Stressing in Europe

Story and photos by Jaycob Martinez

It was the summer of 2018 when I decided to take an amazing trip to Amsterdam, London, and Paris with my girlfriend. We were first timers and knew nothing about flights and check-ins, so we decided to just go with the flow. How hard can it be to follow instructions on vouchers and emails, right? Our flights and hotels were paid for, but we would soon learn the consequences of not showing up for flights or places a lot earlier than usual and not checking hotel policies. 

First, we arrived in Amsterdam. Once we arrived at our hotel, we came to find out an additional tax fee would be added on for each night. Also, even though we were tired from a grueling 14-hour flight, we couldn’t check in and shower until 2 p.m; we had to stay stinky and tired after arriving at 11 a.m. Fortunately, we were able to keep our luggage there and walk around Amsterdam until our check-in time. 

Amsterdam is known for its canals.

Amsterdam is known for its canals.

We got back to the hotel to sleep and ended up waking up ten minutes before our pizza boat cruise left. Panicking, we called for an Uber, threw on anything we could find, and booked it. Thankfully, our Uber driver drove fast, and the place wasn’t too far from our hotel. We arrived right when the boat was about to leave. 

The Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes every hour, on the hour, in the evenings.

The Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes every hour, on the hour, in the evenings.

Unfortunately, we repeated the same thing in London. We got to the hotel unaware the tax fees per night applied here as well, and again, we couldn’t check in for another two hours. London is just as crowded, if not more condensed than Los Angeles, and a lot of the street routes make a huge circle — making the traffic look like a literal parking lot. Therefore, even when we left one hour earlier to compensate for traffic, it still took an hour. We ended up reaching our bus that was taking us to our Stonehenge trip, as it was leaving. The day we left London, we went to the wrong airport, but thankfully we woke up earlier than usual because the airport was another hour away. 

We made our next flight to Paris, and when we got there, we had no worries because we arrived promptly at our check-in time. But we just couldn’t escape the bad luck to come. The hotels in Amsterdam and London had American plug-in ports for the wall; our hotel in Paris did not. Our phones were at 10% battery life, but our stress levels were at 100%. I looked up an electronic store and somehow, someway, it was a 1-minute walk from our hotel. We were eventually able to purchase the right ports to charge our phones. 

The last problem happened when we were stuck in traffic at the airport in Paris and our flight was leaving to leave sooner than the original departure time. We ended up being the last ones to board with one minute to spare. Yikes!

Despite all that stress, we still managed to have tons of fun on trip while learning what not to do in the future. Now, my girlfriend and I just laugh about it.

Here are my travel tips for you: 

  • Double check all of your vouchers for activities and flying

  • Be at the airport 2-3 hours earlier than your flight (crucial) 

  • Make sure to buy an America-Europe charging wall port

  • Make sure your arrival time matches up with your hotel check-in time

  • Do your best to sleep on the flight to Europe to prevent irritability