Always Give Yourself Time for Leeway

In my travels, I quickly learned a key lesson: Things do not always go as planned and, as a result, we must be flexible and relaxed in such situations.  Sometimes while traveling, I tended to test the limits on certain things, especially when it comes to transportation.  

I gave myself JUST the minimum amount of time to show up to catch a flight, a bus, or a train and left no time for possible problems.

 A recipe for disaster!

I had an unforgettable last day in London, England.  Considering London is a place with unpredictable weather, I definitely showed up at the right time.  Warm skies, good company by my side, and a whole day to enjoy my last day in this huge, lively city.

 My friend, David, who was guiding me around the city had the day all planned out with just enough time to get to the airport later in the evening for my flight back to Spain.  

Given we had already spent a few days in the city, our last day was saved for just walking around, visiting the British Museum, plus a few hours to lose ourselves in one of the world’s most famous department stores – Harrods.

Remember how I mentioned that on travel days, I tended not to plan for unplanned situations?

Well…. The time had come for us to head to the airport.  We left at exactly the last minute possible in order to make it to the airport in time for my flight.  Since I was following David (who knows the city well), I was not paying attention and had full faith in where we were going.

 After a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the train station.  Winded, I asked the man working there, “Is this the train for the airport?”  He smiled and said, “Yes”. At last, we were sitting on the train and once again, I was super proud of my ability to push the limits and still arrive on time.

 We set the alarm on the phone to sound in 45 minutes, and then we enjoyed the ride until we neared the airport.  David pulled out his phone after 40 minutes on the train to see exactly where we needed to get off.  His face suddenly turned from all smiles to total panic.  “Sarah, don’t freak out, but look at my phone.”

 I glanced down at his phone and saw the dot that showed our location and then what seemed to be forever away the dot for the airport.

It was 4:50 pm at this time and my flight was scheduled to depart at 5:50 pm.  

We jumped off the train at the next stop and rushed to a nearby café.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  There was only this small coffee shop and barely a car in sight.  “The airport is about 35 minutes from here,” mentioned the woman working in the shop.  I looked down at my watch, which read 5:00pm.

 “Call an emergency taxi, quick!” David shouted at the woman.

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Doesn’t it seem like when you have to rush, other people tend to move their slowest?  

I think the “emergency taxi” arrived at the shop after the driver ate at a restaurant, took a long hot shower, talked on the phone, and did about 5 million other activities.  It was the longest 20 minutes I believe I have ever had to wait.

The taxi driver picked us up at 5:20 and we threw my luggage in the car.  We realized half way through the trip that our taxi ride was a going to cost lot more than we had expected and we had no more pounds (the money in England).


Between the two of us, we managed to find the full amount of the fare from our combination of three types of currency: pounds, Euros, and dollars.  Dave, our taxi driver, had mercy on us and accepted our three currencies.  Without time to say a proper goodbye, my friend David and I parted ways and I ran as fast as I could through airport security.  

To my luck, passing through security was a breeze.  It was 5:45 and I had hope in still getting to my flight.  I ran as fast as my little legs could go with my pink, polka-dotted luggage rolling behind me.  After all that hard work, I showed up to the gate and they had just shut the plane door.  I did the walk of shame as I left the gate.  

My usual “close-call move” was not a success.  

Given that I was traveling in the most expensive month of the year, August, my failure also ended up having a high price tag.  I had to get on a new flight, which included a pricey round-trip train ticket the next morning. 

In addition, instead of getting a direct flight to my city in Spain I had to fly to Barcelona (which is 4 hours from my city) and take an additional 4 hour bus ride.

Don’t forget to also check out: 


  • How many times do we pull stunts like this?  
  • How many times do we create unnecessary stress by not allowing ourselves time for leeway, especially in traveling? 
  • Share below! 


Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comAlways Give Yourself Time for Leeway