Sometimes in this day and age it’s easy to forget how hard it is to travel. We look at these perfectly edited photos on Instagram and everything looks easy and fun. What you don’t see is the stress, the preparation (or sometimes lack of preparation), and the awkward situations along the way. The most important thing though it to learn from these mistakes or at the very least learn to laugh at them. We have compiled a list of our biggest travel faux pas and what we have learnt from them. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
Having our bank cancel our cards whilst travelling.
This has actually happened to us twice. Once when living in Toronto, our bank cancelled both our cards because we failed to tell them we were away (and by away I mean we drove an hour and half to Niagara Falls). When we tried to use the ATM we instantly realised something was up. It also happened on a recent trip to Iceland. Our cards had both been used in ATM’s that had been tampered with which means the cards were immediately cancelled. The good news was that our new cards were coming in the post shortly, the bad news was we were in Iceland. We usually travel with a bit of cash on us but due to the recession in Iceland this wasn’t possible so our plan was to get cash out when we arrived. All I can say is thank god for credit cards. We have now learnt to have various forms of payment whether it be cash, cards, credit cards etc.
Visiting Dubai in Summer.
This was a huge mistake, especially for a pale and freckled Irishman and an Australian expat who actually prefers the weather in England. Our happy temperature is about 25 Celsius. The temperature in Dubai was about 45. There was one point where I got so hot walking around the Gold Souk that I was convinced you could fry an egg on my face. Let’s just say there was not enough cold water and air-conditioning in the world to get us through that trip. This was a stopover on the way back from Australia to the UK so we couldn’t really do anything different.
Not Planning ahead in Barcelona.
Dave’s birthday falls in August so we try and book a mini break at this time every year. This also falls around European summer holidays. Prices for everything increase (flights, hotels, etc) and you really need to plan in advance. We got turned away from so many of the cities attractions because they had booked out for the day. We even spent an hour waiting in line in the scorching sun to see the Sagrada Familia only to be told that we could only purchase tickets for the following day. In hindsight we should have planned and we should have looked at pre-booking these attractions online.
Getting robbed in a pub in Dublin on St Patricks Day.
One of our most memorable St Patricks days thus far had to be having to go to a police station in Dublin. I had stupidly left my bag on the ground in a pub and my wallet and Iphone were stolen. All my photos from the trip were on the phone as well which just added to my frustration. The only reason we spent so long in the police station was because the line was practically out the door with fellow tourists who had fallen victim to the same situation. This is how I learnt the hard way to keep your bag on you at all times, and Dave reminds me of this on every holiday since.
Making eye contact and smiling at someone in London.
On a trip to London Dave had been feeling unwell so I decided to go out exploring by myself for a few hours. This was when I finally understood why you don’t make eye contact with strangers in London. There was a guy shouting something inaudible on the street. I for some reason made eye contact and politely smiled at him. Apparently this was his cue to start following me down the street shouting things at me.
I thought I would lose him by going into a shop but he hid behind a pillar. He then caught up to me and told me he was waiting for me when i came out thinking the coast was clear. It was really uncomfortable and kind of scared me because he was so pushy. Eventually I ended up running into the nearest tube station and lost him. This was probably when I learnt that being polite isn’t always the right thing to do and you really do need to be vigilant when traveling.
Getting sunburned to the point where it hurts to move.
On a trip to Germany the sun really came out on our last day. Being Australian I somehow got it into my head that sun in Europe wasn’t to be feared. Dave on the other hand lathered up his Irish arms and legs with sun cream. We spent the day at a makeshift beach and drinking white wine spritzers in the sun. It was only as we headed to the airport that I noticed that I was becoming an unhealthy shade of red. I was so hot and in so much pain that I spent most of the flight back home crying. I have now learnt about the dangers of the sun and Dave also reminds me of this.
Getting food poisoning in Prague.
Dave and I decided to have lunch in what looked like this romantic little cafe. I ordered a chicken dish which I only noticed when I was half way through eating it, that it was completely raw in the middle (to the point where the chicken could probably have still cluck). I mean it was dark inside the cafe, so it wasn’t my fault. Anyway along came the food poisoning. I tried to get something in the pharmacy but they couldn’t speak english and gave me something for pregnancy instead. Yeah I get it I’m a bit chunky but that’s just offensive. I have now learnt to bring emergency supplies in case of sickness when I travel.
Solo traveling around the US on the Greyhound.
Before we moved to the UK I went on a solo trip around the US whilst Dave was in Ireland. I thought the best way to see the sights would be to travel by Greyhound. On my various bus journeys around America my bus was; raided for drugs at 4am somewhere in El Paso and chased by a police car down a highway in Phoenix. The police then boarded the bus and arrested one of the passengers before letting us continue our journey.
We also had to detour somewhere in Tennessee because the driver had to drive us to a police station. One of my fellow passengers had gotten into a fight with what appeared to be a nun. He was watching a movie really loudly and there was a lot of swearing. When she asked him to turn it down he swore at her. Other passengers got involved and the next thing someone was threatening to shoot someone else. On another journey two passengers got into a fight and the bus driver had to pull over and give us all a lecture on the importance of getting along. Oh America! I’m probably going to avoid the Greyhound in the future.
Eating space cakes in Amsterdam.
This has to be our biggest faux pas. We did a cruise to Amsterdam and before boarding the boat back to the UK, we thought we would try some space cakes. I mean when in Amsterdam right? We both literally thought we would try it and get a minor case of the giggles and get on with our lives. We were wrong. We ordered a slice each and ate it, even the crumbs, because obviously it was mixed with chocolate cake and no one wants to leave chocolate cake.
We eventually got back on the ship still feeling ok, but then trouble struck. We spent the whole trip back to the UK in an absolute state of panic. I was convinced that the ship was rocking so much that it was going to sink, Dave on the other hand thought he was going to die because his heart was beating too fast. It took weeks for us to actually feel normal again and I can’t even look at a slice of chocolate cake without having palpitations.