By Becky Leddy
Travelling, though a supposedly joyous past time, has scope for endless disaster. Despite a year abroad and many other happy holidays, an epiphany dawned on me just a few weeks ago upon reflection of the past year, and the 4 – yes 4 – consecutive flights I have had cancelled out through no fault of my own; I am jinxed. My trips are not supposed to go to plan, and there has been me meticulously planning and train hopping to my heart’s content with the naïve assumption that it would run smoothly. I hereby have compiled a list of dilemmas that one such unfortunate soul as I may have, or will soon encounter:
A volcanic ash cloud
Blanketing our planet back in 2010, the ash cloud was for some the solution to all our revision neglecting problems with mitigation excuses secured. Terrorising travellers until mid May, I was one of the lucky ones to have found myself stuck in Thailand, Moscow, Sofia, Madrid, Lille, and London respectively due to a series of emergency landings, throwing away all the hard work I had done in 1st year. It goes without saying that not only did my bank balance suffer a hefty blow due to 27 hour coaches, emergency phone calls and hostels, insurance companies were simply not interested as it was deemed an act of God.
These particularly frosty weather conditions are likely to have affected us all over the past few winters. As ice skating is not the preferred method to get about, in fearless optimism I booked flights to Amsterdam and Berlin to escape the British transporting catastrophe and our incapability to cope with more than a bit of rain. Both flights were of course cancelled, and I lost faith in the global battle against snow.
There is of course, the off chance that your flight may go to schedule. However due to unforeseen circumstances, you cannot make it in time. These circumstances more often than not involve alcohol the night before, or a problem actually getting to the airport. Upon arrival at the airport you may find that your passport has disappeared or more annoyingly that you have forgotten to print your boarding pass- in which case you will face an unjust charge from Ryan air, to add insult to injury.
Trains are the making of the passengers inside them. You can have a ricketly 19th century steam train that bumble along the tracks, but if all the passengers are nicely spaced, polite and inoffensive characters then you will most likely enjoy a pleasant journey. If however, you find yourself travelling by train from Bangkok to Chang Mai in Thailand, it does not matter that the train has reasonably comfortable seats, and even surprisingly an operating toilet; for it will be swarmed with small barefooted children, sleeping either under your seat, on your knee, or in the toilet, for the entire 10 hour duration of the journey. And this is standard class.
Do not book 6am flights when you will inevitably get wasted the night before.
Avoid Moscow airport at all costs.
Travel on weekdays if possible- it’s much cheaper.
Book hostels ahead of arrival for lower rates.