In less than a week, I will be taking my first ever long-haul flight, taking me from Singapore to Munich, Germany. It has been a frantic six or so months preparing for this trip, from securing the necessary funds to procuring a visa, and even figuring out what clothes to pack (still not done, by the way).

These aren’t the only things one thinks about when one is traveling, of course. There are also things beyond or barely within your control, like what happens on your flight, or anything involving your own personal safety and security. Sure, you can make precautions like preparing travel insurance (which is required for my Schengen visa anyway) or purchasing “travel-safe” equipment, but sometimes, well… shit happens.

As I’m preparing for my trip, I’ve been taking a few small trips here and there, and for whatever reason, assorted travel mishaps have befallen me. I’d like to think of this as a way of cleansing my travel karma, making sure all the bad stuff happens in more familiar territory, and not in a strange new country (heck, strange new continent, even). Hopefully, I don’t experience any of this during my two weeks in Europe.

So, what bad stuff has happened to me?

1. Canceled Flight – Jakarta to Singapore

In late February, I took a quick weekend trip to Jakarta. Lufthansa had promotional fares for a Singapore-Jakarta roundtrip, and I took it. It was an excuse to try Lufthansa before my long flight with the same airline, a chance to see Jakarta for the first time, and a way to earn a few extra frequent flyer miles along the way. I was scheduled to fly back on a Thursday night; I was scheduled for work on Friday morning. Things seemed to be going as planned; the first sign that something was amiss was the boarding time passing without any calls to board. Minutes later, the dreaded announcement was made: Our flight had been canceled.

The reason was that the flight from Singapore to Jakarta had to turn back due to a problem with the rudder of the plane; in retrospect, a canceled flight is much better than flying a plane with problems. After the announcement came chaos; as it turns out, the flight was but one leg of a Jakarta-Singapore-Frankfurt flight, which mean a lot of people were going to miss out on returning to Europe. I was going to miss work. In the end, I spent one more day in Jakarta staying at a hotel paid for by the airline, with complimentary buffet dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Apart from that missed day of work, it wasn’t too bad. I don’t need that kind of stress for my European trip, though!

2. Lost Wallet – Little India, Singapore

I was giving my two CouchSurfers a tour of the city when this happened. One minute, I had my wallet in my pocket, the next minute, my pocket felt a lot lighter than it should. I ended up losing my wallet, some cash, bank cards, and my Singapore identity card. It’s unclear as to whether I simply dropped the wallet or someone picked it out of my pocket, but what’s clear is that after retracing my steps and looking around carefully, the wallet was nowhere to be found.

This is a case of what happens when you get too comfortable. You become complacent, opening you up to things like this. I believe that most petty crimes (particularly pickpocketing) are avoidable anywhere in the world if you’re vigilant, or at least aware of your surroundings; you don’t need fancy gear to prevent it. Unfortunately at that moment, I was careless, and I lost some stuff. (Thankfully, apart from the cash, all were easily replaced here in Singapore.)

3. Lost ATM/Debit Card – Bangkok, Thailand

AKA, Reasons Not to Get Too Drunk While Traveling, Part One. It was Songkran, and as tends to happen while out drinking with friends, I was running out of cash. The bar we were at on Khao San Road didn’t take credit cards, so I had to withdraw cash. Luckily, there was an ATM across the street. Unfortunately, I was quite drunk at the time that I didn’t notice I inserted a train ticket along with my ATM card. We managed to take the train ticket out, but the ATM card remained in the machine, and the machine itself died. I was advised to call the bank or wait until Monday (after the long Songkran holiday), but I would be flying out the next day. Bummer.

I called my local bank to cancel the card, and got a replacement as soon as I got to Singapore.

4. Missed Flight – Bangkok to Singapore

AKA, Reasons Not to Get Too Drunk While Traveling, Part Two. My Songkran adventure in Bangkok was to end on Thursday night. I had work scheduled for Friday afternoon, so I had booked myself on the first flight out of Bangkok on Friday morning. Unfortunately for me, that meant an 8am flight, and I needed to be at the airport by 6am.

I got home from the previous night’s festivities in the wee hours of Friday morning, yet somehow had enough foresight to set my mobile phone’s alarm clock. However, my body had other plans, and it ignored the alarm. As a result, I woke up at 7am. I did my best to rush to the airport, but it was all for naught; I had missed my flight. This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if I wasn’t chasing work that day, but I was, so I booked the first available flight… which, unfortunately for my budget, was Singapore Airlines. Ouch.