: December 27th, 2007
On the first day of a trip, I had landed in Iceland, excited to start traveling. Get on the airport bus, get to the main bus station, preparing to walk to my friend's house, and notice something strange....

...feeling rather light....

OH CRAP! My backpack is on the bottom of the bus....which is no longer in the parking lot!!!

Luckily, they noticed it and I just had to wait around an extra hour or so at the airport. Still, it was a harsh wakeup into paying attention to my surroundings and being more mindful.


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 223
Joined: March 28th, 2007

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  • Added on: January 8th, 2008
I could tell bad traveller stories all day! Heres my Verona one. I arrived late at night into Verona, I thought I was gonna arrive mid-afternoon but instead got in around midnight. I found my hotel and they hid a key for me. I was very tired and just happened to notice there was a Blockbuster across the street from my hotel. That struck me as very odd. I went right to sleep.

I was only in Verona for two days and arriving so late ate up part of that time. So I got up early the next morning, ran out the door, and walked and explored and walked and explored some more. I kept crossing the river back and forth, popping into coffee shops and stores, etc. No one I came across spoke any english. I attempted many conversations. Heck I even tried speaking Spanish but noone could understand what I was trying to say.

Well I covered a great distance and found a really cool restaurant. It was right on the river and a beautiful building. It was early evening and I was the only diner. I have come to learn that they eat dinner quite late in Verona, almost Spanish like meal times. I ordered a glass of wine- which took quite awhile to get.

I get my glass of wine, casually drink it and my glass is empty for awhile- and I have yet to get a menu. The waitress is nowhere in sight. I wait, and wait....finally she shows up and I order another glass of wine and gesture for a menu. I finish that glass and wait...and wait..

Finally I could not take it. I walked back and found the waitress, and ordered a bottle and placed my order. I had an excellent meal and was feeling really good after 2 glasses and a bottle of wine. Then the place started filling up with a fun, college aged crowd. So I ordered a Lemoncello or two for digestif and enjoyed the atmosphere. I still could not find anyone that spoke english, but I am feeling very good.

I leave and come across a bar and I go in. I hear these two girls speaking english and was so happy to finally be able to have a conversation. They were from Sweden and we hit it off. They took me around bar hopping. Place to place, over the river, back over. I was having a blast. We went to this club that was the most packed club I was ever in. It was so packed, well I lost the 2 girls I was with. It was late, I was ready to sleep, I could not locate them to say goodbye- so I leave.

Well- I am drunk and exhausted. I walk out the door then realize-I have no idea where I am! I don't even know what side of the river I am on! The only two people that I met that spoke english were those 2 Swedish girls. There were lines to get back into that club going down the street- I could not get back into the club to find them.

So I start walking with little idea which direction to go. I am walking and walking and I come across a bar called "American Bar" and a girl is locking the doors with her key- the bar just shut down. I say to the girl- "American Bar- please tell me you speak english? Could you help me please? I am lost and not sure where my hotel is". She was very nice- and said- "whats the name of your hotel?" I think about then realize- "I don't know".

I had no idea what the name of the hotel was! I totally drew a blank, then remembered-"its across from a Blockbuster". She says"Oh my God- that is a long way away! You walked?" She was so kind and she gave me a ride back. I love the kindness and generosity bestowed on travellers by locals. Well lesson learned- make sure you know what side of the river you are on and the name of your hotel.
Carpe Noctrine


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 150
Joined: October 19th, 2007

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  • Added on: January 22nd, 2008
don't ever use your credit card to make a long distance call from a hotel....very very expensive! I was shocked when I got home and saw my bill


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Extra Pages in Passport
Posts: 3620
Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: January 22nd, 2008
don't ever use your credit card to make a long distance call from a hotel....very very expensive! I was shocked when I got home and saw my bill
Just don't call long distance from the hotel, period. I think I got stuck paying $1/minute within Canada last time I stayed in a hotel. My employer was covering the tab, though, so not really my problem.


Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 20
Joined: November 23rd, 2007

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  • Added on: February 3rd, 2008
This one didn't cost me a dime, as it was a business trip, but definitely was my worst travel experience.

In the summer of 2000, I was set to go on a business trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Kyoto. As I was working as a translator, and only speak Mandarin, Shanghai was the only part of the trip I really needed to be on, but wasn't exactly complaining about working 3-4 days and travelling the rest of the time on the company dime.

Things started off well in Hong Kong. Certain ppl were completely ignorant that they don't speak mandarin in Hong Kong, so I got a last minute 'invitation' to a formal company dinner at a hotel much nice than the shoebox I was staying in, AND got the company to pick up the tag for 260USD cocktail dress.

However, as we tried to leave Hong Kong, things took a turn. Due to a typhoon, we were unable to leave Hong Kong for 3-4 days, thus cancelling the Shanghai portion of the trip (which was the only reason I was on this trip in the first place). I was slightly disappointed, but it was no big deal.

However, because we had to re-route our tickets, we didn't arrive in Kyoto until a day or so after we were originally scheduled, making our business time in Kyoto rather rushed. Again, I wasn't actually working in Kyoto, so, other than it getting me back home a couple days after I promised my sitter I'd be back, I wasn't that bothered.

We were actually staying 30-45 minutes outside of Kyoto in a rather industrial area. The industrial atmosphere didn't bother me much, until we went out that night. Industrial areas tend to be pretty male dominanted, and I defnitely got the icky-scary vibe when we walked into the only club within reasonable distance to where we were staying.

Anyway, on our last night there, after staying out too late drinking, an American guy struck up a conversation with me. I tried to get rid of him several times, but it wasn't working. (I was meant to walk the final couple blocks to my hotel with the other female in the group, but she had gone earlier in the night. Having done the same trip the previous few nights, I guess I let my guard down). Anyway, he was seriously creepy, and likely on something too, as he kept telling me how much I'd like Hawaii (my home of 7 yrs at the time, and where I was returning the next day) because he had been there years before on a 2 week vacation, and insisting he could tell me what floor my airline check in was on (after he informed me that I was booked out of the wrong airport, and the airport was something like 2-3 hours away!)

Fast forward a bit. I was at my hotel, still unable to loose this guy. After nearly slamming his hand in the door as he tried to enter the lobby doors after me, we got in a struggle over the door. The front desk cleark is nowhere around, and as it's like 2-3am, the lobby is deserted. I'm yelling like crazy for him to get the #$@ away from me, trying to wake anyone in the hotel, all while holding on to the door with all my might/weight. The part that really creeped me out was, that while I'm screaming and fighting, he, very calmly, is saying "Man, just let me see your ticket. I can tell you what floor your airline is on, man". Creep. Anyway, at some point during our struggle, he lets go of the door. As I was attempting to pull it closed with all I had, my nose was just about level with the silver bar that goes across the door. I SLAMMED into it!

Now I'm pretty sure I didn't lose consciousness, but I did kinda lose touch for maybe up to 30 seconds. When I 'come to', the creep is gone and the desk clerk is (finally!) rushing over to help.

I spend my last few hours in Japan at the hospital, talking to doctors, the cops, and my company (trying to figure out how to get to the airport 2-3 hours away). I keep having to turn down pain meds so the docs will clear me to get on the flight. The cops tell me that, even if they could find this guy, they can't charge him with anything, as it was the DOOR that broke my nose, not him. Fucking ridiculous! And after numerous calls back to the office in Hawaii, I'm finally given directions/funds to get from YOKOHAMA to NARITA! (Unfortunately, I wasn't IN Yokohama OR going to NARITA! Stupid bastards!)

I get back to the hotel with about an hour to spare before we have to leave for the flight. With everything going on, I overlooked telling the girl travelling with me that we'd have to leave 2 hours earlier than we had originally planned.

I had had enough. I shoved my stuff in my bag and kinda sorta took a shower, not even bothering to wash all the blood and iodine off my face or comb my hair. I showed up at the other girls door early. Now up until this point, I thought SHE had been the responsible one, going home early and all. UNTIL she shows up at the door, wrapped not in the sheet, but in the friggin' matress pad. From what I can see of the room behind her, she's had one hell of a night (and obviously wasn't alone). The mattress was off the bed and various empty bottles were strewn about. She stares at me. I tell her we're leaving in 10 minutes. She starts to protest, but I walk away. She obeys (as you really shouldn't fuck with the girl with a broken nose and blood all over her face).

On the way to the airport, we stopped at an atm after I tell her it's 2-3 hours (and a VERY expensive taxi ride) away. She refuses to pull out any money, leaving the whole expense up to me -- not only hoping the company will reimburse it, but praying I had enough money in my account to cover it. The magic ATM came through for me, and we were only 2-3 hours away from the magical airport where I could finally take some pain meds.

We get to the airport and I have maybe 200Y left over after I pay for the cab. Nowhere near enough to buy any food or drink to go along with my pain meds. Bitch girl again doesn't help me out by buying me a meal. Sooo, after spending my last 200Y on a drink, I grab the chicken sandwich off her tray and walk away. We didn't talk the rest of the trip.

When I got to the departure lounge, the lady called me up.
I was in no mood. Convinced it was going to be bad news, I did my best at pretending to not understand broken English or simple pantomime gestures. UNTIL I figured out they were trying to bump us up from economy to business. Cha-ching! When they tried to do the same for the other girl, I told them I didn't know who she was and she wasn't travelling with me.

Spent the next 8ish hours in business class comfort with hazy demerol dreams. Hopefully bitch girl was stuck in economy, squished in between two really fat men who don't wear deodorant.

When I finally got back to work, they initially refused to reimburse me for the 300USD-ish taxi fare, and bitch girl put in a complaint about me cuz I stole her sandwich. In the end it all worked out. I got reimbursed, and for unrelated reasons, she left the company about 6 months later.

So that's my travel story. All I have to show for it is a slight bump on my nose and REALLY awesome cocktail dress.


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 239
Joined: March 26th, 2001

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  • Added on: February 20th, 2008
Three stories, one funny, one annoying and a little costly, one just annoying.

My boyfriend arranged a winter getaway from New York City to Salt Lake. On the Friday afternoon of our departure he took the subway to where I worked in downtown Brooklyn, with his skis. I had arranged for a car at the local Marriott (because NYC taxi drivers do not cruise around Brooklyn looking for fares) to take us to Newark. Our friendly driver loads our luggage and away we go.

Naturally New York City traffic on a Friday afternoon is abominable, and getting across lower Manhattan is particularly hard.

An hour or so later we finally roll up to Delta departures at Newark. He hops out and approaches a sky cap to see if we can curb-check our luggage, including skis. I and the driver start unloading it.

Suddenly BF is hurrying back, waving at us to put it back, put it back!

Our flight was out of JFK. In about ninety minutes.

Sure, it said it right there on the e-ticket.

Our driver actually got into the challenge -- I'm sure the additional fare to drive us all the way back through Brooklyn and beyond didn't hurt. He even telephoned his wife at home to look out the window at the traffic conditions approaching the city before selecting his route.

Somehow we made it just before the baggage check-in deadline. And for once we didn't have to hang around the airport before a flight. This was pre 9/11, so security was not a time risk.

BF, who, as an RTW traveler, was mortified, paid for the car. And took my ribbing about the error in good spirits. Well, Delta did have flights to Salt Lake from both airports at around the same time...

The other trip was a solo long weekend to Cancun via Miami. My flight sat on the tarmac at JFK for hours. Once in the air we all watched the clock, constantly recalculating whether we'd be able to make our various connections. One by one, groups of passengers grew nervous, then frustrated, then resigned as their time limits ran out. When we finally landed, a few lucky people were hustled off the plane to dash to connections that hadn't left yet. But most of us shuffled out to talk to an airline representative. We were rebooked and given hotel and dinner vouchers, and toiletry kits -- if we took our checked luggage we might not get it onto the early morning flights.

I had dinner with another couple from the flight at the Holiday Inn bar. We had fun, and had some things in common to talk about. I called Travelocity, through whom I'd booked my room at a cheap resort. They contacted the resort to change my arrival date.

Next morning we met up, bleary eyed, for the van ride back to the airport. The flight to Cancun went fine and we parted company at the taxis -- them to their nice resort, me to my, um, not so fancy one.

I had bought a package. There was no refund for the missed night. Well, maybe it WAS okay that it was a cheap place.

Finally, I arranged to fly to Aruba for friends' sunset beach wedding. My flight was at 7:00 a.m. out of Newark (but at least it was direct!) I had not yet learned to just drive to Newark and park as I do now. From where I live, public transport at that hour would mean leaving home around three a.m. So I booked a hotel room near the airport and went there the night before.

I had just checked in when my cell phone rang. The caller, an airline agent, expressed frustration with me for not being available, which I found baffling. She explained that she'd left me messages earlier (on my home voicemail, but I'd been at work -- let that be a lesson about contact numbers).

She then calmly explained that my flight was canceled. She actually made it sound like good news. She goes on to explain that she has saved the day, I have already been booked on the perfect flight, an hour later in the morning, arriving at nearly the same time. Out of JFK. Remember, I'm standing in a hotel room in friggin' Newark.

I say no, that is not at all convenient for me. I'm already at Newark. This concept seems to be difficult for her -- after all, she's probably in Texas or Atlanta and looking at a map that shows these two airports not that far apart. She seems absolutely convinced that I could not possibly want the 6:00 a.m. flight out of Newark that is also available, instead of the 8:00 a.m. from JFK. But I've already committed to this stupid Holiday Inn, and I'm not leaving for Queens!

She reluctantly books it -- and there goes my nice direct flight, replaced by a connection in Puerto Rico. At least she didn't have the nerve to find some excuse to charge me more!

Aruba was great, by the way -- much nicer than Cancun (but maybe because the wedding was at the Marriott, which is in a different world from a cheap Cancun all-inclusive.
No one trip is "the trip of a lifetime" -- they all are.


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Lost in Place
Posts: 61
Joined: February 10th, 2008

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2008
Yeah, got one too. Just when I was about to leave New Zealand from Wellington on a Friday early morning, I came to the check in, showed my passport and: "Ah sorry mate, your transit visa trough Australia's expired..."
"! What are my options then?"
My options ware to get a quick one to Auckland, I forked over 250$ for it and because the check in for that one was about to close I had no time to get rid of some overweight. Bang! 90$ ...thank you!!! How lucky I was to have two more days on my ticket before it expired entirely and more lucky it wasn't a big problem to leave from Auckland to Sydney instead from Wellington for them. I just had to hand over 160$ for changing the date of the flight for a third time. And I didn't even mentioned the ULTRA hassle in Auckland to get a quick transit visa for OZ, with one finger glued to the Rough Guide City map. Joining the queue in the Immigration office two times and running from one building to another one because my visa request forms and paperwork ware not complete. And I had to forge damn quickly my electronic New Zealand Visitors visa extension to keep the OZ office happy, because I overstayed over a month a half. Guess why...amores perros!!! So all that I managed in one day - to pay stupid 500$ plus , to cross the North Island in couple of hours, to get a one day transit visa close to the office closing time and finally, to leave NZ only with 24 hrs delay. Quite a unforgettable day...
We are same stuff as dreams are made of


Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 1
Joined: February 22nd, 2008

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  • Added on: February 22nd, 2008
I love these stories!
In Thailand, my friend from school and I decided to take a bus up for a weekend trip to Sai Yak Yai national park. Of course we take the bus up and explain in our limited Thai to the driver where to drop us off. Then she makes us get off at the Sai Yak "Sai" destination (a full 30 min driving away from the intended park) where there were some lovely waterfalls but no place to sleep! So we ran back to the highway and eventually flagged down another bus to drop us off at the correct park (apparently not as popular of a destination!). We get to the entrance and begin hiking in with our little backpacks. 1 hr later we have still not yet reached the park entrance and are in the middle of the woods with no cars passing us! Finally a very nice man in a pick up truck picks us up. He happened to speak decent English, got us in the park for the Thai nationals price (10 times cheaper) and arranged for us to rent a house boat for the weekend! To top it off there was no place to eat in the park, so we paid a woman to cook us food on her porch! What a crazy adventure!


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Armchair Traveler
Posts: 35
Joined: March 30th, 2008

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  • Added on: June 29th, 2008
After three weeks in India, which was my and my husband's first "majority world" travel adventure, we were more than ready to head home to San Francisco.

Already, we'd spent a very long, unplanned and unpleasant 12 hour night sitting on a dirty, crowded, noisy, rat overrun train platform taking turns sleeping fitfully.

We'd hired a car in Chennai for the round-trip day-trip to Mamallapuram and back, only to discover the driver didn't speak a word of English or know his way around Chennai. So, we spent over an hour in the backseat of the car as the driver creeped and squeezed through seemingly every back alley in Chennai looking for our final destination.

We'd sat on a public bus - unmoving - for 2 hours. That it didn't have a bathroom was made worse because you knew that, if you got off the bus to find a loo, someone in the double-overloaded bus would take your seat. Or as soon as you made it to a bathroom and had your pants down, the bus driver would finally decide to leave, leaving you behind.

We'd taken a domestic flight from Cochin to Delhi and, lulled into blissful misjudgment by the appearance of modern air travel, we ate the airline's fruit cup, which we regretted even before the two hour flight was over.

After all these experiences - and more - you would think for our flight out of India, we would have been hyper vigilant about every detail.

We were not.

A friend from the U.S. was in Mumbai for work and invited us to spend our last night in India with her in her four-star western chain hotel room. There was bacon in the buffet, filtered water from the tap, an infinity pool, and cold beer delivered poolside.

Our printed flight itinerary said our flight left at "1215" the next day, so we lounged and napped and swam and ate luxuriously, knowing we had what seemed like all the time in the world.

At 11:30 pm, we leave the hotel restaurant where we'd had an incredible meal and lots of wine. Back in our friend's hotel room we pack up, shower and get ready for bed, happy we can sleep in the next day before leaving for our noon flight.

While packing, I decide to dig our printed airline tickets out from my secret security pocket where it has been hidden since we left the U.S.

I glance passingly at the paper tickets and see two letters that sink my thali-filled stomach.


We had assumed, like everything else in India, the time on our flight's itinerary printout was in military time, so "1215" meant fifteen minutes past noon.

Only the paper tickets added those two critical, clarifying letters, letting us know that, at that very moment, we were missing our "1215 AM" flight back home.

Happily, staying at a four star chain hotel has more benefits than just bacon at the buffet.

The hotel travel agent took care of calling the airline the next day and getting our flights rebooked. At first, even the hotel travel agent said to us "Oh no, don't worry. You haven't missed the flight, in India everything is military time."

For that divine service, which took about 8 hours of phone tag and calling back, the hotel charged us about 200 rupees ($4 or so at the time), and we got to spend one more day lounging around the pool.
Global art and RTW travel adventures at


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Guidebook Dependent
Posts: 15
Joined: June 28th, 2008

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  • Added on: July 3rd, 2008
On my last trip to Europe, my return home from Berlin to Toronto was as follows:

1. A RyanAir flight from Berlin to Dublin.'
2. Exactly a half-hour after landing, a bus from Dublin to Belfast.
3. One and a half hours after that, a flight to Toronto.

Lord knows what I was thinking - even under perfect circumstances, that was a risky as hell travel itinerary, especially when flying to Toronto on Zoom airlines, which runs a Belfast flight only once per week.

Needless to say, Murphy's law kicked in as it must do, and my first flight was delayed. I landed in Dublin with 10 minutes to clear the gate and board the bus, and literally sprinted through Dublin airport, which, if you haven't been to, seems to have been designed to maximize the distance between gates and entrances at all costs.

Having never taken a bus in Ireland, I thought I was set after boarding the bus, and settled down to a well deserved nap. I woke up 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival to a landscape that looked completely unlike Belfast. My only response when asking the driver if we were nearly there was a laugh. Finally we arrived, about 25 minutes before departure. Zoom had already closed their ticketing counter, and I had to get the security guard to get me booked in. Once again, I sprinted through the airport, all to the sounds of the gate calling my name "for immediate departure".

I got to the gate just as they were about to close up and take off, and boarded the plane. Now, if you've ever held up a plane, you'll know that the worst experience imaginable is the walk of shame as you head to your seat. You'll also know that if you get your boarding pass late, the likeliest seat you'll have is the very back corner. For those of you who haven't experienced this singular experience, just imagine hundreds of people staring you down, knowing that you're the reason they will arrive late, you're the reason that they're seperated from their loved ones for an additional half hour, you're even the reason that the baby in the back is crying for being cooped up in a plane for a half hour.

Needless to say, I now give absurdly long times between connections.
Currently in: London
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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
Posts: 2231
Joined: February 8th, 2005

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  • Added on: September 11th, 2008
I had a ticket (confirmed) from Goa to Hyderabad on the Indian Railways. Problem was they had issued a ticket on a train which had been cancelled for couple of months.

Humm...a bus, 2 passenger trains and 1 express (so called) and couple arguments later I reached Hyderabad.

I guess I assumed that trains never get cancelled.
I'm Flickring away...

"The difference between loneliness and solitude is your perception of who you are alone with and who made the choice." --anonymous quote


Lost in Place
Posts: 93
Joined: September 8th, 2008

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  • Added on: September 11th, 2008
I've had a few, but the best was two years ago in England. My friend and I were leaving Bath on our way back to London by train. It was late, after 8pm and we were both pretty tired. I'd been to England twice before, my friend hadn't travelled abroad at all. I left her alone to go to the washroom and asked her to watch for our train. By the time I came out she was yelling for me to get on the train on the platform. This was it! I got on.

My first thought was it didn't look like one of the new, higher speed trains that take you to London. Then they gave an audio address of the stops along the way, including Salsbury, before our final stop...Southampton. We did get back to London that night, but it was late!


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 126
Joined: November 20th, 2008
Location: nashville

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  • Added on: November 21st, 2008
It was my first major trip on my own, and I was coming home from a week's stay in London. Our plane was delayed an hour to an hour and a half due to dense fog. I begin to panic, as my layover in Charlotte is only 45 minutes and was probably the last flight out to Nashville.

We make it to Charlotte, and amazingly enough, I haven't missed my flight, but only had 30 minutes before it left. I run to baggage claim. Ten minutes pass before my bag finally turns up.

During this time, I managed to misplace my customs form, cried in my frustration because the customs guy was a jerk -- and then found it wadded up somewhere in my pocket. I run at a full sprint across the entire length of the Charlotte airport with two bags.

This being my first return from an international adventure, I didn't realize I had to go through security again. There's a ridiculous long line of people - there'd be no way for me to get through and make my flight, which was due to leave in 15 minutes.

So, I cut in line. I pass everyone, saying, "Sorry, I'm sorry, my plane is about to leave..."
I make it to the front, and the entire line is irate. The security guard looks at me expectantly. I turn back to look at the line. "Sorry, my plane leaves in 15 minutes," I apologized.
"Yeah? OURS LEAVES IN TEN!" someone shouts at me. Everyone else in line mumbles in agreement, and I realize I've just cut 60 people in line whose flight left sooner than mine, and they're ready to burn me at the stake!

Fortunately, the security guy had pity on me and let me go through the pilots' check-in area, where I got some crap from the guy searching my carry-on bag. I was annoyed and acting erratically because he was taking forever sifting through my stuff. He asked for my ID and ticket, and then commented on how it didn't really look like me. But I did make the flight, all in all.

It's interesting how some people working airport security are so gracious, while others make it their goal to prod you for their own amusement...


Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
Posts: 302
Joined: March 24th, 2005

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  • Added on: April 7th, 2009
In 1997 I studied abroad in Vienna for a semester. After the semester was over I made plans with a friend from home to backpack around Europe for the summer. We decided to meet in Rome because she had a cousin there that we could stay with. This was all planned over the phone since email was still scarce.

So the last day in my university housing, I packed up my stuff, handed in my key and headed to the train station. I had booked an overnight train with a sleeper a few days earlier, and phoned my friend to let her know when and where I'd be arriving. Since cell phones were pretty much non-existent at this time, we planned it out all in advance. I arrived at the train station at 8:30pm, plenty of time to catch my 9pm train. I look at the board, and my train isn't listed anywhere. Confused and starting to panic, I pull out my ticket, and finally notice that the train was at 19:00, 7pm! Mind you, I had been living in Europe for over 4 months at this point.

With absolutely no way to reach my friend in Rome, and unable to return to my room, I called my parents from the train station with change, almost in tears. I was just envisioning my friend standing on the platform in the morning waiting for me. I had my mom call my friends mom, who in turn had to call her cousin in Poland to get the number of the other cousin in Rome.

I managed to get on another train in the early morning, but aside from losing all that money, I also lost what should have been an easy overnight trip in a sleeper car. Instead, I was on a slow train to Rome in June, with no seat booking in 100 degree weather. I managed to sit on a little pullout seat in the walkway with people's butts in my face for 7 hours. Luckily my friend was waiting for me, but really, I've never felt so stupid.
If you don't know where you want to go, you can't get lost.

My RTW blog is "Melting"


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