Five Costly Travel Mistakes

Five Costly Travel Mistakes

Five Costly Travel Mistakes

Confession is good for the soul the bible says in Psalm 32. I’m hoping this works and maybe saves the reader some real money.

1. Don’t leave your laptop (or other expensive and useful electronic device) on the plane. Yes, I know the flight attendant makes that announcement on every landing, but I was in a hurry. I was sitting in the bulkhead row and they make you put even your small bags in the overhead container. I was late getting to my seat. The only open container was more than three rows back.

I took my laptop out of my backpack and put it on the seat. (I hide it behind my back on takeoff so just as soon as the internet comes on I can start using it right away without having to get up to retrieve my bag.) So far, on this fateful trip, this technique worked fine.

It was the landing that got me. I was in such a hurry to get my bag and backpack by pushing against the exit flow of passengers that I forgot my laptop. I discovered it on the train ride into the city. Cost of mistake: $1,600. I had to buy a new laptop, download my information, and proceed on my way.

Luckily, United found my laptop and shipped it back home. My wife said, “What is your computer doing here?” So now you know this is the second time I’ve had to confess my costliest travel mistake.

2. Don’t put an expensive camera lens in checked luggage and forget you put it there. There was just too much stuff to put in my backpack, so I put a $400 lens I knew I wouldn’t need right away and various camera accessories into my checked luggage for the big overseas trip. I took pictures of all of the items in the luggage, so I was prepared for any loss.

My mistake was not taking inventory upon opening my bag at the first hotel. I never needed to use that lens since I had one on my camera and two others in my backpack. Only when I got home and started putting my camera gear away did I discover it missing.

Too late. My second costliest travel mistake. I still have the picture to remind me.

3. Booked the plane for the wrong day. US airlines must give you 24 hours to change a flight without charging you. I’m sure I intended to book it on the day I put on my calendar, but the message from my airline saying you’re upgraded was a shock. It was for the wrong day.

Not only did it cost me about $320 to change the day of the flight, but it cost me my free (upgraded) First Class seat. Double check the date, time and flight as you put it on the calendar. I even put it on my wife’s calendar at the same time now using the airline confirmation email as my source rather than my memory.

4. Booked hotel for the wrong day. In the US, I use for most reservations. I get a free day for every ten days of stay so I book through them. I had to make a change in my schedule and change my reservation and that’s when I discovered the original reservation was for the wrong day and it was more than 24 hours after booking.

I called and explained my mistake since the reservation was prepaid to save even more money. They took pity on me and didn’t make me lose my $60 for the Motel 6 reservation. Luckily, I stay cheap, but I still could have been out $60.

5. Put wrong departure date on wife’s calendar. This could have been my most costly mistake, but after 44 years of marriage, my wife knows I’m not perfect. It does irritate her that on occasion I can forget to tell her about a trip, or even worse, give her a wrong date or forget to tell her about a change that makes a date on her calendar incorrect. BTW, today is her birthday as I write this. Thank you for loving me dear, even though I make mistakes. Thank you Psalm 32. I feel better.

Jim Ludwick
Jim Ludwick

Jim Ludwick is the founder of MainStreet Financial Planning. His varied education and life experiences have enabled him to apply his knowledge and experience into useful solutions for personal financial problems. His writing and broadcasting activities allow him to help many more than just individual clients. He loves a microphone.

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