We plan for our travel trips to the tee. We want them to run smoothly like clockwork precision. But travel problems have a way of creeping up on us and throw a wrench in the best planned trips. Over the years I have faced a lot of travel problems. Let me share a few unexpected travel snafus today.
I believe in reaching early so I leave a generous margin for getting to the airport or railway station. It’s better to wait rather than reach all stressed out! Last year, I had to catch a late evening flight to Bali from Delhi and had to reach the airport by 7.30 pm. I took the cab from Gurgaon. I was relaxed as the app showed ETA 7 pm, despite the traffic congestion. And then it happened, an accident which blocked the highway. The frequent calls from my colleagues along with stationary cab and the ticking clock did little to my panic-attack-turning-into-a-heart-attack state! Thank God for the resourceful driver who once got an opportunity to move, took me from a longer route but the one that was traffic-free. I reached at 8.15 pm to see relief-laced faces of my colleagues and only when I had cleared all the check-in procedures, I sat with a hot cup of coffee in the lounge to breathe easily!
I was traveling with my 45-days old baby from Mumbai to Jaipur. The unusual delay in the flight take-off coupled with the then shut air conditioners made the aircraft a hot stuffy cabin. (The air conditioners in the aircraft were switched off and were to restart only after the take off). I don’t know what was the cause, but the little baby in my arms cried, howled, wailed, shrieked at top of his small but powerful lungs… non-stop. The brand new mother in me tried her level bestest to calm the child. But all my efforts of cooing, feeding, changing his position in my arms, loosening his clothes, fanning him… failed. Though I refused to make eye contact with the fellow co-passengers, I could sense their irritation and feel their stares and hear their exaggerated sighs. Those were the longest 30 minutes of my life!
Last weekend, I had to go to Nagaur, a small city in Rajasthan. I booked the hotel online which looked decent and was nearest to the railway station as I was reaching at 3 am. The room was large but had stain covered carpets and grime covered bathroom. One look at the bed, it was clear that the linen was not changed after the previous guest had left. I made the attendant change the linen in the middle of the night but that eeky feeling refused to leave me.
This was in 2001, I had to take a flight from Mumbai to Cochin. I reached the Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport at Santacruz on time and showed my ticket to the security personnel. One look at the ticket and he said, “You are the wrong airport. Your flight is a connecting International flight which would take off from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Sahar, Andheri.” I actually felt the blood drain from my face. The memory of the stress and the panic on not finding a cab/auto to take me to Sahar, Andheri and then the delay due traffic and reaching just before they were closing the boarding counter at the airport, is still fresh in my mind!
I have this habit of arranging clothes, shoes, toiletries etc in my hotel room after check-in. I was placing the clothes in the cupboard when I found them wet and slimy. On careful inspection, I found that it was shampoo. The culprit not only created a mess in my toiletries kit but made a mess of my clothes as well. I must have emptied half the water tank just to wash the various toiletries, as the soapy suds refused to go away. I was debating whether to wash the shampoo soaked clothes myself or not, but better sense prevailed and I dialed housekeeping to take away the clothes from me, before the urge to wash them on my own got strong.
I have battled eve-teasing, put up with annoying co-passengers, waited endlessly as the flights/trains were delayed, no room despite the booking at the hotel, traveled all through the night without catching a wink and then reported for work at 9 am, reached destinations at all ungodly hours, got involved in an accident by sleepy Uber driver, have reported to work in the clothes which I was wearing for more than 30 hours because the baggage was misplaced by the airline and many many more mishaps. But all these have not diminished my love for travel. Rather, these challenges and experiences during travels have shaped me into the person I am today.
Have you faced any travel problems? Do share them in the comment box below.