After the surprise popularity of my ten worst travel experiences post, I thought I would ask other people what their worst travel experiences were. Below are what some fellow travel bloggers shared with me…
In May 2012, I had packed my entire life and two, very large dogs into a 1995 Ford Bronco and a Uhaul trailer. My mother and brother had flown out to help me drive from Washington state to Tennessee after I had split with my now ex-husband. I had taken the truck in to get checked out and poured about $1500 into “just in case” repairs. Considering the circumstances, everything was looking good to go. The next 72 hours were some of the both worst and interesting hours of travel.
The first morning we came out to the truck after eating breakfast to notice a HUGE pile of antifreeze on the ground. We found an Autozone, and they thought that it was leaking out of the top – Given it was the weekend and we were in a random town, we bought jugs of water and antifreeze to keep it topped off and from overheating. Strangely, I never had another leak again.
The next thing to happen was going the wrong way on the interstate and not realizing it until two hours later. Luckily, we found an alternate route to meet up with the road we were supposed to be on, so we didn’t have to completely backtrack. This road, however, was in the absolute middle of nowhere and we didn’t know that until we were already on it. We were running on fumes and extremely lucky to make it to a gas station when we did.
While stopping at said gas station, we took the dogs for a walk and before I knew it, they had gotten into some mud. Only that mud was actually truck engine oil. After bathing my dogs in the middle of a gas station parking lot, we pulled out only to see a “doggie wash” directly across the street. It was all very ironic.
The next episode was when we were coming down a very steep and long road from Mt. Rushmore and our brakes were literally on fire–I’m talking a good five inches of flames. Apparently, when driving down a steep grade and pulling a trailer, you should put your vehicle into a lower gear. Now I know. Somehow, we made it back to Tennessee and in pretty good time too. It’s all humorous now.
Ashley from a Southern Gypsy
I asked my partner, Gordan, what he considered to be our worst travel experience, and it took him a nano second to answer. The boat trip from Siem Reap to Battambang, Cambodia.
What was supposed to be a leisurely 3 hour trip on what appeared to be a nice cruiser on the Tonle Sap River, ended up being a 12 hour trip on a tiny overcrowded barge thing. We now affectionately call it, the trip to Hell. Time heals all.
When the boat next to us sunk on the muddy banks of the ‘dock’ we should have been forewarned. When the local people came aboard carrying very large sacks of food, we should have taken a random guess.
But no, we made our way for 12 grueling hours, slamming into banks, being pushed back into the trickle that was the river. Going to the toilet meant climbing on top of a 44-gallon drum and petrol flowed down the boat. We got bogged, got out and pushed, and promptly got bogged again and again.
When we arrived, we went out for a really big drink. Suddenly a car screamed around the corner and slammed into the cars next to us, showering Gordon with glass and metal. It then backed back and crashed into the cars across the road. Gordon was in shock and bleeding, but not badly hurt.
The locals ran out but then straight back inside. They yelled through the windows to us that they were the gangsters of Battambang, and no one would go near them.
Yes, Gordy’s choice of the worst travel moment did not take a nano second, it was actually a picosecond, one-trillionth of a second – I googled that one.
Paula from Contented Traveller
My worst travel experience was when we were scammed in Thailand before we even officially entered the country. Our plane forgot to hand everyone his or her embarkation cards, and we happened to pick the wrong immigration agent.
After everyone handed them their passport, most people were simply handed an embarkation card to fill out in return, but no, our agent stated we’d better give him cash if we wanted his help — “you help me, I help you,” he kept repeating. We felt like our only option was to give him the money in our wallet (luckily only 50 baht), or else we’d be denied entry. It was certainly not the warm welcome we were expecting for the supposed Land of Smiles!
Beth from Besudesu Abroad
I stood in front of the crowd trying to push their way onto the train, grabbed hold of two men in front of me and used them to push the entire crowd back like some human snow plough. The remaining passengers behind me jumped off and the train began to move off again. Unfortunately not everyone who I had just shoved back made it by running and jumping onto the open doorways and I was faced with a large crowd of very angry, and very loud, Indian men. The crowd got bigger and bigger as more people joined in and the police had to get involved to calm the situation down!
Michael from Bemused Backpacker
Being a large white male I rarely go unnoticed while exploring more of the off the beaten path destinations around the world. I’m used to the stares and easily brush them off, blending in is not of concern to me. However, being treated poorly because I am a minority is.
During our months living in Thailand we had endless wonderful interactions with local Thais and fellow travelers as well. There were, however, a few times which we knew we were being treated poorly because we looked like tourists. We would repeatedly be ignored while in line at the store, clerks motioning to other Thais to jump in front of us. There was one time our friend, who speaks Thai, was waiting to buy construction supplies and heard the Thai staff say “Who is helping the white guy? I’m not”. So while not one singular experience, the overall feeling of being treated different is awful, no matter where you are in the world. Luckily for us, we have had about ten times as many positive interactions as negative ones while travelling.
Jeff from Latitude Thirty Four
We sail and have a small dinghy. We often tow it on the back of our car on a trailer and one time we took the ferry from
Holyhead in Wales to Dublin…
We drove off the ferry once it docked and we were heading down the motorway at the towing speed limit when there was a bang and a loud noise! I slowed us to a stop by the side of the road and, at the same time, the near side trailer wheel over took us, flying through the air at speed!! It eventually landed about 25 metres up the bank on the side of the road! We were very lucky!!
Someone must have taken some of the wheel nuts off when we were on the ferry. Thankfully a man with a van helped us jack up the trailer and move some of the remaining nuts from the other side, then we limped at low speed to a scrap yard and bought some new ones, and some spares.
Anna from Penelope and Parker’s Travels… are go!
I was excited to start my study abroad program in France.
After being dropped off at the airport, I found out that the airline had canceled my flight and was not able to get me on a flight until the next day. Not the best way to start my program after having all my belongings for the next 6 weeks with me. They got me on a flight the next day, but I missed orientation.
After my program, I was meeting my boyfriend in Italy. I arrived at the train station in France just in time to watch my train pull away. After having a long day already, there was a bomb threat in Nice, France where everyone was evacuated from the train station. I was fortunate not to miss my connecting train. After a full 15 hours of travel without food, I finally made it to Geneva, Italy! I scarfed down a whole pizza myself and finished some of my boyfriends; I was that hungry.
Fast forward to our flight home. The airline overbooked our flight by 50 people. After waiting 4 hours on marble floors without food or seating, the airline finally found accommodation for us in a local hotel for the night with food vouchers. The next day, we made sure we arrived super early to get on the flight. The airline overbooked it AGAIN! However, they managed to squeeze us onto the flight. PHEW. We experienced other delays on our connection flight.
Angela from Angela Travels
Hubbie and I were in no-man’s land, driving up the Sani Pass to Lesotho with a chap who was going to take us quad biking. We’d not seen another soul in the last half hour and the plunging cliffs at the side of the road reminded us of our mortality.
Suddenly, the sound of gun shots rang out across the valley. Our guide slammed on the brakes, I cowered behind the seat, whilst hubbie craned his neck out to see what was going on. Unsure of what to do, we edged slowly around the bend. Here we came across a lone policeman standing over one of the miscreants with his gun trained at his head. The others had managed to escape and for all we knew were lurking in the bushes ready to shoot again. I squashed myself further into the foot well whilst hubbie and our guide decided to get out and help the poor policeman. Of all the STUPID things to do…
However, after 5 minutes nothing else dramatic had unfolded so I at least got out the camera for a few sneaky shots of my own. It turns out the truck the group had been travelling in was full to the brim with illegal substances and the unfortunate driver had just earned himself 20 years behind bars for smuggling. The sad thing was that he would’ve only been paid a tiny amount for his services. It was the ones who got away who had stood to gain the most. After a grim beating from the policeman, it was the driver I felt sorry for, no doubt he was just trying to feed his family. Still, we were rather relieved to carry on unscathed, and we went on to have further adventures that didn’t involve drugs or firearms!
Heather from the Conversant Traveller
What is your worst travel experience?