Travel mistakes happen. One is booking a flight for the wrong day, like my friend did when he showed up at the airport to fly out of New Zealand in May and realized that he accidentally booked his ticket for August. Or like my mistake, when I made plans with multiple people on different occasions and told them the wrong dates of my arrival.
This most recent travel mishap is one that I messed up not once, not twice, but three stupid times.
Over the past fourteen months, I have probably been on at least 25 flights. I’m not saying that everything always went smoothly, but I didn’t mess up any of the dates or times of my flights around Australia, Southeast Asia, or New Zealand. Yet, when I finally was making my way back to the states, I made three big rookie mistakes: I got all of my dates wrong.
The first was when I was headed to Hawaii. I was Couch Surfing and told my host that I would arrive on Wednesday, May 25th . He had arranged for some other Couch Surfers to pick me up at the airport.
I left New Zealand on Tuesday, the 24th, at midnight. I knew that there was a big time difference but I didn’t think much about it. I had booked that flight months in advance, something I don’t usually do (and only did because I had to due to using credit card points for all my flights back – more on that in a future post).
As the plane descended into Oahu, a flight attendant announced that it was Saturday the 24th. I figured he was completely off his rocker because it definitely wasn’t Saturday. I questioned myself about whether it was the 24th or 25th but shrugged it off, figuring it must be Wednesday.
When I got off the plane, I found out that it was Tuesday the 24th. It was 11:00 am and I was about to relive the same day for the second time (Groundhog Day!). Except now I was in Oahu instead of Auckland. And now I had no WIFI, no phone service, and no ride to pick me up from the airport. Damnit.
I got on the public bus to get to the nearest place where I could buy a SIM card for my phone. I ended up finding a SIM at a Walmart and finally got a chance to call my Couch Surfing host to explain the situation. It all worked out in the end: he picked me up, I stayed the extra night, and all was good, but wow did I feel out of it. When I flew to Australia the year before I lost a day, so I should have remembered that I would be gaining one. My mind just wasn’t there.
Nine days later, I got a text from my friend in LA who I was going to be staying with for the weekend. She asked if I was okay because she hadn’t heard from me. I was confused because I was arriving the next day and didn’t understand her urgency. I had seen her texts with the description of how to get to her place, but I had forgotten to respond. I didn’t think it was a big deal since I wasn’t arriving until the next day, but then I realized, I did it again!
Instead of arriving a day early to LA like I did in Hawaii, I was going to arrive a day late. Wow, who am I? I thought I was such a travel guru, and here I was, making the same slip up. You would have thought I would have double checked that all was in order after the event in Oahu the week before, but clearly I hadn’t learned.
Again, I had booked this flight months in advance and just hadn’t thought about it much, so I told her I was arriving on Thursday, the same day I was leaving. Turns out, I was arriving on Friday, so she was wondering where I was. Meanwhile, I was still in Hawaii, completely oblivious.
Luckily, there was nothing major that we had planned that night in LA and no rides or anything were arranged, so it worked out just fine, but I couldn’t believe I wasn’t paying more attention to my flight times.
And then, to put the icing on the cake, I had the wrong arrival date in mind for going home.
I told everyone who asked that I was getting home on June 23rd. I knew I was flying from Salt Lake City to Philly that day, and I knew it wasn’t far, so I assumed I was arriving on the same day. Now, to be fair, this flight was booked by my Mom, not me, so I am going to try to let that be an excuse for this one. However, I’m sure she told me multiple times that the flight is a red eye and we are arriving on the 24th, but I just didn’t process the information.
This wouldn’t have been that big of a deal had I not promised my friend I would be at her birthday celebration on the 24th. I thought, I’ll get home the day before and will have a day with family and to rest before going out the next night. Well, that’s no longer the case.
When I talked to my Mom last night about the flight back and made the realization, I felt like a jerk telling my friend that I can’t come to her birthday after all. I haven’t seen my family in over a year and want to stay at my parents’ place (instead of crashing at hers) for my first night home.
Ugh, well, I’m finally making my way home, and I think I finally know when I’m getting there. These errors seem to be a sign that it’s time to take a little break and stay in one place for a bit (I can’t believe I’m saying that).
When I do make my next travel plans, I’ll be triple-checking those flights and dates so I don’t keep messing up other people’s plans with my carelessness.
Sorry for all the mistakes, everyone! I’ll try not to let it happen again!
(By the way, none of this happened until I started making my way back to the states… just saying! 😛 )