During the trips or at the stage of preparation for them difficulties may arise periodically. In this article I want to describe the five epic failures that happened to me at one time or another. Our favorite saying ‘when something goes wrong - well never mind, it’ll serve us as a lesson!’ does not always work. So, to save you from such situations I decided to recollect all these moments.
1. Nonexistent visas in the passport.
One of my latest and most stupid actions, which came back to bite me most recently, was putting visas in the passports on our own in a Thai Safari Park. Yes, I probably was affected by the night flight and the extensive program in Bangkok planned on the day of arrival! Besides, in some touristic show I saw travelers doing it. Not only did I put that stamp in my own passport, we did the same with the kids' passports as well! Why not? It's great, it's cool! It was info in the park that there you could stamp your passport with a seal of that state yourself. And so we did. As a result, when applying for visas to Finland, I received all passports with visas only for the specified week of the trip, though I had requested multiple visas for a year. But the worst thing was that in each passport on the page with those seals notes were enclosed saying that the passports contained non-existent visas and could be cancelled. And that they made an exception for the duration of our trip, but strongly recommended that we change our passports. Apparently, this information was specified in our passports data, as when crossing the border I was told once again that it was not allowed to put stamps on our own. In such a situation it would be unreasonable to take chances, so in the next few days I will have to submit an application for new foreign passports.
2. Independent booking of connecting flights.
A couple of years ago I had to get from Moscow to Sochi as quickly and inexpensively as possible. I bought 2 tickets with connection in Krasnodar - not as a connecting flight, but separately issued tickets Moscow - Krasnodar and Krasnodar - Sochi. The connection interval was only 40 minutes, but hoping that all departures would be on time, I was sure I’d make it. But, the first flight was delayed for half an hour, and I was late for the Krasnodar - Sochi flight. For the first time I experienced the horrible feeling - seeing the plane on which you were supposed to fly and failing to get on board, because the check in was already over. There turned out to be 4 more people like me, who also tried to negotiate with everyone possible. The result was zero and eventually we got to Adler all together by taxi for more 5 hours! I did not even try to apply for refund for the second ticket.
3. Car rental abroad with Russian driving license.
From the very beginning I have not had much success with car rentals, so I mainly use public transport or book a transfer. A very unpleasant situation happened to us on New Year's vacation at the airport of Milano Bergamo. I had paid a non-refundable tariff for renting a car on the website www.rentalcars.com/ru/. We had to wait in a huge queue at the airport rental office and were refused because we did not have international driver’s license. As it turned out later, they did not have cars due to such demand and thus they decided to get rid of many. We have rented cars several times before with our Russian passports without any problems, and now - here you are. And no persuasion and negotiations with the company "RentalCars" did help. And, of course, nobody refunded our money to us. The tariff was nonrecoverable! I called my friends who worked at the Russian embassy in Rome and they assured me that the company had the right to refuse. The aftertaste was very unpleasant and our holiday was practically spoiled just on the eve of the New Year. Eventually I made arrangements at the information desk for buying tickets for a regular bus to the city where we would be picked up by a taxi and taken to the place of residence.
4. The miser pays twice.
It’s wonderful if you can save on transport or accommodation, but there is the reverse side of the coin. Choosing irrecoverable tariffs or special offers and tickets from lowcosters you need to try and get a clear idea of the risks and delve into all the terms of such offers. I’ve also had blunders, which I describe here both above and below. I want to give an example recently seen at the airport "Domodedovo" at Pobeda airline registration for the flight Moscow - Sochi. On their website the airline, which is a lowcoster, clearly spells out the rules and cost of luggage and hand luggage, choice of seats, etc. However, a huge queue accumulates at the check-in counter through the passengers’ inattentiveness to details and rules, which have to be explained to them every time all over again. Serious conflicts and controversies arise there, with which the Internet is swarming.
5. Mindfulness and punctuality.
We are always late, but we are struggling hard with this bad character trait. It is the scourge of our whole family and its few generations. In principle, our percentage of being late for flights has already dropped to a minimum, but still coming late and not getting on board happened to me twice. The first time I was late for the flight to Antalya together with my mother and children in 2011 through my own carelessness. We arrived an hour before departure and waited in line for registration instead of sounding alarm that we were late for the flight. Then I took a strong dislike to "Transaero" for their service, i.e. the lack of it. Besides, I was told later that it was even to their benefit not to let us on board, because they were selling seats right before the flight to those wishing to fly. Then we went back home empty-handed, and the next day bought new tickets, now for Turkish airlines. Of course, the money for our tickets could not be returned, because they were irrecoverable. This also applies to the previous paragraph about stinginess. And as for my inattentiveness and sometimes carelessness with documents, I had an incident in Finland. I had paid for renting a car for a week and as soon as I approached the rental office I realized that the license was left in the Russian passport, and the passport was left at home! As you surely understand, the tariff was the most budgetary and irrevocable. Nothing to do! We bought tickets for the train and took a ride on our own.
Such unpleasant lessons as a percentage of all our trips did not happen often, but, nevertheless, they could be totally avoided, which I wish both for you and for myself. I think in everyone’s trips and travel history there were moments when you also wanted to cry or rip and tear. But all bad things are sure to be forgotten sooner or later, and positive impressions from the trip will remain in the memory!
Статью на русском можно прочитать здесь.