A Facebook friend recently posted a status asking what peoples most expensive traveling mistakes have been, and it inspired me to write about mine! It was such an utter failure, I can only laugh about it now and hope others learn from my mistake. I sure as hell won’t be repeating it.
In 2012, after studying abroad in Australia, I wanted to go on a trip to a country vastly different from the western countries I’m used to. I thought about Thailand because it was a popular destination for Australians. Ever since seeing Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts, I’d dreamed of Bali. One day while running with my friend Amanda from Sri Lanka, she suggested I come stay with her and her family in Sri Lanka. I honestly don’t think I’d heard of Sri Lanka before meeting Amanda, so what could be better than a mysterious island for my adventure! I could write a whole blog post on that experience, but I’ll save Sri Lanka for another time.
With the budget airline I booked, I had to spend a night in Malaysia each way. This was a bonus — I got to hit two countries in one trip. A family friend had been to Malaysia many times and had all sorts of shopping and eating suggestions for the city, which were incredible. All the noodles my heart could desire, a shopping spree at Zara and architectural marvels galore. It was the end of my travels, 6 months away from home and I was ready to get back to my friends and family. I arrived at the budget airport with plenty of time and had my last Malaysian meal. I decided to check out what movies I could watch on the flight, but I didn’t see my flight listed. I headed to the counter and was informed that my flight had taken off yesterday…I missed my flight by an entire day and the next flight didn’t leave until the next day. By that time the next day I would have missed my expensive flight from Australia back to the U.S.
First things first, I curled up into a ball on the floor and cried because I had no way to communicate with my parents or our family friends in Australia who had planned to pick me up and were probably panicking like I was. Once I pulled myself together I asked the girl at the counter how I could possibly get back to Australia that day, to which the only solution was to bus to the fancy airport, purchase a $1000 ticket to Melbourne, from there call my parents and have them buy me a ticket from Melbourne to Brisbane where my plane took off back to the U.S. the next day. I flew Malaysia Air and had the fanciest flying experience ever, where I was served tuna sashimi salad for dinner and watched movies on a big, flat screen T.V. Thank goodness this was before the issues they’ve had this year or I would have had a much more severe panic attack.
All in all, an experience I’ll never forget and never repeat! Always check your itinerary VERY carefully. I’d love to hear other traveling flubs, feel free to share in a comment!