Travelling is often associated with the good life – experiencing things we’ve never done, meeting people we probably would never talk to, and who could forget the amazing travel photos we get to share afterwards?
Yes, travel is fun and exciting. But until you’ve experienced these outrageous circumstances while on a trip, you’ll know that it’s just like any other form of indulgence out there – painful and disappointing, when it doesn’t go your way, of course. Can you count how many of these travel disasters you’ve experienced before?
Also read: The Things That Happen When You Travel Alone
1. Cancelled journey
You may have spent a lot of time planning your trip, already booked the perfect hotel, and about to fly with your favourite people in the world, and then something happens out of your control that completely throws everything out the window. Refund or no refund. It’s still heartbreaking.
2. Missing a flight
Anyone who’s been to Manila will know how you don’t have to be far from the airport to miss a flight. Abroad, similar things can happen when you’re suddenly caught in traffic or lost your way to and in the airport. Always double check your flight schedule and give yourself enough time when you know you have a flight to catch.
3. Getting held up or offloaded by Immigration Officers
If there’s nothing you’re hiding, why would you be afraid of facing the Immigration Officers at NAIA anyway? I wish it’s that easy to answer, but we all know how strict these officials can be while doing their job.
4. Luggage exceeding weight requirements
For light packers like me, it’s quite depressing to know that after your efforts in packing wisely with as minimal clothes as possible and barely buying anything on your trip, your bag still exceeds the carry-on requirement of some airlines. If you can help it, just purchase the baggage allowance during booking instead of paying the hefty fees at the airport.
5. Lost luggage
Try visiting travel forums and you will find at least one person complaining about his or her experience of this frustrating incident. I haven’t gone through it myself but I know that what makes it a much bigger deal for some people is the fact it’s not their fault at all.
6. Victimised by bullet scandal
A reminder that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was once a playground for dirty opportunists, the bullet scandal succeeded in degrading the already unlucky airport we have. Take extra precaution by always watching over your luggage or even wrapping them in plastic.
7. Misplacing tickets to tours
After paying your Angkor Wat Ticket which, by the way, costs almost double now from the previous $20 fee for a day pass, somehow you misplaced your ticket. You simply can’t let your trip end without even seeing this world-class attraction, can you? Disappointing as it is, you have no other option except to use more of your budget to buy a second ticket.
8. Drained phone and no power bank
You’re just four hours into your day and you noticed your phone’s battery is almost out! Worse comes to worst, there are zero power sockets nearby and you have no power bank with you. It could be a blessing in disguise as you can focus on experiences more. Regardless, phones are an integral part of our travels that you can’t afford to not be able to use it when most necessary.
9. Corrupted gadget storage
You’ve finally perfected your poses when you were on a beautiful street in Taipei. But before you actually get to share them online or at least save it somewhere secure, your phone’s storage is already corrupted for some unknown reason. Instead of moving to your next location, you end up in a gadget store to have it fixed. But it will probably take a lot more time than you expected.
10. Broken earphones and other possession
In unforeseen situations, some of your trusty travel possessions can fail you during your trip. These can include your earphones which you often use for long-haul journeys, sunglasses for outdoor activities or your shoes. You’ll be saying goodbye to them before you do your trip.
11. Losing a phone with unbacked photos
Let’s begin with what many people may find the most relevant today – smartphones and photos. Once it sinks in that all your hard work in taking the most Instagrammable shots has completely gone to waste, you’ll find it almost unbearable.
12. Losing internet connection
For better or worse, the internet has really become a big part of our lives, even while travelling. It ain’t fun when you suddenly lost your WiFi or data connection while trying to navigate a city or getting important information online.
13. Running out of money
You’ve planned your trip well, but you’ll never know how things work out exactly until you finally leave for your trip. It’s common to be tempted to spend a little more on food and merchandise. But you’ll be surprised at how the combined costs will get at the end of the day. What’s worse, you have trouble taking out cash from international ATM machines!
14. Your hotel doesn’t live up to your expectations
Choosing the perfect hotel relies heavily on what the hotel looks like, so it’s a little disheartening to see that those photos you’ve seen online and even bragged about to your friends are actually not what they’re supposed to be. Instead, you have cockroaches and foul smell at every corner!
15. Expectation versus reality destinations
There’s no bigger disappointment than seeing an attraction you’ve been dreaming about for months and swore to visit actually look nothing like what you’ve seen in photos. No matter how long you try to find the right spot to make it somewhat attractive for your own shots, it just doesn’t seem to happen.
16. Change of weather
Since this is just way too unpredictable, the best thing you can do is allot an extra day or two if you find out that the weather in your destination is already doubtful. If it’s that severe, say there’s a storm, try coming up with an alternative itinerary where you can spend more time indoors.
17. Language barrier
Ever stayed in a hostel, ate in a restaurant and walked on streets abroad where not a single person speaks English or your language? We’ve all been there. Learning a few basic keywords can help you have at least one successful interaction with a local. Make sure to practise them!
18. Finding cheaper rates
The reality is that it’s really easy to fool anyone online these days. You may see affordable rates offered by different websites and Facebook pages, but you’ll be horrified to know later on that there are even cheaper rates offered somewhere else. The worst part? There’s no refund available!
19. Falling in love with a stranger
Yes, this is considered a travel disaster once you realise you can’t be with that other person and you have to part ways eventually. So how do you prevent something like this from happening to you? You can’t. Just hope that he or she also likes you enough to be willing to stay in touch!
20. Breaking up with your partner
People say that travelling together can make or break a relationship. If it does turn out really bad for you and your partner abroad, you could find yourselves breaking up on the spot. Not only will it tamper with your trip, it will ruin your memories of the destination as well.
21. There’s nothing to eat or drink
Feeling hungry or running out of water while in the middle of a trekking or any outdoor activity? It’s one of the most miserable positions to be in. If there are a few things you need to invest on in your travel, a good water bottle and emergency snacks are definitely a couple of them.
22. Losing cash
Sometimes we get way too excited doing things on our trips that we forget to look after one of our most crucial travel best friends – money. My mother would always tell me to distribute whatever cash you have into separate pockets. That way, you avoid the risk of losing all your money at once.
23. Leaving passport and other travel documents behind
You may have made it to the airport in time for check-in, but once the staff asks for your passport and other important travel documents, you find out they are nowhere to be found! It’s painful to think that after all your efforts in preparing for your trip and the money you’ve spent, you wound up delaying the trip because of these must-have items.
24. Getting scammed
As much as we wish to, not everyone we meet is our friend out there. From paying for tuk-tuk rides to our tickets to some attractions, anyone of us can be a prey to scammers if we don’t take time to research for appropriate prices beforehand and act aggressive enough.
25. Getting lost
Imagine being in a country where you can barely communicate with the people around you, you have no internet or at least a printed map. Then, you realise you’re on a street void of other international travellers. Doesn’t it seem scary? Because it really is!
26. Getting stuck on an island
DIY travelling works best for people who want to do things cheaper and on their own, but imagine getting stuck on an island after missing the last boat for the day and there’s no one else you can pin it on. It can get as scary as having no accommodations or even houses to stay in for the night.
27. Having LBM or the need to pee immediately
There are only two things that can make these worse. Either it’s cold anywhere you go, making the feeling so much more intolerable or you’re on a highway while riding a public bus and you can’t go down until the bus stops at the nearest gas station. Ah, life.
28. Anxiety attacks or homesickness
Being in an entirely different and faraway environment can be a lot of fun in the beginning. After several days or weeks of not being around your family or not being able to eat food from home, it becomes a different story. For long-term travellers, homesickness is curable by simply calling (not chatting) loved ones as often as possible — at least in my experience.
29. Food poisoning
A lot of times, we can get a little too adventurous and taste everything we lay our eyes on. The consequence? Your stomach starts to rumble and you turn out spending all day in bed or on a toilet. It just isn’t ideal.
30. Getting sick, hospitalised or worse
There’s nothing more horrifying than a having an agonising headache or flu and being sent to the hospital for it while on a trip. Even worse, you have no travel insurance to cover all the expenses!
31. Getting robbed
More than the money or items stolen from you, it’s mostly the trauma and anxiety from the incident that can damage your emotional attachment to a place. It will be harder for you to have fun when the next time you go out of your hotel, the only two things you have with you are fear and discomfort.
32. Getting jailed
Different countries have different rules. Even cities in the same country are bound to have slightly distinct policies that it’s advisable to research or ask questions as much as you can. Don’t let the highlight of your trip be being behind bars!
33. Losing a baby or young children
Losing your valuable things is one thing. Losing a fragile member of the family is another. For hassle-free family trips, it may be best to stick with going to places that are not too populated. How about finally buying that pricey baby carrier you once saw online?
34. Mass shooting or bombings
Several things are bound to scare you about travel — but mass shooting or bombings are typically not one of them. Sadly, these events do take place and can affect anyone. As much as possible, just try to keep away from crowded places in common hours of the day.
35. Airplane crashing
Have you been watching Final Destination movies too many times? The truth is, this can happen anytime. Being thousands of feet in the air is both a thrilling and nerve-wracking experience. It will help to at least pay attention to the instructions given by your flight crew before and during your flight.
Travelling is fun — until you experience one of these unfortunate incidents on one of your trips. But fret not, some of them can be avoided if you do enough research, have travel insurance or have the ability to turn bad situations into good ones. Do you think you’ll be ready for them?