Travel Lessons Learned. The Hard Way.

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(Last Updated On: February 21, 2019)

While traveling I have had my very, very fair share of “WTH” moments. So, I am writing this to hopefully prevent someone reading to not have the same “WTH” moments as me! If only someone had warned me of these travel lessons  beforehand, I would have been much better off.  Read on to ensure your travels go as smoothly and stress free as possible!

Problem #1: Getting Your Clothes Stuck in a Washing Machine


I was staying in an Airbnb in Paris and was so excited to finally be in an apartment that had a washing machine! Well little did I know, European washing machines and US washing machines are NOT the same! After I had run the wash, I could no longer open the door. My clothes stayed wet, in the washing machine, for a full two days before someone could come fix it for me.

Lesson: Before using machines in a foreign place read the directions! Apparently in Europe there is a silver door, inside of the washing machine you need to hook to close, before closing the outer door.


Problem #2: Not Being Allowed to Check in After a Long Flight


After traveling from the US to Dublin through the night, I arrived into Ireland at 5 a.m. I was jet lagged, tired, cranky, hungry, the works. I immediately got a taxi to take me straight to my hostel where I was planning on taking a quick catnap and freshening up, when I found out, I wasn’t even allowed to check in until 1500! Let’s just say that the rest of my day did not go according to plan.

Lesson: Always check “check-in” time beforehand. Call and see if you’re allowed to check in early. If not you may consider booking a different flight, or staying elsewhere.


Problem #3: Hostels


My friend and I traveled throughout Ireland together, staying at different hostels in different towns. That’s when we got to Galway. We ended up booking a hostel that also served as a dormitory. The experience was so awful that we got no sleep and ended up canceling the rest of our hostels and checking into hotels instead.

Lesson: Always do your research! Sometimes the cheapest places to stay don’t necessarily make the most sense. Try to book a single room hostel, or if money permits, check in to a hotel instead. Sometimes quality sleep is worth the extra money!


Problem #4: Losing Your Luggage.


At this point I was an amateur traveler. I was in college and traveling to visit my sister in Prague. It also happened to be my first time abroad. I ended up packing all of my stuff in one suitcase and checking it in at the first airport. When I arrived in Prague a day later, my luggage did not arrive with me.

Lesson: Learn to laugh. Also, always pack a backup outfit in your carry on. It was not fun to wear the same underwear, pants, shirt, bra, for three days. Yes, it took three days for my luggage to find me!


Problem #5: Choosing Style Over Comfort


This never rang truer than when I was in Belgium, climbing 366 steps to the top of the Belfort Tower… in heels.

Lesson: Never sacrifice style for comfort! And if you choose to, you better have a killer pair of heels on.


Problem #6: Getting Lost in a Foreign Country with 3% Cell Phone Battery


I found myself in a scary situation in Vienna. I had somehow managed to walk four miles in the opposite direction of my Airbnb, and landed myself in the middle of nowhere at 2100. Because it was winter, it was dark out, with no street lights, and no buildings. My cell phone only had 3% charge, and I had no extra battery pack with me. Luckily I ran into a couple on the street who were able to help me get a cab and get home.

Lesson: Never leave the apartment without your cell phone charged and an extra battery pack handy.


Have you ever had a “WTH” moment while traveling?  I’d love to hear about it, share below!


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Kylee splits her time between being a NICU nurse and solo traveler. Spending half her time at the bedside, Kylee has been caring for premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for five years now. She began Passports and Preemies in 2017 to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – A vacation geared towards nurses aiming to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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