Travelers Beware: Everything You Think You Know May be Wrong

passport, sunglasses and foreign money

passport, sunglasses and foreign money

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes right?  It is precisely with those types of days in mind – the recognition that everyone has a bad day once in awhile – that the holiday Everything You Think is Wrong Day was created.  Celebrated each year on March 15th, it’s a day that seems perfectly targeted for travelers.  After all, despite all your research, all your plans and preparations, all the work you’ve done to have the perfect travel experience, at some point in the journey you’re sure to discover that everything you think. . . is wrong.

Have any of these happened to you?

  • You were certain that 12:15 a.m. was minutes after noon – so certain, in fact, that you were 12 hours late for you flight departure.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You knew you had a middle of the night flight, but then forgot that because the departure is after midnight that it is really the next calendar day.  Oh well, better to be a day early for your flight than a day late, and you can always go back home to bed.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know that you have to check in plenty early for that flight, allowing plenty of time to get through security.  So why is it the one day that you leave the house just a few minutes late is also the day that the bus is early, your car is low on gas, there’s not a taxi to be found, there’s a road closure, traffic accident, and a long line at the airport.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know that it’s important to check reliability statistics for your flight, especially when you’re making a connection, and you know that you need to consider these when scheduling your connect flights.  So why is it that the one time you cut it close, because your flight selection has a 95% on time arrival, your flight get struck by lightning, ingests a flock of birds, or has a rolling delay and despite all your heroic efforts to get yourself to another flight you still miss your connecting flight by 3 minutes.  And it was the last flight of the day to your destination.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know better than to carry all your money in one place, so you’ve thoughtfully concealed a tidy sum in your money belt hidden beneath your comfy travel clothes.  But when nature calls and you must use the aircraft lavatory, you have to re-position your money belt causing hundred dollar bills to fall out.  When the Flight Attendants make an announcement about finding money in the lavatory and asking for someone to claim it, you joke to your companions about the inexperience travelers who should have used a money belt.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know that subways and trains in unfamiliar places can make a traveler an easy target for petty theft or other crimes, so you’ve secured your money in different locations, including a money belt hidden beneath your clothing.  When you realize you’re missing money you swear it was a pickpocket who brushed up against you on the train, while your friends recall an announcement from your flight about money found in the lavatory.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You’ve studied up on currency rates, downloaded an app to your phone, and have mastered every trick for quickly converting a foreign currency into approximate US dollars.  You’ve purchased your foreign currency in advance, after watch fluctuations in valuation, so you know you have received the best exchange rate possible.  But when it’s time to get on the bus all you have is a large domination bill or lots of smaller coins from every country but the one that you’re in.  You’re about to be tossed from the bus until some local takes pity on you and covers your fare as all the rest of the passengers glare and hiss at you. Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know that you’re supposed to turn off your cell phone in flight, perhaps because you’ve had a nagging Flight Attendant blogger reminding you again and again, and you are smug that you did so before tucking it away in your carry on.  Imagine your surprise when you retrieve in on landing only to find a dead battery because it really wasn’t turned off.  And your charger is in your checked bags en route to Detroit while you’re in Dubai.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know that you’ll have to go through a metal detector at the security checkpoint, so you’ve carefully planned your traveling wardrobe with nothing metal that could cause a problem.  You’ve even organized  your watch, keys, belt, and coins in a small pouch inside your carry on so you won’t hold things up at security.  You’ve removed your shoes, put your laptop in a separate container, and have separated out your 3-1-1 bag of liquids.  You’re ready to go, but all of a sudden security is whisking you off to the side.  Guess it was that Swiss Army Knife corkscrew buried in the bottom of your suitcase that got everyone excited.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You know how important it is to stay healthy while traveling, and have read the CDC site and all of its updates.  You have a current tetanus shot, have inoculated against dengue fever, yellow fever, and various Hepatitis shots.  You’ve packed packed anti-malaria medication, bug spray, a water purifier, and mosquito repellant clothes.  You only drink bottled water, never eat street food, and only eat vegetables you can peel.  You constantly wash your hands with soap and water and carry hand sanitizer for touch ups when water isn’t available.  You strip the bedspread off the bed, check for bedbugs daily, and but the remote control in a plastic baggie before you use.  And then you step off a curb and sprain you foot, giving you a first hand look at what medical care is like in other countries.  Some days nothing goes right!
  • You’ve finally decided to enter the digital era and purchased your first iPod.  You get friends and family to help you stock in up with your favorite music, a couple of audio books, some movies and television shows, and you know that you’ll not be bored on that long transatlantic flight and will finally banish the comments of all your annoying friends who are always plugged in.  You arrive and the airport and while standing in the international check in line realize that you spiffy new device is still at home on the counter.  Oh well, it’s nothing that a $100 cab ride can’t fix.  Some days nothing goes right!

Think that these can’t happen to you?  That you’re an experienced traveler that would is far better prepared and organized than this?  While names have been omitted, and minor details changed, these all happened to experienced, sophisticated, well-traveled friends.  So just remember, no matter how much you try, some days nothing goes right!

Travel Blog Mob

Enjoy Everything You Think is Wrong Day with these posts from the Travel Blog Mob, a group of expert, independent travelers who converge monthly on a single topic.  The list will be updated as posts are published, so check back and be sure to enjoy what all the “mob-sters” have to say.

 

Photo credit:  SXC

Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

8 Responses to “Travelers Beware: Everything You Think You Know May be Wrong”

  1. March 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks for the entertaining read, MJ! Luckily I’ve never lost a $100 bill down the toilet but there are definitely some days when nothing feels quite right!

  2. March 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    TOO true!!

  3. March 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I’m a pretty smart traveler, but I’ve had my smartphone stolen right from under me twice while away…so I’m a pretty dumb traveler. This Travel Blog Mob post made me grin from ear to ear.

    • March 23, 2011 at 11:01 am #

      I think you and I were having lunch together when that phone was stolen!

  4. January 22, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    This is a funny but truthful list of common things that happen to people!

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  1. Getting it Wrong | nerd's eye view - March 14, 2011

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    […] Travelers Beware: Everything you think you know may be wrong on Traveling with MJ […]

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