I am not sure if we just got to confident or started to relax a bit, but either way we made some mistakes on the Indonesian and Australian legs of this trip. We were with our friend, Lauren, for these legs of the trip and naturally we brought our A-Game to show off what experienced travelers we have become. Some mistakes were not so bad and others could have turned out really terrible.
In an effort not to just talk about the awesome parts about traveling, I give you the mistakes we made (in the course of two weeks).
Mistake 1: Paying for two hotels for one night.
We booked a place on Gili Air for our first 6 nights in Indonesia before Lauren arrived. We realized on the way to Indonesia that we could not catch a boat in time to get to the island that day. We really should have looked into that before we were on our way to the airport. We had to pay for a night of accommodations in Gili Air since we could not cancel and had to find another place to stay near the airport in Kuta Beach (which was a mistake in itself).
Mistake 2: No cash on an island.
We forgot to get cash out before heading to Nusa Lembongan where there is 1 ATM on the entire island. The ATM was out of cash and Lauren had to spot us some cash. Not a big deal, but we know better than to show up on a tiny island with no money.
Mistake 3: We forgot to get Australian Visas!
On our last day in Indonesia we realized we had forgotten to get our electronic travel certificates (ETAs) around 1:30 pm. We had a flight out at 10 pm that same day to Sydney. The three of us applied for our ETAs and two of us got approved immediately. Scott was the unlucky one that had to have his application reviewed by a person. They say that happens a lot and to wait 12 hours before contacting them about the status of his visa (they usually approve it in that time span). Problem was that our flight was in 7 hours and they would not let him on the plane without the ETA. So naturally we panic.
We take a taxi to the nearest Australian visa office. It is essentially the DMV of visas for Indonesian people. They could not help us, but we sat there waiting to talk to someone because we were grasping at straws. Suddenly Scott gets an email saying his visa was approved. Crisis avoided! We left the visa office feeling incredibly lucky that we all got to go to Australia.
Mistake 4: Not reading the fine print of baggage policies on budget airlines.
We arrive to the airport with just under 2 hours until our flight. That should have been plenty of time, but the line to check-in took so long to get through. We were flying Jetstar (the equivalent of the Spirit Airlines of Australia). The limit was 7 kg each for a carry on bag. Usually nobody cares, but we had the world’s greatest rule follower checking our bags. We were overweight and had to check them.
Jetstar is similar to Spirit Airlines (or Frontier) where you have to purchase your checked bag in advance to check-in at the counter or else they charge you around 5 times as much. We obviously did not know any of this. The clerk said he would be nice and we could carry on 2 bags and just check 1. He said it was $120 each. We clarified many times….this is 120,000 IDR, right? Yes, yes. IDR. Indonesian Dollars. Okay. Why don’t we just check all three if it is only going to cost us $27 to check all of the bags…that would be worth it!
We are taken to another guy to pay the fee. As he takes the credit card he mentions $320 Australian Dollars. WAIT A MINUTE. STOP. They were going to charge us $270 USD to check three bags. We ran back to the clerk and he seemed very angry we had misunderstood him. In our defense, his English wasn’t great and we would have never agreed to pay that much. In a last ditch effort to save our wallets we talked them into letting us go with the original plan he suggested to only check one bag and we paid our $90 (begrudgingly)…Jetstar won this time.
Mistake 5: Not arriving at the airport 3 hours early.
I mean, who would have known? This luggage debacle and check-in took so long that we got through customs with not a lot of time to spare. We looked at all the boards and NONE of them had our flight showing. It had not been updated for hours. We run through the airport and finally find our flight on the board…the status was the dreaded “Final Call” so we sprinted to our flight. We almost missed our flight and we were at the airport almost 2 hours early. I hate being late at airports. I just don’t do it.
That is the story how Scott and Shelby became those people that arrive at airports 3-4 hours early from now on (kidding…maybe).
So there you have it — the mistakes we made in Indonesia and Australia. It doesn’t matter how much you travel or how much you have your shit together…there is always the potential to screw something up 🙂
Happy New Year!