Written by Kayla Smith
Let’s time travel back to 2021. A 21-year-old college student was almost wrapped up with her degree program. With only one month to go until she got to walk across the stage, and much of her program being completed online, she made the decision that it was time to see more of the world than she had ever seen before. So, she found a flight deal, asked her parents and boyfriend to join, and booked some flights to Honolulu, Hawaii without any experience, research, or plan.
We arrived in Hawaii, and to say it was beautiful is an understatement. However, it would not be long before we encountered a bit of trouble in paradise. On our second day on the island, we decided to venture outside of the resort to grab some food. The only parts of this trip that we'd planned were that we would be hopping on a plane, picking up a rental car at the airport, and then driving to our resort. So, we googled food nearby and picked an option at random.
We parked on the street outside the restaurant only to find out that it was directly across the street from a large tent community, which made us feel a bit uneasy, but at this point our hungry was teetering on the edge of hangry, so we decided to eat there anyway.
After we finished eating and felt like ourselves again, we were eager to explore more of the island! My mother was the first to walk outside of the restaurant and head to the car when she felt a large drop of liquid fall on her. When she looked up to figure out what the source of the liquid was, she saw a cluster of pigeons sitting on the powerline above us. Obviously, we made a game time decision to go back to the hotel so that she could shower and change before our journey continued. Unfortunately, this defecation disaster would be the least of our worries.
When we tried to leave, the car would not start. This left the four of us stranded, with the smell of pigeon radiating, across the street from a tent community for 3 hours of our trip until the only open mechanic nearby could come to help us. And to make matters worse, the car rental company charged us for damages to the car once we returned home.
While this mishap makes a hilarious story at family gatherings now, it definitely was a huge source of stress in the moment. I’ve obviously learned A LOT since that experience! An eager-to-explore college student has quickly transitioned to a learn-everything-before-you-go avid traveler, and I share this anecdote to show just how much benefit there is to working with a travel advisor.
If we had worked with a travel advisor on this trip, we would have had a list of restaurant recommendations in safe locations and our rental car company would have been adequately vetted with backup plans, ensuring that we would not be responsible for issues that were not our fault. As for the issue with the pigeon… as a well-versed travel advisor, my personal tip is to always have a change of clothes with you for any adventure or disaster!
Looking to master your next vacation and avoid the mishaps? Reach out to me!