Finding Humor in Traveling

Finding Humor in TravelingIf you travel very often, you are likely to have lot of mishaps and stories that you like to tell your friends and family. Maybe you traveled before your children were born and now you tell those stories to them from time to time. I haven’t traveled a lot in my life, but I do tend to have some type of story every time I go on the road or in the air. 

During my Senior year in high school, the class was busy planning a trip out of the country. I remembered hearing about this Senior trip from when my sister was in high school and all through my time in high school as well. I had thoughts of possibly wanting to go on this trip, but I learned quickly that I was not going to be able to afford it. My parents were not able to spend the money on it and I just hadn’t saved my own money enough. 

A couple of my friends and I started talking about what we should do once we knew that we all wouldn’t be able to go on the trip. We decided to talk to a travel agent and look into our own trip. Before we knew it, we were planning and making payments on a trip to England. There were three of us initially, but one girl was chosen to go to Washington D.C. so she dropped out. My friend and I forged ahead and made our payments and when March 1995 came around, we were on a plane to London, England all by ourselves!!

Although we booked through a travel agent, we didn’t book many tours or group events. We were 18, after all, and we didn’t want to be told where to go and when to do it. We had a list of sights that we wanted to see and if I remember correctly we did most of it, but this trip definitely has it’s stories to go with it.

Who needs dry hair {and electricity} anyway?

If you’ve ever been to England, you probably already know that the electrical outlets are different than those in the United States. If you haven’t ever been, and you plan to go, buy a converter – or just skip that and buy a new hair dryer when you get there! My friend and I arrived safely in London, hailed a cab to our hotel, checked in, rested, showered, and then it happened… I don’t remember which one of us did it, but someone needed to dry their hair, plugged in the hair dryer (with apparently too many watts) and cut off the electricity to our hotel room. We weren’t even in London for three hours and we were already trouble makers!!

What time is it?

Take two lazy teenaged girls, put them on a plane to England so they get jet-lagged, make sure these two girls are extremely shy and afraid of their own shadows, and see what happens. Well, basically, these girls sleep in late in the day every day because they are on break and their internal clocks are off and there is no adult to motivate them to get moving. By the time they make it out of the hotel room, it’s late afternoon and they rush around to see a few sites before it gets dark outside – because they will NOT be out in the streets in a strange country in the DARK!! Well, you can imagine that we didn’t see everything that we could have seen, but we hit the high points. We did wake up early ONE day so we could see the changing of the guards.

Hello, Operator..?

This one is the kicker and almost ruined the entire trip for us. It was so traumatic that every time I stay in a hotel now, I am paranoid to touch anything. Now, my friend had just started dating her boyfriend when we took off for England and she knew she would want to talk to him often. She was also not used to being away from her single mom and she knew she would want to talk to her at least daily. On the other hand, I had no love interest and really didn’t care if I only talked to my parents once when I got there and (maybe) once before we left. Knowing this, my friend’s mother gave her a calling card to use and told us to make sure we followed the hotel’s procedures for calling with the card.

When we arrived, we asked how to make calls with the card and were given instructions. I can’t remember exactly how it all went about, but I remember that we kept telling them that we did NOT want to use the hotel billing for the calls and that we needed an outside line to call an 800 number, or something to that effect. After the first few calls, we had it down and my friend spent quite a lot of time on the phone (teen girls, geez!). 

Troubled Teens

You can probably guess by now what happened next. The night before we were set to leave (at 6am!!) we checked with the front desk about how we would check out quickly and get a cab to the airport and so on. They informed us at that time that our bill had a balance of…wait for it… £1000!! Yes, folks, we had run up nearly a $2000 phone bill. My friend and I had a little bit of money left, but we had nowhere near the amount of money needed to get us out of this mess. We ventured out (for the first time in the dark) to find some conversion stations to turn our last little bits of US dollars into pounds. We were scared out of our minds. We decided to call our parents. Our parents called each other. I “think” some arguments may have come about in the States and I KNOW that my dad made some type of threat to the hotel manager (something to the effect that he would get on a plane and come GET his kids if it was the last thing he did). Somehow, the magic happened and my parents were able to use a credit card over the phone and pay the bill, and at 2am, my friend and I left that hotel and slept in the airport until it was time to come home!

Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to visit England again, but you can bet I will NOT be using a hotel phone (or a blow dryer). :)

What is your funniest (or scariest) traveling story?

*This is a sponsored post; however, all stories and opinions are my own. True story, I promise!

Comments

  1. Wow! Sorry to hear about the phone bill! I went to France a few years ago and couldn’t figure out how to use a phone card to save my life, but never used a hotel phone for this very reason. Glad you made it back (besides, they never would have let you work in the UK, if that makes you feel any better :) )!

    As for hairdryers, I know all to well how tricky they can be. I actually bought a dryer when I was in Spain for a month, but even that dryer was considered too high a voltage (?) for many of the older hotels that I was staying at. I blew all the fuses in the entire hotel at least 3 times…no lie. Despite 8 years of Spanish in school, the only complete phrase I can say in Spanish is, “I’m sorry, I blew the fuse. The lights are off in my room (and ever other room in the hotel).” Mainly because that’s the phrase I had to know when I called the front desk. Good times.
    Jennifer recently posted..Birthday Invite Woes: A Mommy WWYD?My Profile

  2. Haha this is like a precursor to those awful cell phone overages of today!

    I don’t have a particular story but we always seem to get lost in the “bad” part of town when traveling lol!
    krystle recently posted..Eclos GiveawayMy Profile

    • Ohh..that happened to us, too!! We were walking, and then it was snowing, and then we were lost…We just about DIED before we found the Tube!!

  3. Hilarious! I went to London in high school too. I didn’t cause as much trouble as you, but it was a ton of fun. BTW, unless the converters have gotten better, they don’t work well anyway. I tried to plug in a hair dryer (with the converter) and our room smelled like burning hair for a couple of days.
    Stacey recently posted..10 Secrets for a Happy Marriage–Part 3My Profile

    • Yeah, that converter thing didn’t work…and I think I remember it being expensive (for a high school kid). :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] When she was 18 years old, she saved up her own money and traveled to England with a friend in hopes of connecting with some of her roots. Instead of taking in the sights and learning about the country, she slept, shopped, ate at McDonalds, and ran up a ridiculous overseas phone bill. [...]

  2. [...] must admit that I am not much of a traveler (I usually have issues when I travel), but I have an aunt who has been so many places that she could probably write a book herself. When [...]

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