A Travel Nightmare: 72 Hours in NOLA
It may seem like travel is all about sunsets, adventure, and delicious food but it’s not always fun and games. Here's one of my worst travel experience by far:
New Orleans, Louisiana
I want to prelude this mess of a story by saying this: I love New Orleans and I will definitely be going back!
Two years ago, my family and I (mom, Dad, little sister, little brother) decided to take a road trip to New Orleans, Louisiana from our home in Tampa, Florida for New Year's Eve. We planned to leave the night of December 30th.
We have taken a ton of road trips together before so we had our prep routine down pat! Here’s how our 72 hours panned out.
5 pm: All luggage was packed and set next to the front door
7 pm: Dinner
8:00 - 8:45 pm: We loaded all of the luggage into the truck. My mom drives a 6 passenger SUV with third-row seating so we put the luggage on the rooftop racks and attached a small trailer to the hitch behind the truck. This gave us more leg space (and room for our snack cooler) in the car to stretch out during the long drive. My siblings are oddly tall despite the minuscule heights of my parents and me; my 18-year-old brother is 6’2, my 15-year-old sister is 5’5 so we needed all the leg space we could get.
9 pm: Sleep. My parents and I planned to drive in shifts so we wanted to get plenty of sleep ahead of time.
Day 1: December 31st, 2015
1 am: Wake Up Call! It had drizzled a bit so my dad grabbed a tarp and some ratchet straps to put on the trailer so our luggage didn't get wet. My Dad is very paranoid so he made sure everything in the trailer was strapped down as securely as possible.
2:00 am - We departed.
2:45 am - My Dad was driving, my mom was doing work on her laptop, and my siblings and I were sleeping. Suddenly, we heard a loud clunk coming from the trailer and we looked back to see a fire! We all jumped out of the car put out the fire, and unstrapped the luggage. Some of the luggage was damaged with broken handles or melted wheels but the one with the most damage was my dad’s. BOTH of his suitcases had burn holes all the way through them! He lost most of the clothes he packed. He still mourns his favorite pair of Clarks loafers and a pair of Pelle Pelle jeans he bought before I was born! Thankfully, no one was hurt and we realized that the way the trailer was designed caused some of the luggage to be very close to the exhaust pipe which is what caused the fire. After this incident, we had to decide whether we wanted to return home for Dad’s clothes and an extra suitcase or go shopping in New Orleans. My Dad didn't want to hold us up any longer and he insisted on shopping when we arrived but we know how picky he is, so we all decided to return home for his clothes and toiletries. If you're wondering what type of parents created a style blogger, the two most stylish people I know are my parents so outfits are important.
3:45 am - We returned home. My siblings and I took bathroom breaks and grabbed more snacks while my parents prepared a new bag for my Dad.
4:30 am - We departed once again.
10:00 am - We decide to make a stop in Pensacola to get breakfast. We bumped into rush hour traffic so it was a good time to stop. Before leaving the restaurant, we double and triple-checked the luggage to make sure everything was secure and safe.
11:00 am - We got back on the road!
5:00 pm - We arrived at our hotel in New Orleans! We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter. It is right there at the head of Bourbon Street!
7:00 pm - After getting settled in our room, unpacking, and changing into some warmer clothes, we decided to go out and get something to eat. We went to the Oceana Grill which offered a delicious selection of traditional Louisiana cuisine. I wanted to try alligator meat so I ordered a huge platter of fried gator bites and blackened gator bites. Little did I know, I’d regret this gator overload.
9:00 pm - We decided to take a walk and explore NOLA a bit more. We walked all up and down Bourbon Street popping into shops, restaurants, and bars.
11:30 pm - My family wanted to go watch the fleur-de-lis drop (NOLA’s ball drop) and although I wanted to join them, my stomach was not having it! That gator platter did not sit well with me. Although gator is delicious, I probably shouldn’t have ordered and eaten an entire platter my first time trying it. I spent the New Year's Eve in bed with a stomach ache and I even slept through the ball drop on TV.
Day 2: January 1st, 2016
9:00 am - We woke up early to attend the Jazz Brunch Buffet at The Court of Two Sisters. My stomach was feeling much better so I was more than excited to chow down! We were treated to an excellent jazz band, delicious NOLA cuisine overflowing at the buffet, and amazing customer service.
1:00 pm - After taking a brunch-fueled nap, we wanted to do a bit of shopping. After doing a bit of research, I found that there was a great shopping strip in NOLA called Magazine Street. It was a bit of a distance from our hotel so we decided to grab our car out of the garage and head out.
1:45 pm - Our car stalled out. Luckily, we were near an AutoZone so we replaced the battery (assuming that was the issue because we accidentally left the lights on the night before).
2:30 pm - We tried to do some more shopping but our car stalled out again and would not start! It was New Year’s Day so there were only two auto shops open.
4:00 pm - The mechanic said the issue was an electrical issue that he could quickly fix but he urged us to leave the car overnight because he wanted to leave early for the holiday (red flag #1). After a bit of back and forth, he agreed to fix the issue that night and have it ready first thing in the morning.
Day 3: January 2nd, 2016
8:00 am: We returned to the auto shop to find our car leaning! The entire right side was tilted downwards. The mechanic claimed his computer found an issue in the suspension system so he went ahead and “replaced” our right side spring. So many red flags came up! Why did he replace the spring without checking with us first? Why was the car leaning if the suspension issue was fixed? Did he steal the spring???
9:00 am: After a bit of a shouting match, we took the car back to the hotel, packed our stuff and headed home. The return trip took double the time it should’ve because of the damage was done to the car.
After returning home, we took our car to our trusted mechanic who confirmed the right side spring had been removed and never replaced - stolen! My parents filed a police report and left a scathing Yelp review on this shady business!
Although our time in New Orleans was messy, eventful, and ridiculous, we still enjoyed our time there. We’re actually already planning another trip there during the summer (by rental car or plane).
What travel disasters have you experienced? Comment below
Felicia aka Ms. Shopaholic Diaries