Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.
I know what you’re probably thinking.
And, yes, nearly getting outlawed from New Zealand for smuggling contraband through customs is kind of a big mistake. BUT, even though it cost me (read: my mom) $200, I like to think that I paid for an amusing story to tell my grandchildren, someday. I don’t regret it.
What I do regret, and what I count as my worst travel mistake, is this:
I bought two tickets to Hobart, Tasmania.
That doesn’t sound like a big mistake, right? Tasmania is one of those places that just sounds awesome. Like, maybe Warner Brothers just made it up to give their Tasmanian Devil a home. But, no, it’s real, and we were planning a weekend trip to its capital city, Hobart. I bought my plane tickets, packed my bags, and minutes before we were ready to catch the bus I realized– holy crap.
I bought myself two tickets TO Hobart and no ticket home.
Another roommate who was not planning on going to Tasmania that weekend was sitting next to me: “Fabes, I don’t know if this will work, but do you want to go to Hobart with us?”
(Keep in mind, this is less than a half an hour before we were supposed to leave.) “Sure, why not?”
We get to the airport and I run to the service desk to see if I can transfer one of my tickets to her name and buy two more tickets back to Sydney. And here is what I regret: yes, we could buy the tickets, but it would cost a couple hundred dollars extra on that short of a notice. (They were less than $100 when I bought the originals.)
And, I couldn’t afford to do that. So, I cried and got back on the bus and went home. And, my friends had an amazing time in Tasmania without me.
And, until I started writing this, it never occurred to me that I could have bought my ticket home from Hobart with the money I spent trying to smuggle a green apple into New Zealand.
(Because I like pictures, here is one of my favorites from New Zealand. Since I spent so much money on my smuggling, I couldn’t spend any to travel on our day off. So, I stuck around Auckland with these beautiful people (one of whom was being punished) and had one of the most memorably lovely days of my whole semester.)