Notice: Function WP_Block_Type_Registry::register was called incorrectly. Block type "core/gallery" is already registered. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.0.0.) in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835

Notice: Undefined index: viator_tour in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/10up-gutenberg-migration/includes/SmarterTravel/Gutenberg/ShortcakeTranslator.php on line 70

Notice: Constant WP_CACHE already defined in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-config.php on line 137

Notice: Function WP_Scripts::localize was called incorrectly. The $l10n parameter must be an array. To pass arbitrary data to scripts, use the wp_add_inline_script() function instead. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.7.0.) in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/themes/smarter-travel/app/core/Locations/Types.php on line 166

Notice: Function WP_Scripts::localize was called incorrectly. The $l10n parameter must be an array. To pass arbitrary data to scripts, use the wp_add_inline_script() function instead. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.7.0.) in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835
The Best Travel Mistake I Ever Made

The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

X

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159

The Best Travel Mistake I Ever Made


Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159

I’ve made plenty of mistakes while traveling. I’ve forgotten everything from a computer charger to a camera, and I’ve scheduled flights so close together that more than once I’ve pulled what I call “the ‘Home Alone’ run,” in which I scurry through the airport like the McCallisters, just barely making it to the gate before it closes.

On a recent trip to Italy, I made one of my biggest mistakes yet — but it led to one of my fondest travel memories to date.

During a trip to Lake Maggiore, a newfound friend and I decided to take a cable car to the top of Mottarone, a mountain that overlooks the lake and the town of Stresa. The experience had been recommended to us by a few locals, though one woman warned us not to miss the last ride down the mountain.

Once there, we were rewarded with hiking trails and spectacular views (we could see seven different lakes and even a bit of Switzerland in the distance). We enjoyed ourselves so much that time flew quickly, and guess what? We missed the last ride down.

After we got past the initial “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” we found our way to the nearest business — actually, the only business; the restaurant was the only sign of civilization nearby. The owner, who barely spoke English, made a quick call, then told us it would be an hour before we could even get a taxi; after that, it would be at least a 45-minute drive and 60 euros back to our hotel. We were supposed to meet a group of friends for our last dinner together in Italy in an hour. We’d never make it.

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”

My friend ordered a beer and started chatting with the owner. Still in a state of panic, I grabbed a beer too, and, at her order, sat down to “try to relax.”

The owner kindly offered us plates of meat, cheese and bread on the house, and began to tell us about himself. It turned out he was the former mayor of Stresa, and he planned to run for office again. The restaurant he owned dated back several generations, and his mother, who also spoke to us, still cooked up some of the area’s best dishes (“People like the meatballs,” she said). The family also owned a hotel (adjacent to the restaurant) that was popular during ski season.

Caught up in conversation, it was actually disappointing to leave when the taxi driver finally arrived. As he whisked the car down hairpin turns, my friend and I agreed: this unexpected conversation with the locals was travel at its best, and an experience neither of us would forget.

What’s the best travel mistake you ever made?

— written by Amanda Geronikos

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From


Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159