When I first started my traveling adventures, I looked up the latest advice on how to get a great deal. This was when websites like Priceline.com were still fairly new and the whole discounted last minute travel boom was in full swing. Reading up on the latest new travel trends I went to a last minute booking website and got a great deal to New Orleans (airfare only). That was the end of the good ideas for my travel adventure, from here on it was one big rookie mistake that ended up making the trip less enjoyable.
So I booked two non-refundable airfare tickets to New Orleans for a steal of a deal, but right after I had done that I got a call about an interview for a job I was interested in, in Washington D.C. The interview was scheduled for the second day of our trip and I couldn't reschedule it. No problem I thought, I'll just book a last minute deal for Washington D.C. and then fly back to New Orleans to finish our trip. Travel Party Foul number one: Don't book non-refunable, last minute tickets unless you're sure that nothing will interfere with your travel, or purchase travel insurance.
Back on the last minute deal website I went and booked a round trip ticket to D.C. from New Orleans for the second day of the trip. Problem was that to get a screaming deal on airfare I had to fly on a red eye one night and fly out late the next day, instead of flying in on the morning and back to New Orleans that same afternoon. Travel Party Foul number two: Don't book non-refunable, last minute tickets unless you can get the flights that work with your schedule.
The day of our New Orleans trip came and we got to the airport right on time, sailed through airport security, and boarded the flight with no problem. That was officially the last right thing that happened on the trip. We had issues with the flight that delayed us getting to our layover hub. When we got there, a mechanical problem cancelled our flight to New Orleans for the night. Although we got put up in a nice hotel and provided with basic toiletries from the airline, we had missed a whole day of exploration of New Orleans.
Early the next morning, our flight departed from the layover city and got us into New Orleans around lunchtime. In order to save a couple of extra bucks, I had booked us a hotel out in Metarie instead of the more expensive hotels right downtown. My logic was that it was near a streetcar line that we could take into town for our explorations. If you know the area around New Orleans, you will know that Metarie is not all that close to the tourist areas of downtown New Orleans and the streetcar stop there isn't in the best part of town. What we spent on taxi rides, public transit, and other forms of transport more than would have made up for the difference in price for the downtown hotels. Travel Party Foul number three: Don't book hotels away from what you want to see unless you really know the area and transit options, just to try and save a few bucks.
Because of the flight delay, I now had to depart for the airport at 3:30 p.m. on the day we arrived in order to make my flight to Washington D.C. for my interview. After we got settled at the hotel we decided to take a walking tour of New Orleans that would last about two hours, which would give me just enough time to see something of New Orleans before my flight. Unfortunately I would have to take my carry on with me in order to head to the airport right after. I walked all around the french quarter and to a couple of cemeteries for two hours with a heavy bag on my shoulder. By the time I got in the cab to head to the airport I was beat and sore. Travel Party Foul number four: Be realistic about your time and your energy level and don't try to pack too much in to one day.
After arriving in D.C. late at night, I had to get settled quickly for my interview the next day after having been tired from the walking tour adventures. After my interview the next morning, I had almost a full day to kill in D.C. before my flight back to New Orleans. I took in the sights with my carry on with me the whole time because I couldn't leave it anywhere. Once again a lot of walking with soreness and fatigue from the previous day. Finally, it was time to fly back to New Orleans and I flew back and got in late on our second to last day of the trip.
Waking up early the next day we took in some more of the sights and flavors in New Orleans and had a great day, that ended far too quickly. The next day we slept late and recovered a little before having to head back to the airport for our flight home. All told I ended with a day and a half in New Orleans out of a five day trip. Travel Party Foul number five: Don't mix a vacation and business trip and expect the unexpected.
What a trip and what an education on travel do's and dont's. Tell us about your travel party fouls in the comments below, or send us your article to be published here. Travel On!