Be Prepared…Then Go With The Flow

By Gianna Shepherd

When I am on a Bus2alps trip as a trip leader, I am organized and anticipatory of every next move on our itinerary.  In fact, there is even a plan B, C and D brewing in my mind as you never know what might happen.  In other words, I am quite prepared and have everything planned to a T.  However, in the past year, when travelling independently with friends, I have found myself in a few awkward situations as a result of rookie mistakes.

Awkward Situation Number 1:
We were on the Terravision bus en route to Pisa airport when suddenly we came to an abrupt stop.  As it was the early hours of the morning, we knew it couldn’t have been rush hour traffic and soon learned there had been an accident on the highway.  We decided to wait it out a little bit as that seemed to be the rational thing to do at the time.  Well, as time went on and movement did not we were forced to make the game time decision of abandoning the bus and finding another form of transportation to the airport so we could catch our flight.  This entailed walking over a mile in the opposite direction of traffic on the highway, calling a taxi in the middle of nowhere, spending over 100 euro on the taxi and barely making our flight.  That was not the easy peasy morning we had in mind!

Awkward Situation Number 2:
Just yesterday, we were making the trek from Florence to Manchester airport.  Due to the time of year, we were unable to fly into the smaller airport closer to home meaning that we had to take the train from Florence to Rome, the bus from Roma Termini train station to Roma Ciampino Airport, then fly to Manchester and drive an hour home.  I was tired even thinking about it, but nothing a little McDonald’s breakfast couldn’t help make better.  We purchased our train ticket leaving us with plenty of time to catch our shuttle transfer to the airport and even enough time to have a snack after checking in before getting on the plane…or so we thought.

It was raining in Italy which naturally meant that all trains were running at least 10 minutes late.  10 minutes late quickly turned into almost 30 minutes late, meaning a mad rush off the train to catch the Terravision bus.  Luckily, we were able to hop on the next shuttle and arrived at the airport with almost 2 hours to go before our flight.  This is when things got really fun!  The RyanAir counter had two desks open for all outgoing flights…and there were about 5 flights departing within a half hour from one another.  Needless to say, my stress level was rising and my frustration at their inability to be more organized was eating away at me.  Luckily, once again, we made our flight just in time.

So, what have I learned this year?  Be better prepared for all of those crazy exterior factors that seem to be working against me when I am simply trying to get from Point A to Point B.   Here are a few tips to follow so you don’t make the same rookie mistakes as me:

  1. Be early.  It is better to get to wherever it is that you are going earlier than later.  It is much more of an enjoyable experience to be at your bus stop or gate at the airport playing on your computer or reading a book then scrambling around like an idiot.
  2. Plan ahead.  Make sure that you look up all possible train times and bus times within your time frame so that if something does go wrong you already have the information you need to make Plan B happen.  This will reduce stress and save time of having to ask someone for help.
  3. Go with the flow.  At the end of the day, sometimes you can have all of your plans laid out perfectly and something unforeseen will still come along and throw you off.  Don’t let it!  Go with the flow, stay calm and make the best of the situation.  Sometimes it is when things seem to be going as wrong as possible that they end up just fine…or at least result in a funny story later.

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