I’ve changed my travel plans approximately 752 times. Fact. Sometimes it was a trivial change, other times a rather large change. On Monday I made a rather large change to my travel plans- I canceled my trip to the Philippines.
Let me back up. Since I last wrote, I had made yet another change to my plans. Originally I was supposed to leave on Monday for the Philippines, spend 10 weeks there and leave on June 18th for Europe. Then a good friend from the USA asked if I wanted to meet up with her in Sofia, Bulgaria to watch the European Gymnastics Championships in mid- May. She made her flight reservation and I called United to see if I could change the date of my flight. Success! It cost $50 but I got my flight changed to April 29th, leaving from Bangkok. That meant that I was only going to spend 3 weeks in the Philippines. At that point I was thinking that I probably shouldn’t have booked my flight to the Philippines. I was not terribly excited about going there and then additionally I was only going to be there for three weeks. But! The ticket was bought and paid for. Reservations at hostels were made. Domestic flights within the Philippines were booked. So of course I was going to go. If I disliked it then not a problem, I’d be gone in three weeks.
Fast Forward to this weekend. I decided to spend my last few days in NZ on Waiheke Island. I arrived on Friday and planned to leave early Monday morning to catch my flight to the Philippines.
My flight was at 10:20am on Monday morning. My alarm was set for 5:15am so that I could catch the 6:05 bus and the 6:40 ferry. My bags were packed and ready to go. At 5:14am (because I have an incredible internal alarm clock) I wake up and there is a text message from Jetstar that my flight has been canceled because of “Engineering Requirements” which to me means mechanical issues. Well crap. I check their website and for some reason their site does not work on my mobile phone. Lame. I ask a friend in the USA to check for me and yes, the flight really is canceled.
I check my email and they have also sent me an email confirmation about the cancelation. Within the email is a link to “manage my booking”. I click it and it lists the flights that I can rebook on. At the bottom of the list there is the “None of these flights suit me” option. I click it because again, I’m not too keen on going to the Philippines at all. On the next page it tells me I can get a full refund for my flight. Hey Oh!
Now, the only logistical issue is that my flight to Europe leaves from Bangkok and if I’m not going to the Philippines I either need to change my flight to leave from Auckland or somehow get myself to Bangkok. Getting to Bangkok is not trivial, it’s about an 11 hour flight from Auckland. My best bet was to change my flight to Europe to have it leave from Auckland (originally, back in February when I booked this flight, it did leave from Auckland, so I knew it was possible). To be clear, I booked this flight with miles and it was 55,000 miles to fly from Auckland to Bucharest (via Bangkok and Vienna). Again, I knew it was entirely possible to book this itinerary I just didn’t know 1) how much the change fee would be and 2) if there were flights available soon-ish. I call United and 15 minutes plus $100 later I am booked on a flight from Auckland to Bucharest leaving this coming Saturday. Winning at life!
I get the full refund for my flight to the Philippines and I get to stay on Waiheke for another few days. WINNING. ALL. AROUND.
PLUS! As if it can get any better, a good friend from college will be in Europe in April and May and our travel plans will overlap. We will most likely meet up in Istanbul, Turkey for a few days before I head to Bulgaria to meet up with yet another friend.
AND! I haven’t talked about this much but I’ve been really homesick the past few weeks. Waiheke has basically cured me of this. I feel so much better after spending 5 days here. I feel relaxed and rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to travel again. It has been amazing for my emotional and mental well being.
The canceled flight was probably the best thing that could have happened. Overall, I probably lost about $200 total, between change fees and non-refundable plane and hostel reservations. But I’m okay with that. Being able to see close friends and restoring my excitement about long term travel makes it worth it.