Made any travel mistakes lately?

bcworld

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Non refundable booking for 4 nts at QT Gold Coast....arriving on Thursday. 48 hrs until departure but not looking great.
 

henrus

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I was a bit taken aback by that as being a mistake, until I tried to plan a route on Google maps. I have never seen
1616099084571.png
before! 😲
I'm still trying to figure this one out. Are all the roads near the station arterial roads with no footpaths between the train station and the hotel?

Google maps doesn't work in Korea. There are plenty of very safe crossings and paths around the station but it's a google problem.

This all comes down to some weird South Korean national security law that makes it illegal to store map data of South Korea on servers outside of the country (remember they are still technically at war with the North). Due to this, google maps stores lower quality tiles of google maps on servers inside South Korea (go and zoom on your phone to Seoul to see what I mean) and they also don't generate walking/driving routes within the country.

Technically Google maps could deploy more servers in Korea to power better quality data and directions but they haven't bothered as most inside Korea use Naver maps 네이버 지도. Unfortunately, the online version is in Korean but you can get the mobile app and change the settings to English.

When I've been in Korea I've also used Bing maps which works fine but the quality isn't quite as good as Naver. Screen Shot 2021-03-30 at 12.36.26 pm.png
 

Black Duck

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I agree, both Naver and Kakao work very well. I find them much nicer to use than Google (which doesn't work properly at all in SK). They show station exits etc as well which can be a big help. Around the station there are pathways but higher towards the hotel I found a lot of blocked ways. Admittedly I was just following my nose around that rough area rather than being intent on getting anyway specific.
 

Matt_01

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Google maps doesn't work in Korea. There are plenty of very safe crossings and paths around the station but it's a google problem.
When I saw the above I thought that cannot be correct as I have walked from the station to The Plaza and was able to cross the road. I used the maps on my phone but they got confused several times. I cannot remember if I was using Google Maps or the iPhone Maps. after the first day I gave up and only used the maps function to get the general idea of where I had to get to. I found the subway pretty easy to navigate.

The biggest issue I ran into was trying to get to the War Memorial of Korea, the map function could not work out the correct street to enter from and insisted the entry was via the US Armed Forces Base? next to the War Memorial. Lets just say the non Korean speaking tourist quickly became aware that the Non English speaking security guards made it perfectly clear I was in the wrong place and not welcome.
 

henrus

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The biggest issue I ran into was trying to get to the War Memorial of Korea, the map function could not work out the correct street to enter from and insisted the entry was via the US Armed Forces Base? next to the War Memorial. Lets just say the non Korean speaking tourist quickly became aware that the Non English speaking security guards made it perfectly clear I was in the wrong place and not welcome.
I'm surprised the US base would have non-english speaking guards.

I like Seoul but it's one of those cities I wouldn't rush back to. Seoul has quite a heavy police presence (which has made some of the people I've traveled with a bit uneasy) but none of the guards/police seemed that concerned about westerners, unlike some other places.

Another amusing place I've visited was Naha City Okinawa, Japan. Was there for a few days in December 2019 and one of the days we seemed to be the only westerners in town who won't Americans living there, plus got to chat to a few who were friendly. Even took a two-hour bus ride north with 50% of the view out the window American bases.

I ended up in Naha because I was traveling from Osaka to Taipei using United miles (an amazing deal). Whilst I could have flown direct there were options for the same number of points via China, Korea and a few other Japanese cities (in the end Naha seemed the best as it was even less miles than the others). Ironically I was thinking China would be fun (I'd only been to Beijing/Xian before) but ruled it out due to transit visa issues which was a good idea as COVID seemed to be floating around in China back then (a few weeks later and it would have been a bigger issue).

The next day the diamond princess was in town which brought a lot of tourists and I even got a photo of it, taken exactly a month before they had COVID onboard: Unknown.jpeg
 

Matt_01

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So back to mistakes, have I made any lately - well no but I suspect in the long run yes. After my failed attempt to get to NZ prior to the bubble announcement which would not have helped as I travelling EK and they are not flying to NZ recommencing in Nov 21 our travel was early Oct 21. This old dog cannot learn new tricks and to quote:

Blackadder : "I have a very, very, very cunning plan".
Baldrick : "Is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning."

I have started to plan for travel in 2022 and now have 4 separate itineraries and one more to come to the same main location the US and CA in the hope 1 will stick.
 
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Seat0B

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Ironically I was thinking China would be fun (I'd only been to Beijing/Xian before) but ruled it out due to transit visa issues which was a good idea as COVID seemed to be floating around in China back then (a few weeks later and it would have been a bigger issue).

The next day the diamond princess was in town which brought a lot of tourists and I even got a photo of it, taken exactly a month before they had COVID onboard: View attachment 244951
In a similar vein, Mr Seat 0A and I were in Japan in January 2020 and had award seats home via Shanghai in Feb 2020, that we were very excited about. We have never been to China and were really looking forward to it a lot. That quickly got cancelled as Qantas/JAL worked overtime to get us home to Australia without having to go via China once the COVID situation became clear that it was not just some weird local flu thing, but rather the start of a pandemic.

Then, in a crazy fit of optimism in March 2020, I booked award seats for the whole family to Japan for Jan/Feb 2021, again home via Shanghai. Of course that got cancelled by the airline and all points refunded, but by then, not only COVID, but the general deterioration of Australian-Chinese relationships has made me a bit careful about travel to China. I have a bunch of Chinese currency to hand at the moment that I'm not sure when or even if I will manage to use it!
 

henrus

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I have started to plan for travel in 2022 and now have 4 separate itineraries and one more to come to the same main location the US and CA in the hope 1 will stick.
I'd argue it'd be a mistake to book right now (as in tying up points in a booking that may not happen). At this stage, I'm only booking domestic and Trans-Tasman and only 2-3 months ahead. I know people booking cash fares overseas around Christmas and at this stage, I think they're just giving the airline an interest free loan or better still turning their cash into vouchers.

I'm hopeful that a few pacific islands might be added to the AU/NZ bubble and it might make it a reasonable use of *A points from AU via NZ to the Pacific in J.
 

Matt_01

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I'm surprised the US base would have non-english speaking guards.
I have attached a map that may explain my google experience.

Slide1.PNG

1. I suspect this is the main entrance but never got to that location.
2. This was the road I was looking for from Google Maps and in this area is the bus parking area
3. The main entrance to the War Memorial of Korea
4. There is another road next to the War Memorial back entrance that as it turns out Google thinks is the correct entrance to use and suspect got confused. I suspect this is a back entrance to the base and not normally used.
5. The direction of the subway station I arrived at and returned to.

I am ex military so understand what happens when one gets into a potential altercation with security be it military or contracted guards and why I left without fuss. When I did find the correct entrance, the bus area, I was fortunate that a bus driver that suspected I was looking for the main entrance and pointed me in the right direction.
 
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benjy

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Not a travel mistake but a heart stopping moment:

Travelling SYD > MEL
I text partner earlier that day: "Leaving at 6:30pm, will land at 10:00pm"
What I failed to mention in the text I was leaving the hotel at 6:30pm

Partner texts at 6:30pm: "Have you boarded yet?"

Being tired from a big day, my heart stops, I frantically double check that the departure time isn't 6:30pm, after soon realising departure time is 8:30pm *phew!*
 

AisleSeat

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I have attached a map that may explain my google experience.

View attachment 244957

1. I suspect this is the main entrance but never got to that location.
2. This was the road I was looking for from Google Maps and in this area is the bus parking area
3. The main entrance to the War Memorial of Korea
4. There is another road next to the War Memorial back entrance that as it turns out Google thinks is the correct entrance to use and suspect got confused. I suspect this is a back entrance to the base and not normally used.
5. The direction of the subway station I arrived at and returned to.

I am ex military so understand what happens when one gets into a potential altercation with security be it military or contracted guards and why I left without fuss. When I did find the correct entrance, the bus area, I was fortunate that a bus driver that suspected I was looking for the main entrance and pointed me in the right direction.

I don't think its a US base, though the US embassy annex is in there. Street view suggests that it's a defence related area though
 

Matt_01

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@AisleSeat I am assuming that image is what I thought was the main entrance. I had not thought of the street view to post. There was a chap in the in that green shed and after explaining what I was looking for he pointed up towards the other security office. I had a 50/50 chance of being correct but was not. The street on the right with black building led to the War Memorial car park. The main entrance is on another street, I worked that much out on leaving.

While trying to communicate with the guard the only words I recall understanding were US military and that is when I left, I assumed it was a military base. Screen Shot 2021-04-13 at 1.30.03 pm.png
 
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AisleSeat

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@AisleSeat I am assuming that image is what I thought was the main entrance. I had not thought of the street view to post. There was a chap in the in that green sheed and after explaining what I was looking for he pointed up towards the other security office. I had a 50/50 chance of being correct but was not. The street on the right with black building led to the War Memorial car park. The main entrance is on another street, I worked that much out on leaving.

While trying to communicate with the guard the only words I recall understanding were US military and that is when I left, I assumed it was a military base. View attachment 245025
You know what, you're right, it is a base. The lack of a flag made it seem like it wasn't.

Base map: https://www.shopmyexchange.com/assets/map/map_yongsan2.pdf
 

Matt_01

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I'd argue it'd be a mistake to book right now (as in tying up points in a booking that may not happen).
I am happy to take the punt and tie up my points as reward space is wide open and with the current QF offer you can add, remove, change or cancel through to 28 Feb 22 without the points penalty. This offer effectively allows you to make and change booking to around mid Feb 23. My approach may seem flippant however I have points balance that allows me to tie up 2M+ QFF points in speculative bookings and not be concerned. As we get closer to the Sep/Oct period and depending how the vaccine roll out is going and opening up of countries I may just cancel a couple of these itineraries and start again for the Sep/Oct 22 school holidays. I do not use points at the store, domestic rewards/ upgrades so locking in speculative international travel has no impact on how I would use the points. I will also be making similar speculative bookings with SQ as these points will expire, this is family travel so who ends up on which airline is agreed at the time of booking and is subject to change as bookings change.
 
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