What do unnecessary layovers, food poisoning, and a hotel room without air conditioning have in common?
Situations that might have been avoided with better planning. Or, as I like to criticize myself as a veteran traveler, rookie mistakes.
Much to my dismay, I made three rookie mistakes during my summer vacation. I’m sharing them with you now in hopes you’ll avoid doing the same.
1. Investigate Multi-City Itineraries When Booking Flights
As I was spending my last relaxing day on the beach in Bali, dreading the flight back to Singapore with a 6-hour layover before heading on to Dubai, I wondered: were there direct flights from Bali to Dubai, and had I even looked at that when I booked my flights?
For this particular trip, I had booked a roundtrip on Emirates from DC to Singapore (changing in Dubai) and back. For the Bali part, I booked a separate flight on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Bali and back.
Of course, when I checked the flight schedules out of Bali’s airport, there was a direct flight from Bali to Dubai on Emirates. So, had I thought of a multi-city trip when I booked I could have done DC-Singapore, Bali-Dubai, Dubai-DC all on Emirates and booked a one-way on Singapore Airlines to get me from Singapore to Bali. It would have saved me a flight, a long layover, and possibly some money.
Instead, I got to spend 6 hours exploring the Jewel at Singapore’s airport.
And even with that much time, the Shake Shack line was too long for me to get a hamburger.
2. If Your Food Tastes Funny, Stop Eating It
This is so basic. And I know better. Especially in countries where you can’t drink the water. So all I can figure is that Bali is such a relaxing place, that by day 8 in the country I was in full vacation brain mode and off my guard.
Our last full day in Jimbaran we ate at one of the fish places along the beach. The shrimp and crabs were delicious, but the white fish tasted what I’ll call, “off.” We’d had fresh grilled fish twice at other places that tasted great, but this one was off.
My friend took one bite and stopped eating it. Vacation-brain Bailey kept on eating away.
Guess who was sick by the next morning?
So yeah. If you want to avoid food poisoning on your vacation, don’t eat food that tastes off.
3. Check Whether Your Hotel has Air Conditioning, If Those Things Matter to You
In Edinburgh, we stayed at a very cute, small hotel called Angel’s Share. The location was great, rooms were a decent size, beds were comfortable enough, and breakfast was great.
However, the room did not have air conditioning. (Worse, I hadn’t even thought to check about that when we booked).
Now, in a place where the temperature never got much higher than 72, you would not think this would be a big deal.
But, in order to get any air into the room, we had to leave the windows open. And for some reason, they don’t have screens on windows in Scotland.
In addition to leaving the windows open, we had to leave the curtains open because they were heavy, blackout curtains and would stop air from coming in if closed over the windows.
Why blackout curtains you ask?
Because the sun comes up at 5am in July.
The point is, if you want to have a comfortable temperature in your room and don’t want bugs, being woken up by the sun at 5am, or being woken up by bottles being emptied into dumpsters in the alley late at night, make sure your hotel has air conditioning.