Gliding up the escalator at 12:05 am in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, I called the front desk of the hotel I booked for the night. “The shuttle stopped running at midnight, Ma’am;” the night desk man croons in my ear. Not the lullaby I wanted to hear at the moment, after driving 4 hours to the airport to catch a 9 PM flight out of Denver. The night clerk suggested Uber or a taxi. Uggh! Major travel glitch at midnight!
I told him I checked on the shuttle before we left and the person I spoke with assured me it ran 24 hrs. The clerk wisely suggested that my earlier phone call might have been to Comfort Inn. He went on to say the Comfort Inn does run a 24 hour shuttle, but that my reservations with the Comfort Suites DFW Airport does not offer the shuttle service after midnight.
Ugh!! It is midnight 3 hours past my bedtime. My brain says to download the Uber App. OK, get on the airport WiFi and download the Uber app, get a car, go to the hotel, go to sleep and the problem is solved–simple right? Nope! Even after stopping a few DFW Airport employees, no one could tell me why I could not get on the airport WiFi or use my data to download the app.
Cab! just get a cab, my tired mind screamed. Sure, it may cost a fortune (and it did), but a least the problem is solved. I found the cab stand, hopped in with a really nice Afghanistani man, who drove us the 3.5 miles to the hotel. Crashing into our beds, after checking the room for bedbugs, the boys and I gave thanks for safe travel and drifted off to sleep.
They happen. My good friend, a world traveler, says:
“Travel glitches are proportional to the journey. If you pop out for milk and the store is shut, it’s a big deal. On the other hand if you are traveling to the other side of the world, the same issue is insignificant. Stuff happens! “
My friend succinctly outlined the 3 options to employ with travel glitches:
A. Accept it.
B. Work Around it.
C. Throw More Money At It
Tired and traveling with tired boys, I chose Option “C”, throw more money at it. This solved the problem quickly, rather than lay blame or fuss around with the airport WiFi. Expensive, but it was worth the price of peace. I find that travel provides me with numerous options to practice nimble problem solving on the fly.
Little eyes and feet are following me during my travels. Watching and learning from my examples are my preteen and teenage sons. How I handle myself, other people and travel glitches is subconsciously scrutinized by my young men.
I want them to love travel, to see travel glitches for exactly what they are–glitches. Building my boys character requires me to learn more about my own.
As a Christian, the reflection of Christ, bearing his name, I long to portray his grace in all that I do and say.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
Christ set the bar for the treatment of my fellow humans. Snarky, angry, selfish, demanding, pouting or child-like behavior, when things do not go my way, does not make the list. Jesus set the example of love and compassion for fellow humans and yourself even during difficult times.
Love and Self-Care During a Travel Glitch
Frustrated and tired in the DWF Airport at 12 AM I thought to myself “What do I need most right now–sleep?” Truly cranky without a good nights sleep, I rarely travel this late. I rarely do anything this late, my body needs 8-10 hours of “zzzs”.
To make sleep happen quickly, I needed a ride to the hotel. All the simplest and cheapest options were blocked. With sleep as my main objective standing around fuming and blaming, no longer made sense.
I needed to decide on a plan of action and execute it! Taxi!
The car-centered world of Dallas, Texas limits the public transport options, so a rather expensive 3.5 mile taxi ride proved the best solutions.
Still, in a lovey self-care focused mood, I marched my family down to the taxi stand, slid in beside the driver without even asking the fare–sleep awaited!!
I introduced myself and sons to the Afghanistani driver who chatted away pleasantly during the short ride. Who knew I would get to meet someone from Afghanistan in Dallas that night!
Arriving at the hotel, the desk clerk attended to my requests, commiserated with my frustration and tiredness. He sent the boys and I off to bed with a cheerful smile.
Measure Twice and Cut Once
One should double-check one’s measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; otherwise, it may be necessary to cut again, wasting time and material. Carpenter’s Proverb
More practically wiktionary uses this functional definition:
Plan and prepare in a careful, thorough manner before taking action. Check it twice.
Checking travel plans twice before you go just makes sense. As my friend said, travel glitches are proportional to the journey. That is why I did not check as carefully. I have been flying into Dallas for over 40 years. I spoke the language. I had called the hotel; all was cool.
What Changed to Cause Travel Glitches?
- The month of May, I booked four different hotel/campgrounds. Highly unusual for the Joyous Family in one month.
- I did all the booking through a third party website, Expedia.com–an experiment in trip organization, time management and reward points.
- Our move last summer, now required a 4 hr trip to the airport rather than 2 hrs.
- Different Airport, I had flown into Dallas for decades, but the last 4-5 years the Joyous Family looked forward to flying Southwest Airlines into Dallas, Love Field or American Airlines into Tyler Pounds Field–both much smaller more manageable airports.
Being your own travel agent through the internet takes time and patience. I attempted to experiment with a third party website because of the amount of 1-2 night stays we needed to book during May and June. It is truly helpful to log into my Expedia.com site and see all my trips in one place.
Not helpful was booking a hotel room in downtown Denver for $114 a night only to find out later that hotel parking cost $42 per car (we had 2 cars)!
Plus the travel glitch mentioned in this post is exacerbated by the fact; I had rented a car at the DWF airport, but Thrifty Car rental closed at 10 pm. I got really tickled at this part of the story. I came prepared to DWF, a rental car, a hotel with a shuttle, a cell phone and the ability to use it. Yet, at 12 am on an ordinary Thursday night, I found myself paying 10+ dollars a mile to hire a cab to go 3.5 miles down the road.
And do you know that the “stinkin'” Comfort Inn that I must have called to confirm my shuttle was only 3 hotels over from the Comfort Suites where we spent the night? I am glad my need for self-care kicked in or I would have taken the Comfort Inn Shuttle and marched the boys the 4-6 city blocks from the Inn to the Suites just to save $33 dollars. Then, we all would have been wide awake staring at the Comfort Suites vaulted ceilings!
A Few Organizational Thoughts about Travel Glitches
The airplane doors closes and the pilot announces the destination of the aircraft stating that anyone one not headed to that city might want to exit the plane now. I have often wondered how you get seated on the wrong plane.
With so many hotel bookings this month I “kinda” get it. Just like waking up in a hotel room and wondering where you are, the issue is volumetric.
Expedia.com makes it easy to hold all those trips in one place. With a smartphone access to all the itineraries, finding your next reservation is a snap. Plus, the feature also lets you see what trips you have taken already and the ones that are coming up in a neat format.
Expedia.com is very clear that it can not keep up with all the policies of the places it books. So heed the following:
WARNING: Third party booking websites (Expedia.com) do not always maintain all the information of the destination correctly. Read all the information carefully and call the hotel, car rental, airline directly with detailed questions.
TIP: If you tell the actual hotel, car rental or airline you are about to book through a third party website they may match the rate. Even if they do not match the rate, calling and confirming your questions will get the most up to date information.
REWARD POINTS: Watch “thejoyousfamily Instagram” for more on Expedia.com rewards program. As of this blog, my rewards have not “matured”; so, I do not know, if the rewards will figure prominently into my travel plans.
Back to Character Building through Problem Solving
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein
As I have written about before in Modeling Positive Problem Solving, travel pushes us to think outside of our comfort box. Each trip creates a new brain pathway. Travel glitches raise our level of consciousness, the three options above are simple and straightforward. Travel brings us back to the baseline. What is the most loving self-care option I can take right now to provide for my needs?
Travel takes us out of the past and future. It requires us to be present to ourselves and those around us. Not everything will be comfortable and no amount of preplanning will give you control over everything during your travel.
In this life we have to live in the moment, taking new experiences as they come. What travel glitches have you experienced? What was the character building outcome–tips and advice?
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