Travel Horror Stories

Travel Horror Stories

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 Travel Horror Stories: Part 1

You have all heard of the horrors that could happen while traveling. I asked around for some stories, here are real stories that actually happened to people. I hope you enjoy!

To take a look at mine go  here.

1. Airbnb Gone Wrong

Hi, I wanted to share our horror story that involves an AirBnb reservation that went wrong in NYC.

In May 2015, my husband and I visited Peru for 1 week (you can see pretty pictures about it here), and on the way back home to North Carolina, we had a long layover in NYC, where we reserved an AirBnb studio apartment for 1 night. The flight to New York arrived late, around 9 pm, and by the time we got to Manhattan it was almost midnight. Per the owner’s instructions – I called him to notify him that we’re almost at the apartment, but after he didn’t answer several of my calls I started panicking that we won’t have a place to sleep at. After about 30 minutes of me trying to contact the owner, he calls back and tells me that the address listed on the AirBnb is actually wrong, and instructs me to walk several blocks west, to a different address. That didn’t sit well with my husband and I, especially in NYC around midnight, but we were both exhausted and just wanted a place to crash. So, we dragged our luggage for a couple blocks but still couldn’t find the “new/correct” address. I called the owner again, he told me that we went the wrong way, and needed to go back to the original spot and start over (it was extremely hard to understand him, because he had a thick accent).

After about 1 hr of walking around looking for the apartment, we decided we are not risking our lives by going to a different address (other than what’s listed at AirBnb) due to safety issues, and told the owner we’re not interested in the apartment anymore. He got very upset, yelled at me over the phone, and ended up hanging up. The other problem with our change of plans was that it was Memorial Day weekend, and there were NO hotel rooms available! After another 30 minutes of calling nearby hotels, we finally found one, and had to pay $400 for the night (AirBnb only reimbursed us $100 for it).

We later realized that the person we made the reservation with was probably NOT the real owner of the apartment (but is most likely a renter), and therefore is not allowed to list the property on AirBnb, we reported him and I believe his account/profile was taken down.

Because of that experience, I’m very wary of renting from AirBnb; you never know who you’ll end up dealing with.

You can find Tatiana on her website and social medias: Jetting Family | Instagram

 2. A Series of Unfortunate Events

I was studying abroad for five weeks in Mexico. All was going well until one weekend almost exactly halfway through.

I got an email from my mom breaking the news to me that my step brother had died of a drug overdose. To make it worse, he died in my bedroom, while he was trying to sleep it off in my bed. He didn’t normally stay there so I offered my room to him while I was gone so he didn’t have to sleep on the couch.

The next day I was stressed out and getting ready for class. I was trying to do my makeup on the bed and the oscillating fan kept turning and blowing my hair in my face so I angrily jumped up and grabbed it to move it and my ring finger slipped through the slits and ripped my fingernail off halfway down.

Then, the next day I got a call from the guy who was house sitting for me at my house in my college town (not the same house my step brother was staying at). He informed me that someone had broken into the house and trashed it while stealing thousands of dollars worth of movies, musical instruments, and jewelry. They even stole some wall art.  

There was nothing I could go back for so I had to deal with everything from Mexico.


3. Cruisetrophe

My husband and I were going on a cruise that left from New Orleans. We are from Pennsylvania.  We had a first class flight from Philly to New Orleans because of my traveling points.  That night we got a foot of snow!  So we got a rental car from Philadelphia and drove it to New Orleans.  They almost closed one of the main roads on the way down from the couple inches of snow that they had.  We made it to our cruise with 3 hours to spare!  Our flight was the only one that made it out that morning.  They were going to cancel our other flight back but since we begged them they did not.  We had a great cruise.  My husband’s sister was excited to see so many states she has never been in before from our driving.  

 You can find Lisa on her website: 50 Things To Know

4. Sh*t Happens

When I was a young teenager, my mom, my brother, and I went to Disneyland. It was our 5th trip that year, because we had annual passes. While we were walking passed It’s a Small World, something fell on us. We looked up and saw a seagull. Then we looked down and saw seagull poop. It was on our arms, and a little in my hair. I almost cried. Luckily, my brother was still really little, so we happened to have baby wipes. We stopped at the closest bench and used the wipes to clean ourselves off as well as we could. We then ran to the nearest bathroom to wash our hands before going back to the hotel for showers. What’s the moral of the story? Sh*t happens, even at the Happiest Place on Earth. Make sure you have something to clean it up.

You can find Cassie on her website: Cassie Wears What

5. No Zzzzz’s For These Two

So far on our travels from New Jersey to the West Coast, we’ve managed pretty well for ourselves.

We’ve been lucky enough to find some great, free (extra great) travel stops in quiet enough locations that were also clean and safe.  

We had all of the things you would want from a place where you’re half naked in your car with nothing but a makeshift sheet turned curtain separating you from the potential creepers of the night.

When Our Road Trip Hit a Roadblock

However, once we hit Oregon, that easy and comfortable option came to a screeching halt.  The drive into Oregon was incredible and we didn’t even get to see a thing.

Washington state was full of great places, but for us, our last stop, Olympia left much to be desired.

Around midnight, instead of spending another night there, we decided to drive the two hours to head to Portland.

Until recently, my only impressions of Oregon came from my elementary school memories in the computer lab where we would spend hours enveloped in the good ol’ adventures of the Oregon Trail.

Neither Boris nor I have ever visited and we weren’t even on the Portlandia bandwagon. However, for some reason it was calling to both of us.

Oregon at Last

After a few exposures, we quickly came to the understanding that it was just a place to be weird.  And, that’s definitely up our alley.

So, needless to say, we were excited to get there and see first hand what it was that we had been missing.

The first stop on our Portland journey was at a truck stop about twenty minutes from the city.  The reviews looked great but the place looked even better.  It had a resort type feel with all the amenities you could ask for.

It looked almost too good to be true.

We parked and were about ready to do our nightly prep routine – where we transfer all of our belongings from the back of the car (our bed) to the front seats – which we’ve managed to work down to a science.  Instead, we decided to check things out first.

Definitely Too Good to be True

As we walked inside, I noticed a security officer checking the parked cars with flashlights.  At that point, we realized that it in fact was too good to be true.

It turned out that Portland’s truck stops are only for trucks…go figure!  Most of the states we had passed through seemed to have an abundance of them to choose from, but not Oregon.

So, off we went with no other plans or ideas.  As we arrived in the city, we decided to find a 24-hour coffee shop.  Which, luckily for us, Portland actually had!

Why not get some work done while we figure out what to do?  So, we found a spot that looked perfect: open all night, great Wi-Fi, comfy couches, and organic food.  We couldn’t ask for more… except for maybe a nap.

Hoping to Finally Catch a Few ZzZ’s

We had planned to scope out the situation and maybe we would be slick enough to catch a few Z’s before anyone noticed.

But, no such luck.

Fortunately, we were able to learn from someone else’s attempt before we had the opportunity to be publicly humiliated.

Another guy came not too long after us and sat right behind me.  So uncomfortably close that I actually switched seats.  

Although, in retrospect, he must’ve just been looking for a person to hide behind and I was the reason for his discovery.


Anyways, he spent the entire time alternating between dozing off and getting yelled at by the manager.

Boris and I came to the conclusion that he probably got into a fight with his girlfriend or boyfriend and came to the coffee shop for refuge.  And here is this manager standing between this poor young man and his sleep.

How Long is Too Long to Spend at a Coffee Shop?

As the hours of the early morning approached, we found ourselves looking around and noticing a group of 6 or 7 familiar faces.  We seemed to have bonded over what we felt to be an uncomfortably long time to spend at a coffee shop.

But, hey, maybe this was normal here?

Either way, we loved it.  We felt comfortable and a part of a community.

We would gaze around the room and fall upon a sympathetic glance as we looked at each other through half-squinted red eyes.

“Let’s see who outlasts the group”, we thought, as we started to feel like we were starting some fun purpose to keep us going through the night.  At this point, we had been awake for almost 24 hours – with no sleep and no place to go.

And, then, there were four.

When you’re running on no sleep, 3 cups of espresso, and have been staring at your laptop for 8 hours, it starts to feel like an accomplishment to outlast the fellow patrons.  It felt like a coffee shop version of Survivor.

Who Will Make It to the End?

Three men were dispersed around the room looking intently into their computer screens.  And, then, there was sleeping beauty, still dozing off, still getting yelled at by the manager.

The sun finally crept in through the windows as the next round of employees came in for their early shifts.

“Maybe I could work here,” I thought.  “I’ve sure been here long enough.  But, they probably wouldn’t hire a girl who spends all night at a coffee shop, right?  Or…maybe that’s exactly the type of girl that they would hire!”

It’s crazy the type of thought patterns your mind creates when you’re sleep deprived and hyped up on caffeine.  As my thoughts wandered off to unknown territories, I noticed that we were the last ones standing.

Everyone had left, even our sleep-deprived comrade.

WE MADE IT! Mission accomplished.

The coffee shop was now filling up with early rising newcomers and it was our cue to leave.  So, off we went to continue our search for sleep.

 You can find them on their website: Teach A Man To Think

Here is  Part 2 Travel Horror Stories! If you have a travel horror story please contact me! I would love to have your story in one of my articles! 

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22 thoughts on “Travel Horror Stories

  1. OMG I have luckily never had a problem with AirBnb or any other online booking! And story #2 is really awful, poor Rachel.

    The last one was pretty intense, I was getting anxious reading the whole thing. Going without sleep is so hard! It actually reminded me of another story I had when I was younger (not similar, but related to not sleeping during a trip XD). If you ever do another round of horror stories, I can share that other one with you!

    • I know!I have never really used Airbnb before. I still want to though. You just have to be careful. I have a story from you for part 3 and part 4. You are still welcomed to send the other story though anytime.

  2. Wonderful stories. But more than the horror part, there is an inspirational part to them like how they came out of or dealt bravely with the situation. I guess thats what makes for a true traveler.

  3. Always interesting (and helpful) to hear the warnings learned by others. We had 1 such story while honeymooning in Europe … here’s the shorthand version: We had to spend a travel day with a train trip (2 connections) to get from where we were staying for 1 week to the port for our river cruise for the next week. While waiting for our final train we realized that it actually didn’t exist (though it was on the online schedule). We had to call the cruise line, go back to the previous station and work with the train employees to figure out if we could still make the boat as it was getting late. We made the boat literally 30 mins before it left port!

  4. This is a great round-up Chasa!
    Horror stories, yes. But they are also interesting stories and we get to learn from them. I’ve also missed flights, gone to the not-so-fancy neighbourhoods, and lost my glasses in the ocean (without which I can barely see). I haven’t yet had a bad experience with Airbnb. I think in these cases we just need to be on top of the situation and own it.

    • Losing your glasses in the ocean sounds bad. It would horrible not to see all that well. I haven’t used Airbnb yet, but I still plan on using it. Despite the negative stories. I am quite excited about it actually, and I also plan on putting one of my rooms up on Airbnb.

  5. That is awful. Can I apologize for you on behalf of New York City? That was unacceptable and I’m sorry that you had to go through that. I hope it does not sway you from ever coming back, and if you do come back, email me. I’ll show you guys around. Have a blessed day!

  6. Oh my goodness! We have always been really lucky everywhere we have travelled!! The worst we ever had was a poor kid the next aisle over who puked the whole way from California to Washington on our way home from Disneyland. I was green from all the retching and I felt so sorry for him and his mom.

    • I haven’t really had any really bad experiences either. I would be more worried about hostels. But really you can have a bad experience ANYWHERE, in the girlsLOVEtravel group on FB one of the girls talked about a really bad experince she had in a Hilton. The staff didn’t even really help her… I guess you just have to go with your gut and just be very aware. I have stayed in a couple of hostels and never had a problem. I haven’t used Airbnb yet, but I am wanting to open up one of my rooms to put on Airbnb.

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