Five Things That Could Have Ruined My Vacation

When I was in the throes of wedding stress many decades ago, someone told me that anything that goes wrong will just make for better stories down the road. I’m not sure how receptive I was to that perspective at the time, but now it’s an outlook I try to apply to big events–especially when I’m stressed over details and logistics. It served me well on our vacation, because several things went wrong that could have ruined my vacation, although luckily they didn’t. 

5 Things That Could Have Ruined My Vacation

I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness!

1. A smashed iPhone. I started my first day of vacation with a morning run before our afternoon flight. About halfway through my loop, my phone slipped out of the shoulder pocket of my Orange Mud Hydraquiver and hit the sidewalk. It’s survived drops like that before, but my luck had run out. 

smashed iPhone

A smashed phone would have caused me angst on any day, but I was counting on having my phone to find our hotels, navigate sight-seeing, and triage urgent work emails. Luckily the AT&T store near my house had iPhones in stock, and I was able to get a new phone and get my information transferred in about 2 hours. It was $500 I wasn’t planning on spending, but I was grateful that iPhone woes weren’t going to ruin my vacation. 

2.A delayed flight. I had allowed over 2 hours between our scheduled landing time in Amsterdam and our train to Brussels, which would have been plenty of time if our flight had not been delayed–twice. The first delay was about an hour–we were switched to a different plane and a different gate. The second delay was another hour, when they determined that our new plane needed new brake pads. By that time I had determined that if we missed our train we could re-book on a train 2 hours later, losing 50% of our original purchase price. Since there was nothing more that I could do, I decided to relax and let the adventure begin.

We ended up landing about 45 minutes before our train. We cleared immigration quickly, but had to wait for our luggage. We watched the carousel go round-and-round without our bags, while also keeping an eye on the clock. We got our bags with about 8 minutes to spare, and made it to the train platform with 3 minutes to spare. You couldn’t do that at any airport in the U.S., but a whole network of trains run right into Amsterdam’s Schippol airport.

3. Rain. We were prepared for a rainy weekend in Brussels, and actually felt lucky when the rain held off on Friday. It was wet on Saturday, but we were prepared with out rain jackets and umbrellas.  

Were pet squirrels a thing in Jesus’s time, or in the artist’s time?

We spent the morning touring art galleries, and by the time we finished our late lunch, the rain was moving out. 

4. Full luggage lockers. Key to our plans to watch a bit of Le Tour De France in Neuss (did you see my video?) was our plan to leave or luggage in the lockers at the Düsseldorf train station. Of course, with Düsseldorf hosting Le Grand Depart (the start of Le Tour), we weren’t the only people with that idea. By the time we got there all the lockers big enough to hold our bags were full.

Le Grand Depart Dusseldorf

Tour de France banners across the streets of Düsseldorf 

Luckily my son’s girlfriend–who is fluent in German–was able to figure out that we could leave our bags with an attendant in a different part of the train station. That worked out pretty well, although we did have to wait for him to finish his dinner break before we could retrieve our bags at the end of the day! 

5. A missed train. Our luck with trains ran out on our last day, when my husband and I were taking the train from Bremen back to Amsterdam for our flight home the next day. We got to the train station in plenty of time, confirmed the track, and saw that our train was running a few minutes late. When the time came, the train that pulled in was a local train instead of the long distance train we were expecting. We had missed the announcement that our train would be arriving on a different track, and figured that out just in time to see it pull out of the station. 

Finally relaxing on our train.

I knew there was one more train to Amsterdam, and after waiting in a long line at the wrong place for help, was able to get us rebooked on that train for no extra charge–the customer service agent used the track change as our official excuse. We got to our airport hotel very late, but all’s well that ends well!

Delerium Cafe Brussels

Enjoying a Belgian Tripel at Delirum Cafe in Brussels

Do you stress over the details when you make plans?

Have you had something go wrong that just made for a better story later?

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18 Responses to Five Things That Could Have Ruined My Vacation

  1. At the end of our epic “not a second honeymoon” trip to California last year, our flight home was canceled because the co-pilot’s seat was broken. Right? What? It didn’t ruin our trip but it sure took the wind out of our sails! We got to spend an extra night in SF but without a car, we were kind of SOL.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…5 Nuggets of Wisdom from Kathrine SwitzerMy Profile

  2. Marcia says:

    Oh I’ve had plenty go wrong. Easier said than done, but sometimes you have to let go of what happened and move forward, no matter the cost, in time, money, disappointment, etc. What a fun trip!

  3. Oh travel never gets easier and a smooth trip seems to be unheard of these days! I am glad you did not let it stop your fun!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Summer lovin’ and having a Blast! Giveaway!My Profile

  4. Oh man that stinks about the phone and having to spend that much $ right before vacation.
    This summer my phone fell out of my Roo pouch and hit the sidewalk. I thought for sure it was cracked and was so relieved when it wasn’t. I too was leaving in vacation in two days and wondered what I would have done if my phone broke because I know my phone would have been a special order to replace. I told my husband he would have had to let me take his. There was no way I was going to a foreign country without a phone!

  5. Traveling is always a series of navigating the unexpected isn’t it!?

  6. Erica @ Erica Finds says:

    It’s taken me a while but I’ve gotten to the point with traveling that I expect issues and if we have none I’m delighted. Sounds like you navigated all of the challenges very well. We were in Berlin when you were in Brussels and it was a washout for 3 days! We still loved the city!

  7. Lesley says:

    How about a mad dash through Heathrow? When we were coming back to Boston from Rome, we had all boarded the plane in Rome, but the flight got delayed after we pushed back from the gate. We had some wiggle room between the scheduled flights, and there were at least 20 people on that flight heading to Boston. I can look back on it now and laugh, but it was stressful for us before we got to the next plane home.

  8. Kimberly G says:

    Oh travel always stresses me out. I do try to plan everything out but you know what they say about the best laid out plans, lol!
    Kimberly G recently posted…5 Reasons to Try Nuzest Protein PowderMy Profile

  9. Well, I had the same problem with a phone right before a trip once too. But because we’re cheap, it wasn’t as expensive a fix — but still darn aggravating. And it fell on carpet, for gosh sakes!

    We’ve been lucky with trains in Europe, but I can definitely see how that would happen.

    Our trip to Prague one October was freezing. Literally. You know how much I love to complain about the weather forecasters? Yeah, they were forecasting 40-50s. We were not prepared. I learned from that to take the weather forecast with a grain of salt!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…5 Everyday Things . . .My Profile

  10. Steena says:

    All those challenges are now part of your vacation journey memories instead!
    Steena recently posted…Door County Triathlon 70.3My Profile

  11. Having kids really changed my vacation plans attitude. I end up going with the flow a lot more. Although I do end up stressing a lot when it comes to big financial setbacks (like your iPhone) during the trip. Good job keeping a good attitute!

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