Travel horror stories: Bags lost by airline, hostel closed upon arrival

5개월 전

I would say that most of the travel that I have ever engaged in has been pretty great as well as safe but when you are attempting to travel on the cheap you are going to encounter a hiccup or two and one of my earliest experiences was one of rather extreme duress.

I was making my 3rd trip to South East Asia and this time had decided to start my journey in Singapore because for whatever reason, the flights were really cheap if you flew in / out of there rather than other major arrival hubs in the region. This was more than 20 years ago but I was able to get a round-trip ticket from Atlanta to Singapore for under $800 - which was just crazy at the time.


It was a really really long flight, but there is no such thing as a short flight to the other side of the planet. We had about a 10 hour layover in Taiwan and that was much worse than the long flight because the airport at that time was under construction and since I arrived in the middle of the night nothing was open. So i just sat there and read a book because smartphones didn't exist yet.

When I finally did arrive in Singapore it was a real treat. Even back then the Changi Airport was really impressive and certainly a lot nicer than a majority of USA airports. I made my way to the baggage carousel and calmly waited for my backpack to come down the ramp. Some people treat the baggage carousel as some sort of war and I just let them. I've never really understood why it is that people have this "me first, me only!" attitude but I don't get involved with the fray. I really don't think there are many people stealing luggage these days especially since there are cameras everywhere and a very good record of who everyone is so it's not like it would be difficult to catch someone if they did accidentally or intentionally take your baggage.

Anyway, I soon found myself as the only person in the carousel, because my bag wasn't coming out because it wasn't in Singapore. The staff at lost luggage were very helpful and friendly and they knew exactly where my bag was, which was good. The bad news was that it wasn't in Singapore and wouldn't be until the next day. They took the number of my accommodation and promised it would be delivered free of charge as soon as it arrived.

I'm a pretty nice guy and maybe too nice because I almost certainly could have pressed them for a free hotel voucher or airline upgrade if I had been a jerk. That's something shitty about the world, the assholes get the free stuff but nice guys like me get jack squat.

My night was about to get a lot worse though.


I arrived at downtown Singapore in a cheaper part of town a hostel only to find that it didn't have 24-hour reception. There wasn't even anyone there and while again, I didn't kick up too much of a fuss, there wasn't any way for me to get into the building and even if I could, there was no way for me to obtain a room key. There was no phone number for me to call to have someone let me in and it wouldn't matter if they did have that because I didn't have a Singapore simcard anyway.

So I had to wander the streets of Singapore at night, all night, until the hostel opened the next day.

I don't know if you are terribly familiar with how exhausted a person feels after a long-haul flight but this is exactly the kind of situation you do NOT want to find yourself in after you have traversed from one side of the globe to the other. I was so tired that I feel like I could have used my backpack as a pillow and just lied down on the ground and slept no problem but there was just one problem with that idea.... I didn't have my backpack because the airline lost it.

Thankfully, I was able to find a place with some plastic chairs that was open all night serving beer and noodles and also met a few people who were also locked out of their hostels and were in exactly the same position as me although I was the only person whose bag was also lost. I was lucky to have found them because now I at least hd some people to sit with and drink beer with until the sun came up.

There was one downside though and that was that this noodle stand / night drinking place didn't have a toilet or access to one so we had to peepee in the alleyways. Singapore has pretty strict rules so this was the most scary part of the entire process. I'd like to think that they would have had sympathy on us if they saw us relieving ourselves in the alleys, but you never know.

At the end of the night the hostel opened back up but were totally unapologetic about not waiting for me to arrive the night before. They did let me sleep in the hostel during the day but this was less than comfortable since the place was alive with activity as most people were checking out and the cleaning staff was not trying to be quiet at all. It really didn't matter at that point though and I was just happy to be able to lie down.

it was this sort of place and while I was trying to sleep, everyone else was moving on

The good news is that out of all of this I made a couple of friends the night previous and ended up traveling with 3 of them all the way across Malaysia and this was a load of fun. When life gives you lemons make lemonade right?

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