Pretty much everyone I know has fallen victim of a classic travel blunder, and it’s no secret that traveling isn’t always as glamorous as it looks. Although this is the case, it’s more than likely that you have at least one loved one who believes you’re riding on a magical unicorn throughout your travels. And, rightfully so. Many social media accounts highlight the best moments of someone’s trip, often abandoning the lows and the downright ugly. What people who haven’t traveled extensively don’t realize, though, is that while traveling can be as incredible as a relaxing and sunny day on the beach, there are some downsides to it as well.
I’ve talked with a few bloggers who’ve provided some of their goofiest travel blunders to date. Some of the stories are hilariously cringe-worthy and others are just downright gross. Despite all of this, these bloggers and I share one thing in common:
we absolutely love traveling.
1. The time Wanders Will Never Cease literally got lost in translation
“My boyfriend and I were in Reykjavik, Iceland and one night we saw in the local newspaper that there was a comedy show in a pub near where we were staying. Seeing as it was advertised in English (and it was free in!), we thought we’d try it out. We arrived there a bit early, ordered a drink and got ourselves a seat near the back. The first comedian came on, we assumed she was just getting the crowd warmed up first as she cracked joke after joke in Icelandic.
Then the second act and the third, the fourth… We were wondering when any of this was going to be in English. Turns out it wasn’t going to be! Well, I was so glad that we’d chosen to sit at the back! We were avoiding all eye contact with the performers in case they wanted to heckle, and I dreaded anyone asking if the empty chair next to me was free – our cover would definitely be blown! To this day, I can’t help but wonder if the bartender realised our mistake all along, as we had ordered our drinks in English.”
2. The time Duke Stewart Writes encountered a potential murder scene
“My wife and I booked the place via AirBNB (good reviews!) and went on to planning the rest of our trip, pretty much forgetting about it until arriving in the city. The first sign came when the taxi driver initially couldn’t find the place, based on the address. After 45 nerve-wracking minutes, we arrived to the “lobby” of our digs for the night. It was more of a run-down pool hall with a set of rooms in the next building.
We arrived to find a room with random dark-colored stains and a bed that held just a spread and no pillows, at least that’s what I remember. I can’t find a photo of the room but can only describe it as a place where plastic probably covered the floors and bed to prevent the police from tracing the murder that happened the night before. Our first trip away was to find another hotel and then to grab food nearby. The only convenience store nearby had a pseudo-Popeye’s Fried Chicken that likely had its franchise status revoked after we left.
This was a perfect lesson in only booking a place for a night when you don’t know about the city or neighborhood. Why? Because reviewers can be either lying or the actual property owners trying to drum up business. Needless to say, we hightailed it for Malioboro the next day and found a more comfortable place for a lower price!”
Christina and Carl recently moved back to the states after spending four years in Korea. To read more about their adventures as recovering expats, check out their stories at Duke Stewart Writes or peep their photos on their Instagram page!
3. The time Two Scots Abroad nearly lost footage of their secret wedding day
“Craig and I (Gemma) eloped to Austin! Never one to conform, we decided that after Craig’s proposal in Vancouver we would head back to Texas for the music festival, SXSW, then marry two days later. We hired a lovely officiant (Sarah) and kick ass photographer Corey Mendez – the only two other people to be invited to our ‘big day’. The ceremony took place at Lou Neff Point, the sun shone, and the ducks quacked. Our photographer, Corey, then drove us around in his air conditioned car (phew!) taking snaps of us in the city.
Naturally, as a blogger, I took my camera along with me but during the excitement of graffiti, jump, and Hollywood style kiss shots, I forgot to pick up the damn thing outside of Austin’s State Capitol building! It wasn’t until we got to our next stop – Austin’s I Love You So Much Wall, that I realised. Corey drove us back, Craig ran to the tourist information building and was escorted down to the vaults where men with guns assisted him. They really don’t take ‘left items’ outside of government buildings lightly in the States! The camera was returned, thankfully – since it held the only footage of the secret ceremony…”
These two lovebirds recently finished exploring the world and are back to the work grind while touring their home country of Scotland. Learn more about Gemma and Craig at Two Scots Abroad and peep their Instagram!
4. The time The Neverending Wanderlust got screwed by TripAdvisor
“I recently took a two week vacation to Tokyo with a friend of mine. I have a been a long-time fan of Trip Advisor and have been a dedicated reviewer/reader for several years. When it came time to select places to eat at, Trip Advisor was my go-to solution. Bad bad decision! Based off of Trip Advisor recommendations, I tried a ramen place in Asakusa, a tempura joint in Asakusa, and a sushi restaurant in Akihabara. All three places received top-marks on Trip Advisor.
Unfortunately, the ramen place was just ok, the tempura restaurant was merely a mediocre chain restaurant, and I got food poisoning from the sushi restaurant (not to mention they overcharged us on the bill). I was absolutely floored that Trip Advisor failed me every single time I tried using it in Tokyo! Needless to say, I won’t be using it for future Tokyo trips. The best place we ate at (Gachi Ramen in Shinjuku) was recommended to me by a few friends of mine. Note to self: when heading to Tokyo, rely on the words of people you know and trust instead of strangers on Trip Advisor!”
Lindsay of The Neverending Wanderlust is a freelance photographer and writer currently living in South Korea teaching English. If you’re interested in reading more about her experiences abroad and through her travels, be sure to read her blog or follow along on Twitter and Instagram!
5. The time Go Ask Becki nearly got stranded in the middle of Slovenia
“Everyone knows that things go wrong when travelling. However, sometimes they go hysterically wrong in the case of what happened to me in Slovenia! My partner and I had been on a day tour with 3Glav Adventures (which was excellent!), and we were heading into the mini bus to drive to the last stop of the tour. However, much to our tour guides surprise, it wouldn’t turn on.
We were in the middle of nowhere – parked next to a bar of people all laughing quite a lot! – and didn’t have any idea what to do. While the incredibly hungover uni students in the back of the car started to wake up, our guide frantically tried to call for help. However, this was unsuccessful, so myself, my partner and a group of incredibly hungover uni students all got out of the minibus to try and jump start it. They were all grumbling about the exercise, but after rolling the bus about 100m down a hill, it started! I’m just grateful it was a downhill slope rather than an uphill!”
6. The Time Wee Gypsy Girl accidentally became a professional garlic clove peeler
“Whenever I travel, I like to do things in the most budget friendly way possible. However, I’ve learned many times that cheap doesn’t always mean ‘best.’ Last year when i travelled around India for a month, I was determined to stick to a budget of 1000 rupees a day (back then this was about £10/$15.) Daily life in India is dirt cheap but some activities are a little bit more expensive.
One big expense I was really excited about making was going on a camel safari. After bartering with numerous tour operators in the holy, hippie town of Pushkar, my friend and I eventually found a dirt cheap tour- 600 rupees for a camel safari AND a cooking class. We showed up to meet the guide later that afternoon but could only see children running around .That’s when we realised that we were going into the desert with an 11 year old and 16 year old who didn’t know much about camels!
The 16 year old really fancied my friend and insisted on taking a lot of cute coupley selfies with her. The 11 year old was more interested in singing songs that he’d made up to me and continually calling me señorita! Later, when we arrived at our cooking class, we got made to sit in the corner of the kitchen and peel garlic cloves while the indian women cooked. We never actually learned how to make anything and everytime we offered to help we got told to sit back down and peel garlic.
The whole experience was a bit bizzare but, despite it not being what we imagined, it ended up being one of the most amusing parts of our trip!”
Nicole, the Scottish beaut behind Wee Gypsy Girl, just got finished traveling solo through India and is now back in Korea focusing on freelance writing. She has some pretty exciting travel plans coming up, so be sure to follow along her journey on her Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page!
7. The time The Next Somewhere rode a pregnant horse through the snow
here is nothing more that I despise than being cold. Actually, add animals in the mix and you basically have me at my worse since I’m really afraid of being around animals. So a few years ago, I led a service trip to South Dakota, assisting with construction projects on the Pine Ridge Reservation during early spring. March is still a brutally cold time of the year and the state suffers from highly unpredictable weather during this month especially. After a week of hard work and processing the harsh reality the existing Sioux [tribe] continue to endure, I decided to treat my team of 13 to a scenic ride through the Black Hills on horseback. Everyone was looking forward to that recreational day after a week of emotional and physical labor.
But the day of, it was lightly snowing. No one really thought about it until we got to the remote location in the mountainside and it started to blizzard. Our guide, a cowboy named Andy, is an expert wrangler and his trail ride is highly recommended. But everyone was caught off guard by the power of the storm, including him. He refused to disappoint but we had to wait out the intensity of the storm, which almost took two hours standing around unprotected again the elements!
Everything felt numb and I honestly could not have been more miserable and then we pushed through with the ride. It put everyone in such high spirits, which I couldn’t be more grateful for, but I was on a pregnant horse that seemed like it was in pain trudging through knee deep snow and it had a fondness for going into gallop. Being cold and being scared was a price I would pay again for that incredible 10-day experience of learning and giving, but I ended up having mild frostbite between my thighs – legit the WORST place to get frostbite!”
Izzy of The Next Somewhere is one of those people who just keeps topping herself. She’s currently living and working in Saigon, Vietnam, as a freelance writer and has some exciting travels coming up. Be sure to follow this gem on Instagram, Twitter and her Facebook page – especially when you need a burst of positivity!
8. The time Megan of Bobo and ChiChi casually woke up next to some chickens
“We were in central Laos on a bus ride that was supposed to be four hours long. The ride ended up being nine and a half hours long through bumpy, winding, dirt roads. I happen to get motion sickness fairly easy and usually can sleep through it.
This time was different, I felt horribly ill and nauseous. I nodded off here and there for short periods of time just waiting for this never ending four hour bus ride to end. I woke up from one of my mini siestas to be greeted by three local boys squeezed into two seats behind my head with loose chickens on their laps inches away from my face.
This was not what I was expecting to wake up to. For whatever reason I couldn’t stop laughing to myself about the situation and for a brief period of time I forgot all about my motion sickness.”
The two lovebirds behind Bobo and Chichi are former English teachers in Korea and about to get HITCHED in the USA! They’ve just spent several months in Southeast Asia and will post up stateside for a bit before heading out to Europe. For incredible photos and hyperlapse videos, be sure to follow their Facebook page, Instagram and Scott’s Hyperlapse Photography page!
9. The time Wanderlustingk and her partner got bed bugs in the Balkans
“I got bed bugs on my most recent hostel stay. The reason? I was too cheap to spring for the 6 euro EXTRA SUPER clean apartment that we had previously stayed in within the same city. Sometimes, you need to listen to your gut and LEAVE somewhere if you feel it’s dirty–and you know that you have better options that won’t result in a flea/bed bug infestation. I even checked a bed and thought I saw bed bug stains on one mattress although the other bed I slept on seemed okay. Even if you spend a little more than you had planned, you’ll save so much frustration, misery, anger, time, AND money when deciding to leave somewhere. Don’t make my mistake–and bring home bed bugs with you.”
Karen of Wanderlustingk is a New Yorker living in Amsterdam. She’s a super talented photographer, so be sure to follow along on her Instagram. For updates on her travels and beyond, check out her Twitter and Facebook page, too!
10. The time ShaTara Travels experienced some drone drama pre-flight
Despite the fact that we, and many others do it every day. Despite the fact that we had removed and separately packed the battery. Despite the fact that they had no written proof that this was even a rule (because it’s not).
We argued how illogical this was for quite some time. Sha was very angry, but I am happy to say that I held myself together throughout it all. Alas, when I started taking down the names of the staff members with the intention of complaining- our tickets were abruptly cancelled. Yep- they cancelled our tickets because their argument simply didn’t stand up to reason.
We then had to wait 40 minutes for our luggage to be unloaded from our plane, and when we found airport management (who we had been asking for the ENTIRE time), they supported our case. By then of course it was too late for our flight, and we were well and truly over Indian bureaucracy. We made it clear that we would be complaining and seeking compensation, and we high tailed it back to the international terminal. We booked the first flight we could to Indonesia, and after 36 hours of transit, bad luck, and bad tempers we finally arrived at our final destination.“
These two Aussie lovebugs of ShaTara Travel are currently traveling throughout Asia. The duo make some pretty badass drone videos and images, which you can check out on their Instagram. Be sure to also follow along their travels on Twitter and Facebook!
11. The time Miss//Miss’ hotel room was compromised by a chocoholic
“Before leaving on a weekend trip to Santa Fe with our friends, Miss S’s dad lectured us about how unsafe Airbnb was compared to hotels. We listened like obedient children, but like the rebels we are, we planned to get an Airbnb because we enjoy staying in eclectic places and meeting interesting people. On this occasion, however, it turned out that a hotel was much cheaper than an Airbnb, so we did something we rarely do and booked the hotel.
The accommodations were fine; the place was nothing special, but not crappy. On our last night of the trip, we got home at 2 a.m. and passed out. 5:30 a.m. Miss S woke up to use the bathroom and noticed that the door to our room was opened and held ajar with a nicely rolled towel from our bathroom. In a sleepy daze, Miss S scanned the room but didn’t see anything missing. She removed the towel, shut the door and went back to bed. In the morning, as we were getting ready for the day’s adventures, our friend realized that her purse was missing.
We all panicked and tore through the room and car looking for the purse before we went to the front desk. The concierge pulled out the purse and said they had found it in the parking lot. We went to where the purse was discovered and found our friend’s family heirloom earrings, her ID, and her Baskin Robbins member card (yes they still exist), scattered in the bushes. The only missing item was her credit card. When our friend called her bank, the only charge made was for $5 at a fancy chocolatier shop a few miles down the road. The thief must have had a serious sweet tooth to go through all that for a truffle. And BTW, in the end, we would have been safer in an Airbnb, Dad.”
Miss K and Miss S of Miss//Miss are pretty badass ladies impacting the world in a great way. They’re currently working with queer woman’s organization, Maya for Women, in Bengaluru, India as part of a Fulbright Scholarship. Be sure to check out their blog or see what they’re up to on Instagram! Fun fact: I grew up with Miss K!
12. The time I slept in a roach-and-millipede infested border hotel
After spending three lovely weeks in the north of Thailand, my partner and I booked a boat from Chiang Rai to Laos. Seeing as I’d just spent the previous two weeks sick with a stomach parasite (shout out to Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort for being the best recovery spot EVER), I felt as though I could conquer the world. After spending the majority of our day in a bus traversing the windiest roads of all time, we arrived to our hotel at the Laos border bright eyed and bushy tailed yet ready to cash in early for the night.
As my partner was getting ready to take a shower, the largest cockroach I’d ever seen made itself known in our bathroom. After a few seconds of total panic, he smashed it and went on with his nightly routine. Not me. I laid in bed on high-alert for the majority of the night, fearing for my life. Yes. My life.
Fast forward to the morning: While we getting ready to head to immigration pre-boat, a massive millipede started [slowly] booking it from under the bed toward all of our gear. I’m not going to lie, I cried a bit and ran into the bathroom where I was greeted by several cockroaches. Needless to say I brushed my teeth OUTSIDE of the hotel and never returned.
The silver lining is that my fear of bugs pretty much diminished after this experience. If you’d like to read more about my adventures in New Zealand and beyond, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
Have you ever had a crazy travel experience? Let me know in the comments below!