Bloggers all over the world share their epic travel fails (Part 2)

It’s the second Tuesday of March which means that it’s time for the second part of my Travel Misadventure series. This week we are bound for more epic travel fails as shared by travel bloggers all over the world.


Sailing in Panama

Sailing away with the beam-ends

by Claudia of

Back in November 2013, I went on my longest backpacking trip, which would take me from Guatemala to Peru in 5 months. As there is no land crossing between Panama and Colombia, the only options to move from Central to South America would be either a flight (ideally from Panama City to Cartagena, in Colombia) or a sailing trip from Portobelo and via San Blas, to Cartagena. I had no doubts: one of the places I wanted to visit the most during that trip was San Blas archipelago. I wanted to visit what is thought to be one of the last lost paradises in this part of the world, the land of the Kuna Yala, the only recognized indigenous group in Panama. And I wanted to swim in those clear waters.

Pity I had not factored in seasickness: the minute I got on the small sailboat I started feeling sick. The slow movement of the docked boat made me feel quizzy, but I figured I’d get over it. So, after a night on the bay, we set to sail.

That’s when the worst 12 hours of my travel life started. As soon as we got to the open waters, a swell of 2 meters meant that the slow-moving boat rocked endlessly. I sat down, unable to look anywhere but in just one direction. My intestines twisted. I felt nausea. The movement made me sick. The smell of the food others was eating made me sick. The smell of the sun lotion others put on made me sick. I had to pee in the hole of the helm because I could not face the thought of walking down to the toilet.

By the time we made it to Porvenir, the first island in the archipelago, I was in agony. I announced I wanted to get off, right there and then. I was taken to shore on a dingy, only to encounter the most unwelcoming chief of the Kuna Yala community who went on a rant to underline how by landing without permission I had contravened a bunch of articles of their Constitution, and in any case there were no available rooms on the island (it was tiny, there were two modest hostels and they were packed) so I’d have to go. It took me a lot of pleading and asking whether the Kuna Yala Constitution did not state anywhere that they should help people in need, to finally see a glimpse of hope. I was granted the right to pitch a tent under a palm tree.

As I pitched the tent, in the middle of the night and in complete darkness, I asked myself what else could go wrong. That’s when it started raining.

Needless to say, I did not set foot on the boat anymore. Not will I ever. I spent two nights in Porvenir to recover, after which I was taken back to shore via a speedboat (no, that doesn’t make me sick) and eventually invested in a flight from Panama to Colombia.

Roadtrip in Vietnam

Exploring Ho Chi Minh on a rocky road

by Mike of

It all started with a complete misunderstanding of how crazy the Ho Chi Minh Trail was and how little we would find it other than beautiful views.  You see we were driving a motorcycle across Vietnam and just looked at Google Maps and saw names of what we saw were villages. My ex-gf and I were confident that our Vietnamese friend Dung, who had been translating for us and riding his own motorcycle, would be able to find a homestay in these villages.

But then when the windy, mountain roads took twice as long to drive and we finally got somewhere on the map, there was nothing but a government building.  No houses and certainly no homestays. The rain hadn’t turned into a downpour when we found out it would be another hour of driving but we were well past sunset.

With darkness growing and a light spray quickly turning into a monsoonal downpour I noticed large waterfalls flowing off the cliffs above the road.  Then I looked into the road and saw huge rocks that had spilled over. This stretch of road had instantly become the most dangerous road I’ve ever driven on but thankfully we weren’t hit by any falling rocks.

Did I mention my ex-gf had a fever and was fighting a sore throat for the last two days?  Well getting soaked and chilled to the bone didn’t help but finally, we found a homestay in the middle of nowhere.  Okay well actually it was just someone’s home and they let us sleep in the brother’s room. We were grateful for a roof over our heads and decided not to question the snake brewing in a giant bottle sitting on the dresser.  The doctor’s clinic wasn’t far and thankfully we got there by the following afternoon and with a few antibiotics and another 2 days of rest, we were ready to keep adventuring and left for Phong Nha!

inside a train

On the Wrong Train to Rome

by Heidi of

“Ciao. I think you’re in our seats!”

I stood looking expectantly at the well-dressed Italian businessmen sitting in the seats with our seat numbers. Both looked at each other and then at my hubby and I as we stood in the train aisle with our bags.

We had just boarded the Frecciarossa, the sleek red high-speed train from Firenze to Roma (Florence to Rome). After spending an amazing week in the Renaissance capital of the world, we were looking forward to a week in Italy’s capital city. It was our first international trip and only our second time using Italy’s train system. And we were on the WRONG train!

Apologizing and embarrassed, we turned from the Italian gents and bolted towards the train doors – just as they SLAMMED CLOSED.

Panicked, we stood there a moment, not knowing what to do. Our tickets were for the next train, and at that point, we didn’t even know where this train was going. And we didn’t have any seats! David suggested the dining car, and I happily agreed. At least we could take a breather for a moment and figure out what to do.

Over a glass of wine (vino helps make everything better), we realized we were at least headed in the right direction. Now the dilemma was whether to get off at the next stop and wait for the right train or just ride it out and hope for the best if the ticket checker caught us. We decided to ride it out and found seats in second class instead of our nice cushy expensive first-class ones and hunkered down for the ride.

Luck was with us that day. I don’t know if the ticket man would have pitied us or not. We were on the wrong train, but at least we did have our tickets validated (a 50-euro fine if you don’t). It’s safe to say that we learned a HUGE lesson that day.

ALWAYS check the train number EVEN if it is the train sitting on the right platform at the right time.

Schuylkill River as it enters Philadelphia

New Year “charm” gone wrong

by Anjali of

Have you ever met a person who has had a perfect trip without any mishap? I haven’t. Junk happens, no matter, how well planned your travels are. Chaos and uncertainty are the part and parcel of life and travel for that matter.

I’ve had my share of travel mishaps, but I never missed my flight before in my travel life. But you know anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. My travel misadventure is one of the classic examples of Murphy’s Law in Action.

Why did I choose to fly on New Year? Even at the cost of sounding gullible or superstitious, I would like to say I have this belief that if I travel on the first day of the year then I’d get to travel the entire year. Ahem.

I, as always meticulously planned my trip to the largest salt desert in India, The Great Rann of Kutch. My excitement knew no bounds as I was visiting to witness the grand winter extravaganza called Rann Utsav and admire the sight of the white desert glowing on full moon night.

D-Day arrived, and we left our house at 5 a.m. for the airport. We reached exactly one hour before our flight. Being a noise-free airport, there was no announcement and as I happily proceeded to the check-in, the Indigo airline staff personnel announced that we are late. Late!!!

Our excitement and smiles melted away. “We aren’t late, we still have 45 minutes” I argued. He then bluntly informed that the flight is already full with 110 passengers on board. “How can that be possible?” Hubby pulled me gesticulating while running to the help desk trying to rebook the next flight but in vain. We came back home with long faces and ruptured hopes.

It just amazes me how unprofessional airline companies can be. We all looked at each other’s sad faces and my daughter then gave her best smile saying,” Let’s roll with the bumps, mom.” Celebrating the day was an idea, to cherish it as a day when we missed our flight for the last time. Ha-ha…

Hubby gifted me a mobile phone, we lost so much money and celebrated by spending more. Would you agree when I say madness is utter happiness? Sometimes, the travel mishaps or misadventures become the most memorable travel moments.

Epic travel fails part 2

But wait there’s more epic travel fails…

Liked what you read? Be sure to check out this site for more epic travel fails stories every Tuesday of March. Don’t worry if you missed the first part of this series, I have prepared the link right here. I hope this post has brought good vibes in your day and I hope to see you all in the next part of this travel misadventure series! Ciao~



author avatar

I am a 20-something Software Engineer who loves to travel, explore places, experience different culture and chase dreams. Apart from my 6 to 9 job, I dance ballet as a hobby. Born, raised and currently living in the beautiful Philippines but will soon travel the world.. one baby step at a time.

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  1. Pingback: Bloggers all over the world share their epic travel fails (Part 4) - Ms. Meeting Adventures

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