Travel disaster diaries: 5 people share their bizarre roaming stories
If you thought Varun Thakur’s jokes are just funny situations other people encounter, you’ll be surprised to know what these 5 people faced during their travel abroad.
Ever wished that you had an ultra cheap calling or a data plan when travelling overseas? Some of us may just want it for Facebook and Instagram updates, but for others this may be serious business. We speak to some professionals and bring to you five bizarre roaming stories where someone actually lost a job opportunity or even their girlfriend because they could not stay connected.
1.Slept through a meeting
South Indian conservative joint family – what do you expect? My job was my most adventurous escapade. ‘I am working late today’ often meant I am carrying a change of clothes and going to the pub with my office buddies and lying to you about it. And then came my first work trip abroad with colleagues. Are you kidding me! I was going to go all out on this one. Armed with the shield of “I don’t have international roaming so I’ll Whatsapp when possible,” I went sightseeing and shopping every day after work. It all went well until in Vegas, a night of drinking had me good.
Back in my room I had totally passed out. Worse, I put my phone on silent because incoming calls while travelling abroad cost the moon and I didn’t mean to take any. The next morning my colleagues were desperately trying to reach me for the 9 AM meeting we’d been preparing for. I didn’t hear a thing… and ended up missing the meeting altogether! Travelling without a roaming that allows reasonable incoming calls really backfired for me. Even if you’re with colleagues, you never know when the need to stay connected may arise.
Soundarya Natarajan is a marketing professional with a global FMCG firm.
2.Lost in Paris
My first trip abroad on my own was memorable – for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to be on my own and take in the air of Paris. Not hard pressed for time, I decided to walk around and explore the city.
I didn’t speak a word of French but thought I could always rely on my GPS. So every day I spent oodles of time on my phone GPS. Back at the hotel, however, an email about my phone bill left me utterly crippled for the rest of the trip. I’d been gobbling data and it cost me dearly. Now it was all about poring over incomprehensible maps and trying to communicate in sign language with the French. Was that irritation I was reading on their faces?
I still look back and think if I had a good roaming plan with a data package, I might have gotten more out of my trip.
Riddhi Chawla is a fashion designer launching her own boutique.
3.An image crisis
When you are in PR you should never fully disconnect. What was a maxim became an experience for me. I was on a family holiday after two years of mind numbing hours at work ridden with crisis management. Naturally, I decided to keep the mobile at bay and didn’t get a roaming connection. This also meant I wasn’t checking email except when I sporadically had access to Wi-Fi.
But my holiday quickly turned into a nightmare. There was a PR crisis that had to be handled immediately. Not only did I get to know about it much later, I had to end up staying back at the hotel – for the Wi-Fi – to do some fire fighting. All this while my family half heartedly went out on their own. If only I’d taken a decent roaming plan with a data connection, I could have pre-empted the disaster and nipped it in the bud.
Vikram Arora is a PR executive working for a major auto brand.
I’ll never forget my trip to Seattle to work on a client’s project. What can I say? A blissful time followed by an intense blow. I was on-site for two months. We had a studio apartment with a mini bar, on-the-house laundry facilities and meals, the works. Only trouble was I couldn’t keep in touch with my girlfriend and family very much. My girlfriend and I had been dating only for a couple of months so we would Skype often - thankfully we had Wi-Fi. But there was no privacy for long chats because I was sharing the apartment with a colleague.
When I returned to Mumbai, she began keeping her distance and finally confessed that she had moved on with someone else because she thought I wasn’t interested. “If you were into me, you would have at least taken a roaming plan with incoming calls,” were her words.
Rajat Banerji is an IT consultant with the India office of a US firm.
5.Opportunity knocks on a jammed door
My friends lauded me when I quit my extremely stressful job. But only I knew that I had invited more stress into my life. For 4 months I searched high and low for the right opportunity and when things started looking bleak, I decided to go visit my sister abroad. Travel would be a much needed pause between the pages and give me a fresh perspective. Since I was with my sister, I didn’t think I’d need a roaming plan. How I regret that now!
I decided to take off for a couple of days on my own and return to my sister’s. I visited the Redwood forests and Yosemite National Park and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Upon my return after 4 days, I learnt that my Mom had been trying to reach me frantically because a job opportunity had finally come up and they needed to have a telephonic discussion urgently. I, of course, returned their call but it was too late. They had shortlisted other candidates. Felt like nasty luck because as they say, opportunity doesn’t knock twice. You can’t overestimate how handy a good roaming connection with incoming calls facility is.
Sulabh Pande is a data scientist, previously with a fashion e-commerce portal.
While the need to disconnect is the new mantra for detox, we may end up in a greater quagmire without the option to connect. Riddhi, Soundarya, Vikram, Rajat and Sulabh may have ended up in a soup, but thankfully Airtel now has you covered with new smartpacks for international roaming.
Designed for the frequent traveller for whom incoming calls cause a major dent in the wallet, Airtel’s smartpack offers unlimited incoming. Meanwhile, executives will also find the 3 GB data offer extremely useful. But if you really just want to call your wife back home after a long day, there are some free calls to India as well.