I’ve been itching to go to someplace new. On holiday or a staycation. Actually, I think I’ve just been itching to spend some time at the beach. This itch led to me looking at a few of our past travel photos and invariably this post of past memories and travel mishaps.
Tee and I had our very first air plane trip and international travel in 2013. I was studying at Cambridge for my LL.M and he had just completed his MSc. Seeing as I was in the UK, and had obtained a Shengen visa, we decided to explore nearby European cities – Paris & Amsterdam – on a budget. Between then and now, we’ve been to 10 countries. And honestly, there’s a bit of a near travel mishap story related to most of these trips. We’ve almost become a topic of conversation amongst our friends. They never fail to bring these hilarious tales up, and every time one or both of us travel they ask for ‘what really happened this time?‘
I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only ones that these happen to. Travel and holiday photos often seem so cool, but then sometimes so many hurdles and annoying experiences happen in the process of arriving or leaving your destination.
I recently saw a friend’s post on Facebook that she was almost always so close to missing her flight, and still never learnt from the experience. Many comments suggested that perhaps when she eventually missed it, she’d turn a new leaf. Or may be not.
Here’s our most annoying / hilarious travel mishaps so far:
So I already mentioned this 2013 trip was a budget one. After a really fun time in Amsterdam, we boarded an overnight coach to Paris, via Brussels. The journey in itself was not the problem. I can actually sleep in uncomfortable positions and Tee is often willing to offer his shoulder. But then we arrived Paris at about 5am and got to the hotel at about 7am. Ofcourse our room had been booked for 2pm, and no way were we paying for an extra night. So we pretty much napped in the reception and then loitered about the streets of Paris till it was 2pm!
This perhaps is the worst of all. In the winter of 2015, we went away to Spain for a 5 day trip, and it was such a lovely time. We flew into Malaga, hired a car and explored a lot of the area and the city. As it was my birthday week, Tee came up with a surprise and drove us down to Altura, Portugal. I had such a great time and at the end of it was looking forward to heading back. We had had no travel issues and were pretty pleased!
The plan was to return the car to the rental company at the airport and simply catch our flights. We were on time. As is usual car rental policy, you’re obliged to top up the fuel as close to the airport as possible. We were just about eight minutes away from the airport when we sighted a fuel station. All of the signs were written in Spanish which we obviously couldn’t read. But Tee tried to asked the attendant (who seemed to speak a bit of English) which was diesel and which was petrol. He appeared to confirm the petrol one and we went ahead to fill up the tank happily, and drove off.
After about four minutes we approached a sign that said “four minutes away to airport“, and we felt the car jerk once, twice and then come to a complete stop on the express way. You guessed right. We had put in the wrong fuel. This was at about 6pm. Our flight was in approximately 2 hours. We didn’t speak a word of Spanish, we had no local SIM cards – and thus no phones. In fact I think our phones were dead and we were only using the car charger to charge it.
It was beginning to get dark. I was pretty terrified. We came down and tried to flag some cars. Ofcourse no one stopped to help. You probably wouldn’t have stopped as well. We eventually tried to place an SOS call, and got through to emergency services. After about an hour and half or more, a rescue car arrived and towed the car back to the rental company. The company was going to get in touch with us in respect of damages.
We missed the flight. Tried to get on the next one and there were no available direct flights out of Malaga. For a 2.5 hour journey, some of the flights available were 18 hours stopping at various destinations. No thank you, we passed.
The next best thing we were told, was to book a flight out of Madrid. That seemed feasible and as we had air miles it was a great option. We were informed by an official that we could get trains at any time down to Madrid. So we booked this flight. We only needed to get to Madrid from Malaga. This could be done by train. We looked up the train schedule and realised that the trains didn’t run all night and we had just about missed the last train.
We had booked a flight, so we had to get into Madrid that night! The next option was an overnight bus – and we took it. Let’s cut the long story short. We got to Madrid, and missed this flight by a few minutes! I was so pained. We finally booked another flight. Bear in mind that our visas had only been granted for 5 days – the duration of the trip, so we were so close to overstaying! Geez. I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened.
On getting to the UK in one piece, we were greeted with a huge bill, for car damage. Sigh. It was such a crazy one. And now everytime we have to top up a rental car, you can literally hear our hearts pounding.
This was visa related. And the reason why visa free countries continue to be the top of my list. We had booked a flight to Malaysia. And on further research realised that Singapore was just a high speed train ride away. Surely it was worth it! We looked up the visa requirements for Singapore and it appeared that it had a two day visa application time frame. How perfect – plus it wasn’t strange because the Malaysia embassy offers a same day service. So we booked the speed trains (as you’d require evidence of travel) from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. On getting to the embassy, we were told that the law had changed and the online details had not been updated. The turn around time was now two weeks. Well, we didn’t have two weeks. So some other time Singapore.
I was still determined to make the best of Malaysia. And we did. Until I got back to the UK, and we received a telephone bill from a telephone company that I was owing a bill of £650! What!? How? Apparently my line had roamed, and when I thought I was happily chatting away to my mum in Nigeria on wifi or via a local app, I was actually roaming. I was honestly so pained. £650 would have bought me a ticket to Nigeria to see everyone live and chat with them in person! For my own sanity, I had to split this payment over a while, because I couldn’t imagine paying it all in one go.
You can read an overview of our Malaysia trip and photos.
Dubai mishaps have been a pain, such that I’ve blogged about them in this post – the Dubai vacations that never happened.
But in relation to mishaps, I didn’t mention how a freebie offer almost caused some issues for us. It was our honeymoon, and on arrival at the Dubai airport, some persons offered us free vouchers including tickets to the safari desert tour, swimming with the dolphins or lunch at the Burj Al Arab. I mean, we thought it was a true freebie, and so we accepted. The catch was that we were supposed to attend a brief meeting at some office. The office looked pretty genuine when we got in – albeit lonely. Basically, these persons were trying to sell us landed property in Dubai and convincing us to sign an agreement. When we mentioned we had zero interest – they got pretty offended and almost began to raise their voice. Thankfully all ended well, we left the offices, not buying any property and not using the vouchers – even though I think they were still valid.
2 years later on a separate UAE birthday getaway, I had the desert safari tour in AbuDhabi – without any suspect vouchers!
The mishaps in Barbados were two fold. One at the beginning and one right at the end. We arrived at international airport tired yet filled with so much excitement. Again it was visa free, so passing through immigration and border control with no hassle was a plus. Only for our bags not to arrive! Apparently they had been left back in London. Sigh. Spent too much time complaining, describing the suitcases and filling out forms. Plus literally did not utilise the first day of the trip because we had no clothes & personal items.
The second bit was right at the end of the trip. Dropping our now retrieved luggage off at bag drop off and being asked for travel documentation. Guess who had left her residence card at home? Me! The official said there was no way I could get on the flight without it. But that my husband was welcome to get on the flight. Haha. After a long process of calling the UK immigration to verify my status, I was finally allowed to board. This is child’s play compared to a friend who left her card at home, and was not allowed to board until she contacted someone in the UK to physically post the card to her. That took an extra 7 days!
The reason why I left this document behind is kinda funny. Normally, Tee & I when we travel together would double check that we have all important stuff. That morning, we got into a minor disagreement and so no one bothered to ask. See why you should always be on happy terms with your spouse?
You can read about our Barbados trip, if you missed it.
Some relatively minor ones include:
~ On our recent trip to the US, we overslept and it was the taxi driver who had come to pick us up that woke us up when he rang the bell! I have no idea how we made that flight. It had to be partially attributed to the fact that because the cab driver was Ghanaian, he understood our rush, and did everything legally possible to get us there in time! We keep comparing this to our trip to South Africa, where due to our house move, we were again rushing. This driver took his sweet time – like he couldn’t be bothered if we were late. In the midst of this rush, I keep wondering how people with kids do it. They probably have to wake up 5 hours earlier. And then I remember one of my all time fave Christmas movies – Home Alone, and how due to the rush and wrong head count they left poor Kevin at home!
~ Still on the US, we incurred some administrative car charges again, as we had missed some of the tolls and thus hadn’t paid for these.
~ There was one occasion where Tee mixed up his travel dates. After saying good byes and giving hugs to everyone he realised his flight wasn’t till the next day. It was pretty embarrassing. To save face, we had to tell some people the flight had been reschuled by the airline.
In hindsight these allow for some good laughs. And they’ve been a few more. From actual missed flights, to visas denied and damaged luggage. But many could all be curbed and I think we’re so much better now – learning from past experiences, being much more organised, and having necessary checklists. This means that our more recent trips have been almost hitch free! Fingers crossed that it continues that way…
Some people have had it much worse: getting robbed, taking another person’s luggage, loosing their passports, getting terrible sick (or going into labour on the plane!) and getting lost. Recently, a friend’s luggage got lost and he had his wedding suit in there!
But these mishaps don’t just happen on international travel. I remember the first ever flight I boarded which was from Lagos to Abuja. It was a school trip organised by Cadbury, and had the title “Bournvita Magic Flight“. Before letting me go, my mum had to come to the school school to find out what was so ‘magic‘ about the flight! She wasn’t about to take any chances!
Similarly on a road trip from Lagos to Enugu to commence my studies at Nigeria Law school our bus broke down several times and we arrived at Enugu at 3am – and so I had to sleep at the bus park. Thankfully we were quite a number and most people slept there as well.
Travelling can be all fun, but then there’s often a bit of stress to it and when you think or remember what could go wrong, it’s tempting to sit right at home! But the good times, timeless memories and perks like upgraded flights and hotels bring the itch right back and make it worth it.
Generally speaking, here are a few tips to avoid/deal with travel mishaps:
What travel mishap stories – on local or international trips have you encountered or heard of? Any lessons to be learnt? Also share your top tips for dealing with such mishaps!
pS: The photo above is from our trip to Spain, happily munching street food and oblivious of the matters ahead!
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Dee OlateruAugust 8, 2017 at 05:03
Hahahhaha!!! Oh my! Funny I just shared about leaving on a trip without a visa on my blog! Your mishaps range from funny to oh my goodness I feel pained for you ( the wrong fuel +bill + missed flight and phone bill one). My roaming is automatically set to off and if I want to intentionally roam i turn it on myself for a few minutes.These things happen even when we plan best it makes for great stories later but in the moment it’s not so funny though!I’m terrible at getting to the airport . If I had to give testimony every time I almost missed my flight … I wouldn’t finish. I just don’t like staying at the airport longer than needed. You’ll find me boarding late and panting like a dog 😂😂😂. My sister cannot understand this.
Dee OlateruAugust 8, 2017 at 05:07
Oops top tips:Plan ahead, give yourself extra time especially in foreign countries. Pack important document first and everything else even clothes you can do without . After several luggage issues I always pack underwear and at least a shirt in hand luggage .But these things will still happen, make a decision to not let it ruin your trip and just be armed with your best accessory… a good attitude!!I’ve had many mishaps one was leaving my friend in an airport in another country I think that’s my worst!!
Prossie NAugust 8, 2017 at 08:22
This madam right here (read me) travelled and picked someone else’s luggage and comfortably headed to the hotel. I checked in and took a nap. Woke up 4 hours later to unpack. Only to find a suitcase full of children’s clothes. The airport was 1 hour away!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:47
Noooooo!!! Lmao! Did you find your bags back at the airport? Like a two hour trip back. Sigh.
Prossie NAugust 11, 2017 at 11:02
I got my tired behind off and headed back to the airport to return the bag. I only got mine 3 days later!
BababiAugust 8, 2017 at 08:52
Haaaaaaaa! Let me put on my typical yoruba surprised face #eyes&mouth wide open for your Spain and Dubai trips.I laughed at the other mishaps to other countries. So funny. I have a few too.1st mishap: I was serving in Cross-River state in 2010. Prior to that, I had only always travelled inter-state by air because my parents didn’t trust the safety of road travels. However, I was in Calabar and my boyfriend (now husband) was in Lagos and I itched to see him. Between us, we couldn’t afford a return flight ticket so we booked cross-country bus ticket for my trip to&fro Lagos. My family was not aware of this trip. I had successfully snuck into Lagos and snuck out (so I thought). On my way back to Calabar, the bus broke down somewhere at Onitsha at 7pm. We had to sleep on the road (in the bus) because the driver couldn’t get help. People on the bus told scary stories of how some people had been robbed and raped while stuck on the road. I panicked for my life and asked God to forgive me for going to visit my boyfriend hahahaha. We got to Calabar next morning. Phew!2nd Mishap: on my first trip to the US with my boyfriend, we had really high expectations of the almighty US (scam country hahaha). We had visited other European countries and were pretty impressed, so we thought the US would blow our minds away. We arrived at the airport in NY and we were advised by the tourist info desk to take a particular brand of taxi because they were cheaper than all others. So when we stopped this taxi, gave him our Bed&Breakfast address and he gave us a bill of $80 we were shocked but somewhat happy that we chose the cheapest taxi. When we arrived at the bed&breakfast, our host welcomed us and was being very friendly so she asked how our taxi ride was and how much it cost. We told her the cost and she screamed. It was a very loud scream you would have thought the building would collapse. Then she told us the trip shouldn’t have cost more than $15 because the lodge was very close to the airport. SCAMMED IN ALMIGHTY AMERICA BY A CAUCASIAN TAXI DRIVER.
Omowumi OguntuaseAugust 8, 2017 at 09:18
LOL I see why your friends always ask, na only una? I’m terrible at planning for stuff so now I’ve started doing the ‘plan little by little over time’ thing at least some months/weeks before whatever it is. Then I try to make a list too because I am quite forgetful, whenever I travel, I always forget stuff, everytime. At least you can laugh about these now.www.wumituase.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:46
As in. It was a bit too much! I have a very handy checklist now, so I actually hardly forget stuff. Which is good! We can laugh, but hopefully no more annoying tales. Xx
DemiladeAugust 8, 2017 at 10:21
Loooool this is probably one of the best posts I’ve ever read on your blog, love it when you tell stories. Wow you and Tee have really had some crazy adventures o, the Spain one sounds so crazy. Well as they say, bad experiences make good stories. Loved this post! xxCoco Bella Blog
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 21:02
Really Demi? Awww Thank you! They do make good stories, but only when you can laugh about them in hindsight. Thankful that nothing too crazy happened. Xx
Bubu GreenAugust 8, 2017 at 14:17
Hahahaha. This cracked me up. For me, I’m such a planner. Like i run the trip over and over in my head. The reason I was able to travel alone hitch-free with two toddlers between 5 countries. That said, seems I’ve been cursed with always having a missing luggage. All my trips, there has not been one that I’ve not missed a luggage. I always experience it, that now I don’t get frightened when it happens. I just know the lost baggage claim procedure before I’m told by the airline. My most recent happened in Trinidad & Tobago and I was relaxed thinking it will come as fast as others have reached me. 13 days and my luggage was allegedly unclaimed so it was going back through the countries I came in. I followed the usual protocol and for some reasons the bag wasn’t getting to me. When I got off my high horse and realized that my luggage this time might just not reach me, the cry I cried to one of the customer service attendant ehnnn, the bag got to me that evening.www.bubusboulevard.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 21:02
Bubs! Honestly eh, when I saw your IG stories during the travel, I was just wondering how you did it! 5 countries. MVP. Hahahaha. I read of someone that got her luggage back after 3 months. Ofcourse all the edible goodies she bought were pretty bad and worse off, she said her clothes were pretty stinking!
Desire UbaAugust 8, 2017 at 15:19
See me praying for a new post when I was refreshing your blog, and I was so happy to see this. I can’t get over how cute you and Tee are!!! I haven’t travelled much but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Omo, Kachee, I think I might come to you for travel advice to some places when the time comes. Plus, the comments here really add more to your story. You do have a great following!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 21:00
Awwww you already know your post made me so happy! I may not be the best person for travel advice apparently. Lol. But don’t worry, I’ve got loads of travel blogger friends for all your needs.The comments make this blog to be honest, and I don’t take them for granted at all. Thank you so much for being a part of it! Xx
Naija NomadsAugust 8, 2017 at 16:38
Lmao! All funny as heck. Ive had tons of mishaps as well and like you guys, my partner and i ALWAYS have tales to tell every time we travel together. When we went to Gambia, we missed our flight to Nigeria because we were hunting Gambian jollof rice! We got chased by a dog in Seychelles and no we weren’t walking on the road, we were in a CAR! Missing luggage is almost regular, lol! All these things make up memories we wouldn’t trade for anything. Love this post cos I can relate to it!
TRAVEL WITH A PENAugust 9, 2017 at 19:53
I hope that Jollof was worth it! hahaha!!!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:58
@naijanomads:disqus same thing I was going to say. Like Gambian Jollof! i didn’t even know it was a contender in the Jollof game.
Toluwalade Toyin-KehindeAugust 9, 2017 at 00:40
Lmao all these were funny!!! The mixing up of travel dates almost happened to me one summer I was going to Nigeria. Already packed my bags and was about to leave my apartment and then I picked up the ticket to put in my bag and text my dad I was heading to the airport then he was like are you okay? Why are you going now, your flight is tomorrow. Lmao I was done with myself. Dropped my bag and slept off lolOtherwise, my travel journey’s have been great.Toyinwithfashion.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:57
At least someone reminded you and you didn’t have to head to the airport! Lol
Grace SmartAugust 9, 2017 at 10:50
Wow! This was pretty funny and interesting. Never traveled by air before. Hopeful I would someday…soonest.www.liveinibadan.blogspot.com
TRAVEL WITH A PENAugust 9, 2017 at 19:57
Oh Man! I got uneasy reading that Spanish mishap. I would just start crying! Lol. Malaysia too. All these unplanned spending, I really can’t deal. They make good stories though but I really hope it’s smooth sailing from here on now.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:48
Unplanned spending is actually the worst. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and praying it’s good sailing (the last two have indeed been better).
Ofure OkoeneAugust 10, 2017 at 09:53
Wow! The Spanish mishap was major oh, even the phone bill in Malaysia. I had a similar experience to the Paris story in Zurich; where we arrived way early before check-in after we had a major incident with a racist airport cab driver. But my ultimate mishap is arriving at the airport at the departure time on an important flight from Benin to Lagos. I misread the itinerary. I swayed into the airport boldly, mentioned that I was there to check – in and they all burst out laughing! Yikes!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:57
Lol!! I can only imagine how they’d have been laughing at the airport. Trust Nigerians!
SkyAugust 10, 2017 at 14:21
Wow the Spain experience must have been hell. I can’t even imagine.My closest mishap happened in Durban. I thought i could just hop on any shuttle back to the airport to catch my flight back to the airport whenever i wanted (like we do here), so i took my time at the mall.It was time for me to go and i went to the place where airport shuttles pick up and drop off passengers and didn’t see any of them. hmn!I was told that i was supposed to have called and book ahead of time. My only other option was to take a cab, which was waaaaay more expensive (about 230 Rands or so). Worse still, i didn’t even have that much foreign currency left with me as i had spent money buying some stuff at the mall.I later got a cab and told the man to please hurry to the airport as i was already cutting it close to the time. On our way i explained my situation to him and pleaded that he wait for me to go change some more money to complete what i had with me, which was about 160 or 180 Rands, i think.But God touched his heart and he said not to worry and took the money i had.I thanked him and raaaaaaan to go check in. God saved me that day. If i had missed my flight it would have been such a disaster because i was flying to Jo’burg where my flight back to Naija was to start check-in after just a few minutes from my Durban arrival time. So it would have been two flights and i wouldn’t be here now writing this ‘cos i would have fainted away forever..SkyNotFancy
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 20:50
LOL! @ fainted forever. These days I try not to make too many assumptions. Better safe than sorry. But thank goodness the cab guy accepted a lower amount, because some people would have insisted and then delayed you!
ChinelokorieAugust 10, 2017 at 22:18
I just had to comment. Been following you for a while and am replying from DubaiUr story of meeting some random man at the airport was similar to our experience. We were wowed at such freebies and coming from the U.k where nothing is free, we decided to go to that office and listen to some presentation for 90minutes. On getting there it seems like black pple were their target. The person that was allocated to us was such a talkative and continue filling us with so much info that all I could see was a huge way of making 💰, but thank God for my hubby, proper Igbo man asking questions that threw the man of balance. The man got offended and we left the office with a freebie ticket for the desert tour which we ended up using the next day. Only regret is we wish we hadn’t cos we payed for everything we did. So the supposed freebie was not free at all.I wish I had read ur post sooner before wasting 90 minutes of our time at that office and getting angry at my hubbys questioning cos I was so looking forward to owning some sort of property not that we had the money though. Thank God all ended well when you came back to Abu Dhabi. We will be doing an Abu Dhabi tour tommorow and hopefully I hope to enjoy myself too. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 10, 2017 at 22:27
LOL! This is so so similar to our experience. The man clearly clearly talked a lot and made it seem like we were going to make loads of money. but like you we didn’t even see the point and kept asking questions which got him offended. I can’t even believe your freebie ticket wasn’t free in the end. That’s such a shame.You’ll have a great time in AbuDhabi. Check out the Yas Water World and if you’re going to the mosque and would rather not wear the Abaya they give you, then totally wear a dress that covers your knees and arms and of course a scarf too! Xx
HildaAugust 14, 2017 at 10:13
Oh Kachee!!! I laughed so hard and felt sorry for you at the same time. I have only traveled locally for now and everyone knows travelling in Nigeria especially by road is another tale entirely. Once I used ABC transport from Abuja to Ibadan because I had so much luggage and they charge almost nothing for extra luggage. In the bus there was a Christian Lady from Togo who was preaching and praying for all of us in the bus and passengers started to complain; some even insulted her. One of the bus guys had to tell her to stop. Almost 3 hours after, the engine started smoking and the driver stopped and ran out leaving us the passengers locked in the bus. I didn’t even know what was happening as I had earphones in my ears until I looked up and saw people jumping out through the windows. I immediately stood up, grabbed my handbag and joined the others trying to escape. Luckily someone was able to open the central doors and we all came out alive and unhurt. This happened at Ekiti and for almost 4 hours we were stranded on a lonely road. I have never been so scared in my entire life. I probably cursed ABC a million and one times for giving us a terrible bus that had not been serviced to use. Long story short the engine got fixed and I got to Ibadan past midnight and the Togo lady was now encouraged to pray for as long as she liked (I couldn’t help but laugh). I can’t even imagine what time Lagos passengers got to their destinations that day. I decided after that to either cargo my luggage ahead of my journey or pay for extra luggage when flying. Sorry for the long post and thank you for the useful tips and for sharing your experiences.