Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacation Disasters?

Cindy (AKA Cynthia) tagged me to do a post of vacation disasters. I am honestly having a hard time thinking of one - we usually (knock on wood) have really great vacations that go very smoothly. Which is possibly why I like vacations so much.

The only thing that comes to mind is more in the realm of financial stress which occurred while on vacation. The vacation was still really fun and I have fond memories of it - but it was very stressful while it was happening.

We were vacationing up the coast of California - up highway 1. I LOVE that vacation. We started out at Universal Studios in LA and then drove up to Ventura, stayed at the beach, went to Hearst Castle, stayed in Morro Bay, went to Carmel and Big Sur, and then on to San Francisco and stayed in this really awesome hotel in Knob Hill - we did all the usual San Francisco stuff and stayed there for several days and threw in one day up to Tracy California to visit Kirk's sister and then drove back down the coast again, stopping at Monterey and Morro Bay again on our way home. It was lovely.

However. Right before we left I made sure we had enough money in the account to pay for the trip. I knew it would be kind of expensive but I had it planned out pretty well. I had bought the tickets to Universal Studios online through what I thought was the usual Universal Studio ticket system (I'm still unclear about whether it was or not) - my tickets were slightly cheaper that way and had come by Fed Ex before we left. Included in the deal was our hotel room in Studio City. The day before we left I checked my bank account and ALL of my money was gone. It took a while to figure out but when I bought my tickets they stole my credit card number (which was really my debit card) and someone in Coral Gables Florida (where the tickets came from) was using it to withdraw money from my account. I am still not even sure how they did this. They looked like withdrawal transactions you would have to have the pin number to use - but somehow, they were able to do it through some kind of dishonest banking situation there. Eventually it turned out to be a little group of 3 people who were involved in doing this to multiple people. The bank would return my money but not immediately - in the meantime, I was ready to head out like the next day.

Luckily, my friend was able to loan us the money for a couple of days until the bank could put the money back. So disaster averted.

Or so I thought.

In the middle of the trip I went to withdraw some cash and once again, there is almost no money in the account - I freaked out. So I called the bank to try to figure out what was going on. Apparently, when I agreed to make a payment on my state of Arizona tax bill the lady I set up the payment with at the state entered it as paying the full amount instead of the 3 separate payments - I had authorized them to withdraw the money, but not that amount and all at once. So I am in the middle of San Francisco, about to catch a boat to Alcatraz, with next to no money in the bank. We don't really believe in using credit cards so while most people would probably just pull out their credit card and start charging, that's not really an option.

So I call my friend in a panic. She has already loaned me all the money she has to get me on the trip in the first place so I know she doesn't have any more money now. But somehow it all got worked out - another friend happened to be holding on to some money that she didn't need to be paid back for a month and I could borrow it from her. They put the money in my bank account almost immediately and my family never really knew disaster was averted.

It was very stressful there for an hour or so!

But I still fondly remember the vacation even though there was financial stress involved. Luckily it all worked out with the bank returning my money and I was able to pay the other friend back as soon as we got home. In situations like that you feel 1) really thankful for great friends and 2) thankful that Heavenly Father looks out for us! Anyway that's how I felt. There was a lot of stress in our life at that time and we really needed the vacation and even though it seemed like everything conspired against us to keep us from being able to go - somehow it all got worked out!

Okay I tag Shando and anyone else who wants to play along!


Cynthia said...

Vacationing without money? Yeah that's a bit scary. We planned our vacation pretty well, and still made 2 trips to an ATM during the week. Glad the trip went well anyway. I love that drive up the coast as long as you have time to spread it out. Dave and I loved it for half the drive, then realized we were cutting it close for a program we had tickets for in San Francisco so we had to speed it up. We got there with a little motion queasiness, those roads wind back and forth so much! Beautiful drive though.

Cynthia said...

oh - and I love that I have an "AKA".


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