You know all that silly travel advice that people are more than happy to dole out in droves, but you just can’t be bothered to take into consideration? Well, as I have learned, this advice is given for good reason.
I’m currently in the midst of my longest Euro-trip to date (a whopping 4 weeks, wahoo) and it has been an absolute blast so far. However, the first few days of this trip did not start out as perfectly as envisioned. So much went wrong in our first 96 hours of our trip that I actually have to break this blog up into a three part series, so here is the first tale of mayhem for you.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we? The first day of this trip also happened to be my last day at my long-time job. The plan was to work a full day, and then head to the airport right from the office. My flight was scheduled to leave at 6:30, so as long as I was at the airport for 4:00, there would be eons of time to get through security and all that jazz AND after all the craziness (and tears) of my last day at work, I’d sleep like a baby on the flight. At least that was the plan.
The first bit of advice I received but totally ignored was: Why are you leaving right from the office? Take the day off so you have enough time to get ready before you leave.
So, surprise surprise, my day did not go as planned. My day at the office was a complete gong show. As I was rushing through some last minute goodbyes with colleagues, very quickly running out of time to get out of dodge, the mother of all thunderstorms rolled into downtown. Did I mention that I had decided to bike to work that day to save some commute time? Within minutes my mom (aka ride to the airport) called; some lightning had struck in her neighbour and knocked the power out literally right as she was opening the garage door to come get us. She was stuck, and was sending my dad to come get us instead.
Meanwhile, my boyfriend Ian was trying to get home from his office. He called and filled me in on the absolute chaos in the streets. His route home was flooded and traffic was an absolute nightmare. He was genuinely concerned that the car was going to flood and he wouldn’t be able to get home.
At this point, I was panicking. I was still at the office and had no way to get my bike home short of leaving it and hoping one of my coworkers could take it home for me until I got back OR biking home in a ridiculous storm and getting completely drenched. Our ride to the airport was trapped in her garage and my boyfriend was potentially stuck in traffic somewhere in the city. At this point it was about 2:15 and we were quickly running out of time to get to the airport.
Thankfully, my tides turned (sorta). One of my fantastic coworkers had dug up my departure time for me while I was on the phone with Mom (who had managed to break out of her garage with her car and was en route to get me and my bike from the office) and found that our flight had been delayed by 3 hours. Thank god!
It was at about this point that Ian got home. I had left our apartment windows open that morning and, thanks to that mother of thunderstorms, our apartment had flooded. Ian found about a half an inch of standing water in our living room and all of our furniture near the open windows were drenched.
Thankfully, we had enough time to get everything sorted before we left for the airport with our flight delay. My mom picked me and my bike up from the office, Ian got the flooded apartment cleaned up and we had more than enough time to get to the airport. Had our flight not have been delayed, however, we would have had a tiny bit of a problem.
So, when people tell you to leave plenty of free time before your flight in case something goes wrong, just do it. I truly regret not taking that afternoon at the absolute minimum to have gotten everything sorted back at home. Rushing around the way I did that day was not only stressful, but it made for a crappy last day at the office and left some of my closest coworkers with a brief and crappy goodbye as I was rushing out of the office.
So take it from me, if you have a late afternoon/early evening flight, just take the afternoon, or day even, off from work. It’s 100% worth the saved stress on the day of your departure, even if you aren’t plagued with freak thunderstorms and flooded apartments. It’ll make the next leg your trip just that much more bearable.
The next part in this series will cover important items such as why you really REALLY need to remember to pack a deodorant in your carry-on! Stay tuned!!