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International Travel – Don’t Forget Your Passport


If you travel often enough, there are things that are bound to happen to you eventually.

While most of my trips have gone smoothly, some of the travel mishaps  I’ve had over the years include:

  • Having my luggage sent to the wrong city
  • Having my luggage take several days to make it back home after I did
  • Having suitcases damaged or rain soaked
  • Running to a gate and barely making it just in time before they closed the door
  • Missing a connection
  • Missing a connection and having to add another layover to the trip
  • Having planes break down and eventually getting on another flight on standby
  • Sitting on the runway for an extended period
  • Returning home by a substitute charter airline because the one I was supposed to fly on had been grounded

This trip, however, will top the list of my mishaps.

And this one was completely my fault.

I forgot to get my passport out of my safe deposit box.

I realized the mistake at 5:55 PM the night before a 6:05 AM flight.

With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I raced to my bank…just 5 minutes away. I pulled into the drive thru as the woman behind the glass window has turned off the light. She turned it back on to talk to me, and explained that the safe deposit vault is on a timer, and it was locked at 5 PM and I couldn’t get back in until 9 AM the next day.

With no other choice, I called the airline and pushed back the trip by one day.

Luckily, the delayed arrival didn’t mess up our itinerary. The original schedule had us flying into Cancun even though our destination was Chetumal, Mexico. Rather than arrive in Chetumal late at night, we had planned to take a 45 minute bus ride to Playa del Carmen and spend the night. This plan gave us a few hours to explore Playa when we arrived, go out to dinner and then have a relaxing breakfast before grabbing an early afternoon bus to Chetumal.

Instead, we landed in Cozumel, took a ferry to Playa, and headed directly to the bus station to take the 4:35 PM bus instead of the 2:30 one.

My mistake didn’t affect our plans for Chetumal or Belize. It cost me a few hundred dollars to change the ticket with 1 day’s notice, and we had to pay for a Playa hotel that we didn’t use.

But it could have been a lot worse.

Lessons Learned:

I’ll be keeping my passport at home in the future, and will dig it out the week before I leave just to make sure all is good.

It’s also a good idea to build in a little breathing room in your trip if possible. Even if you don’t ever forget about your passport, sometimes things happen that are out of your control. If our schedule had been tighter, it would have been a much bigger problem.

Don’t Miss the Rest of the Trip. 

Tomorrow’s Post: Day 1 – Getting There

 


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