The other day I was updating our travel tips and I was inspired to share more of our experiences when things didn't always go right. We have always been able to find the best in every trip we have taken but that doesn't mean that there weren't bumps along the way.
Sometimes it's best to leave your options open
When you are planning your trip everyone has to consider their budget. I also feel you need to weight that budget against any possible restrictions. It's sometimes better to book directly with the airline/hotel/cruise and pay a little more but have the ability to modify or cancel plans as needed.
We planned a road trip down south. We were planning on spending half of our week in Orlando and then the other half on the beach in South Carolina. We weren't too concerned about the weather hindering us in Orlando because you can always find something to do there. While driving to Orlando we spent 24 hours in torrential downpours. At this point we started looking up the forecasts for the week. We realized the weather in South Carolina wasn't letting up any time soon. No one wants cold and stormy weather during a beach vacation.
We spent some time rethinking our plans and decided to be adventurous! After Orlando we drove through Georgia in search of the Uncle Remus Museum and then continued on to Kentucky for a first visit to the Bourbon Trail. This definitely wasn't the trip we planned but it was so much better! We added new states to our repertoire and enjoyed wonderful experiences at several distilleries thanks to our cancellation policy being flexible.
Travel Insurance isn't a waste
Prior to 2011 we had never thought about purchasing travel insurance. Can you guess what happens when you go to Mexico during hurricane season but the hurricane hits Boston Massachusetts?
That's right! Our flight got cancelled; we couldn't leave Mexico for an additional 4 days. Thanks to having travel insurance we were able to secure a new flight, a wonderful hotel for the additional nights, and new car service. Almost all of our additional costs were reimbursed to us.
Always try to keep your sense of humor
Have you ever arrived at the airport not so bright eyed and bushy tailed? You are sitting in the terminal and suddenly the airline tells you your flight is delayed or, even worse, cancelled? How do you handle the situation? Do you get frustrated, yell at the staff, and ruin your mood further? We try to do the complete opposite. We laugh at the situation, grab some food, possibly change clothes (always keep some clothing in your carry on), and try to find the good in our predicament.
On a trip to Aruba we arrived for a very early morning flight and everything seemed to go wrong! 24 hours after getting to the airport (2 planes and a refuel in Puerto Rico) we arrived in Aruba. There were many others who arrived with us that were cranky, tired, and just plain rude. People were cutting others off, stealing taxi's, and pushing ahead in lines. Greg and I stepped back, laughed at the insanity, shared a cab and were the last ones to our hotel. Of course we were tired, cranky and ready for our vacation to start but what good will it do to be rude to others and to demand things from the staff. You have the ability to not ruin your vacation and also to not take things out on others. You'll be better off and happier if you stay calm and find the good.
It's okay to ask for help
For my sister's destination wedding I also planned a city tour of Paris along with a picnic for all of the wedding guests. 2 days before the scheduled tour I received information that it was being cancelled due to an impending strike. I then spent 2 hours on my phone (we were out on a tour of wineries ourselves at this point) researching other tours. I emailed and call companies explaining our situation and asking if there was any way they could help us out. It was getting late and businesses were closing up for the evening.
The next morning I heard back from one of my contacts and she thoroughly helped me find a tour that would meet our needs. She went above and beyond helping me when I was limited in the technology and communication availability (certain requirements were needed for bookings). I have found that people in the tourism industry genuinely want to help and not just meet their bottom line. Thanks to the help I received, our tour and picnic wowed our guests!