Day 4 of Boots N All’s 30 Day of Indie Travel – Topic: Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.

I’ve got a couple here, one a timing mistake and the other just plain irresponsibility. The thing I’ve learned about travel “mistakes” is that about half the time they end up making good stories. I’ll start with the time we missed our ferry back from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia.

A group of us on a trip to Eastern Europe had decided to take a day trip from Tallinn to Helsinki for the day. We bought round trip tickets for the quick ferry, which would get us there in just over an hour, as opposed to the slow ferry which was about a three hour trip. We spent that chilly November day wandering around the city, hanging out in a park having a picnic and checking out a museum. When all general site seeing we were able to do in our limited time there was done we decided to hang out at a bar and have a few drinks to chat about the day and warm up. We asked the bartender how far we were from the ferry port and were told “about 10 minutes”. We left the bar about 10 minutes before boarding time and starting walking…..and walking…and walking, and then running. Needless to say, our ferry left the port before we made it.

The port looked desolate and dark and our fear that we’d be spending the night at a very expensive hotel or shivering near the port until morning grew.

We walked around and found one company that had a ferry going back to Tallinn which was leaving in an hour. Relieved at the news, we bought tickets and went to the nearest corner store to get drinks to kill some time with. We spent the next 45 minutes sitting on some steps directly across from the port drinking and toasting our good luck at finding the last boat back to where we needed to be. I don’t think I’ve ever felt an almost physical sense of weight off my shoulders until that time. All the worry and tension and stress disappeared the minute I had that ferry ticket in my hand.

The boat back turned out to be kind of a cruise to nowhere. Our ferry over to Helsinki had seats and a small food kiosk. This one had slot machines, karaoke, a live band and several bars. We got very drunk, sank karaoke and hung out on the deck watching the lights of Helsinki fade and the lights of Tallinn welcomed us back to our temporary home.


The next travel mistake again has to do with spending too much time at a bar. We were headed to Puerto Rico and decided to kill time before the flight at the airport bar. Our boarding time was 7:30, so at 7:25 we walked to the gate and our flight wasn’t listed. After asking the flight attendant we were told that our flight had not only been moved to another and also, had actually left early. We showed our tickets with the printed times and once the airline admitted the mistake we were booked on the next flight which left an hour later. We head back to the bar to kill more time and drink after drink later we finally looked at our tickets and realized our flight had left 20 minutes earlier. This was clearly our fault however the airline actually still booked us on the next flight to San Juan. Needless to say once that ticket was in hand we went directly to the gate, sat down and did the responsible thing.


  1. You sound like a fun travel buddy! Maybe it takes a little bit longer to get places… but at least you find entertainment along the way. 🙂

  2. Well thanks Betsy! The way I look at it is what are you going to do otherwise? If you can’t make the best of a potentially bad situation while traveling, if you can’t be easily adaptable and roll with the punches, then travel will turn out to be a lot harder that it needs to be.

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