When travel plans go wrong…
I’m a bit of a travel planner, especially when it comes to short trips where you’ve got to make the most of your limited time. So I like to scour the guidebooks for places to go, check out hotel reviews online and trawl the Internet to research the best things to see and do. And usually, it works out pretty well. I get cheap train tickets in advance, those fantastic little hotels aren’t all booked up, and I don’t miss out on the best sights. But it can also go a bit wrong…
My trip to Edinburgh and onto the Isle of Skye was planned like a military operation. I only had a few days and wanted to see as much as possible. Plus I was travelling by public transport, which meant a complex mix of trains, ferries and buses, all pretty infrequent and all on totally different timetables. But (after a lot of time online and a few much-needed medicinal glasses of wine) I eventually got it all to fit and so, with trains booked and hotels in my overnight stops sorted, I was off to Skye.
But it only took my first train out of Edinburgh to be delayed for all that planning to fall apart. Late arrival into Glasgow meant I missed my train to Mallaig, and with over three hours til the next one, that meant no ferry and no bus, so no way to get to Portree that day. Stuck in Glasgow station, I had to work out a new plan. It was always going to be a quick trip to Skye, but with one less day, plus heavy rain and gales forecast, it was time for plan B.
Luckily, with the help of the fantastically useful Internet on my phone, I managed to sort out new plans easily enough – heading off to York early and having time to stop off in Manchester to hang out with my brother on the way home. And that stunning scenery in Skye can wait… probably until I’ve got a car! But having to cancel trains and hotels and book new ones at short notice isn’t great for budget travel. So will this change my travel planning ways for the future? Erm… maybe.
I won’t be giving up the guidebooks and websites quite yet. I love researching trips and even if things don’t work out exactly as planned, it’s a chance to get excited about your travels before you get there. But I’ll definitely be more cautious, especially if I’m going somewhere remote, where a missed train means waiting hours not minutes for the next. And maybe allow a bit more spare time in the plans to wing it a bit more and so I can catch up if (who am I kidding, when) my carefully laid plans go wrong again.
So what about you? Are you a planner too, or more of a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ type of traveller?