When I travel I pride myself on being organised. Booking in advance, finding deals and having an itinary. But if there is one thing that travel is it’s unpredictable, which is one of the most exciting parts. I thought I’d share some of those experiences where everything didn’t go to plan. Although frustrating at the time looking back now they’re some of my favourite stories to tell.
I travelled to Agra, India to see the famous Taj Mahal. 2 days into my trip and I still hadnt seen the sky. The pollution was like nothing I had seen. It was impressive to see the building even if I didn’t get the photo opportunities I wished for I did get to eat the best vegetable samosas I’ve ever eaten.
Was my last stop after 5 weeks in the incredible Philippines. Arriving for my ferry from Maya I discovered that a typhoon was due and it got cancelled until the next day. I stayed in a hostel by the pier and the next morning ferries still didn’t run. It felt frustrating as the weather was blue sky with little wind. Eventually that evening the ferry ran, giving me just one full day in Malapascua before my transfer back down to Cebu.
My main reason for visiting the island was to scuba dive with the thresher shark. After getting up at 4am to complete the dive it was a disaster. Finally reaching 30m below the surface the visibility was around 5 metres. Entering and exiting the sea was terrifying with a swell of around 4 metres. I cancelled the following dives.
Arriving in Delhi, India we asked a guy where our hotel was and he gave us directions. As we walked past rows of tuk tuks following his directions he reappeared pointing us to the over ground station. Before we knew it we were in a taxi being told we should leave Delhi it’s not safe. We ended up paying £160ea for driver for 5 days and a hotel in Agra for one night aswell as a hotel in Delhi for our departure due to being advised that we were unable to access our hotel due to a festival, when re connecting to the internet I found it all to be a scam.
“Fake information: In both Delhi and Mumbai I have heard of or seen fake train ticket stations and tourist information offices. They tell you that all trains or hotels are fully booked out due to some event. This is why it’s important to have a phone and ideally one with Internet.”
I realise now I was entirely fatigued and naive to think this was true. If something is fishy then it probably is a scam or trap. Do your research and have your wits about you especially around train stations and cheap hotels. Also having a cell phone (with working Internet) can be invaluable.
After spending 7 hours in Manila’s domestic airport terminal, Skyjet decided to cancel the flight. There was no reason given and no other flights for the next day. I decided I had to miss Coron on this trip and took a flight to El Nido the following day.
Glacier bay, Alaska
Was due to be the first day of my Alaska cruise last July. Standing on the top deck as the ship sailed in I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be a successful day for photography. The ship was swamped by fog. Every few minutes the captain would sound the foghorn, which echoed off the surrounding area.
Eventually the captain made an announcement that it was too dangerous to continue as there had been a report of icebergs and he didn’t want to follow the titanic. So he turned the ship around.
Grand canyon, Nevada
My first trip to the Grand Canyon, I was completely unaware in winter how much colder it would be than Las Vegas. On the coach there we made a stop and virtually the whole coach party purchased a jumper. When we arrived we stepped out to view the canyon, to be greeted by fog. Luckily after around an hour the fog lifted and I caught a bucket list tick.
I thought November would be a great time to visit Iceland to see the northern lights as it was only daylight for around 5 hours a day. Sadly this was not the case. I spent 3 very cold evenings staring up at the sky hoping for the magic to occur. All I got was very cold and a stiff neck. Hopefully next time!
Onboard the flight from London Gatwick to Tenerife south it was suddenly diverted to Lisbon, Portugal due to a disruptive passenger. I eventually arrived in Tenerife after the car hire office had closed. As a result I had to get a taxi to the hotel then back early the next morning as I had a scuba dive booked early that day. Luckily it all turned out fine and was just a minor inconvenience.
Mount Taal, Philippines
Arriving at this famous volcano just south of Manila, Philippines. The weather took a turn for the worse. Never the less I climbed to the top. During this time the rain got heavier and heavier. So much so there was no view at the summit. By the time I got back to the bottom I was soaked through.
Las Vegas, USA
This trip was cancelled due to the erupting volcano in Iceland in 2010 . I actually made it as far as the runway in London Gatwick’s airport before the virgin atlantic flight was cancelled. I did reschedule the trip 3 months later.
Arriving into Hong Kong, after an 11 hour flight I arrived at my hotel to find out they had cancelled the reservation that day as the credit card would not charge. After speaking with them I discovered they hadn’t been using the security code. At which they said they tried to call me. I explained I was on the flight and they then said they could re book the room for me. Great, I thought. The next hurdle was now they wanted to charge £200 more. At which I walked out of the hotel, went to find Wi-Fi and booked a new room.
In general I have been very lucky. I could count just a handful of times I’ve had a delayed flight or nightmare hotel experience. I feel very fortunate.