What’s the biggest travel mistake you can make?

Truth be told I can think of some bigger ones than this one. Also, in my experience the beauty of travel is that the mistakes one makes often work out to result in a better travel experience overall. It doesn’t matter if that mistake is getting on the wrong bus in India or as it is in this case of finding out 48 hours before you’re supposed to board a plane to Barcelona that you didn’t actually make a reservation…

Yeah… that happened.

Yesterday I went online to confirm our American Airlines flight, the first international leg of this trip only to discover that I’d only put that reservation on a 7 day hold, I never actually went back and confirmed it. That realization was quickly followed by a long stream of phrases that started with “Oh my…” and “Holy…”. Each was repeated many more times than I think Elena has ever heard come out of my typically dispassionate mouth.

Back in July after a full day or two of researching and coordinating flights I put that critical booking on hold pending confirming the other 3 bookings I’d researched but needed to make. Those other flights all being separate cash purchases (as opposed to mileage award tickets like the AA flights). After booking each of those three flights, BCN>SOF, SOF>FCO and TRN>BCN, I was supposed to go back to American Airlines and actually confirm that award booking.

The irony here is that for the last several weeks Elena and I have been some what lamenting that we’d booked a return ticket. With so much available to do in Europe we were sad that we were so tightly scheduled into our 6 weeks bookended by that round trip flight that all the things that have come up in the last few weeks were out of the question.

    A side trip to Milan? no.
    A quick trip into Switzerland? no.
    A stopover in London? no.
    A house in the countryside for a few weeks? no.
    A diversion on the way home to see in Oaxaca for Halloween? no.

It’s not that we could or would do all these things, we may not do any of them. It’s the frustration of them all being excluded by our itinerary before we even left home.

My second reaction however upon realizing our flights weren’t booked (the first was the long stream of expletives) was to immediate try to rebook the exact same routing. Thankfully before I completed doing that Elena reminded me, “We don’t necessarily have to book a return flight you know”.

So, yes we’re coming home, but no we don’t have a return flight. It’ll still probably be sometime in November…

Oh, end the new flight to BCN is 5 hours shorter (no layover in PHX and a short one in LHR), and gets into BCN at 8:35pm instead of 10pm.


  1. OH MOTHER OF GOD!!! I am soooooo glad this did not derail your plans…whoa! When I started to read, I wondered if this meant the trip would be cancelled…yikes! But good, good, good! Much love to you both, and safe travels! xoxo

  2. Holy crap, Jon! That’s a good one, amigo. Glad you got it sorted.

    Two years ago, we were headed to Europe for a mostly-booked six month trip. A week before flying into London, I learn about the Schengen Zone, which is a group of mostly EU countries in which you can only stay 90 out of any 180 day period. Holy crap, indeed.

    We had to completely re-tool our trip on the fly, and it was the absolute best thing we could have done – instead of two months at our friends’ apartment in Vienna, we explored Croatia, Serbia and Istanbul.

    I wrote it up here. I still get a cold sweat thinking about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have an awesome trip, be sure to take Elena to La Sagrada Familia, and check out Casa Batllo if you have time – pricy but awesome.

    PS – the 3,000 year old celebration in Oaxaca is for Dia De Los Muertos, which, like most holidays in countries with real culture, blows away any plastic American consumerist Halloweenish version.

    • I remember you telling me about that Schengen Zone thing. It’s always been on my mind for this trip, but I’m pretty sure we won’t get near 90 days in the EU…. unless someone knows of a lovely little villa in countryside of Italy or Spain with good internet for under US$1k/m… then maybe ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. sometimes things are just meant to be
    enjoy the journey…it sounds like the present moment is full of gifts

Speak Your Mind