Travel Woes? It Will be Okay!

As I prepare to attend the ACFW conference, I recall how many things can go wrong on travel. They can, and they do. But the world will not end. Please remember this. How do I know? Because I used to consider myself indispensable. But the graveyards are filled with indispensable people. And I must remember that the world will not end if something goes wrong. For example:

1.) I missed my flight.

Yes, this happened to me. I was embarrassed. But the conference director saw to it that I arrived at my destination. All was well. I was still embarrassed, but all was well.

2.) My flight was delayed.

Yes, this happened to me. It meant I missed an important meeting but they went on without me and my career didn’t come to a screeching halt. I have since tried to address that problem by arriving uber early. But this is only possible now that my kids are grown. Hubby understands and is willing to eat at Subway in my absence. (And I do love being married, so I make those absences infrequent.)

3.) My luggage got lost.

I try to take direct, nonstop flights. That doesn’t guarantee no mishaps will ever happen but so far, my luggage has been safe. But I’ve seen airlines lose luggage. If yours gets lost, everyone will understand why you are wearing jeans while you wait for your luggage to arrive, and will be entertained by your story of travel woes. Hint to the ladies: make sure you have your makeup packed in your carry-on bag so you can still look your best while wearing jeans.

4,) A death in my family made me days late.

Yes, this has happened to me. Everyone knows that no one dies when it’s convenient. I’m sure when the Lord calls me home, the timing of my death will inconvenience many. Again, an understanding conference director smoothed the way for me.

Final word: Workshops can be rescheduled. Transportation can be flexible. The event will go on, no matter what happens. If something goes wrong, we’ll be embarrassed if it’s our fault. If it’s not our fault, we’ll still feel badly. Worrying won’t help. Preparation and planning will.

Just enjoy the adventure!

Your turn:

How has an understanding person helped you when travel went wrong?

Do you have a funny travel story to share?

What are your favorite tips to help travel go as smoothly as possible?

8 Responses to Travel Woes? It Will be Okay!

  1. Avatar
    Jackie Layton September 18, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    I’ve had some travel woes over the years, but the one that brought me to tears happened this year over Labor Day Weekend.

    Thirteen of my family flew to Orlando. Four year old Brooke and I walked through the security beeper together. Brooke was by far the most excited person to be going to Disney World, and she still carried two small, very small, stuffed animals in her hands. Between negotiating dumping stuff in bins, managing two small children under the age of two, and two senior citizens, we all missed this fact. I stood behind her as she walked forward, and the security guard stopped Brooke and told her we’d have to scan her animals.

    Brooke didn’t know what that meant. All she knew was he took her animals away. I start telling her it’s okay, she’ll get them back. But she starts clouding up. We’re still not through security, and the line is growing. Brooke walks through, and I follow. At last I can pick her up, and the wailing begins. She really didn’t understand she’d get her animals back. Now every security guard is trying to figure out what bin the animals are in. Of course they were sent to the back of the line.

    Believe me, everybody knew we were in the airport that morning. At last we got them back and made our flight.

    Brooke squeezes the most out of every life moment, and she forgives easily. When the plane starts taking off, Brooke squeals like she’s on a ride at Disney World. She says, “Mommy, this is the best day ever. We’re going to Disney World.”

    I could see the people around us smile and nod to each other. Life was good again.

    I hope everybody has a great trip to ACFW!

  2. Avatar
    Richard Mabry September 18, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    Tamela, I’ve had all these happen to me, except that the last (death of a loved one) caused me to cancel my trip and participation in the meeting altogether. You’re right. Life goes on. And it takes something like one or more of these experiences to prove it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanne Takenaka September 18, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    Oh my, yes, I’ve had travel woes. I think the most notable experience was when I traveled to Florida for a writer’s retreat. My first flight was delayed three hours because of snow. The man sitting next to me in our very cozy seats was quite inebriated… 9:00 a.m. He asked to read my Kindle with me over my shoulder. He later fell asleep and tossed and turned, only to run to the bathroom and, you guessed it….

    Then when I arrived in Florida. Someone else walked off with my luggage. I eventually got it back, and could even laugh at the entire crazy-making day.

    My travel tip: take essentials in your carry on. For me that includes my computer, all my chargers, medications and toothbrush and things to clean my face. I take other things too, but these items always make it into my carry on.

  4. Avatar
    Rick Barry September 18, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Travel woes definitely happen. Twice now I’ve enjoyed the privilege of arranging transportation for incoming editors and agents flying into Indianapolis for ACFW. Last time, storms around the U.S. kept my phone ringing as travelers reported delays and flight changes. Kudos to you for traveling early!

    As a frequent flyer, I’ve learned to pack at least one change of clothes in my carry-on. You can iron wrinkled shirts and pants, but when you arrive in Moscow (or anywhere) and your bags don’t… Not much you can do, short of a shopping trip.

  5. Avatar
    Sue Raatjes September 18, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Carry on, carry on, carry on. Small suitcase on wheels. Travel light.

  6. Avatar
    Karen Ball September 18, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Great reminders, Tamela. I second Jeanne’s tip for putting your Rx in your carry-on. Even on the flight home. I ended up stuck overnight at Dallas-Ft. Worth airport on my way home once, and my Rx were in my checked luggage. Including my insulin. That will never happen again.

    Also, include some kind of food in your carry-on. You never know when you’re going to be stuck on the tarmac for hours, with no snacks or food available. Oranges and apples are great, as are peanut-butter sandwiches or bagels with little packets of cream cheese.

    The most important tip, though, is to always remember God’s not surprised by anything that happens. He’s got it–and you–covered. Just take a deep breath and rest in that truth.

  7. Avatar
    Jennifer Zarifeh Major September 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I have learned, the very hard, very smelly way, to carry a change of clothes, all my meds, food, a phone, a written list of phone numbers (including nearest US or British embassy) in case the phone dies, cash, credit cards, charging cords, a sweater, iPod, earbuds, toothbrush and toothpaste, travel sized deodorant, photocopies of my passport, small flashlight.
    And, sadly, a piece of paper on me, yes, ON ME, of my name and emergency contact, and country of origin.
    I have missed flights, lost luggage for 4 days, been kicked off flights and re-routed through other countries, been patted down, scanned, questioned and patted down again, but the best one?

    There is a Jennifer Lynne Major in prison in the US for coke and dope trafficking. She is a white, middle aged, blue eyed redhead.

    Do you think I want to yell “I AM NOT THE DRUG DEALER!!” ?

    Oh yes, I do.

    Happy ACFW trails, everyone!

  8. Avatar
    Peter DeHaan September 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Except for a family death, I’ve experienced all these travel woes and more. My goal is to pack light, using one carry on plus my laptop.

    But my first flight is always on a small regional carrier and they usually make me check my carry-on plane side, so I’m still separated from it. As a result, I try to pack as many really important items with my laptop.

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