I travel a lot and that makes for more than enough chances for things to go wrong. You know about Murphy’s Law and travel, don’t you? Most of the time things go smoothly on my travels, but not always. Here are three travel tips from a pro learned from a recent trip to Dallas.
#1. Just because you made a rental car reservation you should still confirm a few days before arrival. I had a car reserved at Enterprise in Dallas and called to confirm. I was covered, right? Nope! When I showed up they had no record of me renting a car anywhere in Texas. The big mistake I made was not writing down the date, time and who I spoke with confirming my reservation. And guess what? Because of the recent hail storms they were out of cars. They did magically find one, at more than double the rate I had reserved, so I passed. Always write down the pertinent details listed above and do call to confirm.
#2. Always double check you and your spouse or significant other have the very same airline itinerary.
There we were, calmly waiting for our flight on Southwest Airlines to fly to Dallas. I had booked my wife a ticket and waited on booking mine until I knew I could match the dates she was flying with my travel schedule. When all was clear I booked my ticket to match her itinerary. Unbeknownst to me there were two flights out of Baltimore to Dallas at the exact time, 4:05 p.m. and when I got in line and asked the guy next to me, “What boarding number do you have?”, imagine my surprise when he replied, “ B-8” the same number as mine! He said there was another flight at the same time, but different rerminal, and when I shared this information with my wife who was just steps away boarding with the last of the “A” group, she was visibly upset. We rushed over to the gate agent desk to confirm this mistake and found out she was on the right flight and gate, but I had a long walk/run to make my flight at the “B” Terminal.
I took off at a fast walk and was lucky to hear the gate agent calling me back. He said I wouldn’t make it and even though it was against the rules he got me on the same flight as my wife. The lesson here is simple. Always double check flight number, date, destination and time for airline itineraries. This one had a happy ending since I got on the same flight as my wife, and my bags did go on the other flight with its stop in Pittsburg, but arrive in Dallas Love Field a mere forty minutes after ours.
After researching what went wrong I went online to the Southwest Airline site and saw that there were two flights at the same time. As you scroll over to select the flight it’s easy to get disoriented on their webpage and grab a flight above or below the intended fligh, and that is what I did. Since the selected flight left at the exact same time as my wife’s nonstop flight I didn’t notice the difference until I was in the boarding line. Another part of this lesson is don’t’ use curbside check in like we did. They are not as well trained as the airline’s check in counter people are. If we had used the Southwest Airlines check in counter staff they surely would have pointed out we had two different flights.
#3. When in a taxi always get a receipt with the driver’s name or number. We took a taxi from our hotel to Grand Lux Café in the Galleria Mall for dinner and I ended up leaving my cell phone on the seat. I discovered it missing about an hour later and realized it was in the taxi. I called the number on the receipt my wife had kept for business purposes and the driver found my phone where I left it. We needed a ride anyway so I asked him to pick us up in forty-five minutes and was reunited with my phone.
All-in-all it was a great trip and the lessons learned were not too painful. I hope you learn from my mistakes and have safe and smooth travels.