In April 2018, I set out for my return trip to my love, Scotland. It was going to be a shorter trip and more budget tight. So, I decided to only spend a week in Edinburgh. More to come in an upcoming post about the ins and outs of visiting Edinburgh. And all about my travel buddy, Green Ape.
My journey to save a few bucks, nearly cost me my entire trip.
First off, here is a tip. When booking your flights and looking for some short cuts to save yourself some $, really think it through! I thought it was a brilliant idea to book my flights in chunks to combine them into the best rate. All makes sense. But... here is how it all played out.
Plan - Roughly $800 all together, it was a STEAL! Without this, I was looking at about $1300 without any seat upgrades. I was due to arrive in Edinburgh around 5pm.
Leg 1: Portland to Seattle (round trip booked)
Leg 2: Seattle to Iceland then on to Amsterdam (round trip booked)
Leg 3: Amsterdam to Edinburgh (round trip booked)
THE JOURNEY TO EDINBURGH... OR THE JOURNEY THAT NEVER ENDED
How did I fair?
Leg 1: Starting in Portland, I took a small flight to Seattle. Check. All went according to plan.
Leg 2: Taking off from Seattle and the propeller busted in the middle of lifting off. Scary. They keep us on the plane while a mechanic fixed it. Over 2 hours later, they sent us back into the sky.
Leg 3: Missed my connection to Amsterdam, so the airline automatically re-routed us to another flight heading into Copenhagen Denmark to then connect to another flight to Amsterdam. So, by the time we were about to board for Denmark, I knew I’d miss my connecting flight from Amsterdam to Edinburgh. Because I didn’t book this all under 1 itinerary, the airline was only on the hook to get me to Amsterdam, not to Edinburgh, as this was the final destination they had my itinerary for. TIP: DO NOT BOOK INDIVIDUAL ITINERARIES!!! AND, CHECK WITH YOUR TRAVEL AGENT IF BOOKING THROUGH AN AGENCY. APPARENTLY THEY DO THIS A LOT AND THE TRAVELER GETS STRANDED/LEFT IN A PINCH BECAUSE OF THIS IF DELAYS HAPPEN!!!
Leg 4: Iceland to Copenhagen. Went just fine but was stressed on how I was going to eventually get to Edinburgh. There were no more flights available from Amsterdam to Edinburgh that were direct. Getting off the plan in Copenhagen, I saw a sign for a flight boarding in 40 minutes heading to Aberdeen Scotland! So I rushed to customer service and was able to work with them to get me a seat - but I had to pay another $400 (he gave it to me at a discount vs paying for the full flight fare price).
Leg 5: Copenhagen to Aberdeen. While on the flight, I had to do some research on how the hell I was going to get down to Aberdeen within a reasonable time fram without having to rent a vehicle. At the end of flying, with all of the changes, delays, time zones, etc - I was up for about 32 hours. Driving was the last thing I should do. Luckily they had a few train rides left. The plane also got a little tailwind and we landed 30 minutes early!
Leg 6: Bus to train station. Train to Edinburgh (about 3 hours long).
Leg 7: Cab to Edinburgh Apartment
Arrived to my apartment around midnight. EXHAUSTED!
RETURNING HOME - OR IS SCOTLAND MY NEW HOME?
So, for the return... Of course all week I was in a panic that I’d have an issue going back home and will need to pay yet again for additional flights (money which I didn’t have). The day came for me to get back home and all was going just as planned. All flights were scheduled for on-time. I am going to stay positive.
What I didn’t expect was that I wasn’t going to be allowed to leave the country. Insert nervous laugh here. Hahahaha! Well, by that I mean, the airline I booked my original Amsterdam to Edinburgh flight with, essentially ‘cancelled’ my ticket even though I could still access my reservation and select/change my seat online. If this was Scotland’s silly way of not letting me go, then fine Scotland KEEP ME!!!
When I went to the desk to check in, they stated they didn’t have any record that I got to this country since I didn’t catch my flight and didn’t re-book a different flight with them. They sent me to customs/immigration to explain the situation and eventually they updated my records and sent me back to the ticket desk to re-activate my itinerary. IT WAS A CLOSE ONE!! By the time I got all of that sorted and hauled ass to my flight, I had 20 minutes to spare before boarding. From there on out, thank goodness all other flights were on time and I had no issues getting home.
MY SAVING GRACE
If you haven’t seen my other post on packing light and how to pack a carry-on for trips up to 2 weeks, then definitely check it out! THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT SAVED ME! BIG TIME! Because I didn’t have checked bags, all of my belongings were with me the entire time. Even without bad flights, knowing that I am a plus-sized woman, finding clothing options that fit my curvy and thick frame in a foreign country is limited or could be difficult to access in an emergency. If I plan on checking bags, I always make sure that I have at least 2 days worth of clean clothes, an extra pair of shoes and a few days of undies & socks, plus my most important personal supplies (makeup, toothbrush, sanitary products, etc) with me in my carry-on bag leaving the less important and more easily replaceable items in the checked bag.
So, in summary, don’t take big shortcuts to save dollars here or there on the most important aspects of your trip. This should be how you are going to safely and cost-effectively going to get TO your destination(s) and back home. the next are safe, clean and affordable accommodations. Everything outside of that can be done in the moment or changed at minimal to no cost. The stress and anxiety of poor planning of your travel and accommodations can truly put a major damper on your trip. So, don’t do what I did! I still made the absolute best of my trip, but I surely will never forget this grand journey of plans, trains and automobiles!!