Travelers Share The Trips That Turned Into Nightmares

Travelers Share The Trips That Turned Into Nightmares

Vacation can be the ultimate adventure for some and an absolute nightmare for others. It really depends on the luck of the draw. When most people go on vacation, they expect rest and relaxation, so when things go wrong, they tend to take it a lot harder than they would at home. After all, this is supposed to be a vacation! You want nothing less than a quiet paradise.

The problem is, things don't always go as planned. In fact, some vacations can end up being total horror shows.

Whether it's an unexpected volcanic eruption, forgetting thousands of dollars in cash in an empty hotel room, or spending your honeymoon in the infirmary, these travelers show that there are plenty of ways your dream vacation can become an absolute nightmare.


55. Destination complications.

This happened to my friend. We were living together and we went to different countries on our breaks. She went to visit a friend in Nepal. At her layover they walked onto the tarmac to board the plane. There were 2 planes open but everyone was walking to the same plane so she just decided it must be this one. The lady at the bottom of the plane takes her ticket, rips it off, she sits down. She arrives in "Nepal" and is queuing up in immigration. She notices foreigners and turns to them and says, "I expected Nepal to be greener than this." They stared at her. Then they let her know she was in Tibet, not Nepal. Somehow the lady wasn't paying attention ripping off the ticket, she sat in her own seat that managed to be empty. She got to Nepal but it took her an extra 6 hours.

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54. Doesn't get any smellier.

Picture this: A bus full of twelve and thirteen year olds. It had been raining all weekend and it was an outdoor camping trip. On the way home in our cozy van with only one working window that opened, I pull out a can of fart spray and spray it five times. My dad vomits out the window. Not even twenty minutes later we have a flat tire. I am mysteriously still alive to tell the tale.

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53. Save your money.

My girlfriend and I had tightened our belts for a year to afford a trip to Italy.

We'd eaten at a tourist trap restaurant (we didn't know that, we even asked a local for a good restaurant), where they charged us 380€ for a seafood dish. I was perplexed and my girlfriend started crying. But to our luck, a Carabinieri (Italian policeman) was walking by, asking if everything's okay. I told him about the situation. He took the bill, got inside and shouted really loud. He came back and said we could go, the meal was free.

After all maybe not that bad of an experience, albeit the fact that they try to rip you off in the first place.

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52. So much gross.

I was returning from a long assignment in Baluchistan. The first flight was Karachi to Kuwait. During the Haj. Air Pakistan. And the flight was full, so I ended up in back. Near the toilets.

And the plane was filled with men who had never been on a plane. Praying, screaming in fear. Or just running up and down the aisles looking at stuff. And then the toilets started being used. And nobody knew how to flush.... and it started flowing out onto the aisles...

Got a shower in Kuwait in the BA club. First class flight to London. And I got ... sick. Fever, chills, cough.

And when we got to London I was quarantined for the night. And eventually released to go to the US. Miserable and sick the whole flight. Got home, slept for two days, saw the doctor. Lots of medicine later the intestinal parasites and respiratory viruses I had picked up were dead.

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51. Low score.

We were flying to the Bahamas from Orlando this December. Apparently our plane had mechanical issues and they had to bring one in from Havana, then to Nassau, then to Orlando. We also received very few updates from the gate about their progress. Not even, “We’re not sure how long it’s going to be but we’ll keep you updated.” The flight was scheduled for 1:30 and we didn’t get in the air till past midnight. Never fly with Bahamasair. After doing some research, we found out their on time percentage was 11% and the flights are an average of over 2 hours.


50. International problems.

I was travelling back to the USA and my first flight had mechanical trouble, causing me to miss my connecting flight. In total I spent 42 hours in transit back home. When I passed customs in LA, my domestic carrier had no knowledge of my international problems, and was going to make me buy another ticket for flights that were already overbooked.


49. A bad break.

Went on my first holiday in ten years in March 2018, to Lanzarote. It's a pretty flat place on the coast so the first day there I hired a bicycle. As I was cycling away from the hire centre I got spooked by someone shouting in German behind me and I got speed wobbles, using my leg to push away from the kerb at speed. I broke that leg in 10 places, shattering my knee and spent the whole holiday and then some in hospital. I learned nothing from this experience, just that crap happens.


48. Some airlines should be cancelled.

A couple of years ago my wife and I were leaving Vegas on a Thursday 8pm flight. We were on Southwest and their whole nation wide system crashed. Or flight was delayed for 2 hours, and then we finally got on. We sat for an hour on the pavement and then they told us the pilots timed out so we all got removed from the flight. However, we weren't allowed to get our luggage and we were told it was going to our destination, Buffalo, when the flight would finally get rescheduled. We were told the was no flights until Monday and we should get a hotel. The problem was all the affordable hotels were gone because of all Southwest flights being halted. The frontline people from Southwest weren't given any information and we weren't given a refund. We ended up having to shell out $800 fire a flight to Toronto on Delta the next morning then drive to Buffalo the next day for our luggage. After fighting with Southwest we got a lousy $300 voucher. Awful. Had to sleep in the airport.


47. Wherever you go, there you are.

I spent an obscene amount of money to travel to the other side of the world for a few months, just traveling around in hopes to "find something out" and "try to not be me."

None of that happened. When I got off the plane I was still the same POS that was farting around my apartment for years, only now somewhere else and with substantially less cash.

I didn't even meet a cute girl while I was out there that makes me want to get my life back on track like what happens in the movies.

close-up-photography-of-a-man-1081188-300x200.jpgPhoto by graham wizardo from Pexels

46. Natural disaster insurance.

My husband and I are from Puerto Rico, we went to Texas to visit some friends on Sept 2017, we planned to be there for a week then drive to Colorado with them and stay at a cabin for another week. Pretty expensive trip but we planned them months prior and had saved up enough for it... when we got to Colorado we heard the announcement that hurricane Maria (cat 5) was going to go right through the middle of the island. We were able to contact our families right before it hit but then got radio silence for two weeks. No planes were going or leaving the island, no way of knowing if our families were ok, seeing the devastation on the news, it was driving us insane. My husband and I spent three weeks more than intended in TX (35 days in total instead of 14), our return trip kept getting cancelled. We had to stay at our friend's house because money was running thin. My husband's a nurse and the hospital he works at actually caught on fire because their power plant exploded from overuse. So, no communication with our families, no way of going back home, not knowing if my husband had a job to return to, trying to be as frugal as possible to be able to have something to sustain us when we would finally be able to go back and going crazy from sheer impotence to make the situation better.



45. Another reason to learn to drive manual.

Went to South Dakota with my brother, mom and stepdad back in the 90s. My brother and I were like 6.

We were in the middle of nowhere near Sioux Falls heading to our lodge and my stepdad was driving the rental, it was like midnight. We got pulled over, he was apparently doing 10 over. The town was so tiny and underpopulated that they didn't issue a ticket, my stepdad had to be taken to the jail where he'd have to wait for the judge to wake up in the morning and make his prosecution. My mom started having a panic attack because if they took him, we'd be stuck in the car overnight because not only did she not know where she was going but she couldn't drive a stick.

The officer decided to just call the judge repeatedly until he woke up and explained that he had to make the prosecution tonight, otherwise a woman and two children were going to be stuck in a car overnight. The judge basically said he was tired as balls and just wanted to go back to sleep, so we were free to go but my stepdad had to come back to the town and go to the jail to pay his fine the next day. He said it was like Mayberry, the jail had 3 cells and the only furniture was some desks and chairs.


44. The rest of the flight was awkward.

My dad had bought airplane tickets in advance so that my family of 4 could sit together. Once we reached our seats we found another family sitting there. It consisted of two parents and two youngish kids. My dad explained to them that they were in our seats. They complained and said something about their children being younger than my sister and I and that they didn't want to get seperated. My dad understood that and generously offered to give them half the seats, even though he didn't have to. They would be still be together, they would just have SOME space between them. They would still be in the same row, within arms reach of each other. They STILL complained about it and called my dad a bunch of bad names. In the end, my dad took 1 of 4 of the seats he paid for while my sister, my mom and I sat in the seats they were supposed to be in. I can understand that maybe they were too broke to pay for seats beforehand but they could have at least asked like decent human beings instead of turning into jerks the second they didn't get what they wanted.


43. Everything that could go wrong, did.

I was traveling from the Netherlands to Rome by train to go camping. The first leg of the trip started with us seeing a crow kill a pigeon on the train tracks in Rotterdam. People were yelling and trying to throw stuff at the crow to stop it but we were powerless since it was in the middle of the tracks so we had to see this poor bird get pecked to death. We share a very crowded compartment with a woman and her kid, some person and ourselves. It was very warm in the room but at least nobody snored. We get to Rome and follow the directions to the camp site which is just outside the city. We try to get a bus there but all of a sudden all buses stop running. The people around us seemed to know what was going on because they all walked away from the bus station. We found a cab who charged a lot but got us there. It was now dark so we rented a cabin from the site to sleep in for the night. The tent are was crowded and covered in rocks. Our mats were not thick enough so we felt like we slept on rocks for 3 days. I had enough so we found a hotel and slept there for a day before leaving to Venice area. After that the trip was much better.


42. Not so happy now.

Made a family trip to Disney World in Orlando one year. Went in January right after New Year's because that's supposedly a slower time of year. It was not. It was packed with people from South America because of some marathon or something that was going on. Insane crowds and wait times for everything. Then, just to top it all off, everyone got a severe case of the stomach virus with violent diarrhea. Had to take Imodium and Antivert, just to even make it to the parks a couple of the days. Has kind of scarred me from ever going back again.

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41. Be careful who you sit next to.

On a flight from Chicago to STL, the last leg of an international flight, I was seated separately from my mom and dad (we had been traveling together) and put next to a strange man. The whole flight he kept grabbing me and mumbling and I was starting to panic a little. This guy was weird, he smelled awful and it seemed like he was hopped up on something. Near the end of the flight, he began yelling “THE PLANE IS GOING THE WRONG WAY, WE'RE GOING TO CRASH” and THEN said “I NEED TO GO TO THE COCKPIT AND FLY THE PLANE”. At this point I’m so terrified I start crying. This guy UNBUCKLES AND STARTS WALKING TOWARDS THE COCKPIT. Yelling that the plane is going to crash and that he needs to fly the plane. The useless flight attendants didn’t do anything (American Airlines). This man on a business trip had to grab this man and shove him back in his seat, and he restrained him with his seatbelt and held him the rest of the ride. When we got off the plane the man started running through the terminal screaming at TSA agents and eventually was taken by security. I’ve never been so terrified in my life, crazy guy. I hope he’s ok wherever he is.

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40. A salty Thanksgiving.

My family and I all took a trip down to South Padre to spend Thanksgiving break in a beach house. The first night of the trip, we were at a nice restaurant and I decided to be adventurous and try the snails. Around midnight my stomach decided that it was having none of that escargot and spent the next few hours trying to remove all traces of snail from my body. I spent the next few days living off of alka-seltzer and crackers, and I could barely even keep that down. Thanksgiving day was spent alone in a beach house dry-heaving while the rest of my family went out for a pleasant feast.



39. No means non.

I traveled to Paris when I was 17 with a group of students from my high school. We were told to keep our money packed away safe and to never talk to the street vendors, especially those who were making bracelets on tourists' wrists. (These men make bracelets and then charge exorbitant fees, and if you don't pay them what they ask they will threaten you or physically stop you from leaving the area).

I was paired with another young girl when we were traveling to the Sacre Coeur and a man approached us wanting to make a bracelet for us. We declined, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. He kept bothering us and following us up the hill while we're still saying no. At one point, he grabs my wrist and starts trying to work. I grab onto my friend, and he's pulling me in the other direction. He starts screaming at me and pulling me harder and I'm not sure what to do at that point.

My friend starts screaming for the police and he took off. Unfortunately, the same thing happened to one of the other students who didn't understand that the man was not going to let him leave without paying 20 Euros. The student tried to leave but the man was threatening to follow him and do all sorts of terrible things. The student took a picture of the man and the man snatched his camera and took off.

Tourist destinations are crazy.

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38. Negligent airport staff.

I was transferring this summer and had to go through Istanbul. The employees at the Transfer Flight Info Desk would scoff at us then proceed to ignore us when we asked what gate our flight was in. That's your JOB. Not only them, but almost EVERY employee there did this.

Also, it was $16 for a single Whopper...

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37. Can never find one when you need it.

I'd been doing the hostels/Europe thing and was staying at some gross place in London. I met a guy from New Zealand who had an extra ticket to a Beck concert at Wembly arena and bought it off him for cheap.

I spent the afternoon just checking stuff out along the way to Wembly and came across a Pizza Hut. Now it'd been 3 or 4 months since I'd had pizza and I thought 'why not?' I gorged on a bunch of mediocre pizza and continued on my way.

Within a couple blocks of Wembly, I felt the first twinge of GI distress. I stopped in about 8 or 10 shops looking for a safe place to unload, but every shopkeeper claimed to have no bathroom. Desperation was taking hold and I asked a cop where the closest john was. I followed his directions, clenching and shuffling like Charlie Chaplin the whole way.

The restroom had been appropriated by a bunch of substance abusers. Needles and gear all over the place and the people. They were shocked to see me and clearly expected me to make my excuses and leave them to their vice. But there was no turning back. I weaved through them and opened a stall only to find some guy curled up around the toilet, half naked and blue. I went to the further of the three stalls and the bowl was completely full. So back to the middle I went.

I destroyed the toilet. I actually feel bad for putting these guys, who are hurting their bodies feet away from me, through this.

I'm not ashamed to say I was wearing fewer layers of clothes when I got out of the stall than when I got in. I apologized to the junkies. The ones that were still conscious looked at me with disgust and amazement. I left feeling like I had a giant void in my midsection.

I made it to the arena about 45 minutes later and cleaned off in a slightly more civilized setting. I found my seat and the guy. We watched the show and rode late night busses, top deck, front seat back to the hostel.

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36. Political instability.

I was living in Nepal during the highly suspect massacre of the royal family. I was stuck in my house for three days listening to some serious rioting going on outside. Someone set a bridge near my house on fire. The boredom got me in the end and I booked a bus ticket to the other end of the country.

Had to ride my bike through a hail of bricks to get to the bus pickup point, and enjoyed a relatively quiet and uneventful ten hour bus journey.

Walked the Himalayas, ate lots of dahl baht. Got Giardia. Saw some wonderful mountains.

When I returned Kathmandu was back to normal. Everyone was rather nonchalant about the whole thing. All the men had shaved heads, and it was all back to normal. The change was really rather eerie. It was like nothing had happened.


35. Wrong turn in the wrong town.

In 2005, a couple friends and I went to Tijuana, Mexico for a day of shopping and cheap tequila. I got lost trying to find my way back to the boarder and ended up in a rougher area of town. A cop car pulls me over and out jump 4 men, not in police uniforms but carrying large guns.

All four of us girls are trying not to lose our cool when they just start screaming at us in Spanish. They're yelling for us to get out of the car, but we aren't moving fast enough for them. They rip the doors open, pull us out, push us to our knees on the side of the road and start digging through our car. We all thought it was going to be a lot worse. They just stole everything worth anything from our car then hightailed it outta there. We were very, very lucky to have left with our lives.

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34. Barney Ruble.

Moscow. I accidentally spoke English without an accent loudly outside a club. Two officers, knowing I was foreign, threatened to jail me for being under the influence in public, so I "paid the fine" up front after explaining my flight was the next morning and playing scared. It cost me about 1000 rubles ($30 US), but I realized then that I was a long, long way from home and the legal system is really not the same.

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33. Look where you leap.

In Thailand, my boyfriend and I went kayaking. The kayak got stuck in some rocks while we were making our way back to the shore, so we had to jump out. Both of us stepped on sea urchins and had to limp to the clinic to get them removed. I had a TON of them in my feet. It hurt unbelievably.

To add to that, right before we went kayaking I had grabbed a quick bite and later got food poisoning from that meal. So while I was recovering from the incident with the sea urchin, the bad food I ate was tearing my stomach apart, making me super sick. So I pretty much got double whammied all in one day. My time in Koh Phi Phi was Koh Poo-Poo.

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32. Stop bugging me.

I was in Guatemala. I was washing my mouth out in the sink and suddenly hundreds of ants came out of the tap.

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31. Love hurts.

Two people were doing it for hours in the room next door. They were being so intimate that I woke me up. After an hour, I finally called the room. When the guy picked up, I told him, “Move the pillow so I could see the girl's face.” They stopped instantly.

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30. Loud noises.

A couple of years ago in Cali, Colombia there were these two stumble down Italian guys who made sure no one in the guesthouse could sleep by smashing watermelons with machetes in the kitchen. I went up to them at around 2am to try to make them understand that there were like 20 people in the other rooms that would love to spend the night in peace. But they just disregarded me and kept on.

Two nights ago, there were guests in the room next door in Kuala Lumpur, playing loud music and screaming until 4am. I knocked on their door every 30 mins after midnight. They would open, I'd tell them I had a 5am flight next morning so I really need to sleep, they would say "okay okay okay" then close the door. They would keep quiet for literally 30 seconds and then continue. Some people!

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29. Alone at night.

Two years ago, I was in Paris on a solo trip and went to Montmartre one night. After getting off the metro, I was dazzled by the beautifully-lit Basilique du Sacre Coeur on top of the hill. Those who have been there know what I am talking about! Like a siren, Sacre Coeur lured me to ascend the hill to reach her.

Before I knew it though, I was already in the middle of the hill, and a man was walking toward me, demanding, "Look here, look at me." I didn't pay him any attention and tried to walk to a different direction, but that's when I realized that I was suddenly surrounded by this man's comrades who seemed to come out of nowhere making the same demand - "Look here, look at me." It didn't take long for them to encircle me and block any route of escape. No one was around but me and them.

The encirclement started to close in, and I had to quickly shuffle away to maintain arm's length. During the shuffle, I bumped into something (bench? trash can?) pretty hard and it made a very loud noise. Suddenly, the gang stood still. One guy eventually took a step aside and told me to move on. I took my chance and bolted.

I still don't know what exactly happened. Maybe I was about to be attacked; maybe I was just getting messed with. Either way, this event taught me to always stay within shouting distance of others in case anything like this happens.

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28. Funny money.

I've had a couple traveling mishaps.

I was trying to board a domestic flight in China and had forgotten to take a can of mace, which is illegal in China, out of my bag. Suffice to say I didn't know the word for "pepper spray" in Chinese.

Was driving from northern Mexico down south a few weeks ago for work, and a coworker who was following me in her car drove into the ditch at full speed, only to get a flat tire a few miles later. On the side of the highway in Sinaloa was not exactly my idea of a good time...

I was in a cab on the way home from the bar in Beijing. Tried to pay the driver, but he kept handing my bills back saying they were fake. An argument in Chinese ensued until he finally took my money and let me get out. A few weeks later I was trying to pay an admission fee, and the cashier started flipping out on me because she had run my bills through a machine and they were fake. Turns out the cab driver had been switching out my cash for fake notes.

I crashed a scooter I had rented in the middle of nowhere in a giant canyon in Chihuahua.

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27. All over you.

After a recent trek through Nepal, I decided to fly to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh Airlines was offering a sweet deal, and I had to leave Nepal anyway due to my expiring visa. So, on a whim, I bought the tickets and went there solo.

Of course, the night before, my travel buddies and I decided to have a final night out, and of course after a few too many beverages, we ended up in some rough places with bad food and drink. Waking up the next morning, the day of my flight, I immediately knew something was off. I could feel it deep in my stomach, not the kind of food poisoning you throw up right after eating.

I sat in the hostel, waiting for my taxi and waiting to vomit. I knew it was coming, the nausea almost completely overwhelming. I managed to keep it together until finally arriving at the airport. I started being sick in the un-air conditioned waiting room next to a dude having the same problem from the other end.

I was sick three times before even boarding the plane. So I finally get on the plane and manage to hold it down until after takeoff when the seat belt sign finally switches off. Once it did, I threw off my seat belt and half-ran, half-waddled to the back of the plane. Naturally, both were occupied. Being the incredible problem-solver I am, I snatched a vomit bag from one of the nearby seats and began the music of misery.

I'm halfway filling up this poor piece of paper when the entire bottom falls out. Like the entire bottom half of this bag became so disgusted with its content it had to reject them completely. My clothes are now drenched -- a plain white t-shirt was a poor choice.

The flight attendants finally see the catastrophe taking place and start banging on the bathroom doors, where some poor soul emerges confusedly. After my business was finally done, and with my clothes now ruined, I shamefully slunk back to my seat.

When I finally arrive in Dhaka, I walk up to the counter to get my visa on arrival. Even though I consider myself a pretty savvy traveler in terms of research, nothing I had read up to that point mentioned an exit flight requirement for a visa. So the officer asks for my exit flight information, and I'm doing my best to keep it together internally, but I have no clue what to do. Thankfully, the airport's free WiFi was available, so I hopped online to book a random flight to get me through this gate.

In my anxiety, the fact I was sick was completely lost on me. I just forgot. So I'm sitting there at the counter, and I feel a deep rumble in my stomach. I'm thinking, "Yeah, this'll be a great fart," and let that baby blow. It wasn't a fart. I just pooped my pants. At a visa desk. In Bangladesh. With a customers officer looking me in the face. I can feel the slow, warm trickle moving down my legs, shame in physical form. Either understanding I was unwell (or perhaps smelling the situation), the officer mercifully provided me a visa.

I spent the next week in Dhaka, Bangladesh, horribly ill. I burned that pair of underwear forever. I lost 10 pounds that week, eating Pringles and drinking water while watching the Airbender movie re-run over and over again. It's a terrible movie but the only English thing I could find.

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26. #couplegoals.

My ex-boyfriend and I had booked a trip to Hawaii about 4 months in advance. We broke up two months before the vacation. Since two of our good friends were going as well, we tried to be amicable and just go and try to have fun even though things were difficult between us.

Of course, when we got there, the hotel messed up and booked us in a hotel with one bed rather than singles. They didn't have any more rooms with singles. So I was stuck with my super emotional ex every night bickering about why things will never go right between us/why we're meant for each other. Needless to say, we kind of ruined the trip for our friends.


25. Demonic roommate.

I went to Amsterdam by myself. I'm not religious, but I accidentally booked a hostel that turned out to be a Christian youth shelter. I came back casually under the influence one night, the night before I was scheduled to return to the U.S. after five months in Europe, and fell asleep right away. The room had five beds, but no people. At 4 AM. I woke up because some guy stumbled into the room, turned on the lights, and woke me up to ask if he could use my phone. I looked and saw his stuff was on one of the other beds, so I knew he was a fellow visitor. The guy was visibly unwell. He went to his bed and laid down; then the night terrors started. He was screaming primal sounds like I've never heard uttered from a human being. This guy sounded like he was in serious pain. I thought he was going to hurt himself.

I called out to him, tried to calm him down, but he barely acknowledged my presence. Occasionally my yelling would soothe him a bit, but he would always flare up again, completely out of control. I was glued to my bed the whole night because I thought approaching him would be dangerous.

After a solid two hours of this -probably the two longest hours of my life- he stood up, rushed to the corner of the room (a meter from my head), and spewed in the corner. He went to sleep after that. Once I was sure he was asleep, I gathered my things and booked it. No one was behind the front desk as I left either.


24. A crazy motorcycle cruise around Thailand.

I was studying abroad in Thailand and I went with a friend to an island (Koh Samui) for the weekend. Soon after checking into our hotel, we rented motorbikes and cruised around the island, quickly getting lost on back roads. No big deal. We found a little tiki bar and had a good time, thinking "we'll figure out how to get home--eventually!!"

Fast-forward to about midnight. We've had enough that motorbiking back to wherever-the-heck we came from suddenly seems like a good idea. It's an island, right? Who gets lost on an island!? So we set back in the general direction of the hotel. After about an hour of zig-zagging around dirt roads, we passed something that smelled terrible and I turned back to make a sour face at my friend. In a flash, I went off the side of the road and smashed the motorbike off an embankment and into what I assume was a swamp... of the town's sewage. By the time I realized what happened, I was almost fully submerged and trying to account for my body parts, let alone wipe my face and mouth clear of the revolting slush.

I scrambled out, scratched, bruised, and shamed, but all in one piece. The motorbike was stuck half submerged, so we yanked it out and (somehow) got it running again, then limped back toward our hotel.


23. A volcanic interruption.

Two and a half years ago, I was on a nonstop red-eye from LAX to Heathrow. I had maybe $10 in my bank account (I was going to stay with friends in England and was waiting for money to transfer into my account). 15 minutes before the plane was set to depart, the pilot comes on the intercom to tell us that something had happened to the flight plan and they needed time to re-route, so we'd be leaving about half an hour late. Whatever, not my problem, I fall asleep.

When I awake, I check to see where we are (and how long I've been sleeping). We're about an hour from Heathrow. Awesome. I get up, stretch my legs, chat with the flight attendants for a moment, and then go back to my seat. That's weird, the flight plan says we're 2.5 hours from Charles de Gulle. In Paris. The flight plan of the person next to me says the same thing. The flight attendant has no idea what I'm talking about.

Boom. The pilot comes back on the intercom. The insignificant nothing that they were talking about messing with the flight plan? The volcano in Iceland had exploded. Heathrow had closed and we were being re-routed to Paris. We made it there 2 hours before that airport closed.

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22. A casual tragedy.

In the early 90's, I flew into Baku, Azerbaijan for a business meeting. I was staying at one of their major-chain international hotels. I arrived after 3 layovers, and a bumpy 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 upon entering the hotel. We drop our passports off at the registration desk and make a beeline to the bar.

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


21. Wish I brought an umbrella.

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 cracked my head open.

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20. A stomach-turning flight.

I had a super terrible homecoming after one of the best vacations ever. I literally puked from the time the wheels left the ground at takeoff until we touched down at home. I think it may have been the food I braved in the airport before leaving Jamaica, but I was hungry!

Anyway, after filling numerous shall we say 'courtesy bags', the flight attendants gave me a garbage bag. Yep, that's right, good ole 13 gallon hefty. At that point I could have given two quacks about the seat belt light, I just grabbed my pillow and blanket and curled up on the stinking, urine and blue water covered restroom floor. I was in there for like three hours, but I honestly don't think the fellow passengers minded. Worst, flight EVER!


19. Ants in my pants.

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. It was not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to find insects in.


18. Poor puppy.

My family and my dog 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 widely. 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 all the diarrhea 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 godforsaken horror. To add insult to injury, I puked 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.


17. Accidentally kidnapped in Mexico.

My 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. They practically got kidnapped when they got 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 back to their resort after these people demanded money from them. Then when they got home they were sick for two weeks from drinking the water.

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16. A good deal?

When I was shooting for a non-profit in Sudan a local soldier/militiaman bruised my sternum with the muzzle of a gun. He came to me because I was white, in the middle of Sudan, and had a nice camera. He had no use for a camera (no electricity for miles) so he asked for $5,000. Then $1,000. Then a pack of smokes. Then he just let me walk away, but only if I put my camera away.

He didn't speak English. He didn't speak Arabic or Juba Arabic. He spoke some obscure tongue. But his friend translated that to Juba Arabic (think about how Cajuns adapted French, Juba Arabic is the Sudanese adaption of Arabic) and my translator spoke Juba Arabic and translated that into English for me. So I had a gun in my chest while I played a game of telephone with the indigenous people of the Sudan.

End of the story, I had to stop taking pics and walk away. Oh yeah, and I didn't get shot.

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15. Less money, more problems.

I once left $2,000 in a hotel room whilst moving across the country only to discover it missing when trying to gas up 400 miles later.


14. I am not James Bond.

Years ago I had a show in Melbourne with a friend of mine, and we decided to make a road trip of it and drive over from Adelaide with a couple of friends. We figured we would drive overnight so we would arrive early the next morning, and there happened to be a party just off the highway in the Adelaide Hills that same night. So we stopped off at this thing on the way just in time to catch the talented and attractive Concord Dawn spinning. After a bit I went to go hang out in the car park and was sitting on the bonnet (hood for you US folk) of the car when my friends came back and decided it was time to go. The driver also decided it would be funny to start driving while I'm still on the hood.

Now he wasn't exactly flooring it, but I turned around and yelled something to the effect of "OI, STOP THE CAR!". And he did. Very, very suddenly. I flew off the hood, majestically soared a good couple of meters and landed head first on the gravel while also taking out a sizeable chunk of my right knee. Whatever, I felt a bit funny and my knee was pretty mashed, but it's cool, I'll be right, let's just get to Melbourne. We stopped off at a roadhouse on the way, put some antiseptic on my knee, sorted!

Cut to the chase, we got to Melbourne, I got on stage later that night and made it through maybe two minutes before my busted up knee gave way and I had to hobble off dragging my leg like a zombie in front of a full house at the Hi-Fi. I promptly made a mess of a couch, passed out for a few minutes and then spent the rest of the weekend in bed nursing a concussion.


13. Smile for the camera.

I was on a study abroad and we spent about three weeks in the Netherlands and it just so happened our group was there when the Netherlands made it to the 2010 World Cup final in which they lost to Spain.

The group members and I watched the game on the big screen at Museumplein where there must have been at least 60,000 people. As an American who was bandwagoning on the Netherlands team, I felt I had something to prove to the locals. I saw a group of guys that were trying to get one of those oversized 3-liter bottles open but had forgot a bottle opener. I was trying to act like a rebel and grabbed the bottle from them and popped the cap open with my teeth. I successfully popped that bad boy open and they all cheered but as soon as I opened it I felt a pain in my mouth. I then proceeded to spit out a large chunk of my tooth that I had cracked while opening the bottle.

I was upset, in pain, and felt like an idiot. My tooth was in pain the rest of the trip until I got it fixed back in the States. To top it all off, the guys did not offer me any drinks and the Netherlands lost the finals. Now I have a constant reminder to avoid acting like a rebel.

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12. Watery vision.

I was in Georgia with my family visiting my sister. I am legally blind and have contacts, and at that time my insurance would cover only glasses or contacts. I had chosen contacts, but I was a little negligent and forgot my contact case and solution. So for the night, I decided to put my contacts in water (never a good idea, but felt better than sleeping in them) in cups on my bedside table... on the first night we were there.

My mom woke up and threw them down the sink because she thought they were just cups of water. The rest of my vacation I saw vague shapes.

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11. Worst. Honeymoon. Ever.

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.


10. Not even one email.

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.


9. A horrifying water slide plummet.

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 in front of me and went alone and I followed him 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.

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8. A dreadful Alaskan hotel.

I went to Alaska with my family. Our flight was late. SURPRISE surprise. So, 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 terrible hotel. The first room we got was supposed to be non-smoking. It wasn't. We got a new room in the back building. That's promising. Our shoes stuck and peeled off the linoleum when we walked through. The paint drips on the toaster. A HUGE gap under the door that leads to a back alley. The toilet seat was a foamy one, but it had cracks so the foams was poking out.

The phone in the room didnt even belong to the hotel and the buttons stuck. The color tubes were out on the TV so we watched Cast Away 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.

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7. A series of terrible transportation failures.

I was on a business trip to Vegas 400 miles away. I take my own car. About halfway there my transmission starts to go. By the time I get there, I cannot make my car go over 20 MPH. It is under warranty though, so I take it to a dealership there. It's Friday. They cannot fix it until Monday. I am broke and the company only gave me enough money for one night and one day.

I call my ex. He is going out of the country for 2 weeks but gets me a bus ticket home which leaves at midnight. I go all day walking from casino to casino until midnight (with no food). I go to the bus station and they have no record of the ticket. My cell phone is dead. I break out crying at the ticket counter and a bus driver hears. He is driving to a station 50 miles from my town. It's better than 400!

The bus breaks down halfway in the middle of nowhere. We have to wait for a new bus in the desert in January. There's still no food. The replacement bus arrives, but I have no ticket. I have to wait with the broken down bus with the driver until another bus arrives at 6 AM.


6. Singaport.

During university, I went on an education-sponsored trip to Singapore. Everything was amazing until the last night we were there. We went to a club that was a bit of a trek from the hotel. I ended up not wanting to stay out late so I hightailed it back to the hotel with my boyfriend. Everyone else stayed behind but eventually split up at last call to catch cabs and such.

A guy and a girl from our group decided to walk back to the hotel. They somehow ended up wandering into the Singapore port. Keep in mind, the port is the livelihood of the city. They didn't even realize it until a port authority car pulled up and told them he'd give them a ride to their hotel. The guy was friendly about it so they hopped in. What happened next was insane.

I get a call to my room at 4 am and someone in very broken english is asking if I know these two people (I was sharing a room with the girl). First I thought it was a prank by a friend but I freaked out when I realized it wasn't. Started asking if they're okay and this really eerie laughing came through from the other end. They wouldn't give me their name or location.

Turns out the port authority arrested them, turned them over to the their version of the state police and were accusing them of being spies who had scaled the walls of the port to gain intel on trade. Both of them were separated, interrogated. They were taken to the walls of the port and forced to explain how they scaled them. One cop told one friend that the other friend had already confessed, so they might as well turn themselves in too. These people were having the time of their life when I left them a few hours before. I could only imagine their fear...

It took the rest of the group and the hotel front desk staff hours of calling to finally locate where they were in the city. Luckily, we had met a super successful businessman/lawyer living in Singapore, but from our hometown, a few days before. We called him up and asked if he could help us. He went to work on it. 12 hours later with the threat of our government getting involved in the mess, they finally turned our friends over to us. We got out of there pronto.

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5. On your last leg.

Me and my two sisters, Karen and Jo, went to Veradero, Cuba for what was supposed to be a week.

We lasted an hour before wanting to leave.

We arrive during a tropical storm, and the resort was littered with ceramic tiles. This is important. We decided to go to the bar anyway and each have just a drink (this is about an hour after landing). Karen says, "I know theres a storm but lets check out the resort!" To which Jo and I agreed. We reach a wheelchair ramp (and didn't think to check for stairs). Karen attempted the wet tile ramp first.

She slipped, got her flip flop stuck between two tiles, which whippered her leg back and she landed on it.

The closest hospital is in Matanzas, about 45 minutes away, in the storm. And the ambulance is just a van with a chair. Her stretcher was broken.

We get to the hospital, and it's flooded. At this point, Karen is screaming in pain as they try to get the broken stretcher out of the van. Jo and I are in bikini tops and shorts. We haven't even converted our money yet.

Karen is brought upstairs and we finally find a doctor who speaks better English than my Spanish.  The doctors explain they do not have the tools to perform the surgery she needed to fix her leg. We needed to get home, and fast.

We get back to the resort and Karen struggles to get comfortable in bed. The next flight back wasn't until 8pm the next night. And the only wheelchair on the resort was broken, and too small. We waited almost 48 hours after this to have her fixed up. The flight back was not very pleasant either, as they couldn't take the airport's wheelchair on board.

She's better now, but has a permanent rod in her leg. It was the scariest experience of my life.

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4. No time to celebrate.

It was my first time going to Rome. We 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. 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.

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3. Dashing through the airport.

My worst was definitely a trip back from Tokyo on air China.

We were due to change at Beijing we had about 1h20m to transfer but when we should have been landing we seemed to still be in the air, asked the attendants and they just kept saying "it's ok we'll land on time" which obviously wasn't going to be the case.

Eventually we landed with a whole 9 mins to transfer to the next flight. For those who don't know Beijing airport is HUGE and I'm by no means athletic, I probably hadn't run in a decade but I did then, I ran till my lungs burned then I ran some more, next up was security where there were long lines, airport staff just told us "go" and pointed at which point we basically had to shove our way down the lines past people who didn't understand why we were pushing ahead of them.

Finally we clear security but with only 2 mins till the gate closed at which point I managed to grab a guy with one of those little carts, we piled on and the guy put the boot down, as we approached there was a woman at the gate waving her arms and making a cross sign, we made it with literally seconds to spare.

Then to cap it off on getting back to London there was some issue with the trains meaning the one I'd booked was cancelled as we're a ton of other services, this meant some 6 hours in the jam-packed chaos of Euston station and having to borrow cash off a friend to buy a new ticket on a shoulder to shoulder train which took a further 3 hours to get to a station close to my home town and then getting a mate to collect us and get us the rest of the way home.

Not a journey I hope to ever repeat again, as such I avoid booking air China these days even if it's a little cheaper.


2. Hope the cat's ok.

I live in the EU. I had to go to Switzerland for business, and pretty early at that. I packed my stuff, took my cat, it was like 2AM. My train departed at 4AM.

Since I didn't feel like walking down the stairs with my suitcase and my cat, I decided to take the lift. Well, no. The lift doesn't work today.

I arrived in front of my building, waiting for my cab to come. Well, no. He won't ever be coming it seems since I scheduled it for 2:20AM and it's already 3AM. Guess I'll walk.

I arrive at the station, from the back entrance. About 3:35. Well, no. Due to circumstances, they had to close it for the week.

It will take about 20 minutes to get to the main entrance. I'm walking as fast as I can and try to get a car to drive me to the front entrance. A couple stops by, asking me where I was going. As I said "to the station" the couple indicates to me it's not on their way, that they're sorry and must go. Well, it was. Since they stopped right on the station's parking lot. Jerks.

I finally reach the station after running like a madman. I'll at least get to sleep in the train. Well no, due to circumstances it will be 1 hour late.

After going through all of this I come to my new job, smiling and trying to keep my usual good mood. Well, no. My new boss is mad and decides to insult me and tell me that I can go off somewhere else. I receive a call, it's 3PM, from the cab company telling me they won't ever pick me up again because I wasn't there this morning.

So I just had enough and decided to go home.

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1. The TSA does not stop for death.

This was one of the first trips I took truly on my own. My husband drove me to the airport and waved me off. So what started it all was when I realized I forgot my phone charger and it was too late to go back.

I was flying to be at my Oma's death bed and had just gotten married a little while before and hadn't gotten a chance to change my name on my Drivers license. My Opa booked the flight for me because I was dirt poor. Well the TSA weren't too happy when they saw my name on my ID didn't match my boarding information. Even after showing my marriage license they wouldn't let me through.

The TSA agent berated me saying I was too old to be so irresponsible. When he said that I started crying. My Oma was dying and I was dealing with this nugget who must have been taking his bad day out on me because his superior came over and checked everything, made a call, then sent me on my way. I was so relieved I cried even harder.

On the way back the weather was so bad flights were being canceled and mine was one. I had to scramble with the rest of the passengers to reserve a seat on the first flight out. I was so emotionally raw that I broke down and cried my eyes out on a bench. A nice older man asked me if I was ok and all I could manage to say was "I just want to go home." He ended up walking away with no idea how to deal with the situation.

I was able to stay with some relatives and fly home a few days later.

adult-airport-arrival-1008155-300x200.jpgPhoto by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels