I fuck up sometimes. It’s just the unavoidable truth. Despite my best efforts, I’m not perfect. Nobody is.
While traveling, they can throw a major monkey wrench in your plans and can sometimes be really expensive. I’m generally a pretty relaxed guys these days so I tend to go with the flow even when things aren’t going exactly as planned, but there are definitely some things I wish I could take back. I’m going to lay some of them out here so that hopefully we can both learn something.
Booking the wrong days
In Füssen, I only planned to stay two nights, a Friday and a Saturday. At home, I’m used to calendars that lay out the week like this: SMTWTFS. On the website I used to book my hostel, the week is laid out MTWTFSS. So it puts the weekend at the actual end of the week. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. But if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to click the wrong days.
I rolled into town kind of late and tried to check into my hostel only to find out that I had booked it for the next two nights, and they didn’t have any availability. I used the wifi in their lobby to try to find another hostel, knowing that I was running out of time. I found another place and walked 3km in the opposite direction (past the train station), only to find that the new hostel was also booked. So I found a cafe with wifi and searched for anything nearby. The only room I could find was €110 in a fancy hotel. I also had to pay 50% of the cost of the day at the hostel that I was canceling. My misclick was a €105 mistake. I also had to deal with the hassle of changing lodging three days in a row, which really throws off your routine.
Lesson: Pay very close attention to the days that you’re booking, especially if you’re booking last minute.
Losing my soap
I’ve lost my soap twice in the past month. To the best of my knowledge, I left them in the shower after washing myself on a travel day. It’s not an expensive mistake, but it’s a real pain in the ass. Nothing is worse than badly needing a shower and having to settle for a rinse, or if you’re lucky using some hand soap from the sink.
Lesson: Make a thorough sweep of all areas when packing, including the bathroom.
I’m a former smoker. I still have cravings sometimes. Some places (such as Europe, where I am now), smoking is very common. You can smoke indoors in a lot of places, and everyone seems to have cigarettes even if they don’t smoke very often. Basically, it’s a really hard place to stay strong when you’re trying to resist tobacco.
Here’s my confession: I haven’t done a very good job. I smoke here and there. I mostly accept cigarettes when people offer them. I’ve even bought packs (in some places they’re incredibly cheap), then got drunk and smoked half a pack in one night. Every time I do, I judge myself harshly and swear off cigs. And then a few days later, someone offers me a cig and I get weak. This is the dark side of how easy it is to change habits while traveling like I was talking about here.
Lesson: Don’t smoke. Just don’t ever even start, because quitting is a difficult, lifelong process.
Daniel (a hostel roomie and new friend) and I were trying to meet some people at a shisha bar in Prague called Baku. Apparently there are two shisha bars with the same name. By the time we figured it out, we had already ordered our hookah and it was too late. We were committed to the wrong Baku.
Lesson: Confirm firm plans, complete with addresses, with the people you are trying to meet. Foreign places can be confusing, and not all parties will have access to their phones. And be warned… there are two Bakus.
Falling down the stairs
I went on a pub crawl in Prague that started with a full hour of open bar and ended at a ridiculous five story dance club called Karlovy Lozne. There were some things in between that were less important.
At Karlovy Lozne, each level has a big dance floor with a different type of music. We spent most of our time on the hip hop floor where I put my sweet mascot dance moves on full display. I had to fight the women away (note: this is a gross over exaggeration). Each dance floor was a pit that required descending about ten steps to reach the actual dancing area, and the steps were treacherous. People had been spilling their drinks on the steps all night and they were very, very slippery. I think you know where this is going.
After getting a round of adult beverages from the bar, my crew and I were returning to the dance floor. They navigated the stairs with no troubles, perfect balance and poise. I slipped on the first step, fell down the entire flight of stairs, and splashed half a rum and coke directly on my face.
Lots of people were watching, but thankfully no one I knew. I got up, set my now empty drink on the railing, and returned to shaking my groove thang. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered the huge yellow bruise on my left hip. Walking through town was slightly more difficult than usual for the next few days.
Lesson: Don’t fall down the damn stairs, dumbass! Also, if you’re going to Karlovy Lozne (which you should if you can), the stairs are slippery.
Mistakes are unavoidable, but honestly I could have done a lot worse. I’m really doing pretty well so far. Still, learning from your mistakes is a good thing, and learning from other people’s mistakes is even better.
Have you made any travel mistakes worth sharing? Let me know in the comments, so I don’t do the stupid things you did!