When you travel a lot, you’re bound to make some mistakes. A curious reader asked me: what was your biggest travel mistake?
I’m pretty meticulous when I travel. I make detailed (though convoluted) travel itineraries, triple-check the information, and get a third party to read through it to make sure I’m not missing something. Unfortunately, on a trip to New Zealand, a glaring mistake was made.
I was in Christchurch, catching a flight on Jetstar to Auckland so I could catch my connecting flight on Virgin Australia to Los Angeles. I went to the machine to print off my boarding pass (oh why, oh why didn’t I check in online!?), and it gave me an error. No big deal. I go to the agent for help. She types in the PNR, and she can’t pull it up. What’s going on? Then, I look down at my booking confirmation in horror. It was July, and I booked my flight for June. I arrived for my flight a month late.
When I booked the flight, I spent less than $100 on two tickets. Even after begging and negotiating, I had to buy two walk-up fares. Luckily, Jetstar is a discount airline, and it only came to about $500 for the both of us, but it still came as a shock. Happily this didn’t happen for a longer, more expensive flight, that might have no award availability… I couldn’t possibly afford a walk-up fare for an intercontinental flight.
I must have made this mistake by just reading the ‘J’ and ‘U’ in the abbreviation for the month. JUN and JUL look pretty darn similar!
Moral of the story: no matter how much you triple-check and make beautiful itineraries, if you travel a lot, you will make a mistake. Make sure you have some means, be it insurance, a stock of award points, or sufficient funds to correct the mistake. Also, pay particular attention to how dates are listed. For example, some countries list dates as MM/DD/YYYY, whereas for others it’s DD/MM/YYYY… or in my case, read the entire abbreviation (duh!).
What was your biggest travel mistake? Leave a comment below.