Whether you’re setting off for the adventure of a lifetime or hitting the highway for a quick trip, there’s always a chance things won’t go quite as planned.
In the course of our travels we’ve come up against everything from flight delays and lost luggage to bus and ferry schedules that are treated more like suggestions and missed connections with (pre-paid) excursions. What we’ve learned is that travel troubles will happen and, generally, they’re only as awful as you’ll allow them to be.
Flight delays, missing ferries and missed connections may be frustrating in the moment, but it’s best to take a deep breath — however challenging that may be — and put things in perspective. Stepping up to the counter and berating the staff may feel like a great way to vent, but no amount of abuse will make the plane ready faster, the ferry materialize, or compensate for the way you misread the train schedule.
So, deep breath … and relax.
Easy for me to say, right?
I had to take my own advice just last weekend.
I’ve been trying to celebrate my birthday (which is in June) with my family for nearly an entire month now. First I had bronchitis and couldn’t make the trip from our new home base in Pittsburgh back to Maryland, so we rescheduled for last weekend.
I got up Saturday morning, got ready for the day, put a few things in a bag and bid our cat farewell for the weekend. I got out to the car, pulled out of the parking spot and made it about 50 feet before I realized something wasn’t right. I pulled into another parking space and hopped out to find one completely flat tire.
To make a long story short, Jason with AAA came to my rescue and diagnosed the problem: somehow my tire had been cut on the inside wall — probably something kicked up on the road last time I drove. It couldn’t be repaired, so he quickly put my spare tire on the car.
I wasn’t going to make the trip down the Pennsylvania Turnpike on that donut, so I started calling around to look for a new tire. An hour later I was convinced I was never going to get to celebrate my birthday with my family. Apparently my tires are very unique and no one in a 30-mile radius had one in stock. I even called the local Fiat dealership — but I couldn’t get them to answer the phone (#sadtrombone).
Was I frustrated? You bet. Upset? Sure. Disappointed, bummed? Yep. But I didn’t let those crappy feelings consume me. I did what I could, made arrangements to get a tire when one will be available, and called my parents to break the news.
Yes, I let myself have a pout and a nap that afternoon — a mini pity party, if you will. Then I took stock of the time I had left in the weekend and started checking things off of my to-do list (the list I wasn’t going to touch since I was going to be away).
We’ll all encounter less-than-perfect moments in life and in travel. In my experience, I’ve found letting off a little steam (appropriately and without blaming any staff who may be associated with the issue by virtue of their employment) and then doing whatever I can to make the best of things is the most effective way to proceed.
What about you? What travel troubles have you encountered? Did you take it well? Badly? What coping strategies worked or didn’t?