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More Ways to Test – Vacation Bugs

cattle drive

My last post referenced some issues I’d found when planning a vacation. After taking that vacation, I discovered some more issues.

1. Environmental Considerations: Noise on the Shuttle Bus

We hired a rental car and had to take a shuttle bus from the airport terminal to the car rental lot. The bus was packed with lots of excited voices from people about to start their vacation. The driver of the bus made an announcement over the speaker system of the bus, but no one was able to hear it over the sound of vacation chatter.

This led to confusion when the bus stopped and the doors opened. It turned out that this was the stop for Gold Members only, which was what the driver was trying to tell us.

Lesson: Test your process/app in a realistic environment.

2. Local Domain Knowledge: Cows on the Road

The last couple of days of vacation were spent in a cabin 20 miles from the nearest town, looking down on a country highway. On our last morning, as we had our last cup of coffee, we heard the sound of cows.

It turned out to be a cattle drive along the road to the new pasture—really cool to see. But a couple of hours later when we set off for the airport, the herd was still ambling along the road, and we had to slowly wrangle our way past them. I’d worked out the travel time to get us to the airport and added in a safety factor for fuel stops and refreshment, but had not considered that a herd of cows would add an hour’s delay.

Lesson: Local domain knowledge is important. Getting that domain knowledge from locals can be hard. When I mentioned the cattle drive to the Airbnb host, he said he forgot to mention it as it was such a common, everyday occurrence to him.

3. A Wasted Step & Old Tech: No Confirmation Needed

I booked two activities to do on my vacation. For both of them, the email confirmation of my booking stressed that I must bring a printout of the confirmation to the activity.

Needless to say, neither of the activities asked for or looked at my confirmation. It also made me wonder about how many people actually have access to a printer. For a lot of people, their “home computer” is a mobile phone. How are you going to print from that?

Lesson 1: Test that the requirement actually makes sense, rather than just testing to see if it has been implemented correctly.

Lesson 2: Has your process stayed up to date with advances in technology and usage?


Those were some lessons I brought back from my vacation, but I also made sure that that majority of my time was spent actually relaxing. Have you learned anything from a vacation that you have used at work? Let me know in the comments.

Looking for more ways to test? Read some of the other posts in this series:

  1. Lights, Camera, Action, Bugs!
  2. Follow the Data
  3. Quick Attacks on CRUD Apps
  4. Is it a Good Story?
  5. Testing for App Consistency
  6. Quick Tests for Your Web App
  7. “Alarming” Problems You Should be Preventing
  8. A Tester’s Consistency Checklist
  9. Peripherals? I’d Forgotten about Those…
  10. Alternating Phone Models Per Test Cycle
  11. Using Tea/Coffee Breaks in your Mobile Testing
  12. Testing Error Conditions
  13. Travel Bugs