Our 4 Worst Travel Fuck-Ups

We are pros at this you know.

Micah and I travel a lot, which gives ample opportunity to royally mess things up. The good news is that a mistake made is usually a lesson learned. Even better: You can benefit from our mistakes and travel with more fun and less hassle.

1. Getting your feet wet: Coron Homestay.

Impressive committment to the theme. A/C: Out of order.

The Coron Islands are beautiful. Fresh water lakes, fireflies, island hopping and secret beaches (that is a different story). But then there is the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Coron City. Dirty, loud and hopelessly overpopulated, it bears all the signs of a place that got more tourists in a shorter time than is good for it.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know that at the time. Being the budget travelers we are, Micah and I went for the cheapest homestay in the most central location we could find. No A/C, but hey – we were not going to spend much time indoors anyway.

When we arrived, the landlord seemed nice. He even turned out to be an expert on secret island beaches a few days later. But then there was the room. Coated entirely in aggressive pink, with a fan rattling so hard it sounded like it was running on a combustion engine. But the kicker was the bathroom, which came, by default, with a several centimeter-strong layer of water just constantly lingering there.

If you never want to experience needing the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to then step into a puddle of water in the dark, then make sure not to repeat our mistake: Even when traveling on a budget, get the second cheapest room. Also, don’t stubbornly stick it out for several days, you deserve better than that.

2. Technically correct: Visiting Macau.

The walk really was nice.

I needed a visa-run and, of course, we wanted to do it on the cheap. Where does the cheapest international flight from The Philippines go? To Macau! How do you spend as little money as possible in a place? Just stay for three days! Easy, right?

This is what we thought when we (actually, probably I) booked our flights with the intention to arrive early the first day and leave late on the third. We wanted to make the most of our stay, meet an old friend of Micah who was going to pop over from Hong Kong and have one of the infamous Lord Stow’s Egg Tarts. Easy.

Unfortunately, I messed up the booking. Instead of arriving early, we pretty much took the last flight to Macau that day. So, we technically had two days in Macau, but in reality, it was more like 24 hours. We ended up landing at around 10pm, waiting one hour to catch our bus and then spending two more hours walking through the city at night searching our hotel.

Granted, the walk turned out to be really nice and we (incredibly) managed to meet Micah’s friend, find the egg tarts in Coloane Village and rush back to the airport to make our return flight. But just five more minutes during the booking process would have probably saved us a lot of headache – and made for better sleep.

3. The road less traveled: Batanes Burial site.

Wild. Adventurous. Anticlimactic.

Yes, we took the road less traveled by. While scootering across Batanes, we noticed a small sign on the side of the road: “Burial Site”. It looked just like the other attraction signs we had seen before, just that it lacked the usual well-built road leading away from it. Micah was not sure about this, but I said: “Let’s check it out!”.

First, we made our way through tall grass, until we came upon a stone path that looked like it had not seen a human being in decades. “Exciting!” I thought, as Micah shot increasingly worried glances around and above us. Fortunately, we had prepared for our day on the scooter by trading our usual slippers for proper shoes. I was about to relent and give up when the path suddenly took a turn. We finally seemed to be getting somewhere!

And get somewhere we did: We emerged from the dark canopies of the rainforest to find a wide field full of tall grass, surrounded by a razor-sharp fence with a sign next to it. “Welcome to Nakamaya Burial Site”. So this path was actually meant to be followed? But since the prospect of finding snakes in the tall grass was too much even for me, we turned around and walked the 20 minutes back through the jungle to our scooter. Kind of anticlimactic really. The lesson here: Sometimes a road is less traveled by for a reason.

4. (Not) packed for purpose: Yoga in India.

Sunrise in India. The poncho saves the day.

This one is dedicated to Micah. At the end of 2018, Micah and I did our 200h Yoga Teacher Training in India. When you hear ‘India’, what do you usually think of? If “extremely warm” was one of the things that crossed your mind, then check your assumptions! Because as it turns out, the subcontinent India contains all kinds of climatic zones.

This means that yes, if you were touring the ancient Tamil Kingdoms in the south, then expecting hot weather is right on the money. However, if you are going to Rishikesh, which is in the very north at the foot of the Himalayas, then packing exclusively for a beach holiday may get you into trouble. But as you can guess, this is exactly what happened.

After both of us felt cold for pretty much three days straight (me as well, because guess who was wearing my warm clothes?), we were luckily able to find some nice clothes in Rishikesh that helped us weather the pre-winter climate. The lesson: If you have never been to a place before, research it.

22 thoughts on “Our 4 Worst Travel Fuck-Ups

      1. I would say Rajasthan, Eastern India, the mountains, so mainly Himachal Pradesh as mountains are safer there and maybe you should try Punjabi street food though it can be quite spicy, the beaches in Kanyakumari are also breathtaking, specially the point where the 3 main water bodies meet

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  1. Sorry for laughing a bit @ your experiences… I can imagine especially the one you’ve dedicated to Micah 😀 😀 😀
    I have an irate husband and these types of mistakes would make him go ballistic (it’s usually I who make them) but since I am generally chill, I would often laugh about it except for the road less traveled (I’d go crazy on the spot)…
    BUT you are right, mistakes made are also lessons learned & sharing these experiences may prevent others from being in the same predicament.
    Thanks for sharing! It was fun to read!

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      1. Oh gosh where do I begin!! I’m terrible at getting to airports just in the nick of time, mostly because I’m a very impatient person and just cannot stand waiting for anything .I think the one special moment I’ll mention is missing my flight from Rio de Janeiro because I decided to spend an extra few hours shopping… funny thing, I had bought a promotional ticket so if I missed my flight I needed to purchase another… but I had spent my last few hundred dollars on shoes 🙈 so I called my dad and he was like “that sucks”, my siblings wished me good luck and my friends told me to speak to my dad. I ended up calling my brother’s girlfriend and she bought me a new ticket out of São Paulo plus a bus ticket from Rio to São Paulo where a friend of hers picked me up and let me sleep and shower at his place before he took me to the airport. Very humbling experience, and eye opening too. I never asked my dad or siblings for anything after that, and I’m always two hours early for my flights now 😅

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  2. Lessons hard-earned for sure. The little things that go wrong usually make the trips the most memorable. And it’s good when you can laugh about it later. Our first overseas trip was to Amsterdam and I once shared on the blog about our mishap of accidentally taking our teens right into the red light district. It’s hilarious to look back on now

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  3. More often than I like to admit, I’ve nearly frozen when on vacations. I tend to think that it will be warmner than it actually turns out to be. (Isn’t it warm everywhere by the end of April? Who knew how cold it can be at high elevations? . . . )

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