As a travel blogger and an experienced traveler, I offer ‘expert travel advice‘. This is clearly stated on my website. However, those who followed my Mexico Instagram stories, know that my short 2-week Mexico trip was messy. Very messy.
Feb 1st – Missing my flight to Mexico!
I usually arrive two hours prior to departure for long-distance flights. My flight was at 14.00, so I arrived at 12.00 sharp. Perfect, right? But, I could not find my flight on the Schiphol Departure Board. Weird.
And then, it finally hit me. Shit, my flight was at 12.00! My flight probably took off, when I arrived at the airport. How, could I have missed this?
I was quite bummed out and already prepared myself to buy an expensive new plane ticket. I send a text message to my friends who were on a different flight to tell them about my delay.
Fortunately (and to my surprise), I was re-routed for free by the friendly lady at the Air Canada desk. This new route would take 12 hours longer and included a long lay-over in Toronto. However, Air Canada even provided me with a fancy hotel during the lay-over and food coupons. So, in the end it all worked out reasonably, despite my stupid mistake.
One day later, I had some bad luck.
Feb 2nd: No/delayed luggage in Mexico
I was one of the first at the luggage belt, but unfortunately also the last person. After seeing all other passengers leave with their luggage, I still missed my red backpack. Now, the luggage belt was completely empty and I knew something was wrong.
Shit. I went to the Air Canada office and here I was given a lost luggage form. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fill out my address in Mexico, because we hadn’t booked anything yet (backpacker style). However, they would give me a call later that day with more info.
That day, they did not call and the next day there was also no call. We tried to call Air Canada instead, but the Mexican numbers could not be reached, weren’t picked up or we got an unclear voicemail. The Canadian number was not helpful at all. It was not very promising they did not call as promised and could not be reached by telephone. This got me worried and a bit stressed! At day 2, the Mexican number finally picked up the phone and I got my backpack that same day! Looking back, it would have been better to relax, sit and wait. It would probably saved me a lot of stress.
The end of my Mexican holiday, I had another case of bad luck/bad preparation.
Feb 11th: ESTA refused
A few weeks prior to my Mexico trip, I applied online for my ESTA as I flew back from Mexico through Houston to Amsterdam and filled out all the required questions.
‘Do you seek to engage or have your ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage or genocide?’.
‘Uhm, no. If I would have, I probably would not have told you’.
‘Have you traveled to, or been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011.
‘Uhh, yes, Sudan and Iran’ I answered.
‘And probably Somalia and Iraqi Kurdistan in the near future’ I thought.
Just a few days before I flew back to Amsterdam, I suddenly realized I hadn’t heard anything about my ESTA anymore. No email, nothing. So, I checked my status online and there it was: REJECTED. Indeed, a quick search online learned that I can’t use an ESTA after visiting Sudan and Iran. Unable to transfer in Houston, I had to buy a new one-way flight (costs 350 euro’s!!). I mostly blamed the USA and Trump, which was not completely fair I suppose. Could I have known beforehand? Sure! However, I don’t spent my time researching every single move of my travels anymore and I just did not expect problems for a simple one-hour transfer.
Did I lose my (self-attributed) ‘expert traveler’ status?
I hope not. You decide ;) Despite being -what some would call- a fairly happy-go-lucky daredevil traveler, my travels have always gone smoothly, even in faraway lands and remote places. I think that these things could happen to anyone, including a reasonably seasoned traveler like me. Travel isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes, things go wrong. And sometimes, you simply mess up.
Also read about my interesting new years eve in Khartoum, which marked the start of my travel misadventures of 2018.
Yucatan, Mexico travel information:
Coming soon. You can read this post by my friend David about costs to travel in Mexico.
Did you ever miss your flight? Or had your luggage delayed? Let me know! I’m curious to hear your stories, just to reassure I’m not the only one ;)
Flying from Anchorage Alaska to Cartagena Colombia via Chicago and Mexico City. Luggage never arrived and spent 3 weeks in Colombia without my bag. Had to buy cheap clothes in Cartagena. Still was an amazing trip. Luggage ended up back in Alaska a month later…