Travel Horror Stories: Part 4
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. Don’t Go Down The Wrong Street
I got to visit Lyon with my family, while my dad had some business meetings. Without him and the car available, my sister and I took it upon ourselves to plan and get to know the city. Our apartment wasn’t exactly in a touristy area, but we downloaded a map on my phone which is an American phone, so, we did not have coverage unless we had wifi. But we thought it would be fine. Well, turns out, the city wasn’t divided in the square grid we’re used to, and even though we had a map, we still managed to get a bit lost.
Furthermore, maps don’t tell you anything about neighborhoods. Suddenly, we were in the middle of a street full of shops which I thought would be an interesting street to follow. After all, we wanted to see shops in France! But it didn’t take long to realize that there were only men on that street, they were staring at the both of us, and we were very out of place. Even the cafeterias we passed, all men, and I felt like they were all judging us. I tried to distract my sister and play it cool by pointing out things from the display windows, but my sister had obviously noticed it as well. We both started walking faster without even consulting each other. It was only a few block until we got to a main street, but it felt much longer. And from there, we found our way rather quick back to our apartment!
You can find Sara on her website: Daily Love Juice
2. A Not So Luxurious Business Trip
My job paid me to travel and help our clients with their mortgage needs. We would have an event pop up and my company would select a few of us from the travel team to leave at a moment’s notice. We stayed at the most quality hotels like the Hilton, the Intercontinental and of course, Ritz Carlton. We often had room service and would order the whole menu and split it amongst the group, tasting new and sometimes foreign delicacies. It was an experience that I loved as I didn’t travel much outside of work.
I finally decided to take a trip outside of work and enjoyed my time in Texas. After a week of fun I was ready to come home. After I went through security at the airport, I was shocked to see my flight was delayed to Atlanta by 2 hours! After 2.5 hours, we boarded the plane but were stuck on the tar pit for another hour. People moaned and complained, while the scent of summer colds and stale farts circulated in the cabin. I wasn’t sure if I was just irritated or perhaps this was the stinkiest of plane trips that I had ever experienced.
I and several other passengers were stuck at 10pm in Atlanta, Georgia on a Friday night due to missing our flights to Columbus, Oh. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if we weren’t so far away from the happening areas and I wasn’t so, well, poor. Even worse, they didn’t provide vouchers for food, or even discounts for a place to stay. They said because it was an ‘act of God’, they wouldn’t make accommodations. However, in the spirit of goodwill, they would gladly re-book our next flight to Columbus for the next day, free of charge! How thoughtful of them! (This is sarcasm)
I chose a reasonably priced hotel in an unfamiliar area. I jumped on the bus and arrived in a dark, dilapidated neighborhood. There were no decent sit down restaurants, just run down fast food places.
Hungry and tired, we pulled up to a hotel that looked like it was straight out of a Jason movie. The lights flickered on and off in the lobby, while the rain poured down. I went to check in and asked about room service, which there wasn’t any. I asked if there were places that delivered, he gave me a list of 4 places that were all closed but one. I got my room key and discovered that the entrances were not inside of the hotel but individual entrances. I was a 25 year old girl who was alone, by herself in a rough part of Atlanta. I felt extremely unsafe and once I saw that the locks on the door was flimsy, that feeling of being “unsafe” grew into unsubstantiated fear. I called the pizza guy decided to take a hot bath to relax. Couldn’t do that because the tub was out of order and looked like it was a murder site. I should also note the walls were barely painted and the bed looked extremely gross. Like, Bed Bugs gross. I was so tired and hungry that I laid my travel blanket on top of the bed covers and curled my body so tight into a ball that when I woke up I was very sore. Because our plane had come in late, they held our suitcases at the airport which meant I couldn’t brush my teeth or change clothes. At 5am I packed all my things up and headed to the lobby to jump on the shuttle to the airport. Although my flight wasn’t until 10am, I knew at least I could be in the safety of the airport and have access to edible food.
I learned 2 things:
- Never travel broke. The airlines may not compensate you for missed flights for issues beyond your control. Sometimes they do, but don’t rely on that fact.
- Pack toiletries in a carry on. Should you become stuck in an unknown city, at least you can brush your teeth.
Don’t let your business trips spoil you. They have thousands of dollars to spare where you may have tens of dollars.
You can find Payne on her website: Life Is A Blast
Payne Well is a 30 something writer that has so much to say but not enough time to say it. She enjoys traveling, talking, learning and her young pitbull puppy, Kiba.
3. MY VIETNAM NIGHTMARE, or That Time I Ate Shrimp on a Boat and Almost Died
Out on the water in Vietnam’s spectacular Bai Tu Long Bay, I was surrounded on all sides by natural beauty.
Towering limestone formations crowned in vibrant greenery jutted up towards a cloudless sky. Tiny fishermen’s skiffs darted around our junk boat like minnows, their bright paint faded from years of wind and salt and sun. The water that stretched endlessly to the horizon was a shade of turquoise so intense it almost seemed alien.
You’d think I’d have been in vacation heaven. Instead, I was in food poisoning hell.
The nausea started late morning, just after I and the other cruise passengers finished breakfast. I ignored it at first, determined to enjoy our last day on the boat.
I made it through cave exploration and beach time with gritted teeth, dizzy and sweating in the bright sunshine. As our boat made its slow journey back to shore, I escaped to the empty sundeck and spent the next two hours in an uneasy doze.
Disembarking brought no relief—we still had four hours on a bus back to our hostel in Hanoi.
I can safely say that bus ride was one of the worst times of my life. The roads in Vietnam are not great at the best of times, and our bus driver seemed to have a knack for hitting every pothole and crack. Each jolt and sway had me white-knuckling the arm rest and breathing hard through my nose.
By this point, my stomach was in full revolt. I clenched every muscle in my body and prayed that I didn’t explode before we got back.
It was a close thing. When the bus finally heaved to a stop near our hostel, I walked inside as fast as my rolling stomach would allow, blew past the friendly staff at reception, and stumbled into our dorm bathroom just in time.
I won’t detail the horrors that happened in there, but if you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know it ain’t pretty.
If this had been a normal case of food poisoning, that would’ve been the end of it. I downed a bottle of water and two Imodiums, pulled my bunk bed’s thick blanket up to my chin, and fell asleep… only to wake up an hour later feeling like my entire body was on fire.
I put a hand on my thigh and it was like a rock in the desert—scorching and bone-dry. I was burning up but couldn’t sweat.
Here’s where I started getting genuinely worried.
We had a flight to Da Nang early the following morning and I was clearly in no shape to be going anywhere. I couldn’t be out of sight of a bathroom for more than 10 minutes and even sitting up felt like a colossal effort.
The friend I was traveling with told me to rest some more and see if the fever would break. I closed my eyes but the fiery ache in my muscles and the queasy bubbling in my stomach wouldn’t let me sleep.
Around 1 a.m. I jolted out of the hazy half-doze I’d fallen into and knew that I needed to get to a hospital. I pulled on a cotton jumper and made my way downstairs.
The staff at reception—two young guys around 20 or so—were sleeping on floor mats and I had to nearly shout to wake them. I explained my situation in short, choppy sentences, feeling panic set when they looked confused.
“You need medicine?” the one with spiky black hair asked sleepily. “There is a pharmacy down the street.”
“No, I—I need medicine, but not from—I need to see a doctor!” Tears began to slide down my burning cheeks. “I’m really sick! I need to go to a hospital!”
My teary, wild-eyed distress seemed to hit things home. Spiky Hair said something to his companion and took me by the elbow to a motorbike parked just outside the hostel’s front doors.
“Here.” He handed me a helmet and swung a leg over the bike. “Get on.”
No time to run to the bathroom before we left—I climbed on behind him and hoped for the best.
Whipping through the empty streets of Hanoi on a motorbike in the dead of night is not something I ever thought I’d be doing, and yet here I was. The cool air on my hot face was a small relief, and the adrenaline pumping through me as we sped around sharp corners actually kept the nausea to a minimum.
We stopped in front of a hospital that looked like it was about a hundred years old. Patients in off-white robes wandered around the parking lot and smoked outside the entrance.
Spiky Hair—whose English name, I learned, was Michael—led me inside.
The doctor had me lie back on a metal gurney. I fixed my gaze on the dingy ceiling while he asked Michael questions in Vietnamese. Several curious patients wandered over to stare down at me, which only served to ramp up my anxiety.
After a brief discussion, Michael told me to stand up. “The doctor says he cannot help you. We have to go to another hospital.”
I was floored. What kind of facility turns away sick people?
We sped off on the motorbike once again.
At the second hospital, it was the same story. The doctor looked at me, spoke to Michael, and turned me away. We were told to go to the international hospital instead.
At this point, I barely had enough energy to keep myself from falling off the motorbike. My entire body was in pain and my head felt foggy, sparks of white light popping and out of my vision. Michael must’ve noticed how out of it I looked, because he half-carried me into the third hospital.
The international hospital was clean and modern-looking. The receptionist spoke English. He had me fill out a form and within a few minutes, a female doctor appeared to lead me into the examination room.
She was kind in a brisk sort of way, asking me where I’d been and what I’d eaten. She clicked her tongue when I told her about the cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay and the giant flash-fried shrimp we’d had for dinner on our final night.
“You have a bacterial infection in your stomach.” She dropped a white tablet into a cup of water where it fizzed and dissolved. “Drink this. It will help with the fever. I will prescribe you some other medicine.”
By the time we arrived back at the hostel, bag of precious medication in hand, the chalky tablet had worked its magic and my fever was starting to go down.
Michael went into the kitchen and poured me a glass of water, hovering anxiously over me while I swallowed a handful of the pills I’d been prescribed.
My stomach still ached and I was more exhausted than I’d ever been in my life, but I could feel the medicine beginning to work its way through my system and my panic—which had run so high all night—started to subside.
Ultimately, my friend and I were able to catch our flight to Da Nang in the morning, and then a cab to our accommodations in Hoi An. I spent the next three days recovering in a lovely villa, eating nothing but chicken pho and thanking my lucky stars that Michael—my spikey-haired guardian angel—had been there to help.
I was able to enjoy the rest of my time in Vietnam but it took me weeks before I was back to full health again, and I’ll never forget what it felt like to be so sick so far from home.
The moral of the story? Undercooked seafood and too much sunshine can be a deadly combo, and it’ll be a while before I’m able to enjoy shrimp again.
If nothing else, this entire nightmare of a situation has taught me the importance of having travel insurance. You really never know when you’re going to need it!
Lindsay is an avid traveler, freelance writer, and bookworm. After living and working in South Korea for 3 years, she’s now back in Canada and already planning her next adventure. You can find her over at thatgirlwrites.com, on IG @thatgirlexplores, or on Twitter @thatgirlspeaks.
4. Broke and Stressed
We boarded the plane broke and stressed out. Our study abroad semester in Germany had just ended, and my roommate and I opted to stay an extra week to visit Barcelona and Rome. We were on the last leg of our trip, which would subsequently become a long and stressful ordeal.
Our game plan: fly from Rome to a local airport near Frankfurt, and board the last airport shuttle of the night to Heidelberg, where we’d pick up the rest of our luggage from the manager of our student living quarters. Then, we would jump onto a shuttle bound for the Frankfurt International Airport, where we planned on camping out until we could check in for our flight the next morning. We knew we would cut it close, but we were optimistic that it could work.
That is, until, our flight from Rome to Frankfurt was delayed.
Inevitably, our flight did take off, but both our eyes were glued to our watches, praying that we wouldn’t miss the shuttle from Frankfurt to Heidelberg. Once our plane landed, we sprinted through the airport to the bus stop, making it with no more than five minutes to spare! We let out a collective sigh of relief and tried to enjoy the ride. I remember dozing off and waking up to the first signs of snow blanketing the idyllic German countryside.
Upon arriving in Heidelberg, we spent the last of our Euros on a baguette from the train station (which ended up being our dinner for the night), and tried our best to stay warm by wandering through the festive Christmas market. An hour later, when it was finally time to meet with the manager, we gathered our belongings from his office and walked away from the place that had been our home for the past three and a half months.
We then loaded ourselves up onto a city bus with our five suitcases, two backpacks and violin in tow, and headed towards the hotel where our next airport shuttle would be waiting for us.
To say we were relieved to finally get to the international airport would be an understatement. We found an empty hallway and spent the rest of our night taking turns sleeping and watching over our luggage.
Morning came. We shared the last of our baguette for breakfast, and then we flew home.
That was nearly seven years ago, and I can’t help but look back fondly on those last few travel days in Europe. Nowadays, I usually need a good night’s sleep and three meals a day to be a happy traveler. Things have changed, but I will forever be grateful for my experiences as a broke college student eating one-Euro burgers in Barcelona, chowing down on free hotel pasta in Rome, and splitting a baguette with my roommate as our last dinner together in Heidelberg.
You can find Jolene on her website: Create Pray Love
5. Wrong Train to the Right Place
Stepping onto the tiny aircraft, I squeezed down the aisle looking for my seat. The plane looked bigger on the computer screen when I booked my flight. I hadn’t flown in 20 years! It felt like I was entering the narrow end of a funnel. My heart rate increased and it was suddenly hard to breathe. I didn’t realize I had chosen the seat in the last row. The flight attendant said, “Someone has to sit in the last seat.”
Wedging myself into the last window seat, I buckled my seatbelt. A man sat next to me. The plane started moving backwards; I clutched my throat. The man asked, “Do you like to fly?” With tears stinging my eyes, I choked out, “I don’t think so.” Sensing I was scared, he talked to me all the way to Atlanta, Georgia, to keep me calm and my mind occupied.
After landing safely, I thanked the nice man. He said he was glad to help. “Let me out!” I screamed in my head. What a relief to get off that plane! “Now, where the heck was the baggage claim?” I asked myself looking for the signs. A long walk led me to the last bag area. I grabbed my bag and pulled up on the handle to extend it. It would not budge. At first, I let it fall over on the floor and I wanted to lie down next to it. After a closer look, I saw the handle was dented. The crushing blow to the handle restricted it to extend so that I could wheel it in an upright position. Now in an awkward position, I reached down to hold the short handle to wheel the damaged bag what seemed like miles. More tears welled up along with exhaustion; I was hardly able to read the signs to locate the train I needed to catch.
Finding the train, getting my train ticket, I then proceeded through the gate. “I’m stuck! Oh no!” I took a deep breath and pushed through. There were two trains each going in opposite directions. After telling an attendant which hotel I needed, he pointed to the one to board. He told me once I get off, my hotel would be right there. “Ah, it felt so good to sit down.” Sounded like an easy ride and then slide right into the comfy hotel.
Arriving at my stop, I resumed my bent over position to wheel my suitcase to continue the next leg of my journey. “Where was my hotel? I thought it was supposed to be right here once I stepped off the train.” I was getting a cramp in my side. Block after block, I still saw no sign of my hotel. Hungry, tired, and in pain, I saw a policeman. I asked him how much farther I had to go. He said many more blocks. It was then I discovered I had gotten on the wrong train that took me in the opposite direction. Tears were now streaming down my face. The pain and exhaustion were beating me down.
One foot in front of the other, I had to keep going. So far traveling was not fun. Asking one more person how to get to my hotel, he said to just go around the corner and up the hill. Using my last bit of strength, I reached the top of the hill. I felt like the poor dog in the movie, Homeward Bound. Two valets asked if I needed help with my bags. “I don’t have any money to tip you,” almost collapsing as I choked out my reply. They came rushing towards me anyway to help. I thought they would need to carry me in along with my bags.
Totally spent behind closed doors of my room, I collapsed on the bed and cried tears of exhaustion, relief, and joy. Refreshed after a nap, a hot bath, and essential oils, I snapped back into action. What I didn’t yet know is it was all resistance to try to keep me from what I needed to do on that trip.
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Despite that travel experience, I continue to travel. I’m a writer from upstate New York who finds her best inspiration while traveling. I’m captivated by beaches, spas, and dark chocolate. I’m creating the lifestyle of my dreams while helping others do the same.
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Stay tuned for Part 5 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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Chasa is a travel blogger who has been writing since 2016. She has traveled domestically and internationally since 2013 and resides in the state of Alabama, where she pursues her passion for helping people see the beauty in other states and countries through her own accounts.
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