Travelling can be fun. It can also be stressful depending on how well you plan it. I have had my fair share of travelling and for the most part, they have been awesome and without incident.
Travelling also creates memories. Some memories can be awesome, while some can be not so great. One thing travel memories so is remind of places we would love to revisit. They also help with recommending vacation spots to others. I remember my first trip to Dubai, upon arrival, I noted how handsome the immigration officers were. I fed my eyes dutifully and going through immigration was like a vacation in itself. While sitting in my cab heading to my hotel, I marveled at the architecture. I also remember going to Paris as a child, and how it was so cold the tap water seemed to turn to ice. And then that trip to Rio when I was almost a pre-teen, I thought the country specialized in diamonds, or was it crystals.
All through those years, each trip has left me with special memories of each place I visited. If you travel a lot or have even traveled once, then you know, one minor glitch in your travel plans can possibly ruin the entire trip. Keep in mind, all travel wont be rosy and this brings me to my worst travel experience so far. Ok, well this is the one I can remember.
Worst Travel Experience so far
I have been very lucky in travels. I seldom have situations I need to complain about. This is probably why this trip stands out for me as one of my worst travel experience. It is one moment in my travel journey that I usually reference when talking to friends about London, England.
London is a city that I have visited often. Probably more often than any other city I have been to. I enjoy England as a whole, but prefer to stay inside London because there is just more to do there. That fateful day, I traveled to London for the weekend to let off some work stress and party with some friends. A flight to London from Los Angeles is about 10 to 11 hours by air. It was a long flight and I was tired. I went through immigration seamlessly and proceeded to exit with nothing to declare, looking forward to getting to my hotel room and taking a much-needed nap.
Feeling cool with myself because I was finally going to get some sleep, plus I was looking might fly, I proceeded to walk out towards customs. I had a hand luggage sized travel bag and a purse. I’m strolling, sunglasses in tow, after all, I had to look weekend fly,right?
That Customs Lady that almost ruined my Holiday
Right when I stepped out, a female custom officer signaled for me to step to the side. Not a big deal right? Wrong! I have no problem with people doing their job, but at least me courteous. First of all, she had a major attitude. I said hello and got something short of a scuff in return. I was like OWKAY! someone is in a bad mood. I have been to London many times and this was my first time being searched by customs so I was also curious to see the process. I was quite disappointed.
She started to search my things, in public view. I kinda have a major problem with the lack of privacy when searching people. Especially because most times, people tend to pack “private” things in their hand luggage. Like, chances are, if you are searching mine, I will have intimate things like underwear in there. Besides, I don’t want some stranger staring at my impressive collection of Kama Sutra and Tantra collectibles. Seriously!
This lady took everything out. Yeah, all that lingerie I packed, was there for all to see. I kept telling myself, thank goodness I packed my best undies. Imagine if I didn’t. Wowser!
The straw that broke the bag’s back
Irrespective of the fact that I did not appreciate how she was handling my things, I still tried to be a good sport. I felt like, ok its her job, and even if she seems the a-hole, let me not make it harder for her. Her search was seamless but what happened next was surprising.
This lady threw all my things in, almost in annoyance and roughly tried to close the bag. I kept telling her please be careful. It fell on deaf ears because she eventually damaged my bag. This was a bag that I paid good money for. I was livid! I still ask myself till today, how I kept my cool because instead of cursing under my breath, I simply asked for a supervisor.
It was at this point that her attitude changed. Ms. cold shoulder suddenly turned friendly and apologetic. I was like, oh no. You are definitely not getting away with ruining my luggage. The supervisor came to “resolve” the situation but can you imagine what I was offered? An apology, a number to call to file a claim and a ROPE to tie my bag with. The rope wasnt much help because my personal belongings were hanging out. I kid you not, a rope! Like now when I think about it, where did they get the rope from? lol
You can’t ruin my vacation
I walked out of Heathrow airport that day feeling like catching the next flight back to LA. Like, wasting my time after a 12 hour flight is not a big deal, but ruining my property and giving me a rope to tie it with was super annoying. I could still see my red bra peeking out through the roped bag as I walked out of the airport to catch my ride. How embarrassing! Ha!
Although my favorite travel bag was ruined, I wasn’t going to let anyone ruin my trip. I enjoyed the rest of my stay there and partied for me and the customs lady because lord knows she needs it. When it was time to leave, I ended up going out to purchase a new luggage to travel back with. Trying to get them to replace my damaged bag while I was there was like pulling teeth. I of course, did not give up. I wasn’t going to walk the roped bag walk of shame and still let them go without being accountable. Months later, after many calls and being relentless, I got my money back. Needless to say, because of this incident I stopped visiting England for a few years. Even though I now visit from time to time, this story always travels there with me.
There you have it. That I think has been my worst travel experience I can remember so far, not counting the time my headphones where taken in my Vegas room and the hotel refused to replace them. lol! Have you had any bad travel experiences? Feel free to share below.
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