Ilham Shares Important Lessons Learned Through a Travel Disaster

by Guest Post - Posts (66). Posted Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

A few weeks ago, Zita told her story of flying to New York for the first time, and the mistakes she made. Turns out that’s nothing compared to Ilham’s story. Ilham is from Indonesia and studying at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin as part of the Community College Initiative program. He wrote in to talk about his three weeks spent traveling all over the country – Chicago, Alexandria (Virginia), Washington (District of Columbia), New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The winter break trip was an “incredible experience,” he said, but also filled with “educational lessons.” Here are some lessons he shared from his long, and drama-filled, travels:

Going on vacation can accumulate stories which can be horrible, fun, unforgettable, and traumatic. And sometimes the best story during your trip might be from the worst night, a tiring long flight, or even bad service at a hostel.

Here are five important lessons I got during my trip:

1) Read your ticket carefully

I purchased my Megabus ticket to Chicago for a dollar, but I carelessly missed the bus. I didn’t notice that my bus would be with Coach USA, the white bus, and I just kept waiting the ‘Megabus.’ What made me hate myself at the time was that I was standing close to the white bus, but was not willing to ask the driver, and eventually saw two buses leave. I had to pay $29 to get a ticket for the next bus on the schedule.

2) Manage your time

I was in Alexandria, Virginia. It was day two of my trip. My friend and I got up at 5 in the morning so that we had enough time to cook breakfast before getting on the bus to the train station. Unfortunately the bus arrived about 2 minutes ahead of schedule and we missed it. We decided to take a cab, for the first time, to catch our train to D.C.

3) Cheap doesn’t always mean good

We rented a shared room at a hostel in New York. It turned out disappointing: The facilities were not as good as what we saw on the website, and the restroom was terrible. One shower out of three was not working, there was not enough tissue and it had a very disgusting bad smell.

4) Stay warm and drink a lot

I was in Boston for two days and got sick on the very first day there, after visiting five cities without a break. Instead of exploring Boston, my friend and I had to just stay in bed and take medication on the first day we arrived.

5) Watch your budget

This is very crucial when you travel a lot but didn’t actually have enough money to support your trip. I was very surprised when I finally got back to Madison on January 14, with only two dollars left in my pocket to survive until end of month.

No matter what your story was, though, as soon as you get home, the horror story becomes a funny anecdote and you end up laughing about it. 

Have you ever had a bad travel experience? What lessons did you learn that might help other travelers?

One Response to “Ilham Shares Important Lessons Learned Through a Travel Disaster”

  1. Karlos says:

    Ouch. Sorry to hear about your experience. I’d say getting in touch with a couchsurfer in your area of interest and finding a way to connect to the Internet to get your hands on crucial information during your travel might have helped you tremedously here!

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