Making A Plan B

Dear Dee,
My last trip before leaving for home started horribly. We missed our train and had to pay extra to get there in time for the hotel. Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? Because all I did was freak out.

Sincerely,

PANICKED

This situation sounds very familiar. I went to Venice with my friends (I’ll call them B and R) last weekend as a final trip to see the beautiful country that I had studied abroad in for over three months. We missed our bus to the bus stop, which meant we missed our bus from the stop to the train station in Rome which meant we missed our train to Venice Mestre and then our train to Venezia S. Lucia. Basically it was a domino effect. I totally panicked.

Running on about four hours of sleep, we all were tired and were looking forward to a relaxing weekend of art, masks, window shopping, gondolas, and Italian food. Because of all of this, plus the five or six papers we had due on Monday or Tuesday, we were exhausted and just wanted to go.

We walked for about an hour around Tarquinia looking for a bar with Wi-Fi, plus the bar had to be open so early in the morning. Eventually we found Wi-Fi on a random street corner (which we soon called ‘Heavenly Wi-Fi’) and took another hour and a half to change our tickets from Rome to Venice.

Eventually we got to Venice but every time we checked the clock our hearts jumped in nervousness, trying to make sure we got there with our bank accounts in one piece.

Thank goodness for my friends B and R because they did all the work, I guarded our bags mostly. The whole time: I was panicking.

This is a help column/blog. So I want to include a few tips. Some will sound redundant, but perhaps reiterating these points will make it stick for next time.

1) Don’t panic. I know that I did, but the added stress just made the whole experience worse than it really was, added to any other stress I was having, it was difficult to enjoy our trip the first day or two. Try taking a few minutes to breathe, calm down, and devise a plan.

2) Have some friends. First of all, you shouldn’t be traveling alone, unless you’re meeting someone you trust at the destination. But without B and R there, I wouldn’t have known the bus and train schedules or where to find more information in Tarquinia.

3) Have all your numbers. Know your limit on money, but also know the numbers for people who could help, the cards we carry from LdM and API really helped the panic settle and help us with ‘Venice Plan B’.

4) Follow through.Once you have a backup plan, follow it, allow for changes if it’s easier for the group, but following Plan B will give you a sense of control of your travel and dissolve the tension.

5) Relax. Once you have gotten on your way, relax and enjoy. You made up for the mistake of missing a bus or train. You followed through your contingency plan and now enjoy!

It’s a stressful thing, to know you missed your flight, train, or bus that was to take you to somewhere relaxing. But if you take these tips into consideration the next time you travel, it will go a long way in making a Plan B if you need to. I hope this helps and that our finals go well. See you next time stateside.

Sincerely,

Dee

Dee Treisch is a student at Grove City College and an official API Student Blogger. Dee is studying abroad with API in Tuscania, Italy.

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