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Travel Horror Stories

What’s your worst travel experience?

For most people, the joyful anticipation of traveling arrives with an air of uncertainty – and maybe a little fear. Whether you travel for business or leisure, to meet new friends, see more of the world or just bake your bones on the beach, travel always yields a few surprises. There’s a million things that can go blissfully right and a million things that can go nightmarishly wrong. Just visit TripAdvisor and scroll through reviews. Some people could write a novel from their travel experiences.

a lotta good with the bad ...For me, travel is a collection of (mostly) positive experiences where I’ve learned something new and returned home a slightly different – hopefully better – person. You might be a careful planner (like my husband) or play things as they come (like me) but there are always things you can’t predict.

Whether it’s a place that disappointed you, an accident that totally demolished your vacation or the most trying business trip of your life, I’d love to hear your worst travel experiences. Below are a few of mine.

Worst flight

what a vacation start!I travel a lot for business and I’ve survived some crazy flights through thunderstorms and snowstorms, wanting to kiss the pilot and all the flight attendants when we landed. But the stupidest flight I’ve ever been on was when I was bound for my first Caribbean cruise. We sat on the runway for 5 hours (this was before there were laws against that kind of thing) with a Dolly-Wanna-Be-Flight-Attendant. The bathroom stank and all the food on the plane was served before we even took off. Another 5 hours in the air and when we finally arrived, we were hungry, tired and made it to the cruise ship with only an hour spare.

Silver lining – we had 2 weeks of bliss before we had to step foot in a plane again.

Worst Murphy’s Law vacation

a few hours of reprieveA recent Florida beach vacation seemed like a whole lot of bad luck strung together. Five days of solid rain popped up on the radar the day before we left home, which meant no walks on the beach, beachside patios or outdoor markets. Still we were hopeful. Trouble is, when we arrived we realized that there wasn’t much else to do in the area – or at least nothing that really interested us. So we cut our hotel stay short to check out another area. The hotel we chose was cheap by comparison of others in the area and the pictures online, while not great, looked bearable. Nope. We were in our room 5 minutes before checking back out and heading to an airport hotel to camp out until our flight.

Silver lining – an afternoon at the spa can make everything better…

Class act stupid bar adventure

the wild west adventureWhile on a press trip in Taos New Mexico, a few of my fellow travel writers decided to hit the bar one night. There was no public transportation and taxis were almost non-existent (at the time). So at midnight, we hitchhiked our way back to our hotel.

Silver lining – the kindness of strangers…

Getting sick on the road

the windy cityWhen you travel as much as I do, you’re bound to get sick once in a while. Strep throat on a cruise was a walk in the park compared to getting the flu on a business trip during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. I asked the concierge for the nearest outpatient clinic and drugstore. She stepped back and told me that if I was saying I was sick, she would be compelled to call an ambulance and I wouldn’t be allowed back in the hotel until I was cleared for H1N1. I took the hint and found a drug store on my own (a mile walk in a sideways snowstorm) and doctored myself.

Silver lining – the walk in the cold probably brought my fever down.

Looking over my list, I see that most of my “worst travel experiences” aren’t actually all that terrible. No one died and I returned home safely (and a little wiser) each time. And they’ve become stories that I enjoy telling and retelling. What’s more, I’ve learned something from each one.

Mom was right. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger – and wiser travelers. Thanks Mom!

Do you love to travel as much as we do? We’d love to hear your worst travel stories. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let’s talk!

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