what not to do when planning an international trip

lonely traveler.jpg

1. Buy your airline ticket.
2. Vaguely look into visas and decide you don’t need any for the countries you’re visiting.
3. Wait a month.
4. Two days before your trip, think to yourself, did I adequately check whether I need a visa for that one country?
5. Do a quick Google search.
6. Convince yourself a visa may be necessary even though the vast majority of the information online claims that you can get it in the airport… But there are those one or two sites that differ.
7. Panic.
8. Call the airline and attempt to ask in Spanish (yes, it had to be in Spanish) whether it is in fact possible to get the visa in the airport.
9. Further panic when the customer service guy wants to look up your ticket first, but can’t find it. (Yes, panic, even though when you click on a link in your ticket confirmation email, it takes you to a second confirmation page directly on the airline’s site. And even though the reasonable explanation for the confusion is that you can neither correctly spell your name in Spanish letters nor intelligibly articulate dates or times in Spanish numbers.)
10. Miraculously understand when the guy tells you he’s going to attempt to find someone who speaks English because the conversation will be too complicated otherwise.
11. Wait on hold for fifteen minutes, worried.
12. Call back when phone gets disconnected. Wait on hold another twenty five minutes.
13. Finally get on the line with someone who speaks English, and within the space of two minutes, confirm that your ticket is just fine and that you can get the visa in the airport before your flight, no problem.
14. Hang up the phone, and close ten Chrome tabs on which the same information was written, but which you chose to ignore because you court anxiety like it’s Vitamin C and you’ve got scurvy.

[Photo: JD Hancock]

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