Tourists Share Stories About Their Ruined Vacations

Tourists Share Stories About Their Ruined Vacations

When you imagine going on vacation, you likely picture yourself somewhere tropical, laying on a beach with a fruity drink in hand. Or maybe you picture yourself going on a scenic hike, taking in breath-taking views from the top of the mountain.

What you probably don't factor into these fantasies, though, are the downsides to traveling. Not only are there common inconveniences and mistakes you need to be on the lookout for when traveling, but there are also plenty of downright disastrous situations you could find yourself in if you're not careful—like unexpected pregnancies, pet dogs getting sick, and storms that appear to come out of nowhere.

Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than reading through some of the following horror stories tourists recently shared.


52. Terrifying Tornado

When I was ten, my family and I went to Myrtle Beach, SC. I remember having a blast because I'd bought a pack of Pokemon cards and got a foil Charizard, which I was super excited about. Then there was a tornado, directly in front of our hotel, in the ocean. I think it may be called a waterspout? I'm not sure. Anyways, after the terrifying ordeal, there were fish everywhere on the beach, and we went home.


51. Decked out in Japan.

A hotel in Osaka stole most of my clothes. I'd complain, but they gave me 10,000 yen to make up for it, which was incredibly nice of them because my clothes did not cost anywhere near that much. The only problem was trying to find clothes that fit me in Japan because I am not Japan-sized. Overall, net win.


50. Regret down South.

In-laws went to Mexico for their 25th anniversary, I specifically told them not to leave the resort or drink the water... they did both. Practically got kidnapped getting onto a boat alone with some locals who said they wanted to show them another resort. They ended up far away from their hotel and had to run miles to their resort after these people demanded money. Then when they got home they were sick for two weeks from drinking the water.


49. Fight in France.

In France I was watching the Eiffel Tower at night, admiring the pretty lights. I was sitting at the ledge of a building, on the other side, it was a long way down. While admiring a tower, I hear people shouting and then running, then it started to get louder. As I'm turning around I see a police officer sprinting after a souvenir salesman. He then proceeds to tackle him to the floor right under me, almost knocking me off the ledge! I was so confused as to what was going on. The salesman got on his feet, kicked the officer down and bolted off. The officer stood up and started smashing the guy's merchandise. Paris wasn't exactly the city of love that night.

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48. Hurting in Hawaii.

I tore my Achilles tendon while playing a pickup game of basketball in Hawaii. I was in denial for a couple of days until it swelled up like a cantaloupe and I finally flew back home to Colorado to get surgery.


47. Hold onto your valuables.

In Vietnam, I was going for a dip on the beach with a pretty Brit, when some beggar ran up and took our bags. I lost all my credit cards, ATM cars, cash, glasses, jacket, phone, hotel key, and camera. Of course, Vietnam is so great that I still had a pretty good time that trip.

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46. Too hot to handle.

I got second degree sunburn on my face and my husband got third degree sunburns on both arms from our fishing vacation in Colorado. He ended up being so burnt that when we got back to North Dakota that he had to miss a full week of work because he was blistered so bad. He was back at work the next week and they fired him. So that was fun.


45. Look out below.

Growing up, my family traveled around the US. We were on our way from Alabama to go around the West coast to Yellowstone and back. When we got to Texas, we stopped at the Alamo. It was awesome. We were posing for a picture underneath a tree and, all of a sudden, a little black bird started attacking me. Out of 4 people; me. I flip out and run away. We continue our site seeing around the Alamo and, again, I'm attacked by that little black bird. I ran away and  I sit down to nurse my wound (a tiny cut) and look up into a tree looming overhead. Lo and behold, there sits the bird.  Then, it pooped - right into my face. My mouth was open, my eyes were open, I wasn't happy. Long story short, I set up an eye infection somewhere in Northern California and had to take a day of our vacation getting checked out at the hospital. The Alamo is an awesome place, but that bird had it out for me.

4514108926_f3425eee24_o-300x225.jpgNatasha Baucas/Flickr

44. Tiny invasion.

Our hotel room had a lovely colony of ants accompanying us for the week we were staying there. We didn't find them until the last day when my mom left a cracker out and, 40 minutes later, the thing was crawling with ants. The periodic itching during the night the entire week became that much more unsettling...

For the record, it was a "nice" hotel and we were on something like the 18th floor. Not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to find insects in.

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43. Stormed in.

Just arrived in Costa Rica only to have our small plane flights canceled. We took a bus to our destination and it just rained and blew and rained some more. We lost power for days. It turns out there was a tropical storm which turned to a hurricane (Alma). We had no idea because we were so out of contact out there. No internet, tv, radio, etc... Didn't speak enough Spanish to know any better. We just thought it was an intense storm (Well I guess it was....).

I actually had a great time though. A wet, dirty great time.



42. Super sick sac.

Super terrible homecoming after one of the best vacations ever. Literally was sick from the time the wheels left the ground at takeoff until we touched down at home. I think it may have been the gyro I braved in the airport before leaving Jamaica, but I was hungry! Anyway, after filling numerous shall we say 'courtesy bags', flight attendants gave me a garbage bag. Yep, that's right, good ole 13 gallon hefty. At that point I could not care about the seat belt light, I just grabbed my pillow and blanket and curled up on the stinking, blue water covered restroom floor. Was in there for like three hours, but I honestly don't think the fellow passengers minded. Worst flight EVER!


41. All leaking out.

I spent 8 days in Colorado. It rained every day until the day we left. Our cabin leaked so much that it was a maze weaving between all the buckets on the floor inside. And best of all, I tripped while running on a river of rocks and hit my head on the way down.


40. Family vacation, meet natural disaster.

One family vacation started off with my dad and stepmom (both certified crazy people) yelling at an attendant in the airport. We fly out to New Orleans, spend a few days there, take a cruise through the Caribbean, randomly drive up through Alabama and back for a couple more days in New Orleans. At this point, they're issuing another hurricane warning (this is the one around a year or two after Katrina?) and my dad wants to stay in New Orleans and rescue animals. HE WANTS TO STAY IN THE HURRICANE. Thankfully, our hotel kicks us out and we're forced to evacuate. My dad has a diabetic episode and swerves off of the road. My stepbrother pees in a can, chucks it out the window, and takes the wheel while my dad and stepmom pass out for the rest of the trip. Thank god he was there.

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39. A watery end.

I was about 6 or 7 in Wisconsin Dells at an indoor water park. I had already had a couple years of swimming lessons and was good for my age. I had to go with my parents on all of the rides but one time my dad was infront of me and went alone and I followed by myself. On this particular ride, you had to use a raft thingy to go on it so I set mine down in the entry shoot and the lifeguard held it while I got in. So he asks "are you ready" and I say "yes" so he kicks the raft, and it just flies out from under me so I try to just grab for anything that I can to stop myself from going down but couldn't. So I'm going down this ride scared that I'm going to die or we will get kicked out. The next thing I remember is flying out of the ride and hitting the water and just sinking. I remember distinctly looking up at the top of the water wondering "What do I do?" Next thing I remember is the lifeguard at the bottom jumping in and grabbing me and handing me over to my father.


38. Made with love.

Flew down to Florida to meet my friend and join him on the road trip back to Seattle. We stayed at his Grandma's apartment that she was just moving out of as she had gotten a new place at a retirement home a little ways away. The only thing left in the apartment where we were staying to eat were some old boiled eggs she had left in the refrigerator and a can of whipped cream. I ate a couple of boiled eggs and my friend ate boiled eggs with whipped cream. Flash forward a couple hours and he starts to have bad gas inside the car. We are on the freeway, traveling at 60+ mph and I have my head all the way out the passenger window and I was still gagging because the smell was so atrocious. Lesson learned.


37. Too much fun in the sun.

I was about 9 and my parents took my sister and I to mexico. The first day of the vacation I go out and swim in the ocean because I'd never seen it and thought it was awesome! They went to a little welcome seminar. I stayed and played in the ocean all day! By the time I got back to the room I was all wore out and they were telling my sister and I what they learned at the seminar. Their best advice was not to get sun burnt on the first day. I look in the mirror and I'm as red as a pepper! I put some lotion on and went to bed. In the morning I woke up and had blisters all over my body. Turns out I got 2nd degree burns ALL OVER! Including my face. I felt disfigured and horrible for most of the vacation. I only went out at night with a big hat on. I certainly learned my lesson.



36. The worst news.

I was having a really bad few years. My Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, huge issues with some bully at work who I had to fight with in HR meetings all the time, severe homesickness while being stuck on one of the British Isles where it just rained all the time. I was so ready for a vacation, but all of my money was being sunk into flights home to visit my very sick dad. All I needed was a coconut colada and a beachy island to make the bad few years go away for a while.

Then my luck changed for a minute when I received an all expenses paid, week-long trip to the Canary Islands to look forward to. Flights, 3 bedroom luxury suite with giant balcony overlooking the ocean, car rental. I needed that trip, I was desperate for that trip. And then my dad passed away. I had to return to the States and give the trip away to my friends. Oddly, their flights took off a half hour before mine did, so I waved them off at the airport. I had to go home for a funeral & deliver my dad's eulogy. I had to go face the darkest period of my life while my friends got my sunny island trip. To make matters worse, moving home sent my finances sinking, and I still haven't recouped the funds to go on any vacation at all. All I want is that island trip. I still need that island trip.


35. An explosive time abroad.

In the early 90's, flew into Baku, Azerbaijan for a business (oil business) meeting. Was staying at one of their major-chain international hotels. Arrived after 3 layovers, rumpety-bumpety flight over the Caspian after 2 aborted attempts to get out of Heathrow (due to weather). We're all tired, speak no Azeri and were literally dragging ourselves to the hotel. Drop passports off at the registration desk and make a beeline to get some food at a table there.

30 minutes later, an unscheduled mortar round crashes into the lobby, taking out some luggage, a potted plant and a lot of drywall.


34. Dublin's that good.

I was dumped by my fiancé over a crackly phone call (which I placed) while in Dublin, after three weeks of barely getting emails from him while I wrote him almost daily from all over Europe. The vacation itself was pretty fantastic, though. I managed to make the best of it.


33. Lost in limbo.

I had a bit of a rough start to a trip this year. I lost my laptop bag at the airport, and most of the employees were incompetent when it came to helping me get it back. I was blatantly lied to on a few occasions. It had a new laptop and various other items that made the contents of the bag total more than $2000. It put a serious downer on the first 3 days of my trip. Luckily, a kind person gave it back to me with the contents intact!


32. Emotionally charged.

Less than a month after getting married we went on a trip (which had been planned since before we decided to get married) with my whole family. To skip all the drama, husband had a huge fight with my mom, cut trip short and had to pay a bunch of money on last minute flight changes. Emotionally this was my worst vacation ever.


31. Awful time in Alaska.

I went to Alaska with my family. Our flight was late. SURPRISE surprise. Since the flight was delayed, they gave our rental car away. So we had to call a taxi. It was late and we stayed at a subpar hotel. The first room we got was supposed to be non-smoking. It wasn't. We get a new room, in the back building. That's promising. Our shoes stuck and peeled off the linoleum when we walked through. Paint drips on the toaster. A HUGE gap under the door that leads to a sketchy back alley. The toilet seat was a foamy one, but it had cracks so the foam was poking out. The phone in the room didn't even belong to the hotel and the buttons stuck. The color tubes were out on the tv so we watched Castaway in blue. I slept in my clothes above the sheets. During the middle of the night, there was a fight in said alley. The couch was moved in front of the back door. Continental breakfast? Coffee. But we got out and took a rental to Denali.



30. Dog's day afternoon.

Parents, aunt, my dog and I went on a car trip to Las Vegas. The ride was about 10 hours long. About half-way through, my dog is shaking slightly as she is standing in my lap with her head out of the window (sort of, this is a minivan and windows don't open that wide. But she's small ~10 lbs). I was slightly perplexed about this behavior but brushed it off as her being slightly cold and hugged her a little closer. Suddenly, she releases everything inside that she has been holding in since we left. All those days of walking her didn't prepare me for this mess. On the grass, it seems a reasonable amount to clean up. But on top of me, that was a massive flash flood of lumpy and watery horror. To add insult to injury, I got sick a little from the smell. My aunt was freaking out since she was sitting next to me and my dad nearly canceled the trip because he was so angry. We ended up throwing out the entire second row seat along with my soiled clothes. The multi-shaded seat belt remained (unfortunately) and my dog had to stay on the floor of the car for the rest of the trip.


29. Crowded in celebration.

First time going to Rome. Went with a huge group of people (extended family) numbering about 20. After a slight ordeal getting on the plane, we land and head for the metro (subway). Everything is calm; only a few other people are in the station. As we wait for the subway, thousands of people come storming by and crowd onto the train. Italy had just won some soccer game (I think it was the game before the world cup). We all try to get onto the metro amidst a huge crowd waving flags and singing, "Ole! ole ole ole, ole! ole!" My grandmother, my brother, and my father were unable to get on the train and were left behind. After some back and forth we finally got everyone together again.


28. A little rocky.

I was on a plane from Alice Springs in Australia to Sydney, the plane started shaking and everyone knew something was wrong. Apparently, they had to waste fuel but the plane kept going up and down in the sky. Pretty scary stuff.


27. An extra hot honeymoon.

I woke up in the middle of the night on my honeymoon with a fever of 103. I spent the entire next day in the infirmary and then quarantined in our cabin because they were worried that I had swine flu.


26. Mechanical issues in Montana.

White Hall, Montana. Town of less than a hundred. Stuck in a Super 8 motel for four days while a mechanic works on our car and a blizzard had closed down half the town leaving me nothing to do but watch the one local news channel.


25. Stuck in the terminal.

Had a 1 hour layover in Tampa, it turned into a 13 hour layover. My wife and I created the terminal bar crawl. It was actually awesome, but would have been a nightmare with the wrong person in tow.


24. Blame Goofy.

Went to Florida with my family. Disney has this thing where they take your bags to your room from the airport. My bag was taken. We did not stay with Disney. Apparently, the guy doing it thought my tag looked like the ones they put on the Disney luggage. (It didn't. Mine was orange, theirs are yellow). I went without clothes for a day before knowing what happened to it. My sister refused to lend me any clothes even though I had nothing. People's true character comes out in certain situations.


23. Dry as a desert.

Went to Central American country in hot July, the off season. Hotel was right on a river. When we got there we were hot and sweaty and looking forward to jumping in the HUGE river nearby. We got there and this 50 foot wide, 10 foot deep river was bone dry.


22. Crying at the canyon.

I cried at the Grand Canyon when I was in 8th Grade because I didn't want to look at "rocks", I proceeded to stay in the car the whole time in 90 degree weather while sweating my bum off and crying.


21. Like one of the locals.

Got pregnant in South East Asia by a guy I had known for a month who, it later came to light, already had a South East Asian girlfriend who was already pregnant. There's more to it, but that's the gist of my nightmare.


20. The true nightmare is right here.

I left ALL of my delicious Mexican snacks and candies in the hotel room on our last day there. I'm still traumatized.


19. Only one way to fly.

My horrible travel experience is commercial airlines, period. Everything about them is counter-intuitive. Ok, they do get you where you want to go. But if you spent the same amount of money on anything else and it was that bad, you would take it back, give them a piece of your mind and demand your money back. But they are a monopoly. You have no choice. If you go to another airline they will be just as bad or worse.


18. Stay off your feet.

On day 4 on a trip to the Caribbean I noticed my feet and ankles looked like I had been stood in boiling water but didn't pay any attention to it until a family member brought it up, by day 5 it had traveled so a doctor was called out and it turns out I contracted blood poisoning and couldn't expose my feet and ankles to sun and water... bonus point was I had to ice them down for 4 days constantly and keep them elevated. I missed the water parks and all the other fun activities! That vacation was 2 weeks too.

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17. Almost made it.

I went to El Salvador for a wedding with my husband and a good sized group of people. Almost everyone got food poisoning on the last night of the trip except me and a couple of other people. That was the plane ride from hell. Everyone was barfing, and taking turns blowing up the bathroom just in rotation for the whole flight. It smelled horrendous on that plane. I watched my husband fill up multiple barf bags. By the time we made it back, my husband was so sick and weak that he just grabbed a wheelchair and I wheeled him around. Then we had to go through the whole process of getting back into the country and getting our luggage, which took forever, and most of our group was sitting or laying on the ground waiting in the lines. I felt so bad for everyone. El Salvador was rad, though.


16. Running out of air.

Was messing around in a wave pool at a hotel in Florida when I was maybe 12 years old or so. So many people, so many floats. I was a smaller kid so physical strength was not my strong suit. A man in a float rode a wave right into my face. I got knocked under the water and then dragged by the wave to the shallow end. I got wedged between the floor of the pool and a massive woman in a float. She did not even know I was down there. I started running out of air, and punching her in the nether region a few times. She finally got up and I poked my head up through the float and gasped for air. She probably thought she gave birth to a 12 year old. Never have been in a wave pool since.

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15. Under the weather.

I took a solo trip to Canada for a long weekend once, and it ended up pouring the entire weekend, start to finish. I had only planned outdoor activities, so I pretty much just stayed in the air bnb for most of the weekend. Assuming that I'd be out doing fun things all day, I had picked a very, very basic air bnb, so I didn't even have WiFi or a TV. I essentially did nothing but visit a museum all weekend.

Then, to add insult to injury, my flight home was delayed by 12 hours, and the landing was so turbulent that I ended up throwing up in my purse, because I (of course) couldn't find a plastic bag. I wasn't about to just leave a purse full of vomit for some poor stewardess to clean up, so I carried it through the airport until I found a trash can. A leather purse full of vomit. Good stuff.

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14. Test the relationship.

I went to Puerto Rico with the wrong person - my boyfriend. He was totally rigid and wasn't into going off the beaten path (even though my brother-in-law's aunt lived there and could have given us some really nice/safe suggestions on where to go).

We rented a car to go to El Yunque (rainforest) and he was supposed to bring our water/sunscreen but forgot in the car. Then, we were supposed to hike the easy path but he took us on the hard one and when I finally told him I couldn't keep up and wanted to turn back, he lectured me and yelled at me in the middle of the rainforest.

By the time I got back to my car (alone, because he wanted to see the waterfall), I was dehydrated, sunburned, and crying because he was such a jerk about everything. We broke up a few months later. I couldn't stand him anymore.

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13. Enough adventure.

When my family and I went to Colorado, we went river rafting. We were almost finished, with only about 2 more rapids to go, when we collided with another raft and a rock. The guide yelled "high side," to have us get to the high side of the raft, so that it would even out, but we ended up falling into the river. We were all separated, and some of my family got trapped under the raft. (the raft was pushing them down, and their life jackets pushing them up) They said it was scary as hell.

I ended up floating alone. I eventually made my way to the river bank, but I was terrified for my family. My Mom and brother did not know how to swim. I knew they had life jackets on, but I thought that they would panic.

Long story short, we were way lucky. Everyone made it back to the check point, basically all in one piece. (some cuts and bruises) Needless to say, I've never gone river rafting again. :-) I was 12 when this happened, so it was 1994. No more rafting for me.

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12. It's contagious.

Wife and I went to Orlando on a business trip, her work had some sort of conference, but I'd taken the week off. A couple of days into the trip we noticed that a child in the room next to use was crying nonstop for hours at a time. Soon we also heard the mom crying too, we heard her say with anguish, "Not again, please!!"

One day after that I happened to be coming back to the room after breakfast and noticed that the housekeepers were heading in that room with their form of hazmat gear; rubber gloves, face masks, and bleach. We found out why shortly thereafter. The mom and kid had some kind of stomach flu.

The night after they'd gone, I woke up early in the morning with stomach cramps and a not-so-fresh feeling. My wife felt similarly but apparently I'd gotten the worst of it. Diarrhea was bad, nausea was worse, but no vomiting at least. However I unfortunately had to drive us home that afternoon, and just before we loaded up to go, I was cradling my head on my laptop case waiting for my wife to wrap up her conference crap, kind of moaning and rocking back and forth.

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11. Mosquito massacre.

My family and I went down to Nagshead, North Carolina for a camping trip. We got a spot on the beach but it wasn't as close to water as we hoped. Turned out it was only really close to a pool of water that just sat. This happened to breed a lot of mosquitoes. Now I'm used to bugs no problem. Unfortunately, swarm is the best word I can think of to describe the amount there was here. We decided to try and make the best of it.

Even on top of all of this there was a heat wave out of nowhere with temperatures over 100 degrees F. By the end of the first night we had a visible 50 bug bits per person. We tried everything to get them away and the only thing that worked was a light inside the camper that would distract them from us. Sadly this light "went out" every once in a while because there were so many bugs on the light you stopped seeing it.

This would require us to kill them so the light would distract more. This lead to a good portion of the ceiling covered in a mix of what I assume is mosquito blood and what they had sucked out of us. Kinda looked like a murder occurred but on the ceiling. The next morning we were tired, miserable, hot, and covered in bug bites. We like to call this vacation the Nagshead Massacre.


10. Tagging along.

My parents decided they were going to meet some friends in Las Vegas, and they didn't trust me to stay home alone. This happened to be the weekend of my 16th birthday (Nevada desert. In August). I was pretty angsty at the time anyway, so being forced into something I didn't want to do on my birthday made it that much worse. I spent as much time in the hotel room as possible, except for venturing out to eat a few times, and checking out the rides on top of the Stratosphere.

I kept waking up in the morning with a terrible sore throat. It got worse as we made the drive back to southern California, and the day after getting home I was down for the count. My tonsils were swollen to the size of ping pong balls and covered in white patches. Go to the doctor after a few days of this to find I'd contracted mono. I'd take a round of antibiotics, and would be cool for a few months until it flared up again. I went through 4 bouts of it during my junior year. But oh, it gets better! Because of my already weakened immune system, while traveling that Christmas I got the flu, which progressed into pneumonia. I damn near died.

I've had 2 rounds of pneumonia since then. It wasn't until I was 24 that my immune system started running at full capacity again. Haven't had pneumonia in 5 years, or any symptoms of mono in 10.

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9. Cartoon nightmare.

12 years old, I accompanied my family on vacation to Lake George, NY. We were camping at Jelly Stone park campgrounds. For the record, yes, it is a national chain of campgrounds themed after Yogi the bear... Sigh.

As a 12 year old kid, I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of hanging out with costumed Yogi characters, but I figured camping was alright enough..

Except rain. Rain rain rain, every day. The tents weren't holding up well, the ground became soft sloppy mud. The only reprieve was a camp rec room on the grounds. Unfortunately, it was the size of your average classroom and half the space was occupied by people in yogi the bear costumes.

5 days of hanging out in a cramped cabin recroom with yogi the bear characters.

The final morning we woke up and the camp grounds were empty. I'm talking completely vacant. Turns out during that nights storm a tornado touched down less than a mile away and everyone was evacuated. Somehow my family of oblivious yogi worshipping nutcases had slept through the ruckus completely undisturbed.

To this day was the last time I went camping.

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8. Hopefully the apple fell far from the tree.

On a trip to Disneyland we went to a Carls Jr. after closing time and there was a HUGE line at the drive thru, my mom actually went inside and complained to the manager and suggested that there be two drive thrus at this Carl's Jr, one for regular cars and one for Mazdas, (No, I'm not kidding) which is the car she drives.

This one isn't really directly related to vacations, but we were on vacation went we went to see this movie... At the movie theatre she exploded and went crazy on the poor teenage cashier who was getting our popcorn simply because there was traffic on the road and it made us semi late for our movie, she kept asking him about the traffic outside and when he said that he didn't know how the traffic was (which he wouldn't, he's working) she went crazy and started threatening to tell the manager that he was being rude to customers. There was even a brief moment where me and the cashier looked into each other's eyes and kind of had a brief conversation that was like "Dude, your mom is crazy" and I replied "I know.. sorry.."

On a vacation to New York city she kept complaining very loudly to random pedestrians, that there is too much traffic in New York City, and they should really ban cars there because it's making the tourists feel uncomfortable. (As if she wanted the pedestrians to do something about it)

In Washington D.C. she flagged down a police officer and complained to him that the National Mall was too big, and that it should be made smaller so tourists can more easily get around.

7. Happy anniversary, honey.

My wife and I rented a cabin with an indoor pool and a hot tub for our anniversary one year in pigeon forge. When we got there the pool was leaking and water in the hot tub was green. We called maintenance and they came out but the guy didn't have a filter for the hot tub and he said they would have to order a new part for the pool. So they moved us to another cabin which was about 15 miles from where we were. When we get there that hot tub isn't working either. They ended up sending another maintenance guy and he was able to fix it. Although while he was there he mentioned that there had been a lot of break ins in the area. So that got my wife a little worried as we were now in an empty resort. We were literally the only people around.

We tried to forget that and salvage the rest of the weekend. It was late so we just grabbed a pizza and went back to the cabin to watch a movie. After the movie we decided to go to bed. At that point we discovered the backdoor lock was broken so my wife's anxiety kicked in. She was unable to sleep thinking about the break ins. Around 2:30 I woke up so sick from the pizza. I ended up vomiting and had really horrible diarrhea.

After getting some medicine the next morning, we felt it was better if we just drove the 4 1/2 hours home and just spent our anniversary at our house. Needless to say we did not get a refund for early check out which we didn't expect one and we have not been back to pigeon forge since.

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6. Carjacked in paradise.

I was 12 and on holiday in Puerto Rico with my family. We had to check out in the morning and our flight wasn't until the evening so we load everything into the rental car and decide to wander around Old San Juan. We'd already been so we were basically just wandering. I was super cranky, being 12, bored, and not into walking around in unbearable heat and humidity. It starts to rain and I convinced them to call it. We're running around trying to find the rental car. We thought it was this street but maybe it's this other street. That one? No, it was probably the first one. A woman from the balcony sees us and asks if it was our car she saw getting stolen..... Ummm yeah. So she called the police for us. Thanks. At this point I'm already soaked, it's downpouring, and the police asked us to stand in the open so they could find us. We waited quite awhile because they kept sending guys who spoke spanish. I was in Spanish 1 at the time and had by far the best Spanish of the group so no.

Here's the kicker. We're standing exposed on a busy street with half of Puerto Rico driving by.... and my chest is extremely visible. I was 12 and dumb so I was wearing a white t-shirt and a white bra. Everything was visible. We finally found bilingual cops who asked us to get into the back of their extremely air conditioned car and drive around looking for another stolen car. It was absolutely freezing. They took the report, we dropped off the keys with Hertz, and managed to get replacement tickets. And then we went back to Chicago, still soaked and wearing shorts and t-shirts in February. Hertz sent a bunch of letters threatening to sue for the value of the car. They got nothin'.

car-1093927_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

5. Unbreathable.

Honeymoon trip to Paris. We decide to take a train to Italy for a two-day visit. Buy tickets, a "sleeper cabin", all set. Fun! Cozy sleeping room with the Mrs., happy times for sure.

Get to the station, enter the cabin, find a man reading the newspaper, refusing to make eye contact.

I ask, and find out we are sharing the cabin with other people. Yuck, but Italy, so why not. Then two very, very, very large gentlemen insert themselves into the cabin. They are VERY friendly and sweet. But they also have B.O. that is like defcon 7 level. I'm talking transcendentally, unfathomably unbreathable stuff... Beyond 'stink' to an entirely different experience. It literally burns my sinuses. And by now, it looks like we are stuck.

BUT -- I scramble, manage to locate our luggage and return to my wife, who literally weeps with relief when I tell her we're not doing this and pull her out. Wound up getting partial refunds, happy ending, bullet dodged. Whew.

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4. Sea creatures gone wild.

My family and I (excluding my father) and a my mother's friend's family all used to go to "Sunset Beach" in Florida for a week during summer vacation. One year my father decides, after a bit of pleading from my mother that, that he'll go with us this year. Needless to say this year was the worst. Right from the start things went wrong. First, my Dad forgot his luggage, his explanation being that he swore saw it in the car, ended up being my mother's identical suitcase. So now he has to,"Go buy overpriced Hawaiian t-shirts" putting him into a lovely mood. Also, first day on the beach I get stung by a stingray, that's not the worst of it though, it wasn't even alive I got stung by a freshly dead stingray. So, 10 y.o. me sees a dead stingray floating right at the edge of the surf and I think,"Oh poor stingray, I should bury him." So I just grabbed it buy one of its wings and placed it on the sand, beginning to pile sand on top of it. But when it comes to burying the tail, I reached for sand without really looking and poke the barb of the stinger with the point of my finger, immediately crying in agony and spending the rest of the day half crying soaking my hand in soapy water, good times. But wait, there's more. My mother's friend's eldest daughter, we'll call her Jenny, decides to go to the sand bar that's approximately 200ft away from the shore (I'm just guessing based on memory). As she recalls it she was walking up the side of the sand bar, a slight incline, she walked through some seaweed as she's walking she steps on a sea urchin HARD. Its needles piercing her foot. She screeched in agony and yells for help, witnessing this I get her mother who, fully dressed, swims out to her, swims her back in from the 200ft away sand bar, carries her inside, plops her on the sofa, and her being a nurse ran for rubbing alcohol and tweezers to pluck these needles out of her foot. So that's a nice memory, watching barbs be pulled out of someone's foot with just some aspirin to help with the pain which definitely hadn't set in yet. I still vividly remember her screaming and crying, not a fond memory. All in this same week, my sister had some teenage angst furled breakdown, my parents fought terribly, my mother's friends children were already really spoiled but they kept getting in arguments with their parents, I felt the only one who hadn't gone insane...

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3. A little privacy please.

I spent a week in New York City with some close friends. We head over to Times Square, see the sites and whatnot, then decide to check out a mall we spotted. Surprisingly, this mall was nothing special; I expected everything in New York to be top-notch, but this mall turned out to be just as bad as any other mall. Several of the stores were closed and it looked like the whole place was under renovation.

Anyway, I needed to head to the restroom, so I headed over to the can by my lonesome, and planned to meet up with the others later.

Right when I get into a stall, I hear a very angry man shouting and slamming the doors on the other stalls. He's screaming stuff like "where are you??" and making a big ruckus, then stops at my stall.

My goodness, it was the creepiest thing ever. I turn around to see a hand clutch the top of the stall and he tries to pull the door down as hard as possible. I could see his face; he looked like a cross between Dale from "King of the Hill" and something even worse. I'm standing there mid-wipe, terrified that this guy was gonna hurt me or something.

So many thoughts ran through my head: "What do I do? Is he armed? Does he have a disease?" Could I take this guy?"

Thankfully, I heard a loud booming voice say "You better step away from that stall! That guy in there is gonna mess you up!" It was an NYPD officer. I have never been so happy to see a police officer. I hurried back to my friends and retell the story, but one of them starts to mock me.  Just then, the NYPD drasg the guy through the mall and my friends catch a glimpse. I've been told the look on my face was priceless, and they immediately tried to reassure me that I could've taken him if it came to that.

In the words of my friend: "When I saw the look on your face, I knew you'd seen enough of New York!"


2. The trip that went down in history.

When I was 15 I had the honor of traveling to the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, and the Netherlands to do a singing tour. The last night we were there we were in Helsinki, Finland. There was a going away dinner held for us which included an amazing salmon dish with the most delicious sauce I have ever tasted...or so I thought. I woke up in the middle of the night throwing up and blowing massive amounts of diarrhea. It stopped after a while and for some reason I felt completely better, so I went back to sleep trying not to worry about it. Got up the next day, felt fine, took a plane with my group and our chaperone to Amsterdam where we had a 20 hour layover. When we got there we decided to go to Anne Frank's house until we had to leave.
Right when we got into the house the food poisoning started to act up again...and I threw up right where Anne Frank was captured by Nazis. Not on purpose though...but I couldn't hold it in any longer and there was a massive line to the bathroom. Then my chaperone scolded me for being 'disrespectful'. I told her about my food poisoning and that I clearly was not doing well. She told to stop trying to get attention and that I was looking like an ugly American. She refused to believe I had food poisoning and told me to 'Shut up and get over it'. At this point I have a meltdown because I'm in a foreign country, my parents aren't around, I was extremely uncomfortable & sick, and no is trying to help me.
When we got back to the airport I could barely walk, because I was so dizzy. We got to our terminal and thankfully the other kids in my group were trying to help me out, but my chaperone continued to be an utter asshole. She pulled me aside and said 'I'm going to ask you a serious question. Are you anorexic?'....I was stunned. What. The. Fuck. I told her I was sure it's food poisoning because I've had it before. She then called my PARENTS to inform them I was having 'emotional problems' and that she had everything under control. When she gave the phone to me I ran off to explain everything that was happening and about my food poisoning. My mom said she would take care of my chaperone problem when I got home and she was furious.
The plane ride back to NYC was one of the worst experiences of my life. Constant trips to the bathroom + having an extreme fear of flying = hell on earth for me. By the time we arrived at the NYC airport and got on our plane back to Indiana (where we live) I was so exhausted from shitting and vomiting that I slept till we got back to Indiana. Once we got back and we walked into the airport I immediately fainted. My body was too weak, because I couldn't keep food (and water) down in stomach.
The next thing I remember was waking up in a little room at the airport, hooked up to an IV, and mother outside the door yelling at my chaperone. My mom ended up getting her fired from working with the choir. Thanks mom. Even though it ended well I was still sick for 2 weeks from the food poisoning and lost too much weight during the summer as a result. Went from 112lb to 98lb. It was awful.

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1. Doing battle with the beast.

I still get shivers thinking about what happened this summer when I was on a trip to Spain with my family (parents and siblings). That day we had gone out to eat pizza. It was a really great day. Shortly after coming back to the house we were renting, I heard my sister scream from the room we were sharing. As the brave eldest child, I went to see what was wrong and she told me she had seen a big black centipede, the kind you don’t see where we come from. And so my mom and I looked all over the room but we didn’t find anything. We only found a little hole under my sister's bed, the centipede was probably there. My mom told her the usual: "It's just a centipede; it's probably more scared than you are, it’s not going to attack you...”. Never had she been so wrong. I'm usually pretty scared of insects but that day I was feeling great, I felt untouchable, you know, the usual good pizza day. Around midnight I searched the whole room again, didn't find the beast and went to bed. My sister slept in the living room. I had a great night of sleep. My sister didn't and the beast was still missing. The next night she decided to come back to our room. Of course we searched every corner again but still nothing. The beast was hiding letting us gain confidence before attacking.

My sister went to bed around midnight but I had too much sleep the night before, so I stayed up till 4 AM, my first mistake. When I went to our room it was dark and I couldn't search the room for the beast because my sister was asleep. Since nothing had happened before, I just figured the beast was really scared of us and wouldn't do anything so I just went to bed. Only to wake up after 10 minutes from a sudden pain on my arm. I softly screamed to wake my sister up. It was a pain I had never felt before, deep down inside I knew that it could only be the beast. My sister turned the lights on. I was panicking and went over to the mirror. I was looking at my arm telling my sister I probably bumped into something. Again I couldn’t find anything on my arm. At this point I turned my back to my sister and that’s when she screamed “It's on your back!” Of course I panicked and screamed. What really broke my heart was seeing my sister run out of the room, abandoning me to the beast. I remember telling her to help me get it off, but she just left while saying sorry. At this point our parents had woken up and where asking what was wrong. I just threw my t-shirt on the floor and went to the bathroom to inspect my body. My mom moved the t-shirt and the beast just ran to the living room. We searched the whole living room but that beast was good at hiding. NOTHING. My sister and I just went over to our brother’s room since it was down the hall and far away from the crime scene. We slept there.

Now I wish I could tell you that we never saw the beast again and that the story ends here, but it doesn’t. The next day my brother would be the one abandoning me. He didn’t want us in his bedroom anymore. And so we just went to sleep in our parents’ bedroom on the floor. I searched their bedroom, but nothing. My mom kept telling me that the beast would not come here and that I shouldn’t be afraid, but I was. I would wake up during the night, panicking, looking for the beast on my t-shirt. Nothing happened. On the fourth night of the story we also slept in our parents’ bedroom. Again, I looked all over the room before going to sleep, but nothing. This isn’t the usual centipede we’re talking about, this one was good. It had been trained. Since nothing had happened the night before, I gained some confidence, but that’s what it wanted. The beast wanted to break me. I was sleeping on the floor next to my mom’s side of the bed. She told me I should sleep in the same direction she did so I could see her face and be less scared. I laughed and said that my face would be next to the door and it would be too risky as the beast was still in the house. The beast does not like jokes. I fell asleep right away. Only to wake after 2 hours from the pain on my foot. This time I didn’t scream, I just took my phone and used the light to inspect my foot, but nothing. My sister woke up and asked what was wrong. I told her the usual; I must have bumped my foot somewhere. So she sat down and put the light of her phone on my back. And that’s when it happened again, and you can imagine what she screamed: “It's on your back!" I was really scared but I took some time out to think about things. How is this possible? Why me? Did the beast not get enough of my flesh? Am I the only one that liked How I Met Your Mother’s ending? My parents woke up and turned the lights on. They told me not to move. My mom got scared and abandoned me (at this point I got used to being abandoned on the field). My dad just came over, took the centipede with his hand, threw it on the floor and killed it with his barefoot. Everyone went back to bed. I cried myself to sleep.

After that night we went back to our room. I had to sleep with the lights on. I would wake up panicking and having to go to the mirror to look at my back. Several times a day I would ask my mom to pat my back and if she didn’t then I’d go to the mirror. I only stopped doing that after coming back home.

Now excuse me while I go check my back.

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