When we travel, we are stepping out of our comfort zone, which means mistakes are bound to happen. Vacation mistakes are a great reminder that none of us are perfect. Often, the bad experiences lead to some of the best stories, once we get over the sting of what happened.
We’ve had our share of funny vacation mistakes. At the time, they weren’t so funny, but looking back on them, all we can do is laugh.
Our Nashville Mistake – Don’t Believe the News Hype!
We visited Nashville, Tennessee for the first time a few years ago. The news kept reporting extra long TSA lines at the Philadelphia Airport…up to 3 hours! I believed the hype. I became nervous, afraid that if we didn’t give ourselves enough time for TSA, we would miss our flight. I told Mark we had to get to the airport extra early, so we left in the wee hours of the morning for our 6:30 am flight. We got to the airport before anything was open! We actually had to sit and wait an hour for the TSA lines to even open up. We could have spent that extra hour at home sleeping! It wasn’t a great way to start our vacation to Nashville and that is the last time I will make the mistake of believing the media, who likes to over exaggerate everything.
Our Paris Mistake – Always Get it in Writing!
A more recent mistake was from our most recent trip to Paris. Our hotel had a breakfast buffet and we were under the assumption it was free. We even asked one of the staff members, who told us that it was included with our stay. We ate there everyday, assuming it was saving us money, but learned when we checked out of the hotel that it was NOT included. We ended up paying $140 for it! This vacation mistake taught us to always make sure everything is in writing!
Our Iceland Experience – Tour Guides Should Always Do a Head Count
Another funny vacation mistake we experienced wasn’t our fault exactly, but deserves to be on the list. While we were in Iceland, we did a Northern Lights tour. Basically, a bus picks a bunch of people up and takes them to the middle of nowhere in Iceland so they can try to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. It was a cool experience, but let’s just say our tour guide was a little…whacky. She let us wander around, not giving any direction on where to go or when to be back on the bus. She also neglected to do a head count before we left. You might see where this is going…
About 20 minutes into our bus ride home, she gets a call. Apparently, she left two people on our tour at the site! Thank goodness they were able to use their phones to get in touch with the tour company, who then got in touch with her, demanding she turn around the bus! Considering our middle of nowhere location, these people were lucky to get cell reception. They could have very easily be stranded and cold in the middle of Iceland! Luckily everyone was fine, but we are pretty sure our tour guide got fired after that incident.
Your Funny Vacation Mistakes
Watch Out For Falling Rocks
Heading to Iceland in February, people called us crazy. However, we were on Mission Impossible: Spot the Northern Lights.
Would the weather thwart our road tripping plans? I pictured avalanches, wind gusts blowing off the rental car door, the car skidding off of an icy cliff, and pretty much my dramatic and untimely demise.
I won’t lie: Iceland in February can be treacherous. Driving the Golden Circle, I watched a fluffy Icelandic horse play in the snow. Wait, where did the horse go? Where did we go? Hello, whiteout.
Throughout our trip, we made even more vacation mistakes. Imagine getting that Northern Light alert late at night in your room:
You rush outside, see those magnificent glimmering spotlights, and grab the car keys. Thrilled, you speed up to the church hill in Vik, snapping away picture after picture and hysterically scream-crying. Too windy and cold to sit outside for an hour, you decide to open the car windows to take pictures instead.
Commence our ultimate fatal and funny vacation mistake: with 40+mph winds, lava rocks poured into the car, pelting our faces and seats. Thank gosh for comprehensive rental insurance. The damage couldn’t be that bad, right? Just a few rocks got in…
Waking up the next day dazed from our 1 AM joy ride, we jumped into the car to head out for the glacier lagoon.
“Uh, Tom… What’s that the jiggling?!”
10 minutes later…
“No, seriously, what is that sound?!”
We look around…
“Oh sh*t, the dashboard and everything is COVERED in lava rocks.”
Commence hysterical giggles.
Whoops. We threw those rental car keys at the inspector and jumped into the shuttle to the airport. Nothing to see here.
Submission by bookish travel blogger, Christine, of The Uncorked Librarian.
Always Check About Booking In Advance
Once I was traveling in Canada and had planned to take a ferry instead of driving the 9 hours around. Didn’t realize you had to book tickets ahead of time and got there just to realize there wasn’t any space on the ferry. Soooo… 9 hour drive it was!
Submission by Lauren of Lauren’s Travel Adventures
Hello, US Border Patrol
Were in Toronto and had seen most things and had a few days to spare so thought we would go over the border to Buffalo! I’m sorry if you live in Buffalo……… just thought we would visit a city like you would in UK! Doesn’t work like that in USA!
Submission by Catherine via Twitter.
Get to the Airport Early
Missing my flight from Rome to Paris because I didn’t give myself enough time to get to the airport. I was 20 and didn’t know any better. I rebooked, but had to spend 8 hours in the airport.
Submission by Christina K. via Facebook
Longer layovers equal less stress (and a bathroom break!)
Flying through Madrid with only an hour layover. Two times in one week! If you use the bathroom you risk almost missing your flight. If I could have run with my carry-on and my backpack on I would have, but I walked as fast as I possibly could. I even had someone cut me to the front of the line on the way to my flight, which caused the workers to point their fingers and yell at him in Spanish! Luckily I made it, but the whole process was so stressful.
Submission by Pam S. via Facebook
Always Have Cash
I can’t count how many travel mistakes I’ve done in the past, but one of the worst was not bringing enough cash with us to Shifen, Taiwan. Just a single ATM in town that didn’t work. So we just watched sky lanterns as they flew up the sky, without being able to buy our own. Sky lanterns were the only reason why we went there. Oh, did I mention that we traveled for a total of 6 hours just for that? Super!
Submission by Ran of Ran Travels via Twitter
Where do I start? I booked 2 flights to 2 different cities in 2 different countries for the same time period.
I recently missed my flight to Israel. Was not late getting to the gate. Just was at the WRONG gate. I was waiting only 2 gates over.
Was coming back from Marrakesh. Spent night in airport cause flight to Jerusalem was leaving the next day. It left, but without me.
Submission by Backpacking It via Twitter
Where am I Going Again?
Worst? Booked a one way hidden city with an open jaw on a multi leg trip, and didn’t remember till I ended up in Bangor ME and my rental car reservation was for Charlotte, and my hotel was in Greenville SC.
Submission by Brian G. via Facebook
And Lastly, Only in New York…
Homeless woman in NYC demanded a dollar from me. Didn’t want to open my wallet in front of her so I refused. She tried to kick me. I carried a dollar in my pocket after that.
Submission by Laura of Laura’s Books and Blogs