Holly (Not so Jolly) Folly: Holiday Travel Fails

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 12, 2015.blog_travel_fails_A

Traveling for the holidays can be nuts. Between the traffic, crowds, and the inevitable issues that arise when people travel en masse, it’s no wonder that most of us have experienced some sort of travel fail. It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s not always the most wonderful time to travel.

Yup, holiday travel fails happen to the best of us—one was even the impetus behind the smart luggage startup Bluesmart. On a Christmas trip to his home-country of Argentina, Co-founder and CEO Diego Saez-Gil found himself without presents (or clothing!) after the airline he was traveling on forced him to check his luggage due to weight restrictions. Despite his reservations, he agreed to do so, and then found himself at the carousel waiting for a bag that never materialized. He’s not alone:

“30 million bags are reported lost each year, and most happen when during the holiday season,” Saez-Gil said.

That holiday travel fail inspired him to create the Bluesmart carry-on, with GPS technology and a built-in scale, amongst other techy tools for savvy travelers.

Victims of numerous holiday travel fails ourselves (nights spent in airports and traumatized pets, to name a few), we understand that there’s no better consolation than camaraderie. And so, the company that promises to take the agony out of travel planning took a look at what agonizes travelers once they’re en route.

We asked more than 200 Hipmunk enthusiasts to tell us about their holiday travel fails (Hint: It usually has something to do with flying). From exploding toiletries to getting drunk on the plane, scroll down for even more (though less common) holiday horror stories:


More Travel Troubles:

I wasn’t allowed to check my presents with my baggage 1%
My gifts were broken in transit 1%
The hotel had no record of my reservation 1%
I accidentally booked the wrong day/time to travel and couldn’t get a new flight 2%
My toiletries “exploded” in flight and wrecked my holiday outfit 2%
My pet was traumatized from flying in cargo 1%
I drank too much on the flight and was hungover by the time the flightlanded 2.5%

Best (or Worst) Holiday #TravelFAILs:

“Don’t eat a big breakfast and then get in the car. It can get messy.”

“The flight was delayed, and when we seated they informed us that the engine was malfunctioning– then shortly after, the plane took off. I was terrified the entire flight.”

“Because of snow in Minneapolis/St. Paul, we didn’t realize we’d parked in a tow zone and yes, we were towed. Very hard to prove ownership of a rental car – spent 6 hours trying to get out of impound.”

“A 1 kg pot of honey leaked in my bag, covering my laptop.”

“I had torn my quadricep muscle a week into my three week vacation I knew I couldn’t fix it there or they wouldn’t let me fly home, so I waited until I got home to have knee surgery. I made the best of the trip and cut down on my sightseeing. Then I almost got snowed in in Chicago on the way back and I had a guy from India accidentally kick my injured leg. Don’t worry I didn’t hurt him.”

“No one had told us we need yellow fever vaccine between Argentina and Jamaica. We had to stop in Panama City, where we were able to go on by getting another flight to Jamaica. No one seemed to care that we had just gotten off a flight from Argentina.”

“The flight was at 12:01, so it was confusing as to which day it was actually on. I missed it.”

What was your worst holiday travel fail? Sound off in the comments below!

Happily Ever After by JA Huss – Book Blitz

I love it when authors give you glimpse into the future of some of your favorite characters. Rook & Ronin’s story was sweet, sad, sexy, tragic, and beautiful. And, now they have kids? SMH Can’t wait. – Sydney Aaliyah Michelle

300hea_ebookHappily Ever After: A Day in the Life of the HEA
(Rook & Ronin Series)
By JA Huss
Published: 12-16-15

Life in Rook & Ronin’s world has been bliss for fifteen years. Rook, Veronica, and Ashleigh are still BFF’s raising their kids together. Ronin, Spencer, and Ford have managed to go legit and stay out of trouble. And they have a pack of kids running around the eight thousand square foot Vail mansion they all share for the holidays—begging for gifts, and fun, and love.

But every HEA has problems.

Five is fifteen and getting ready to go off to college. He’s put it off as long as he could in order to stay close to Princess Shrike, but his stay of execution is over and in three weeks he’s off to Oxford. But Five can’t leave until he gets the only thing he’s ever wanted. The heart of his Princess.

Ford and Ashleigh never had any more children after Five. And now that Kate is sixteen, Ashleigh is out of her head with desire for just one more chance to have a baby in the house.

Rook and Ronin have two beautiful daughters, but Sparrow is growing up too. And she just got a job offer that has Ronin crazed with paternal worry.

And Spencer is the father of a fifteen-year-old princess who looks way too much like her Bombshell mother for his comfort level.

Join the whole Rook & Ronin gang for a Team Christmas you will never forget.

There are SEVEN BOOKS in the Rook & Ronin series before this one. This is not a standalone. Rook & Ronin Series & Spinoffs

(1) Tragic – Rook & Ronin
(2) Manic – Rook & Ronin
(3) Panic – Rook & Ronin
(4) Slack – Ford & Ashleigh
(5) Taut – Ford & Ashleigh
(6) Bomb – Spencer & Veronica
(7) Guns – Spencer & Veronica

RR-SALE_BANNERSALE ALERT: The first three books in the Rook and Ronin series are on sale for only 99 cents until Christmas. Get it here:


JA Huss is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

You can chat with her on Facebook, Twitter, and her kick-ass romance blog, New Adult Addiction.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list and get those details delivered right to your inbox.


What to do in New England This Winter

Maybe exploring New England in the wintertime isn’t the wisest decision, especially considering I’m from Texas and I don’t know how to drive in snow. The winter months offer some unique opportunities that make it worthwhile to visit this time of year. My bucket list is all about trying new things, so winter in New England, here I come.

Burlington, Vermont

I hear Vermont has great summers, but Burlington, Vermont, evokes images in me of snowy winter all year round. I picture kids and dogs frolicking the hills in knee-high snow, traipsing across rivers and valleys, making smoke rings with their winter breaths. Burlington is the quintessential old-world small town. Even in 2015, the one-road main street is still the center of town and hosts events frequented by tourists and locals alike. The final scene of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” comes to mind, with the Whos of Whoville standing in the town center singing in unison. Besides the usual Christmas-themed celebrations, the town holds on to the last of the festive winter with the annual Winter Lights Event on Church Street. Located in downtown Burlington, the extravaganza features light installations and canopies that cover the streets, buildings, and trees. The event runs over a weekend in early February.

BurlingtonImage provided by David Kim via Trover.com

New Haven, Connecticut

I have spent a lot of time in Connecticut. I have family there. When I was young, a family friend strongly encouraged me to consider Yale University to further my education. I was 6. If he had mentioned that I would have access to the historic and fairytale storybook mansions of Hillhouse Avenue, I might have considered it. I had no clue about the history in New Haven, Connecticut, until planning this trip. Charles Dickens and Mark Twain (one of my writing heroes) considered Hillhouse Avenue’s historic district to be the most beautiful street in America. From two of the most descriptive scribes in the world, you can’t find a more ringing endorsement. The section of mansions, built in the middle and late 1800s, is considered the first suburb in America. Yale University uses the ornate mansions as department buildings, and the oldest, Abigail Whelpey House, built in 1826, is a resident hall for Yale administrators. The street makes me wish I had studied more in high school, applied to Yale, and attended just to have unfettered access to these gorgeous historic homes that are a part of U.S. history.

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Image provided by Courtney Randolph via Trover.com

Newton, Massachusetts

If you’re not a cold weather person, then finding activities where you can escape the cold and have a good time is a must when traveling in New England in the winter. One of my favorite cold weather escapes is the local library. In Newton, Massachusetts, the local library may be a gothic cathedral-looking structure on the campus on Boston College. You can spend hours soaking in the ornate architecture of the John J. Burns Library. It looks like an 18th-century English cathedral. It’s a library that has its own blog. The library houses the archives of Boston College along with several collections of historical significance and makes my classic writer and historical writer fangirl insides go crazy. At present, the library houses an exhibit of text and contexts of the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Frederick Douglass.

NewtonImage provided by Christopher Skillman via Trover.com 

South Portland, Maine

I am not one of those people who only eat chili in the winter and salads in the summer. Food is food, but something about chowder in the wintertime warms my heart and my insides. New England is known for its lobster bakes and seafood grills, but there is nothing like a great chowder during a cold winter’s day. Any winter excursion has to end with a way to recover from all that cold. Gilbert’s Chowder House in South Portland, Maine is a must-stop. The thick, creamy chowder is full of flavor, and in a place where every restaurant has its own version, Gilbert’s chowder is tradition at its best. The clams are fresh. At Gilbert’s, they serve a generous portion, hot and satisfying with oyster crackers on the side. The price is reasonable, so you can enjoy the rest of their menu, too. Chowder is synonymous with New England anytime, but I agree it tasted best in the wintertime.

South PortlandImage provided by Jesse I. via Trover.com

Related post:

Budget Hacks: Traveling in New England Cheap


Budget Hacks: Traveling in the Midwest for Cheap

I found a few more stops in the Midwest on my USA bucket list trip, and since I’ll probably need to watch my funds, I found some cool, inexpensive cheap activities that show me what each city is all about.

Wichita, Kansas

Any activity with the word “nature” in the title means cheap. In Wichita, Kansas, a visit to the Great Plains Nature Center offers an opportunity to get close to nature without running into any bears or anything that might kill you. The park offers programs for children as well as for adults and seniors. Each activity offers visitors a better understanding of our relationship with nature, in a safe environment. They have bird walks in the morning for the bird watcher or bird curious and a Full Moon walk in the evening for those vampire enthusiasts or if you like full moons.

Guided walks are available free of charge.


Image provided by Hannah Osland via Trover.com

Des Moines, Iowa

My favorite country to visit is England. My favorite things to tour in England are the castles. Now I don’t have to travel across the pond to get a feel for England, I can take a trip to Des Moines, Iowa. Built in the 1920s and modeled after the King’s House in Salisbury, England, Salisbury House captures the medieval and renaissance architecture of jolly old England. The castle provides self-guided and guided tours and hosts many programs and performances such as musical performances, recitals and book signings. Self-guided tours cost $8, but fork over an additional $2 for the guided tour and get access to rooms not available for the general public.

salisburyImage provided by Erik Rowley via Trover.com

Minneapolis, Minnesota

In the conservative Midwest, you don’t expect to find an architectural marvel like The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The stainless steel and brick building looks like the Tin Man’s residence. The famous architect Frank Gehry, known for his use of unusual materials and strange shapes, designed the building in 1990. The unique exterior houses a modern interior. The collection includes modern American art from artists like Georgia O’Keefee and Marsden Harley, along with ceramics and pottery from the 20th century. Admission to the museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is free.

The guided tours are free, too.

MinneapolisImage provided by Bradley Hanson via Trover.com

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Eating cheap is a must for traveling on a budget. In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, I have to try Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs. They offer over 30 versions of hot dogs, and if one of their creations doesn’t appeal to you, they allow you to create your own. You can grab a Liberty Dog (spicy mustard & kraut) or a S’noran Dog (bacon-wrapped dog, chipotle ketchup, mayo, mustard, cheddar-jack cheese, sliced avocado, pico de gallo, pinto beans) with sides, all for under $10.

If hot dogs aren’t your thing, they have burgers and my favorite, corn dogs, too. My stomach’s growling just thinking about it.

OklahomaImage provided by Tiffany Hawkins via Trover.com

Rosemont, Illinois

I had never heard of Rosemont, Illinois, before doing some research. It’s odd considering I used to live in Chicago, but if you’ve never heard of it, you might know it by its more common name, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Yes, the city has its own airport that just so happens to be the third-busiest in the U.S. Fun in this region starts in Rosemont, and there is no better, faster and cheaper way to get around than the O’Hare Airport Transit. From the airport, the transit system can take you anywhere in Northern Illinois.

O'Hare TransitImage provided by Ryan Goodwin via Trover.com

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Hipmunk logo_200x200

Exes and O’s by Lakeshia Poole – Book Blitz

I love a New Adult novels with a unique twist. Exes and O’s has that and more. -Sydney Aaliyah MichelleExesOs
Publication date: November 24th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
For some the game of love and college seems rigged. After a few tough losses they resort to doing things they thought they would never do to turn their challenges into championships…
Ciara and Xander each came to Aurbor Grove University with the perfect game plan. She would score another chance at finally living up to her college dreams and the high academic expectations set by her mother. He would become the star quarterback and hometown hero he was groomed to be. Yet they find themselves entangled in drama—from the exes who refuse to live without them to the financial struggles that make it seem like college is meant only for the elite to win.
Their friendship has a rocky start, but as the semester passes along they find that their most peaceful moments are spent with each other. Will the pains of the past and pressure on the fields of love and learning squash all hope for their future?
Exes and O’s is Lakeshia Poole’s drama-filled, romantic sequel to Don’t Let Me Fall.
Blitz Giveaway:
Click on the gift card to enter. 
Author Bio:
Lakeshia Poole is an award-winning public relations professional and author. Whether it’s landing a feature in The New York Times, developing a YouTube short or creating a series of blog posts, she believes in telling positive and compelling stories. Poole graduated from the University of Georgia with dual degrees in public relations and sociology. When she’s not writing, she spends her time with family and her dog JoJo Dancer.