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What was your biggest travel mistake, faux pas or blunder?

What was your biggest travel mistake, faux pas or blunder?

Old May 17th, 2000, 05:18 AM
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On my first European trip:

Making a phone call to the US from my hotel in Venice to the tune of $60 in 1990!

Paying someone to "carry my bags" off the vaporetto to what I thought would be my hotel. It cost about $15 and he toted the bags about 100 feet, maximum.
He dropped them there and left!

Eating an American breakfast at a cafe in Paris without inquiring as to the cost. We figured, how much can some eggs and toast cost. About $25 per person!
Old May 30th, 2000, 06:39 AM
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To the top!
Old May 30th, 2000, 08:34 AM
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On a cruise I opened my bags as we were pulling out of the harbor and realized I had left all of my shoes in a bag at home--except for the grungy sneakers on my feet. I had to wear the flip flops I bought on board to all events,
Old Jun 8th, 2000, 11:43 AM
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Here's my nomination for most amusing thread, in the sub-category for shorter threads. I think it has room to grow.
Old Jun 8th, 2000, 12:25 PM
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My company sent me to England for a meeting, which was to take place in a small town south of London. Driving on the left side was disconcerting enough, but negotiating a roundabout proved impossible for my already-limited motoring skills. I took the wrong "out" and ended up forty miles to the east before I realized my error. The good news is that I witnessed the Concorde flying overhead and that I saw some really beautiful countryside. The bad news is that I missed the meeting, thus spending $3000 of the company's money on a boondoggle.

By the way, do spices exist in British kitchens?
Old Jun 8th, 2000, 12:41 PM
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This is great. My first trip to Germany, after three days of being on the road alone, I thought I had the hang of 'driving in the direction of'. I had been from Heidelberg to Kaiserslautern once during the week (a simple,50 minute drive) so doing it on a Saturday should be no problem at all, right? HA. I had plans with a friend who had offered to take me to Trier for the day and really show me around. After an extremely long night of drinking, talking and not sleeping - I showered and hopped in the car. Jumped on the A6 and was on my merry way. Over two hours later, I realized nothing looked familiar yet. I stopped at gas station, walked in and said bitte... please... Thank God the man spoke English. He showed me a map and pointed to where I was. Two thirds of the way to Nurmberg. A mere 3 hours away from where I wanted to be! Lesson learned? Never leave without a map and always know where you're trying to (when you're not purposely wandering). Needless to say, I bought that map and have been using it since.
Old Jun 8th, 2000, 12:54 PM
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Many years ago I went on a two month British/Irish/Norwegian ramble with a friend (a just broken up with live-in boyfriend, but still friends kind of thing).

My boyfriend had a good job with a major corporation who generously let him take leave for this jaunt. Although very much on the corp ladder and with a staff of his own, he WAS in his early 20's and...anyway he smoked a little bowl of marijuana every morning before work...An item he decided to leave at home.

Well, a month and a half into our journey as we were walking down a Cambridge street, a travel agent shop poster shouted out to us. Amsterdam! I was dying to see the canals and museums, and he was just dying to light up.

Unfortunately, we didn't know A'dam from Adam. While I was at the Amsterdam Historic Museum he stood alone in Dam square hoping someone would approach him. No one ever did. Never once, I guess, did it occur to him to ask a friendly Dutchman for directions to a coffeeshop.

Now, doesn't that take the cake to fail to score weed in Amsterdam?

Meanwhile, he was getting desperate. Nothing would do but he had to literally pull me onto a bus back to Calais. I couldn't stand leaving the magical city after only two days! But he had a mission: we returned to London were he begged an airfare ticket refund, got us new tickets, and we were too soon home where he could once again commune with his pipe. Yes, home we went, minus two weeks which could have been used for Paris in the Fall.

You might think this post misplaced, but never would I put my story in the travel partner horror stories because I look back at this with only the fondest memories. I can actually hoot with laughter over how naive, shy and unhip we both were. I guess the moral of the story is: don't be afraid to ask for directions.
Old Jun 10th, 2000, 05:10 AM
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It was Sunday and my only day off on a 12 day business trip to Italy. I arrived in Florence early in the morning (bus from Umbria) anticipating a lovely day of sightseeing and shopping. I waited for the museums and stores to open at a small, quiet cafe. The sun was shinning, the birds were signing, church bells ringing; it was a glorious day!... until a fellow American woman and her two teen daughters sat next to me. They proceeded to complain about everything from the fact that the cafe did not serve "real" meals, their hotel was terrible, Florence not to their liking, shopping better in the U.S., Italy is a backward country, the people unaccomodating, etc. Their voices got louder and louder. In fact, to me it seemed like they were shouting in my ear! I assumed they thought I was Italian and did not understand their complaints(I was wearing clothes purchased there and had not spoken since their arrival). I totally lost my temper, jumped up from my seat and screamed "because you think I'm Italian, am I deaf as well? Feel free to yell all you want in a mall in New Jersey, but when your here, shut the xxxx up!" Well, the woman was absolutly horrified, she knocked her chair over while trying to gather her bags and daughters as quickly as possible. They did not finsh their food. I'm not even sure they paid the bill! And there I was...the uglier American!
Old Jun 10th, 2000, 11:09 AM
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When we were in the Army in 1970 we went with friends to the Octoberfest. All four of us had little money but still paid the $8 entry fee to get into the Octoberfest. Once in we discovered that the big hall was a food convention and expo and that the Octoberfest grounds were next door....free entry.

Then there was the time in 1990 I drove on the sidewalk in Rudelsheim near all the restaurants. We still laugh about that one.

Going to the top of Mt Pilatius when there is fog. Great view of nothing.

Not checking our hotel room first in Geneva. The lobby area was beautiful. The price was right so I did not check the room. We assumed it would be like the lobby. When we got off the elevator we felt we had entered the TWILIGHT ZONE. All the money went into the lobby. It was too late to find another hotel. We now look at the rooms, before we book.

The one single dumbest thing I did was to take a favorite roadmap I had used in Germany in 1970 back with me to use in 1988. My wife still gives me a bad time about that one. Boy! They had really added some new autobahns! Needless to say, we soon purchased an updated map.

Soon heading back to Europe, June 30, to add a few more blunders. This is a great thread......
Old Jun 12th, 2000, 03:39 AM
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Years ago (many) on my first trip outside the US at the age of 19, I stayed at a hi-rise in Torremolinos. The hotel gave this key which was ridiculously huge. I never carry a purse so it was too big for my pocket so I just carried it in my hand.

I went out to dinner and then to a nightclub where I sat with a couple from Texas. Well, I wasn't going to just sit there holding the key, so I laid it on the little table we were all sitting at.

Over the course of an hour, there must have been two dozen men stopping to see if I wanted to dance. That's making me a little more popular than I usually am, but I had no clue why. The man from Texas asked me very discretely, if I "wanted company" that evening and suggested the reason was the key on the table!

Ah,to be young and naive again!!
Old Jul 13th, 2000, 01:30 PM
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Summer is half over. Anything to add?
Old Jul 13th, 2000, 06:03 PM
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First time to Europe.
The itinerary: fly into Geneva, tour Switzerland and Austria, fly out of Munich.
I had given my wife a Patek Phillippe watch the Christmas before and the leather band was wearing out. Well heck, we'll just hop off the plane in Geneva and go to the original store for a new band and save any import mark-up costs. Slick.
We exit the airport at 8 AM looking rather haggard from the overnight flight, my wife wearing some kind of travel-comfortable loose clothing. Not overnighting in Geneva, so straight to the store before heading out of town.
The store looks like the inner sanctum of the U.S. Mint. Big barred doors. Have to be buzzed in to enter.
No inventory whatsover. Just a big, elegantly decorated room with a couple empty tables in it. No place to look inconspicuous or to pretend to be browsing. Enter an ascot-wearing gentleman who looks like the Sir John Gielgud character in "Arthur". To browse any merchandise you have to request that it be brought out to you.
And what are we interested in seeing this fine morning? Well, sir, perhaps a leather watchband...the single cheapest item manufactured by your company.
He primly returns with a selection of several on a gilded tray and proceeds to feign interest in our request. Hurriedly select a replacement band.
And the cost? $250 USD! Considerably more than in the US. Much too embarrassed to say, "Gee, that's a lot more than we would have paid at home. Can't you come down on that a little?". Man, did we feel stupid.
Old Sep 28th, 2000, 02:17 PM
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Anyone else willing to 'fess up?

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