A travel hack is something that happens outside of your control, but it could literally mess up your entire trip. Right now, I should be arriving in New Delhi, but instead, I’m waiting around for my flight back home. This is the first time this has ever happened to me as I’ve been blessed with 10 years of great travel with ZERO upsets. Then this weekend happened and it was an upset from hell…
I could name and shame the hell out of this post and I fully intended to do that. Then I had a think and decided that I won’t put that level of negative energy out into the world. I will be touching on the positives (even if they’re VERY few) in the hopes that something good comes from this entire travel hack marathon.
My initial flights to India were messed up as the travel agency booked them under separate classes and South Africa Airways point blank refused to let me on the flight. After four hours at the airport, I needed to change everything to one day later. This included moving my domestic flights in India and hotel bookings as well as airport transfers X2. No easy job but I managed to do it in time for my flights the next day.
Fast forward to the next day and I arrived in Johannesburg and walked to the Etihad counter to get my tickets printed. I’d already checked in online but I wanted to make sure I had the tickets in hand as I was beyond worried about flying. The gentleman that greeted me was lovely and asked for my passport and copy of my visa. Excuse me? According to the travel agency I booked through and the blog I’d read (don’t trust bloggers – we’re idiots) I could get a 30-day on entry. My ashram was also under the impression I could get a visa on my arrival. Etihad refused to let me on the flight without a visa. The visa I needed would take 5 days to process and would mean I had forfeit my yoga course.
No word of a lie – I fainted. It had been two days of absolute chaos and stress in trying to get to India. India has been my dream for the last five years and it literally slipped through my fingers twice in one weekend. So there I was in a fainted heap on the floor of the Etihad ticket booth. Sorry to all my ex’s out there, but I have never felt pain like this in my life. My heart literally broke on the spot.
A mention needs to be made to the wonderful woman at the Etihad ticket counter who immediately canceled my booking in the hopes that I could reschedule to a later date and only pay the changing fees.
Is there a happy ending to this travel hack?
I’m hoping to go in February and I’m currently waiting to see if my ashram can move my course date. As this point, I’ve lost approximately R5000 ($350) and I’ve yet to receive the cost to change my ticket. So yes, hopefully, I will still be able to go to India in February and live out my yoga dream.
Should I have triple checked the visa requirements? Absolutely. I was far too trusting of others and it blew up in my face. Will I ever make that mistake again? Nope. I guess you could say lesson learned? I’m beyond organised and my friends have always commented how rediculously nerdy I am with visa requirements and travel documents. To give you an idea, I have a travel folder with colour coded tabs.
The one positive outcome from this has been my personal growth. In previous years, I reacted to situations like this with heated arguments and used aggression to get my way. I never lost my temper and even though the screw-ups weren’t my fault, I always reacted in a proactive manner and tried my hardest to come out with a positive solution.
This has been a heartbreaking experience, but one I hope to learn from. Travel hack of NOTE!