Traveling in Europe is much different than traveling within the US. It is much cheaper, there are more options, and it is more chaotic. Be aware that as much as you prepare, none of the plans you make are ever set in stone. My journey to Berlin was a perfect example of how everything could change in a matter of seconds.
Packed and ready to go, I took a taxi from my apartment to the airport. I was two hours early. When I handed my ticket to the woman at the ticket counter, she looked down and immediately informed me that my flight had just been cancelled because of a strike at the Berlin airport. The next flight out wasn’t for three days and wasn’t guaranteed. Frantically, I had to find another way to get to Berlin. I did not want to lose all of my prepaid Airbnb nights and disrupt my travel plans reserved to immediately follow my Berlin visit.
The only option was to take a 21-hour bus ride that left in 40 minutes. As quickly as possible I took a taxi to the bus station (20 min away). I got there just in time to board the bus. Although this was not my first option, the ride itself was quite beautiful as we traveled through Italy, Austria, and Germany.
When the bus reached the German border, of course ours was picked to be stopped and checked. About seven police officers boarded the bus at once and took everyones’ passports. This took about an hour and resulted in two people being thrown off the bus.
When I finally arrived in Berlin and went to my Airbnb, outside of the city, the host was nowhere to be found at the set time. I waited for about an hour and received no response from him. I had no place to stay and was in the middle of nowhere. I had to call a taxi and book a hotel for the rest of my stay.
The rest of the Berlin trip was truly amazing and less hectic, but the process of getting there was ridiculous. It definitely taught me to go with the flow and not worry because things will always work out eventually, maybe just not the way you planned.