When I disembarked from the ship in Hong Kong following a 2 and 1/2 month cruise, I thought I was going to enjoy a fantastic post-cruise holiday in Hong Kong and in Hawaii. Before I left the ship, I carefully arranged my stay in Hong Kong at the most reasonably priced hotel in Kowloon, and I booked a nice hotel in Honolulu. I was excited for the adventure that awaited me on my way home. Unfortunately, my adventure did not turn out as planned.
To begin with, I went on a city tour of Hong Kong that turned out to be much more expensive than I had bargained for. It didn’t help matters at all that I had no understanding of the rate of exchange between the US and the Hong Kong currencies. One of the stops on the tour was to a jewelry warehouse where we saw how various pieces of jewelry were made, and we ended our visit to the warehouse with a stop in the showroom that had a lot of beautiful pieces of jewelry that I wanted, but I could not afford. I looked for the most affordable prices, yet I still paid much more than I realized due to my lack of knowledge of the rate of exchange, and this ignorance really cost me. I had no money left for food or transport to the airport, and I was forced to cancel my tour to Hong Kong Disneyland one day, because I needed the money I spent on the tour for food. I ended up eating in the hotel restaurant that night, because the prices there were the cheapest , and it was the most convenient place to eat. Unfortunately for me the spaghetti with clam sauce had a surprise waiting for me; spaghetti topped with live clams in their dark ugly shells on top of the noodles. Not only did this not look appetizing, but it also tasted terrible!
Canceling my trip to Hong Kong Disneyland was only the beginning of this traveler’s nightmare. The airline ticket that I had was originally booked for Los Angeles, but I had asked the ship’s concierge to change my reservation from LAX to Honolulu, thinking that I would later purchase my ticket home. Did you know that it is expensive to make changes to international flight reservations? Well, I didn’t and I had to make lots of changes! I was charged $100 each time I changed departure dates and , thanks to my unexpected shopping spree on that city tour, I was forced to make a lot of changes to my airline ticket, because I needed more time to get the money that I needed to complete the trip. Although my husband deposited money into my bank account, and I received regular direct deposits weekly, these still weren’t enough to bail me out of my financial problems. Consequently, I finally had to leave Hong Kong with little money, no ticket from Honolulu to Los Angeles, and no place to stay in Honolulu due to the fact that I had to make so many changes to my arrival date that I completely lost my original reservation, and I had to consider going straight home from Hawaii, which I was trying to avoid. It is very scary to travel and not know where you are going to be staying the next day when you arrive at your destination. This, however, was my situation.
With what little money I had left, I was able to get a taxi to the airport and to pay my departure fees. I then had $7 left for lunch in Nerita, Japan, and still no place to stay in Hawaii, because I was waiting for a deposit to clear back home which would take place within a few hours that same day. I desperately needed somewhere to go in Hawaii, because I had no money to come home from there. Scary!
My weekly deposit came through while I was en route from Hong Kong to Nerita and, after having spent my last $7 on the highest priced McDonald’s lunch that I have ever had, I saw that there were some computers that travelers could use. I used my change to pay for using the computers, and I got on line. I was able to make reservations at a hotel in Honolulu for two nights with that deposit, but I didn’t have enough to buy a one-way ticket home. Feeling relieved that I had a place to stay, I still worried nevertheless about how I was going to get home. I didn’t want to have to call my parents and borrow the money, and neither my husband nor I had enough money jointly or individually to pay for the airline ticket. I thought that things could not possibly get worse until…
I boarded the plane six hours later that would take me to Honolulu from Nerita. I was exhausted from the stress of the day, and I expected to rest on a nice, smooth flight to Hawaii. No such luck! The trip to Honolulu from Nerita is typically rough (I found this out too late!) and, as a result, the plane shook from the beginning of the flight to the end of the 7 hour jaunt, and the fasten seat belt sign remained on the entire flight. Not only did the plane not stop shaking, but we hit a pocket of turbulence that was so strong that glasses broke, and the plane shook from side to side so powerfully that I, being the nervous flier that I am, was convinced that the plane we were in was not in very good condition and could split apart from the shaking. I was so frightened that , by the time I got to Hawaii, I did not know if I could get on another plane to finish the journey even after I got the money to buy the ticket!
This traveler’s nightmare did finally come to an end, however. My husband, being the brave and kind man he was, asked some members of his family to come to my aid, and the angel Jeff deposited enough money into my account so that I was able to buy my ticket home. I spent two days relaxing and recovering from my mishaps, and then I had to board the plane and fly home. I was still nervous from the previous flight, so I called my husband to hear his soothing voice. I also called my mother. I made it home in one piece, and I vowed that I would never ever endure this type of ordeal again.
What I have learned the hard way from this traveler’s nightmare is that I have to be absolutely sure that I have enough money to travel anywhere before I leave home, and I need to get familiar with a country’s currency before I arrive in the country. I have also learned that it is less expensive to make my plans at home and to stick to my itinerary than to make changes in my travel plans when I am away from home. The bottom line is: If I cannot afford to do what I want to do, then I need to scrap my plans and put them off until there is a better time in the future. It will save my loved ones and myself needless loss of money, and needless worry!