Travel Horror Stories

Travel Horror Stories

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Travel Horror Story: Part 5

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!

1. Flies and Darkness

Several years ago my family and I visited the United States and decided to go on a road trip from Utah to Illinois. We wanted to visit some historical sites from our religion, ending the trip in Nauvoo, Illinois. When we finally arrived there, it was like a dream: a cute, beautiful town with music in the air and cheerful people everywhere. It was July, when the usually small and calm town receives hundreds of visitors because of its festivals and theatrical pageant every year. We parked our car, went around and enjoyed the pipe bag music and pioneer-dressed children dancing to it. We suddenly realized we hadn’t found a place to stay the night, and started looking around.

After driving around town for awhile, we realized we would not be able to find a free room in Nauvoo, not even at the nicer hotels. So, we decided to cross the Mississippi river and look for a place at Fort Madison. Fort Madison is bigger than Nauvoo, and we thought we would find a room for sure. We would stop at all the hotels and motels, and quickly found out there was a boating event going on on Fort Madison that week and all rooms seemed to be gone as well. It was already past 10PM, and we were exhausted of driving all day and were very concerned about not finding a place for our family.

We parked at a small, somewhat old-looking motel, and my dad went one more time to the reception to ask if they had any free rooms. We didn’t have our hopes up, but my dad returned with a smile, saying that one last room was available. He explained that regrettably it was a smoking room, so, we had to deal with the bad smell on the furniture, but at least we’d have a bed for the night.

We entered the room and there were two beds, one queen and one twin, and there were four of us. There was also a somewhat foul smell. But we got over it, decided who would get the twin bed and the other three would sleep on the bigger bed. We started getting comfortable and taking our shoes off, but the carpet felt dirty, so, we decided to take our shoes off directly by the bed. We started noticing that there were a lot of flies around, but we didn’t pay too much attention to it. We just assumed it was a humid weather thing. My sister went to the bathroom, and came out letting us know that there were even more flies in the shower and around the bathroom. The flies started flying over the bedsheets and pillows, and we started to feel very grossed out. We turned on the air conditioner lower, so that the cold would slow down the flies. It seemed to work and the flies started to stay quiet in the ceiling, but we were freezing. We looked for extra blankets, but there wasn’t more than the two thin blankets on each of the beds. I stayed closed to my sister to warm each other up, but I could hear the flies moving around in the darkness and feared that they would come stand on my face if I fell asleep. I couldn’t bury my face in the pillow to protect it from the flies either, because there had been flies standing on the pillows before as well. It was a very uncomfortable night and none of us got much rest. It was one of the worst nights of my life. By 6 AM, we had already left the place and were back in the car looking for a place that would be open to have breakfast and where we could use the bathroom, since we didn’t want to even do that among the flies. Afterwards we drove back to Nauvoo, where things were still calm in the morning, found a quiet parking spot and took a nap in the car.

Luckily, during that morning, while taking a carriage town tour, we saw a gorgeous Bed & Breakfast with a vacancy sign. As soon as our tour finished, my dad ran (literally) to the Bed & Breakfast and reserved the recently available room for the rest of our stay. The home turned out to be a historical building, with antique furniture and the sweetest inn keeper. We joke about it now, that if we wouldn’t have had that horrifying, fly-infested night the day before, we wouldn’t have treasured what turned out to be the loveliest Bed & Breakfast stay we’ve ever had.

Bed and Breakfast
Gorgeous Bed and Breakfast
Bed and Breakfast
Gorgeous Bed and Breakfast

You can find Sara on her website: Daily Love juice 

2. Lessons Learned

My husband gets to travel for work quite often. He hates to travel. On the other hand, I, a poor teacher, love to travel, but rarely get to go to locations more exciting than a few local state parks.  Life is unfair right? Well, just keep reading. Two years ago my husband was tasked with going to Salt Lake City to oversee some business operations for his employer at the time, the aviation division of a large company.  The forces of the universe aligned and I was actually able to tag along. Since it was a rare summer trip (see poor teacher comment above) and my hubby had some extra time off, we were able to allot a whole week for the trip. We hadn’t had that long a vacation since our honeymoon and we’ve been married almost ten years.  To me it was perfect! I’d never been to Utah and it’d be a great opportunity to not only cross off one of the remaining fifty states I’ve never visited (I think I have at least thirty left at this point). Plus since hubby was going to be busy during most of the day, I could explore and shop.  To my husband, it was a chance to placate me, the mother to his one year old little girl.  The trip was doomed from the start.  My husband, ever the penny pincher, didn’t want to pay to check bags so we had to pack everything for a week-long trip in our carry-ons.  I love to have outfit options and wasn’t really sure what would be an appropriate wardrobe so mine was overflowing. The one thing I forgot to pack was closed-toe shoes. I live in Mississippi so during the summer I am an almost 100% flip flop wearer.  Well… that little fact was what contributed to one of the most horrible traveling experiences, I’ve ever had. While my husband took care of business, I explored Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.  We had one day to explore the area together before we flew back home.  I chose to drag him to Antelope Island, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake.   Here comes the first part of the horrible experience….

I was driving because my husband’s road rage can be epic and when it’s in unfamiliar areas it can be life-threatening.  Well, as we approached Antelope Island, my excitement took over and I didn’t notice the speed limit changed.  My husband asked what was wrong when he noticed my facial expression as I looked in the rearview. We were pulled over by one of Utah’s finest.  Thankfully he let us off with a warning, but my husband’s already tense mood was elevated to the point I could almost see steam coming out his ears.  We continued on though and decided to follow some of the trails.  First there were spiders! Not just a few, but hundreds and they were large enough to eat me. Well, not really of course, but I HATE spiders! Thankfully my screeching at least but my husband in a better mood.  He found the whole scene to be quite hilarious. I think I scared the poor Japanese tourists to death.  I got a few decent pictures and we moved on.  My husband is very active so he pushed me to try some of the more difficult trails. Now, remember, I’m in flip flops. Not only do flip flops not make good hiking shoes, they offer no protection from the multitude of hazards to be found on a hiking trail. To cut to the chase, I ended up slicing my toe on a rock when we were halfway up a short trail.  After hobbling back to the car, my husband help fashion a makeshift bandage before we scurried back toward Salt Lake.  So let’s recap: moody husband, pulled over, SPIDERS, almost amputating my own toe. While, I was able to see some breathtaking views of the Great Salt Lake and the Buffalo on the island, I couldn’t enjoy any of it. Plus to make it truly perfect, I didn’t even get to try a Buffalo Burger which was one of the reasons I set off to go to Antelope Island anyway. My souvenir from the trip was a toe that would be sore for weeks, an attractive limp, and a few lessons learned.

You can find Joy on her website: Sharing Joy


3. The Costa Rican Puddle Jumper

First and foremost, I am not afraid of death but I THOUGHT I WAS MEETING MY MAKER, and here is the harrowing account!

My mom got me a trip to Costa Rica for my 18th birthday, I know she loves me VERY much. The trip was awesome, Costa Rica is the perfect temperature, there are monkey and sloths out your window and the rum is so good! (the drinking age down there is 18, which I thought was pretty cool ha-ha) 

Sloth-Travel Horror Stories

Travel Horror Stories

During the trip, we got to zip line for hours through the rain forest, yes, a lot of Costa Rica is rain forest; we sun bathed on a gorgeous alcove beach which was down the hill from our bungalow, in the rain forest. I got to see giant momma crocodiles that looked like they might swallow me whole, and eat fresh fruit on the side of the road.

Travel Horror Stories

Overall, the trip was great the only thing that wasn’t so great was getting to our little oasis, it is a 5-hour drive through Costa Rican mountains to get to the ocean. Which isn’t horrible, but they do not drive by American safety standards down there, and honestly, I don’t think an American could successfully navigate their roads. So, my aunty, which came along, came up with the great idea to take a little 6 passenger plan over the mountains to the airport instead to driving through the mountains for 5 hours on the way back, my mom and I reluctantly agreed cause ‘Hey! Another adventure to add to the trip!’.

We boarded this baby plane with 3 other tourists headed back to the San Juan airport to return home. Now, I have been flying my whole life, and from my flying experience the takeoff was a little iffy, but we got into the air, without crashing. Once we were up there though, I would have bet all my money that we were not going to stay in the air. The crash scenes from Lost kept flashing through my mind. I thought for sure the plane was going to pop apart in one of the up or down drafts created by the mountains below and I was going to have to survive in the rain forest and try not to get eaten by one of those big momma crocodiles. I am not a crier and as the plan dropped 70 feet through the air, I coulda sworn the other passengers thought I was going to burst into tears, my mom sitting behind me was holding my hand. The guy sitting across the aisle from me kept trying to reassure me that the pilots fly this route through the mountain 3 times a day, it’s their job, and we would be fine. I DID NOT BELIEVE HIM. Anyway, as you tell I survived the plane ride and we arrived at the airport, only to find out our plane home was severely delayed (like an 8-hour delay), so there I sat in the airport. I was so motion sick I couldn’t even stand, so there I laid for hours in the airport waiting for the next plane ride. I didn’t fully recover from my motion sickness until the next night.

In all, I would totally recommend Costa Rica, but never ever again will I get on a puddle jumper plane, especially in the mountains!

Costa Rica Travel Horror Story
Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel Horror Story


You can find Jocelyn on her website and social medias: Website | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


4. Getting There is Half the Horror

In 2013 my wife and I scheduled a five day cruise with Carnival cruise lines for my birthday. We lived in Birmingham, AL at the time, but our ship was leaving out of Miami, FL. We scheduled a flight from Birmingham to Atlanta, GA and a second flight from Atlanta to Miami. All scheduling was done months in advance. The night before we were scheduled to board our flight in Birmingham we got a call in the middle of the night informing us our flight from Birmingham to Atlanta had been cancelled. We had to wake up, get ready, throw our bags in the car and make the four hour drive to Atlanta to catch our connecting flight. Once there we discussed what happened with an airline worker. Our flight home was supposed to be a direct flight from Miami to Birmingham, but now we had to schedule and pay for an additional connecting flight so we could pick our car up after the cruise. Boarding the ship and the cruise went very smoothly until the last day. We had to wait a few hours more than expected for our new flight so we scheduled an excursion in Miami after we docked. We didn’t anticipate any issues since we paid extra for early luggage pick up and check out. We exited the boat and went to wait for our luggage. Everyone in early check out had received their bags and left while we were still sitting and waiting for our bags.

The cruise line lost our luggage; we had to wait an additional two hours for it to be found which caused us to miss our Miami excursion that was already paid for. We finally made it to the airport, boarded our flight and left for Atlanta. Once in Atlanta we exited the plane to pick up our car and drive the four hours back to Birmingham. We were not scheduled to change planes in Atlanta before heading to Birmingham so while we drove our car to Birmingham our checked luggage stayed on the plane and was dropped off at lost baggage at Birmingham airport. After the four hour drive, at 11p.m. we had to stop at the Birmingham airport, track down an airport employee to unlock lost baggage and pick up our checked bags. After this we were finally able to make the hour drive from the airport to our house. Overall, the cruise was a great experience and I cannot wait to go on another, but the getting there and getting home was a true horror story!

Dawn Alexander

A Scorned Cruiser

5. Mayhem And Mexico

This takes place approximately ten years ago.  I was traveling with my then boyfriend to Mexico  on a four-hour direct flight from Kennedy to Cancun.  We’d done it many times before without a hitch…

Back then, I was able to eat like a NORMAL person, my mystery illness and allergies were not yet a problem.  

Here’s My Tale:

It’s about 6:30 a.m. and we are in Miami – why does the song keep popping into my head?  Anyway, why are we in Miami you ask?  Well don’t they say getting there is half the fun!   Whoever said that deserves to be shot! 

 We left at 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning.  The car pulled up right on time.  We got to Kennedy in plenty of time so we had breakfast and relaxed until we boarded.  THAT is where the peace ended and the mayhem began. 

 We sat on the tarmac for two hours when we were finally told there were mechanical problems with the plane.  They decided to cancel that flight.  Oh, joy.

We disembarked and went to collect our luggage.  We waited one and a half hours, then had to start over.  We stood on line for a new flight, checked luggage again and made our way through security for the second time. 

Exhausted, we made it onto another flight, this one to Miami with a connection to Cancun. We sat on that plane almost two hours when they announced there were TWENTY-ONE planes ahead of us for takeoff.   We sat on the runway another hour after that announcement.  Once we were in the air, the pilot diverted off course due to weather.  We spent a total of six hours on that aircraft. We missed our connection to Cancun.

 We arrived in Miami at about 10 p.m. and walked what felt like 20 miles to a customer service counter. There we waited on yet another long line.  At the desk, my boyfriend said to the lady, “Don’t worry I’ll be nice.”  He said NOTHING about ME being nice. I was.  She gave us a hotel voucher, a dinner voucher for $10.00 each -whoo hoo we can each get a French fry – and a $5.00 breakfast voucher.

We could have gotten in a rowboat and rowed to Cancun faster.  We still weren’t there, but we were getting closer.

Luckily, I had packed a few snacks in my carry-on as did my boyfriend.  I remembered my friend gave us a gift of various goodies, most of which I packed in my suitcase but I put a few in my carry-on bag.  When we finally made it outside to wait for the shuttle to our hotel, it was about 11 p.m.  At that time, the shuttle only ran once an hour. GRRRRRR. 

I reached into my case and right on top was my friend’s cheese crackers. OMG, heaven.  Of course the airline confiscated our water bottles but… boy were those cheese crackers good even if we were dying of thirst after eating them.  We gave two packets to the honeymoon couple who had been travelling with us all day.  We got to know them well on the many hours we spent on lines with them.  If their marriage was anything as chaotic as their honeymoon, they are probably long divorced!

 The four of us sang my friend’s praises. My boyfriend and I lamented what a wise and caring man he was and the bride said they were the most delicious cheese crackers she’d ever eaten in all her 24 years. The groom just munched out.  My boyfriend decided we should thank my friend by inviting him out for a lobster dinner upon our return home.  He invited the honeymoon couple to join us! 

 We made it to our hotel by about 1:00 a.m.  Our luggage?  Pfft, who knows?  Of course, the restaurant was closed. We endured yet ANOTHER line to check in.  The front desk advised my boyfriend of the only place to order food, a pizzeria.  It was open until 3:00 a.m. and delivered.  

Every New Yorker knows you can’t get good pizza anywhere but in New York but when they delivered that pizza, huge salad and appetizers (yeah he ordered everything on the menu) we were thrilled. 

The shower was like we’d hit the jackpot. I had one set of clean clothes in my carry-on.  Of course the hotel was out of toothpaste, go figure, but we made due.  I had mints in my purse; at least we wouldn’t kill each other with our dragon breath. By that time; I’d been up just short of 24 hours. We probably walked 100 miles in airports before hitting the mattress. 

 The flying waitresses were not the nicest, the staff was confused on board and in the airports and there were very angry travelers screaming at anyone they could find to scream at.  It was NOT fun.  But it’s all behind us, or so we thought.

 The rental car people were great. We shot off an e-mail from the airport and at the time thought we’d be in Cancun about 9:30 p.m.  When we checked email at the hotel, they had responded saying they were waiting for us.. My boyfriend e-mailed them back telling them we wouldn’t be in Cancun now until the next day, we were stranded in Miami.  

We had been told we would be on a flight from Miami to Cancun at 9:30 a.m., the next morning.  We got up early, after only a few hours of sleep, skipped breakfast and took the shuttle back to the airport, arriving by 8:30 a.m.  Surprise, surprise, we were NOT on that flight.  I held my boyfriend back from punching the customer service representative in the jaw.  

We eventually got onto a flight to Cancun.  When we arrived, the lines to get through customs due to all the delays were absurd.  

Another problem arose in Cancun.  I’m not sure exactly what, I don’t speak Spanish, he did.  Whatever they were telling my boyfriend was the last straw.  He lost it.  I begged him to calm down, saying I didn’t want to be stranded in Mexico with him in a Mexican jail!  He did settle down.

Getting through Cancun airport was another fiasco.  At one point, my boyfriend yelled at a Customer Service Representative, “I just want to change my underwear!”  It wasn’t funny then, but we did laugh about it later on.  

We picked up our car and made the one hour drive to Akumal from Cancun.  It took us 24 hours to make what should have been a four-hour direct flight.  We arrived at our condo about 3:30 that afternoon and met up with our friends.  Luckily, we had been able to send them an email as they were getting worried about us.  

The nightmare doesn’t end there.  The next morning I woke up and my leg was bright red.  I had developed cellulitis.  I spent the rest of the trip in bed with my leg propped up on pillows swallowing  antibiotics and fever-reducing medication.   That’s another whole story!

Whoever said getting there is half the fun really does deserve to be shot!  

Doreen Campisi – Teaching An Old Cook New Tricks

The above story is true.  However, I write a segment on my blog called Short Story Monday. A new short story is posted the first Monday of each month. Short Story Monday

To follow my sordid tale of my current health battles and mystery illness, follow my blog

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Stay tuned for Part 6 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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Travel Horror Stories of people who have gotten lost, been attacked, missed a flight, slept in the stress, and so much more.
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