CONTEST We want your vacation horror stories

Vacations always go as planned. There’s never a glitch. Nope.

We never miss connecting flights nor get stranded in a tiny city with no places to eat at but Denny’s. Nope.
We always get along with our fabulous relatives and their fabulous children. Nope.
And hotels are always as described.

If you’ve never had a bad experience traveling, read no further. Thank you for your interest. And we know you don’t exist.

But, for the rest of you, let’s talk honesty. What happened on your vacation that turned into a horror flick?

• How did it start?
• What do you remember most about the trip?
• What drove you insane?
• Who did you want to strangle? (with love, of course!)

June 1 marked the starting line for our summer vacation story contest. Every two weeks, we’ll focus on a different category of vacation memories. You share your stories. We’ll pick three and during the second week we’ll let readers decide whose is best. Last week’s theme was family trips.

You can post your vacation horror story to this blog in the comments section below. If you want to email your stories instead, send them to Travelajc@gmail.com. (If you have vacation stories that just can’t be categorized but are totally worth sharing, just send it to us. We’ll find a place for it.)

And the prizes?

Each bi-weekly winner will get to see his or her story published in Sunday’s AJC travel pages and become a finalist for a grand prize getaway to a Florida resort. The prize is valued at $800.

So if you think you have a tale, go for it. Compare it with other Atlantans. Maybe your trip wasn’t so bad after all.

Or was it?

68 comments Add your comment

Dennis

June 16th, 2009
12:18 am

My wife and our son took a Disney Cruise, which was wonderful by the way, and booked the flights both ways with all transfers included. Everything was great until it was time to come home. Instead of the Orlando Airport, where we flew into, we were routed to I believe, Melbourne. We were the only people routed that way so we had our own special car and driver. After we finally found our own special car and driver, we took off for the wonderful airport in Melbourne, Florida. We arrived a bit over 3 hours before our flight left so we checked in and went through security, to the gate. The airport is not quite what we were used to in Atlanta, but then again, we would still be on Delta. After a short time of waiting, the other flight, (not flights), left the airport. Ironically, it was also for Atlanta. The wonderful people of the Delta crew finished up their work after the flight left and they took off for the terminal lobby. There was one guy who was working a small snack table and he left also. This left myself, my wife, and my son to occupy the whole concourse. Not another soul in sight. It didn;t take long to get thirsty so I went looking for some refreshment. Not one machine or water fountain in sight. I told my wife I would go back through the terminal and get us something to drink and a snack, to bide our time. I goth the snacks and started to go back to the concourse and take their snacks and was stopped at security and told I could not go back to the gate. The reason stated to me was that security was at lunch. It would be an hour or so until they returned. OK, can you go tell my wife to come out and wait with me. No I can’t. Is their anyone who can go tell them to come out? No I was told. I went to the Delta ticket counter and the same helpful people who were at the gate for the earlier flight were standing there doing absolutely nothing. I told them my dilema and asked for their help. There comment was, that they had no one who could go get my wife and son. OK, call back there and page them. No, can’t do that either. All these people were going to let my wife and six year old son wait there for the better part of two hours, not knowing where I was or what I was doing, in a strange airport on top of that. I went up the chain of command until I reached the airpot manager and he was able to convince the helpful Delta folks that they could go get my wife and son. They finally, rudely, went and asked her to come out and meet me. Had I been the type person to yell, they would have heard me calling them. It was that close, but all the helpful security workers couldn’t go back and get them. We finally were able to board and fly home, back to Atlanta. Here we go to pick up our luggage and, yep, you guessed it. It was not there. Without going into detail about that fiasco, it took me 5 more helpful security people, until one of them would look on their little handheld and tell me that my luggage was sent on the frst flight, that left as we were checking into the Melbourne Airport. It was already in the lost and found office, on a shelf. Moral of the story is; I think I will drive to the port for my next cruise.

mama D

June 16th, 2009
12:31 am

My family and I just took a 7 day trip to Pigeon Forge, TN. My family included my 4 kids ages 15,17,and twins 13, my two dogs, myself and husband and our fish named Killer riding in a Expedition packed to the rim. Upon our arrival we decided to stop at the Dollar General to get some paper items. After shopping in the store I took my items to the car and proceeded to take the shopping cart back to be placed with others that were outside. I was almost there when I saw a SNAKE about 6 feet long and a little fatter than a 16 oz bottle. It’s head was in an attack mode. I took off, left the buggy there and started screaming snake and ran, ran, ran. I was ready to run back to Ga. After that major shock, I didn’t know if I wanted to stay but the family talked me into continuing the trip. From that point on it rained cats and dogs everyday and my children were acting out because we didn’t have any reception or WIFI in the cabin. We went to Dollywood and got rained out. Then the cabin was not the best. Imagine in a cabin with all the kids and animals with nothing to do and having to cook everyday. I went on a nightmare journey not a vacation.

Mary Jane Kolassa

June 16th, 2009
8:27 am

What a shame the AJC is sponsoring a “travel horror stories” contest, when the nation’s tourism industry — and Americans who work in it, and those whose livelihoods are in a trickle down fashion also dependent upon it — have been so negatively impacted due to the economy.

Why not be “part of the solution” instead and sponsor a contest about the best vacation taken in the USA? Or where/why would you like to visit someplace in this great land of ours next vacation?

Bruce Strum

June 16th, 2009
9:38 am

We were at Club Med Turks and Caicos for our Honeymoon in 1995. As part of our excursion, we were able to rent a deserted island. We met the boat at the appointed time and we were taken to our “island.” I asked the boat driver, “If it rains, do we move to another island?”. Ronnie Rastafarian responds, “Yeah mon. No Worries”. Well 15 minutes after drop off, the storm clouds closed in with a torrential downpour. With only a mesh umbrella lined with scuba flippers ,to keep our stuff dry. It didn’t really work out. We had a cooler with a baguette, a boiled egg and ham. Around lunch we were blessed by 16 minutes of sunshine, which was long enough for the reef sharks to close in on our position and keep us on the beach. The rains started up again, so severely we couldn’t see 10 feet in front of us. Well, the boat arrived promptly at 6:00 pm, exactly 1 hour late. The new rasta driving the boat had gotten lost on his way to find us. He anchors the boat, trims the motor up and we load up. The trim won’t push the motor back down, and the boat is drifting with the tides. I finish the beer that was left in the cooler. I put on my snorkel mask and go overboard. I am looking around and notice the huge channel in the seabed. It’s the anchor, not holding, at all. We are being pulled into the serious channel. I bring this to the attention of our “Captain”. He immediately brings out the radio and calls for help. As I am watching this unfold, he doesn’t realize the radio is not even wired in, nor wireless! So our mayday calls go unheard. After one hour of trying, we finally got the motor started. As the “captain” takes off, I hear this enormous banging. I realize that the anchor has not been brought back up and is banging into the hull, repeatedly. We stop, I haul the anchor in and we get back. We find out when we return the storm was the outer bands of a hurricane. We have the vast majority of this whole day on tape.
Not to be outdone by the weather, we had the ability to use a trapeze at the resort. Two days later, we did the introductory class and went up on the trapeze. I am a large man. 6′2″ tall and 250 pounds. When i went off the platform and my shoulders had to hold my wait, needless to say it pulled both shoulders out of joint. Nothing has worked right since.

JMS

June 16th, 2009
11:12 am

My Husband and I love to scuba dive. We try to take a trip once a year. We went with a group to Cozumel, Mexico. I did not feel the need to take my entire wallet so at the last minute, before leaving for the airport, I took my credit card wallet out of my purse and threw it on the bed taking only my one credit card and my Green card out of the wallet and sliding them both into the side flap of my purse…or so I thought….. (My green card was in an envelope to protect the magnetic strip) We had a great 5 day dive trip and on Sunday we headed back to Cancun to catch our flight to Atlanta. Standing in line at the check in counter I reached into my purse felt the envelope with my “green” card and pulled it out to present it with my passport, imagine my horror when I looked down and saw what I was holding was my work “Manager card”, the only other card I keep in an envelope!! I rummaged back into my purse and there was nothing else in the side pocket… I had a semi out of body experience as I realized that in my haste to discard my wallet back in Atlanta I had pulled out the only other card that I kept in an envelope, and being in a hurry had not actually looked at it as I stuffed it into my wallet… Yikes!! I tried to stay calm and not panic, hoping that delta check in might not ask for the green card. I know I was grasping at straws at this point, but thought that seeing as I have plenty of stamps in my passport showing back and forth travel and I have a USA driver’s license I might be OK! Well that was not the case. They refused to allow me on the plane. Our dive master tried to convince them that he would be responsible for me and that once we got to Atlanta I would not try to enter the USA until my husband went home and retrieved my green card, they still refused to let me board the flight… after much consternation it became clear I was not going anywhere without that green card… I convinced my husband he would have to leave me in Cancun and return to Atlanta to get my card and send it to me…. Easier said than done! Monday also happened to be a federal Holiday so we knew we would get no help till Tuesday if at all, so it made sense to leave me in Mexico and for the Husband to try to overnight my card. Hotel arrangements were made and I bid farewell to all our scuba friends.( all 19 of them!!) Of course looking stupid in front of all those people did not help with the way I was feeling right then either. So off I went into a taxi to take me to the hotel. I would spend the next three nights in Mexico, while my husband tried to get me my green card! I got ripped off in the taxi on the way to the hotel; over paying by 450 Pesos…I found this out on the way back to the Airport as I had an honest taxi driver for that occasion…. So I settled in and for two days had a migraine headache with no medication. Back in Atlanta my husband was hitting a few bumps of his own…Try telling someone you are mailing a green card to Mexico and see how unhelpful they become…after three attempts to get a carrier to overnight my green card, he found one that will remain unnamed, as they said they should not do it but they could see his growing distress. Being international it would not necessarily be overnight but it would get to me as fast as humanly possible. In the interim I was calling from the hotel using my credit card to find out when I should receive my green card, and then on the second day of my exile, my bank noticing the calls and charges coming out of Mexico put a block on my card! My first indication was at lunch when the waiter returned my card and said did I have another form of payment…luckily I had some pesos so I paid left and returned to the hotel, tried to call my bank to see what was going on as I knew I had plenty of $$ in the account. So now I cannot even make that call as the phone company is telling me my card is blocked. I am wondering how I am going to pay for the hotel stay. I have only 500 pesos. I am at this point still thinking I need the 500 pesos to get back to the Airport. I managed to have one of the telephone operators call my husband and have him call me so I could tell him my card is blocked and get my bank on the phone and unblock my card… Finally on Wednesday I received the envelope with my green card, I checked out and rushed to the Airport to try to get on the 4pm flight, I just made it and arrived back in Atlanta later that night…After that experience I decided it as time to apply for my USA Citizenship so that would never happen again and I am glad to say I am now a US citizen! The phone charges on my card, alone, were over $800 for those 4 days…That was 5 years ago, now finally, I can laugh about it, but at the time it was not at all amusing!

JOHN

June 16th, 2009
11:23 am

IN THE LATE SEVENTIES,AS TEENAGERS,ABOUT 6 OF US WENT TO FLORIDA.WE HAD USE OF A CONDO ON THE BEACH FOR A WEEK ,FREE!THE IST DAY WAS PERFECT.IT STARTED RAINING THE 2ND DAY.IT RAINED 17 INCHS THAT WEEK.AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS OF CABIN FEVER,A COUPLE OF MY FRIENDS WERE OUT ON THE BALCONY HORSEPLAYING,WHEN ONE OF THEM SLIPPED AND FELL OVER THE RAILING.HE FELL 5 STORIES!!!HE LANDED ON THE HOOD OF A MERCEDES BENZ THAT WAS PARKED IN THE PARKING LOT BELOW.WE THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD,BUT THE HOOD BROKE HIS FALL ENOUGH,THAT HE WAS JUST KNOCKED OUT.HE WAS OUT FOR 36 HRS!HE AWAKENED AND ,OTHER THAN BEING SORE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS ,HE WAS FINE.THE WORST PART WAS CALLING HIS PARENTS(WHO DID NOT LIKE US),TO COME AND PICK HIM UP AT THE HOSPITAL IN A STATION WAGON.WE LATER LAUGHED ABOUT THE WHOLE ORDEAL,BECAUSE MERCEDES HAD ALWAYS CLAIMED TO BUILD THE SAFEST CARS IN THE WORLD.MY FRIEND WAS LIVING PROOF OF THAT!!!!!

Chris

June 16th, 2009
12:02 pm

In 2001, my wife and I took our Honeymoon to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. We were staying at a nice all-inclusive resort and all was well for the first two days. However, on the third day, I awoke with a stomach ache that I subsequently ignored while drinking, snorkeling, just trying to make the most of our time. Later that day, I became violently ill, throwing up with severe pains and other digestion related complications. I went on like this for a while until I became sick to the point where I couldn’t walk. I somehow ended up on the phone with a doctor who told me I needed to go to a hospital. However, the hotel did not help us get there! There was no ambulance and we had to call a taxi to take me into Castries and to the hospital. I was carried into the hospital by my wife and a man from the hotel who had finally volunteered to come and help us. They took me through the lobby (dirty with little plastic public school chairs) and into the main room of the hospital where there were 6 beds (for a city of 60,000!). They took me to a bed that I noticed had blood stains on the sheets and laid me down. I remained there for a while, watching the bugs crawl on the wall next to me. Much time passed, and I didn’t know why my wife wasn’t with me and why no one was examining or treating me. I later found out that the hospital refused to treat me until my wife brought back a receipt from the lobby saying she had paid. The complication with this is that she was very stressed out and hadn’t eaten in a while and therefore had fainted in the lobby. All this time my eyes were rolling in to the back of my head and I was certain that bad things were coming. Anyway, there was a tall man in the bed next to me who woke up about this time. I heard him say “Boy”, “Hey Boy, I’m going to kill you boy”. He kept repeating this over and over and over for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, my wife arrived, handed the doctor a yellow paper, came over, slammed the curtain shut between me and the crazy man who wanted to kill me and sat down on the bed next to me. At this point, I needed to go to the bathroom (I still hadn’t been examined or treated). My wife walked me there. It turns out that the bathroom was a toilet with no seat and no toilet paper that sat exposed along a wall in a hallway. I sat there and then realized that something was off. There was no wall at the end of the hallway! There was a crumbling section of a wall with people milling about on the other side of it, all of them watching me half-consciously using the toilet in the hall. After that ordeal, my wife walked me back to the treatment room and to my bed. Finally, the doctor came over and pulled out a needle (which was not brand new and pulled from a sterile package :) ) and started the IV. I was there on the IV and sleeping for hours. Eventually, they told us to leave. We had to call a cab, I still had to be carried to it and got back to the hotel. The next day, my wife informed me that we had spent $125 of the $175 we had left on us and still had several days of the trip left to go. We then had to spend the other $50 on a prescription I was given and the taxi to go and get the prescription. Good thing it was an all-inclusive resort! That was it, we tried to enjoy the rest of the trip while I recovered. I’d love to win a trip so that I could give my wife the Honeymoon she never had!

KIM

June 16th, 2009
12:25 pm

WE WENT TO NEW YORK FOR SPRING BREAK.. MY HUSBAND AND 10 YEAR OLD TWINS.. OUR KIDS LOVE NEW YORK AND WE WERE GOING TO DO IT UP IN THE BIG CITY! ON DAY 2 OF OUR TRIP I STARTED TO FEEL KIND OF CRUMMY , BUT I DID NOT LET THAT INTERFERE WITH OUR FUN.. I HAD A REALLY BAD INTESTINAL BUG, BUT BEING STUBBORN.. I TRUDGED ON AND DID NOT LET ON THAT I FELT LIKE CRAP….ON OUR SECOND TO LAST DAY WE WENT TO A FABULOUS SHOW THAT I HAD WAITED 2 YEARS TO SEE.. BEFORE THE SHOW WE WENT TO DINNER AND MY DAUGHTER CLAIMED THAT SHE DID NOT FEEL TO WELL.. I TOLD HER TO SIP COKE AND SHE WOULD BE FINE.. WELL WE GOT TO THE SHOW .. AT THE INTERMISSION SHE SAID SHE FELT LIKE SHE WAS GOING TO PUKE.. WELL SHE RAN TO THE BACK OF THE FANCY THEATER AND BARFED ALL OVER THE FLOOR AS PEOPLE WERE MILLING AROUND GETTING DRINKS AND PROGRAMS ETC… SHE KEPT BARFING.. THE USHERS RAN TO GET TOWELS ETC AND THE THEATER MANAGER CAME AND LOOKED UPSET.. BUT GOT SOMEONE TO HELP ME CLEAN UP THE MESS…. I TRIED HELPING AND PEOPLE KEPT WALKING THRU IT WITHOUT LOOKING!… THE 2ND HALF WAS ABOUT TO START AND EVERYONE GOT BACK TO THEIR SEATS.. ALL EXCEPT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN FRONT OF US… AND MY DAUGHTER SAID SHE FELT BETTER… WELL… THE CURTAIN WENT UP AND A FEW SECONDS LATER… SHE BARFED AGAIN.. THIS TIME ..ON ME… I RAN HER TO THE BACK OF THE THEATER AND SHE BARFED INTO THE TRASHCAN IN THE REAR OF THE THEATER!
WHAT A SHOW!
THE NEXT MORNING, WHICH WAS GOING TO BE OUR LAST DAY, WE HAD BOOKED A LATER FLIGHT SO WE COULD ENJOY THE DAY… WE ENDED UP IN BED IN THE HOTEL ROOM.. MY HUSBAND WAS WORKING ON HIS LAPTOP, DAUGHTER IN BED FEELING BAD AGAIN, ME FEELING A LITTLE BETTER, AND THEN MY SON SAID THAT HE FELT TERRIBLE AND HE BARFED ALL OVER THE FLOOR OF THE HOTEL BATHROOM..THEN CRAWLED BACK INTO BED… WE FELT MISERABLE BUT HAD FUN ANYWAYS! NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

Lisa

June 16th, 2009
12:28 pm

How about this for a “vacation of a lifetime.” I’m a school teacher in Dekalb, so my husband and I were married last year after school ended. So this year (literally just 2 weeks ago), we were packed and getting ready to leave for the airport for our 1 year anniversary trip to Spain. Our plan was to travel the country for about 8 days, via trains, rental cars, etc.
On Monday, June 1 (our flight was to leave at 5:45 to Barcelona), I went outside to cover the grill on our back patio at 12:45PM…since we were leaving for the airport at 3:00. As I moved the grill to put it back in place, I felt a sharp pain on my right foot. At first, I thought it was a bee sting…but as I jumped away and looked down, I see a foot-long copperhead snake!!! It had bitten my 2nd toe on my right foot.
My husband rushed me to the paramedics, who took me to the hospital. The initial diagnosis was that I’d have to stay for 2 hours for observation….then it became 6 hours. Delta was AWESOME, and agreed to move our flights, at no charge, to Tuesday, June 2….then, they made me stay overnight…which then became 2 nights.
As I write this, I’ve just begun walking (limping–not near full use yet), and I drove for the first time on Saturday.
We had to cancel everything–hotels in 5 cities, Rail Europe train passes, rental cars, meeting with friends, and our flights. So rather than shopping in museums, sampling all kinds of Spanish culture, and seeing the great museums of Spain (I’m an art teacher), I spent the vaction on crutches and laid up, taking pain and poison medications. Call it the nightmare vacation that never got off the ground.

Melinda Chestnut

June 16th, 2009
12:29 pm

A lovely and expensive vacation to a St. Kitt’s resort. Upon arrival, no fruity drink with an umbrella, no one to haul our bags through the resort and up three flights of steps after an 11 hour trek to get there and that was just the beginning.

The next day, the afternoon tea sandwiches consisted of Velveeta cheese on stale white bread that I wouldn’t even feed to the cats hanging around the pool.

It was the drinks after dinner the first night that started all the trouble when some drunken teenagers from the UK picked a fight over a discussion about basketball with my (then) boyfriend. They broke his foot, two ribs, and gave him a black eye. Security didn’t help and just let it continue. They threatened to stab me in my “liver”.

The following morning, I went to get some breakfast to take back to the room and the hotel manager called me over to the desk. He told me we had to leave the resort as the folks from UK always had “special treatment”. Was this guy kidding me? We paid a lot of money for a dream vacation – no way we were leaving. I told him to call the police – he wouldn’t. He told me we had to leave the resort in the morning and couldn’t return until evening and that was the only way he wouldn’t kick us out of our room.

I called our travel agent who could not do anything. I rented a Jeep and broken foot and I would go out all day. The shining spot of the entire vacation were the pristine beaches that we never would have found had we not been forced to leave the “compound”.

Thanks, but I’ll return to the USVI from now on!

hedtil

June 16th, 2009
12:37 pm

Some years ago, I took a vacation through Togo, Ghana, and Cote D’Ivoire. I was a peace corps volunteer living in Niger at the time, and was SO looking forward to seeing green things, water, and fruit (Niger is pretty much entirely Sahara desert). My traveling buddy and I were fairly broke, so we were traveling with just a little bit of cash and nothing else (we only earned $175 a month as volunteers – and had no credit cards or bank accounts as back-up).

We started in Togo, which was lovely and lush. A ‘butterfly walk’ through the forest revealed not a single butterfly, but that was ok – there were pineapples and fruit growing right out of the ground and that was awe-inspiring enough (did I mention that Niger is a desert?). We traveled by bush taxi to Ghana, still having a great time. We stayed at some pretty crappy hotels, but that was expected on our budget. We decided to be adventerous and cross the border into Cote D’Ivoire by a less-traveled route – by canoe. Unfortunately, the town where the boats take off from was tiny, empty, and had no banks. Almost all of our currency was in Ghanaian ceedees, which are worthless outside of Ghana. We forged ahead, thinking someone in Cote D’Ivoire would surely change our money for us.

We hit Cote D’Ivoire, and the little canoe dropped us off at a remote guard post in the middle of nowhere with only us 2 women and 3 male soldiers at the post – around us was just forest for seemingely forever. They seemed friendly, and served us tea just before the bus came. We got on the bus, and had the most bizarre experience of our lives trying to get to Abidjan. Turns out the tea was drugged – an apparently common trick to enable the soldiers to then steal everything from unsuspecting travelers before they are loaded on the bus to the city. Our bus was – fortunately – on time. So we had nothing stolen, but were completely dazed and nearly incoherent for the trip. The trip took around 4 hours; in my memory it was at least 23 hours and went round and round past the same odd patch of forest. I have a vague memory of being dropped off in a huge bus port station, and of stepping off the bus and thinking I might fall straight over. I remember following my traveling companion blindly to the next bus for us to get on, my brain wasn’t working and I couldn’t quite connect where we were or where on earth we were walking to. Frighteningly enough, she remembers it as *me* being the one to find the correct bus, and swears that she followed me in an exhausted stupor and has no idea how *I* got us to the bus. How we actually got on that bus will forever be a mystery.

We made it to the Abidjan airport early the next morning, and decided to wait all day for our evening flight back home as we still had no money in acceptable currencies. When the time for the flight came, there was no mention of it on the board. We asked at the counter, and were told the flight didn’t exist. ??? That was it – no other explanation. Your flight doesn’t exist, go home. There will be a flight that *does* exist tomorrow.

Well, we had no money, so along with some other folks we tried to sleep in the airport. They kicked us out at nightfall and locked the doors. So we decided to sleep on the lawn with the other Africans that had been kicked out with us. Around an hour later security came and chased us off the lawn. Having no idea what to do, and still being fairly woozy even a full day later (hunger might have played a part in that), we spent some of our pathetic amount of CFAs (local currency) to take a taxi to a horrible little hotel near the airport. We begged begged begged the hotel guy to accept our $4 or so for a room. He finally gave us a room (for nearly the rest of our cash) that appeared to be some sort of utility room, but that had 2 tiny, dirty little beds in it. We shoved furniture up against the door (this was really not a good area of town we were in) and tried to sleep. The next day, hungry and exhausted, we made it back to the airport where the flight really did exist.

The flight, operated by Air Ivoire, was horrifying. The carpet on the floor was ripped and showing plywood planks, there was water dripping on our heads, roaches ran by as the stewardess came through and sprayed us all with pesticide. The take-off was shaky and the landing in Mali for our layover was terrifying. It was so bad an African passenger (we were the only non-Africans on the plane) stood up and tried to rally us all to leave the plane in protest and demand a new plane for the next leg to Niger. Not a one of us budged. Much like the rest of the passengers, there was no way we could afford to buy another plane ticket – or even a bus ticket (Mali also uses CFA as currency – same as Cote D’Ivoire and Niger – and we had none). We also knew full well that Air Ivoire would have no qualms at all about leaving an entire group of passengers standing on the tarmac rather than capitulate to any demands. In the decision of whether to risk falling out of the sky on a broken plane, or being stranded in Mali with no credit card, no money, no phone, and no idea how to make it home – we chose the plane.

The plane of course made it to Niger, and all of the passengers cheered in joy when we landed and were still alive. We were able to find tourists heading to Ghana to buy our ceedees in exhcange for CFA, so we could make it from the airport back to our villages. I still have lovely memories of Togo and Ghana, though my memories of the last few harrying days of the trip exist in my mind as a hazy, drug-induced dreamlike nightmare. I still travel in ways that are probably inadviseable, but now I *ALWAYS* have back-up funds in US dollars, always have a credit card, and never accept offers of free drinks!

Shanna A.

June 16th, 2009
1:28 pm

Well, My story isn’t just about a normal vacation my horror story is about my HONEYMOON!! . Of course you all know weddings are stressful in themselves but it all started on our wedding night we get to the hotel close to the interstate so we can continue to Myrtle Beach for our week long honeymoon and also the first time either of us had been. We get to the hotel and they have given out our nice big king size room with jazzcuzzi and were completely booked up so we settled for a regular room but still had a jazzcuzzi we got o get outta the car and my new husband has hurt his back playing with the ringbearers so he can’t move ( that made for an interesting wedding night) so I was ready to just cancel the honeymoon thinking wewouldnt have much fun if he was in so much pain but he said no way so I ran to Wal-Mart and got a back brace and pain killers and we were on our way Well we get to our beach front hotel and guess what they are doing construction of half of it so it is loud and dirty and right under or room! Well the hotel was nice enough to move us but the view wasn’t near as good. So my new husband is in pain and crabby so we stay in the hotel that night well the next morning we wake up and he can’t get out of bed!! I am thinking”oh lord great we are going to be rugged from now on if I have to get help getting my husband outta bed because his back was hurt on our honeymoon” Well we finally got him out of bed and half way dressed and went of search for a cure Well we finally spot a chriopractor’s office and pull in and since we were across state lines they wouldn’t take his insurance so I had to go find atm to cash and come back well that was pretty much the end of that day because he was so sore from his disc being put back in we just laid in the pool at the hotel. Day 3 we wake up he is feeling ok so we decide to go exploring (for fun not a doctor this time) and end up across town. Well we have a pretty good time and deicde to go back to the hotel and get changed and go to dinner Now the main strip in Myrtle beach is a divided highway with three lanes going one way and 3 lanes going the other way. Well we were in the far right lane ( also known as the slow lane) so we could just kinda cruise and sight see well there was alot of little roads to the right of us you could turn off into to go down side streets . We were enjoying cruising and talking when all of a sudden this Park Ave car goes from the far left lane ( fast lane ) and turns all the way across in fron of us to turn down a side road and we hit and his car slides us down the curb Well we stop and make sure everybody is ok and lucky ended up in a diner’s parking lot so we were outta of the way of other traffic and we get out and the 1st thing this guy says was did you not see my blinker! My husband trying to keep his cool was liek you turned acorss two lanes to turn down a side road! and then another car pulls in and my husband and I are liek great he has a friend with him and he’s going to say it was our fault too but it turned out to be a ex police officer who said he saw the whole thing and would stay and be our witness and then we looked at the car…. the front bumper was gone , the headlight gone and ran over by other traffic and the two tires that had been pushed up against the curb were blown , one completley gone the other leaking air badly and the rims turned inside out. So while we waited on the police to get there this guy who just hit us won’t shut up! Keeps saying I am going to be late for my “T time” I always T off at 10am sharp and I going to miss it because you didn’t see my blinker well suprisely enough my husband was keeping his cool but I was very tempted to slug the guy I mean Honeymoons are non-stressful adn this guy is just being a jerk making a bad thing worse and the cops get there and talk to us 1st and then talk to witness meanwhile my husband with the very sore back Is trying to put a donut on the tire of the worse of the two while this guy is still complaing about his golf as well as standing there saying well maybe he won’t give you too high of a ticket. Well after what seemed forever the officer hands the guy a ticket and the guy stands there and fussing about it but pulls off with little damage to a car that wasn’t even his was his friend’s and then the officer hands my husband one and we look at it and he says did you know your licence had been susupended and my heart fell Im thinking great we are 5 hours from home on our honeymoon with a messed up not sure even driveble car and my husband is fixing to go to jail. But the officer was like it says suspended due to failure to appear on a speeding ticket ( which he had paid 4 days after he gotten) and at this point I am starting to feel lightheaded due to hypervenlation. So they make me sit down and he is like ” Well I can take you in for this but seeing as you are on your honeymoon and you have just been a viticm of a wreck I’ am going to give you this ticket but if you come back on the court date with proof the ticket was paid the ticket will be dropped” So he says bye good luck and we set out to find a way to fix the car well enough to be able to drive home. So my hunny being such a smart cookie goes and buys clear car duct tape at Autozone and make shifts our bumper and whats left of our headlight together but then….the rims they are so warpped that they are eating into whats left of our tire and the donut meanwhile we are havign to stop every few miles to put air back in the tire. So we grab a phone book and start searching for Junk yards in the area which we don’t know ( my car was old enough that was the only place we had hopes of find rims that would fit) So after many many hours and more phones calls then we could count we find one that has the rims and they will put it on for us ( AWESOME) but…then we find out its 1 hour away so with lots or praying and holding our breaths we set out on our hour trip to get new rims well because of the stopping to fill the tire up the 1hours turned into about 2 and then we were praying we would make it there before they closed. Well we did and got the rims and headed back to hotel where we vowed to stay until we left and we did ! So needless to say we just celebrated our 1st Anniversay and someone asked if we were going to go back to the place we spent our honeymoon and we both said real loud real fast NO! NO! never neither of us care to go back there because of the memories but someday it will be a good story to tell our grandkids how we survived our 1st days as husband and wife in a true horror honeymoon story!

Ragen

June 16th, 2009
2:11 pm

This was truly a vacation that we had anticipated all year – my husband had spent a month in Emory Hospital nine months before, and we definitely needed some rest and relaxation! So, along with another family of good friends, off to Daytona Beach we headed – my husband, myself, our two daughters, and two of their friends – for a week of sun and fun! Well, from the day we arrived, one aspect of the sun and fun was definitely missing – the sun! Every day dawned cloudy, with just a few peeks of sun here and there – and by 2 p.m., the downpours started daily! On Friday morning, we awoke to some very bright yellow substance streaming through the bedroom curtains – sure enough, when I looked outside, the sun was shining brightly and the beach was already packed! We couldn’t get our bathing suits on and get out the door fast enough!
We had spent a couple of hours soaking in the sun and playing in the surf – I was dozing in my beach chair, and my husband and friend were playing Frisbee. The next sound I heard was a very loud “whomp”, and when I looked up, found my husband laying on the beach on his right arm – as he had gone up to catch the Frisbee, a toddler riding a small three-wheeled beach bicycle had literally driven right under his feet, taking them right out from underneath him! He jumped up, with blood streaming from both knees, holding his elbow – and took off running, bleeding, into the ocean – literal shark bait! He had just stopped his Coumadin treatment, so he was bleeding quite profusely – so off we headed to the condo to get cleaned up. We hadn’t made it across the beach before he decided that we had better take a trip to the emergency room – his arm was really throbbing, and he thought it might be broken! I yelled over to my crew to tell them what was going on, and they all came running across the beach – we had made it up the steps to poolside by that time, and waited on them at the top. After we had explained that we were going to the hospital, and for them to stay and enjoy the day, we headed up to the room to get the car keys – only to hear an extremely loud clanking and banging noise – and when I turned around, saw my youngest daughter laying on the floor by the gate, looking like she was having convulsions – she had passed out! A friend picked her up, and we ran into the inside bar area, dripping wet, and lay her down on the couch – I ran to the front desk to ask them to call 911, which some nice person had already done. By the time I got back, the paramedics were coming in – by daughter was already coming to, but they ran straight over to her – a beautiful young teenager in a bikini – completely bypassing my tall, slender, balding husband, who was still bleeding profusely all over the beautiful carpet, holding his arm pitifully, and turning a bright green color! As I explained to the paramedics what had happened, I heard my oldest daughter’s boyfriend saying “mama, she’s going down” – and I turned around to see her hitting her head on the table as she passed out!! There were only two paramedics, and three of my sick family – they didn’t seem to know who to turn to first! The condo employees were running around trying to help also, getting wet rags for everyone and asking if we needed anything to drink! (I figured the condo manager was trying to decide how he was going to get the blood out of the carpet!) I asked the paramedics if we could put them all in the ambulance, and they told me that they would have to call 2 more ambulances – only one patient per vehicle! But, we have some VERY good friends – they had just purchased a brand new Excursion, with leather seats – into which we proceeded to climb to go to the hospital, bleeding, and covered in suntan oil! I’m sure glad that oil is good for the leather! Off we went to the emergency room, dressed only in our bathing suits, to find ourselves waiting in the small waiting area – my youngest daughter, who was feeling much better by this time, said “well, we sure look like a bunch of hicks sitting here barefoot in our bathing suits!”
After a three hour wait (like I said, we have some really great friends!), the consensus was that my two daughters had passed out from the hot sun and dehydration, my husband’s bleeding had clotted on it’s own, and that he had broken his arm!! He got a bright pink cast, and off we headed back to the beach – what a trooper he is! But the sun? Gone, hidden behind some really high haze, just waiting on the next rain shower! And those friends? Well, they haven’t gone back to the beach with us since then!

Carlos

June 16th, 2009
2:33 pm

My wife High school class was meeting in Miami, FL so we decide to spend several days there. Once I got there I felt slightly sick and told her to go on her own while I rested. I knew that I was going to fell better to accompany her for the meeting (It was not my class but I was friend of several of them.

So I decided to just rest. Of course I was in my underwear and too lazy to get dressed so instead of going out for lunch I order room service. The food arrived. It was very good and I felt better so I decided to put the tray out to be picked up. I opened the door, and put the tray on the floor in front of my door, and at that moment the door slammed behind me. At that moment, I realize two things. The keys were in my pants. The pants were inside the room.

I walked until I got to the elevator where they keep a phone to contact the front desk, and explained my dilemma. So far no one had seen me so it was okay. Right when I hanged the phone the elevator doors opened and there was this young girl who looked at me and to my shame she simply smiled as if she was looking at something funny. I would have preferred if she was angry or offended but how do I respond to her laughing?

Eventually room service arrived. The door was opened and I was back in my room. Later I made the mistake of telling my wife. She of course laughed, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was that she decided to email all our friends about my problem. Then she added that we were escorted out of the state of Florida by the police (not true). Event today two years after she still tell the story anytime that she can. And all because that door slammed too fast behind me.

Melissa Eubanks

June 16th, 2009
2:49 pm

Spring Break 2007. My family and I were on a short get-a-way to Helen, Ga and my kids wanted to swim, so we hunted a hotel that had a indoor pool because it was kinda chilly. We wound-up at the Super 8, checked in for a 2 night stay, paid cash(upfront), went to our room and changed to go to the pool. We had a great time in the pool and went back to our room to shower and get ready for bed. Thats when the trouble started….(I am the practical joker in the family and I am always trying to scare everyone.)So my kids got out of the shower and the floor in the bathroom was wet, I had my pj’s on and I had to use the bathroom, so I grabbed a towel, wiped up the floor and tossed it in front of the sink in the other room. Well, when I tossed it, I noticed that there was something brown that looked like a shoe string in it. Being funny, I screamed SNAKE. My husband and kids jumped on top of the beds sreaming and yelling “Get it, Get it” I’m laughing at them because they were so scared. I bent over the towel to actually see what was in it and dang if it wasn’t a snake. It looks up at me and hisses and a fork-it tounge come out and shakes at me! Then I really start screaming snake, snake! I WET MYSELF!(I do not like snakes at all)and they knew that I was for real this time. My husand, not coming to my rescue, yells at me to get the garbage can and put it over it to trap it. I say a few bad words at him and try to get him to understand that “he” is “the man” and he should be the one to trap the snake. My kids were screaming, My oldest daughter was yelling she wanted to take a picture of it and all I was thinking was this snake is between me and the door, and if the flash goes off will it scare the snake more and it come after me like the deer did in “Are we there yet”. Well,”I” trap the snake in the garbage can, with my husband still standing on the bed and my kids run to get the front desk attendant. The lady come in and takes the snake, kills it and returns to informs us that it was a baby copperhead. She asks us if we wanted to change rooms, my husband tells her that it was late(by this time it was 1:00am)and he did not want to move everything so “he” was ok. SHe leaves our room. I explain to him(in a nice, sweet, calm voice)that if there is a baby cooperhead, there is a BIG MAMA Copperhead somewhere near and me and the kids would not be staying in that room, we would be sleeping in the truck! He then decides that we should change rooms. The lady at the front desk changes our room to a room on the upper floor, kinda laughing about our situation. We get to the other room and we try to settle-in, it is now about 3:00am. We try to watch happy cartoons to forget about the snake. That works for my husband and kids, they fall asleep(for a little while)I keep watching cartoons and a dang GEICO commerical comes on, that stupid lizards tail looks like a snake wiggling around. Then everything starts looking like little snakes. Even on Sponge Bob-theres a little eel that looks like a snake. I start feeling like something is crawling on me, I can’t sleep so I go downstrairs and wait for them to wake-up. They come down around 8:00am and say that they can’t rest either. We speak to the new lady at the counter and explain that we would not be staying the 2nd night and she stated that the other lady told her what had happened and that she was sorry. Well, I was really expecting to be refunded(at least)for the 2nd night that we had pre-paid for and she said that she couldn’t do that and that we needed to speak to the manager that was out of town and he would get with us sometime next week. I kept calling and calling for a few weeks only to finally receive a letter from the hotel that stated that they were sorry for our “unwanted, un-invited guest” in our room,(never mentioned SNAKE) and offered us a free night stay. We NEVER took them up on the offer!

Dusty Rhodes Haverty

June 16th, 2009
3:47 pm

My girlfriend (at the time) Elizabeth and I were in Paris for 3 days and then were taking the train to the South of France for the remainder of our week’s vacation. We wanted to go to the flea market located in the Northern outskirts of Paris and had taken the subway to the correct station. We started up the seemingly mile long escalator out of the subway up tp the street. I was in front and Elizabeth was next to and behind me when at the top, a man dropped his sunglasses onto the moving steps at the top and blocked the exit while he (seemingly) tried to pick them up for a while. I finally pushed him somewhat out of the way and we walked past. Elizabeth, being the smart woman she was, realized that her pocketbook felt light, and upon looking realized that her wallet and camera were gone. She exclaimed loudly, which made me realize “they” had gotten my wallet as well…..Very professional, quiet and quick. The strange part of the story is that when we got out onto the street, Elizabeth points to a guy walking about 6 feet away from us, and shouts “That’s him!!! That’s the guy who got our stuff!!”
Now I am not the bravest guy in the world, but I went up to him quickly and said “monsieur” while I put my hand on his shoulder to stop him—when he turned to me I could see my wallet under his arm and I grabbed it before he started to run off. Elizabeth took off after him down the street screaming bloody murder, while I was following her screaming that the guy might have a knife or anything and for her to stop! She finally did stop and was mad at me for not letting her continue on to beat the guy bloody and get her wallet, which we still did not have, and never did retrieve. Never made it to the flea market either—too bummed.

Stephane

June 16th, 2009
4:22 pm

It was summer after the ending of the local neighborhood baseball season, the team accompanied with the families decided to take a trip down to the Georgia and South Caroline coasts visiting Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island. Tybee Island we had fun even after discovering that the shark fins in the water were actually, dolphin fins. We finally, ventured over to Hilton Head the beach was very crowded this particular day, and we followed all the beach rules setting as close to the life guard as possible. I kept a close watch on my then eight year old son who was playing beside me with a hermit-crab that I was totally afraid of, he leaves the hermit-crab next to me and ventures off to play in a water hole with some toddlers, after thinking he will be playing there for a minute I turned my attentions to the hermit-crab and then I discovered my son was nowhere in sight. I asked the group, those of who had skipped the temptations of entering the water if they had seen Cameron, all answered no…I approached the team in the waters who had slowly drifted from our direct view but still very near the lifeguard, all indicated they had not seen my son. I turned to walk just about five feet to the life-guard who was now moving back his chair due to the slow rise of the tide…I informed him that my eight year old son was missing and provided him with a brief description, dark curly hair, missing his two front teeth, grey and black swimming shorts and answers to Cameron.
Fear engulfed me from every angle I felt completely helpless knowing that I could not swim and would not be able to assist the volunteers who had now began to search the waters for him, as I fought back tears, fears, and visions of seen him floating face down in the water.
I ran as fast as I could up and down the beach like a deranged woman, Cameron, Cameron…No God…I would not leave this beach without him I thought…
My sister holding me as a sobbed hopelessly, strangers all standing holding me, the word spread like wildfire that a child was missing on the beach…each working together to help find my son…No word 15 minutes had passed it seemed like hours…
As the first lifeguard encouraged me to stay near him as he too awaited to hear of any sightings of Cameron. Finally, finally, Cameron was found safe and unharmed…life-guards found him frantically running along the north end of the beach…Later we learned that when Cameron left the water hole playing with the toddlers he walked to the beach to tell the other players about the hermit-crab but, says that they were too far out in the water and decided not to enter because he does not like the saltiness of the water, when he turned to come to where we were gathered he used a Kite as a maker to locate us on the beach, the kite we were playing with earlier, but he says that it was someone else’s kite and he started running hoping to find me..
When we left Hilton Head to return to our rented van someone had backed into the back of this brand new van denting it severely…I was to so ready to return home some much so I received a $250 speeding ticket..

jo

June 16th, 2009
4:28 pm

anybody typin in ALL caps is immediately DQ”D

bass stringerfish

June 16th, 2009
4:38 pm

At one point we lived in Baton Rouge and my wife was from Houston. We decided we would take our two small girls on a camping trip to Galveston Beach. So we loaded up the car and off we went envisioning a beachside camp site with the children playing at the beach while mom and dad relaxed in the warm July sunshine! Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was a sign at our camp site that said “Beware of Snakes”. Should have been a clue. But no, we needed good ‘ol family fun! As the day progressed, it became darker and darker. By 5PM it was raining, storming and the wind was blowing so hard we were sure the tent was going to be blown away. Later we found that a tornado was in the area! The wind ripped a hole in the tent and the rain was coming through. Then the cooler over turned and soaked the floor and spilled all the food out on the floor shorting out the radio and the battery powered light. We didn’t feel safe leaving and we were stuck in the rainy wet tent with no edible food, no light and two scared kids. The rain was so bad we couldn’t get outside to light a fire. Of course during all of this, the two little ones had to go to the bathroom. So we wait until we felt the rain let up a tad bit and trudged through the wind and rain to the bathrooms and then back again. Oh and the snakes showed up on the walk path….
Now we are all freaked out by the snakes that might come in the tent, the children are scared and crying because its dark – and the snakes are out there, wind, rain, lightening and loud thunder going on everywhere – and its still only about 6PM! Finally We really never were able to sleep, but the rain, the wind and the fear of the snakes never stopped. When morning came, we packed what we could and left. We went into Houston to a Hotel looking exactly like you would imagine: wet, tired, terrible. My children were dragging and when we finally made it back home to Baton Rouge, we took them to the Doctor. One had strept throat and the other had Scarlet Fever! Honest to goodness, that was the last camping trip we have ever taken.

Clay

June 16th, 2009
4:43 pm

My only vacation horror story isn’t that bad. In 1995 we were in Seaside, FL for my birthday. Hurricane Opal came up and we had to evacuate. It took us 17 hours to get home (we lived in Columbus, GA then). That trip should take about 4 hours. It was a horrible day. To make it worse, about 30 minutes after we got home, Opal (which had been following us) came through and knocked out the power. We were without power for about 2 days. That’s the worst story I’ve got.

I hate complainers

June 16th, 2009
4:50 pm

My worst vacation was when I had a staycation and decided to open the AJC and I started ready how abunch or babies were complaining about getting mugged in Paris and how his girlfriend was more of a man the he was. Way to go bud, go ahead and save your wallet instead of getting your girlfiends stuff. Way to represent the male population. You should be banished to france. I guess we can all figure out why she is not his girlfriend anylonger. Probably got with the guy who stole her stuff that night.

Good luck with life

SayWhat

June 16th, 2009
4:52 pm

My husband and I rented one of those beautiful “rustic,” furnished cabins in the Smoky Mountains. It seemed the perfect spot for a romantic night. The cabin had a loft bedroom upstairs, and the master bedroom had a hot tub in the bathroom. After we got settled, we decided to get in the hot tub. We had never used one before, so I decided we needed bubbles. I ran the water, then squeezed in about three big squeezes of dish liquid. Then I turned on the jets, and the bubbles began. Before it was over, it looked like an “I Love Lucy” episode with mountains of bubbles pouring over the sides of the tub onto the floor. We finally found a bucket and scooped up suds and threw them in the shower stall and washed them down the drain (along with all thoughts of romance.) When we did go to bed that night and things got really quiet, we began to hear a gnawing on the wall by the bed. Loud gnawing. At that point my husband nervously confessed, “I did see a rat trap behind the cabin.” So we moved to the loft bedroom. Within 15 minutes, we began to hear the gnawing in the wall again – whatever it was, was in the wall and followed us upstairs! We were very glad to see morning and didn’t stay a second night at the “romantic cabin.”

bass stringerfish

June 16th, 2009
5:05 pm

Here’s another one…we lived in Tokyo on business for three years. Upon our return we flew from Tokyo to Honolulu. My wife was 9 months pregnant, so we stayed in Hawaii for a few days so she could get her rest. All was good until we went to leave Hawaii and return home. When we got to the airport, we were notified that there had been a change in the aircraft. We had first class seating for comfort of my wife and I asked specifically if we still had first class seats and was told that we did. Satisfied with the answer, I left to return the rental. Upon boarding the plane, we quickly found out that we were going to be seated in coach. When I asked what was going on they told us that there were not enough first class seats in this airplane so what they did was put those left over in coach with no one in between them, and we would get the same first class service. Now, this would have normally been “OK”…things happen. But I have a wife who was 9 months pregnant and I’ll try to be kind – she was 9 months big…we asked for some releif and were told no. So we sit in the coach seats. She can’t pick her feet up, the seat doesn’t recline and when they brought dinner, she could not even get the laptop tray down to support the plate. Now the crying starts….the flight attendant is zero help. She is crying like nuts and my two girls come over to see what is wrong…while this is happening, I notice that my children’s feet are BLUE…I panic and think they have lost oxygen or something, call the attendent, show her the feet and this is what she says..I swear I am not making this up “Oh, the chemical in the toilet overflowed and they must have stepped in it!”…What? Did I just her her say Chemical, Toilet, Stepped in? So I make her call someone to see if there are any issues that we should be aware of because this stuff is not coming off…my kids are now panicing, my wife is crying, we haven’t been able to eat, the movie screen is broken, the toilet is over flowed and its an hour into a 7 hour flight….one service that I found that did work, was the first class beverage service!

Stinky Pete

June 16th, 2009
5:06 pm

Got the clap from a Tranny hooker

Don Drapier

June 16th, 2009
5:12 pm

I was swimming in the ocean off the coast of Florida on my Honeymoon. I sand shark ripped my nuts off and my new wife cheated on me with the bartender in our hotel.

ncgreybr

June 16th, 2009
5:24 pm

A friend and I were going to Europe. He booked the travel with a travel agency. The tickets would be waiting for us at each airport. We went to the Atl. airport and got the flight to NYC. The tickets were there to Brussels and we left. I had to come back before him. I went to the Paris Airport to the Air France counter to pick up my ticket for the flight to Brussels and on to the US. The lady behind the counter was most courteous and typed in my name. No response from the computer.. “Try spelling it$@**@^&#>” No response from the computer. “Let me see the screen.” She turned the screen to me and, sure enough, my name wasn’t on the flight and nothing vaguely resembling my name was on there either. I would have bought a ticket to Brussels but the flight was full. The lady said if I had known earlier that I would have been able to take a train to Brussels but now it was too late and, just in case there wasn’t a ticket waiting in Brussels, it would be better to be stuck in Paris.

I noticed several people looking at me strangely. It winds up that they were also waiting for tickets on that flight. NONE of us had tickets. I was so upset, being stranded in a foreign country, that I went into the rest room and threw up. One of the Air France Captains was in the rest room and took me under his wing, so to speak and took me back out to the counter.

I was able to book a flight back to NYC on Air France. The BEST flight I’ve ever had! And then on to Atlanta.

When I got home (several hours late) there was a mesasge on my answering machine from my friend still in Europe asking if I got home OK. It winds up that the travel agency had gone out of business while we were in Europe.

I was able to warn him and he was able to make arrangements ahead of time for his own departure.

Penny Bee

June 16th, 2009
5:48 pm

When I was twelve and my brother was eleven, my family didn’t have a lot of money to spare. We didn’t often do family vacations that weren’t tied to visiting relatives (and I only recall us doing that a couple of times). So, my parents decided that we would all tag along to my dad’s national mathematical convention in Denver. Dad was presenting a paper, and the rest of us would sight-see, hang out at the hotel, and do whatever didn’t cost an arm and a leg. We would drive to Denver from Mississippi in our non-spacious and non-speedy AMC Hornet.

For some reason of which I am still unaware, the convention was scheduled in a winter month (I can’t remember exactly–it was either November or January). What I do remember exactly, was that the minute our family drove into Denver, there was a huge blizzard. We got to our hotel, but that was it. I am thinking that our family didn’t stay at the convention hotel either, but had probably selected a lower-price hotel to save money–I think this because at one point our hotel restaurant ran out of food because trucks couldn’t get to them through the snow.

In the meantime, the mathematicians’ convention went on with the show, and not being able to sight-see meant that my brother and I had to either amuse ourselves in our hotel room, or watch the presentations of mathematicians from around the nation. I had no idea what they were talking about, and as this was around 1980-1981, there was no cool PowerPoint or overhead computing technology. A few special effects would have gone a long way.

Because of the weather, my brother and dad caught colds. I remember our last night involved my mom and I eating a spaghetti dinner at a nearby Denny’s (spaghetti was all they had left, but at least they had food).

Luckily, the day after the conference the roads were cleared enough to allow us to pack into the Hornet and head back to Mississippi. If I recall correctly, I think we made it all the way back with only stops for gas and fast food.

thomas cooper

June 16th, 2009
6:24 pm

we went on a vacation 4 day weekend at jekyl island resort {a clarion resort }on the north east side of jekyl stayin in a condo {4th of july weekend . we wernt told that u had to cross a burm of 3 foot arond bolder 12 ft tall and 20 ft wide jus to get out on to beach ,once we got out there on beach the condo was leaking large amounts of raw sewage out on beach ! when we tryed to get our money back jus to go to a nicer place away from the stinch the manager refused stating we shoulda asked about conditions before staying ,thanks clarion resort your the greatest ~

Carrie L

June 16th, 2009
6:57 pm

I agree with Ms. Kolassa, why would the AJC want to run a contest based on who can post the winning complaint about vacation? We hear enough negative news why not post about the best or funniest experience that may inspire others? I am sure most have at some time experienced inconveniences and dissapointments during their vacation; since when does minor grievances make AJC worthy press or merit a prize? I also imagine anyone that has survived a natural disaster or terrorist attack while on vacation would have stories to top anything I or most could ever imagine complaining about. This blog is like complaining about spilling your champagne; vacation is a privilege not a necessity. Those of us fortunate enough to go on vacation, may want to celebrate and appreciate them for whatever they are- late planes, lost luggage, snakes, eating at Denny’s, and rooms with less than ideal ocean views included.

Hal Gauldin

June 17th, 2009
12:38 am

Several weeks ago, my wife and I drove to Florida for our annual vacation at our condo in Daytona, Florida – the vacation that will forever be known in our family lore as “The Vacation from Hell!” This was a vacation that was months in the planning as we also invited my wife’s brother and his wife and our one year old nephew, along with my wife’s parents. Schedules had to be arranged and re-arranged, my wife postponed a much needed surgical procedure, and I took my final exams a week early all in an attempt achieve the seemingly impossible. Finally we were able to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle including cashing in a week of time we had banked so that we could have two condos on the same floor to accommodate the extended clan. My wife, her mother, and I innocently arrived in Daytona Friday night to get everything ready for the arrival of the rest of the crew. Saturday morning dawned and we made the trip to the airport to meet the flight from Nashville which delivered my in-laws right on schedule. The next morning, in a masterpiece of coordination and flurry of cell phone calls, my wife’s father surprised the whole family by driving in from just north of Savannah to catch up with us while we were exploring the local flea market (we had all been led to believe he was not going to be able to make the trip). Our triumph complete, we all saddled up and drove back to the condo with birds chirping our names and a double rainbow hovering over our destination. But God has a way of stepping in just when we are at the peak of our satisfaction with ourselves and our mastery of our own destinies. At approximately 6:00 pm, it began to rain. Now by rain, I don’t mean that it began to sprinkle and then steadily grew into the type of tropical shower we have all come to expect while visiting the beach in southern locations. No fellow travelers, I mean a full on monsoon! The kind of rain that prompts people living in Bangladesh to exclaim “Oh those poor people!” and sends their children scurrying into the streets to collect rupies for humanitarian relief. Some giant unseen hand had unzipped the heavens and released a torrential downpour that made it impossible to clearly make out the windshield wipers scraping impotently back and forth across the glass mere inches in front of our eyes. I began to feel a kinship with U-boat commanders who stand upon the bridge with trepidation as the boat submerges and the waves wash over the periscope as they descend into the briny depths. By the time we reached the condo, we looked back at the beginning of the storm with the eyes of grizzled veterans looking back on a ferocious battle, not knowing that war is only just beginning. By 9:00 pm, the wind had risen to 40 miles per hour and threatened to decapitate every palm tree in central Florida – not to mention the flying debris that equally threatened to decapitate every living soul that dared to venture out into the streets. These were not mere gusts of wind. This was a living vortex of ceaseless energy that sent NASA physicists and meteorologists scrambling to modify their now obsolete models of the effects of global warming. By 4:00 am, the satellite images on the weather channel made it clear that our vacation was about to become a week long ordeal. The satellite images that completely replaced regularly scheduled programming on every local channel revealed what could only be described as a stationary hurricane. A large system that covered virtually all of central Florida from coast-to-coast, rotated lazily in a counter-clockwise direction but moved neither north or south, east or west. It appeared so serene from space but, on the ground, the unceasing winds had begun to take their toll. Power lines began to fail and large areas began to lose electricity. Far worse in many areas, the water table had begun to rise into alarmingly positive numbers. Canoes and jet skis began to replace cars on many of the local roads. By Tuesday morning, the most timid residents of our building decided to cut their losses and head for higher ground. We were however, implacably committed to endure the record setting rainfall and subsequent flooding. Flight schedules and the complete impossibility of re-scheduling this fun old-fashioned family vacation forced us to make the best of a bad situation. Unfortunately, the best we could do was to sit and stare out the large plate glass windows as the flood waters continued to rise all around us. By Wednesday afternoon, I could not get the words of Forest Gump out of my head, “One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.” Four months or four endless days? I had lost track of time. Our sole source of entertainment was continuous replays of Baby Einstein and Wiggles videos run back-to-back-to-back in an attempt to keep our one year old distracted from the fact that he was trapped in a two bedroom condo with six adults who, although they all adored him, were not very pleased with the way their hard earned time off was being spent. At the end of the week we had survived 29.5 inches of rainfall (a new record for the area), power outages, severe wind damage, and a visit from the governor of Florida who showed up as the storm dissipated to declare the site a disaster area and present us all with much appreciated aid from the good citizens and children of Bangladesh. On the final morning of the “Vacation from Hell!”, we drove down International Drive on our way back to Interstate 95 for our northward journey home. Behind us the sun rose in the east in spectacular glory, just in time to provide the final slap in the face from a God who respects no human plans for a perfect vacation. We are all now back in our daily routines, my wife is about to undergo her surgery, and the only thing we have to show to our friends at home is the newspaper we picked up on our way out of Daytona. The headline is a single word in a large, bold font that perfectly describes the entire week – DISASTER!

shalita

June 17th, 2009
5:18 am

Well we are about to leave from Michigan to California with a group of ladies 6. One of the ladies in the group decides to wave to everyone on the way out of town before we are scheduled to catch the plane an two hours away. We finally round her up and head to the airport. Due to our friends good-byes we are rushing up to our gate only to be turned away and told to catch the next plane at aprox 6 am. We bunk down with our luggage overnight in a uncomfortable airport seating with rollers in our hair. In the AM we catch I flight cause how can you miss it when you have spent the night at the airport? Anyway We board and head land in San Diego where take the metro to retrive our van rental, a lot of ladies and luggage. When we get to the rental car desk we pick out our vehicle and the mature lady of the group whips out her credit card only to have it rejected be cause it had just expired a day before our flight. We are stranded in San Diego so I whip out my Debit card which the ticket agent says must have a balance of 250.00 on it in order to secure the vehicle. I was expecting the direct deposit so I assure the ticket agent. We take the van and load all of our luggage. As we head to Escondido 2 hours from San Diego all traffic is backed up almost to a stand still. We turn on the local news, it is blazing hot and we are exhausted. We find out the reason. A woman is on the freeway in a (stand-Off) with police trying to take her on life! So we wait on the hot freeway till police clear to move and traffic starts moving. We arrive in Escondido a bit late and get to the church retreat campground. We take the van the next day in order to make sure the money is secure on our card. After aproximately the third day and attempt to get a local checking cash place to put money in the account. The Rental car place says our van is now considered stolen and we must return it immediately. The money never reached my account so we have to somehow wire the money into that account. After our week long fiasco back to the airport we return the van and I presume pay for the rental van. We board our plane back to michigan and land take the 2 hr trip home and our car starts wobbling on the side! We stop and realize we have a flat and cars are whipping by we get out to have it changed by an accompanied friend. We since wondered if we were suppose to go on that crazy trip!

party pooper

June 17th, 2009
10:24 am

About half of these stories are just plain bad luck but the other half seem to involve at least some lack of planning and bad decisions.

And people need to remember that “super cheap”, “off the beaten path”, and “adventurous” type vacations can actually put your life in danger when you’re in some foreign countries. It all sounds fun and daring until something goes wrong.

Matt

June 17th, 2009
10:41 am

Hey Hal,

When you go on vacation, particularly in Florida, wouldn’t it make sense to check the weather BEFOREHAND? Just in case there’s a hurricane coming?

Robin

June 17th, 2009
10:54 am

Carrie and other naysayers (sp)

These are funny stories. Once you live through the vacation from hell, it becomes funny (most of them anyway – not when anything tragic happens of course). But the snakes, the rain, the car in pieces, etc. Funny stuff!

Teresa

June 17th, 2009
2:01 pm

AJC,I love the blogs about your worst vacations.It has been a long time since I’ve enjoyed reading this much. This was truely a great idea. Keep up the good work .

[...] Share your horror stories and win a grand prize. [...]

janet walker

June 17th, 2009
3:21 pm

December 2008 I went on the Carnival Glory from Port Canaveral, Florida. My drama began before I got to Florida. Plans were to leave at 5am to catch a 7:30am flight to Florida. Packed my clothes and took a cab at 4am to my girlfriends house to get transportation to airport. Put my luggage in the trunk and got into cab for ride to friends house. Arrived, took my bag out of trunk and went upstairs. Me and my girlfriends were talking about what a great time we would have. I went to get lipstick out of my pocketbook and couldn’t find my pocketbook nowhere. I didn’t panic and told my friends that it could be only one of two places. One, at home; two, in the cab. So I remained calm and called the cab company. They said the driver didn’t see my pocketbook in the cab, Still calm I said, “we’ll it must be home and when Carlos comes to pick us up we can go back to get my pocketbook. About ten minutes later I get a call from a young lady that got in the cab after me saying that she had my pocketbook. Good news, but she had been out partying and was intoxicated. I had to get my purse because all my id was in it. I had to have it to board the plane and boat. Panic set in, “oh my God, what if she goes to sleep”. I tried calling her back several times to no avail to find out where she lived. About ten minutes before Carlos was to arrive, I got her on the phone, got directions to her house and retrieved my pocketbook. Remember, always have contact info in your wallet and there are some good people in this world. She didn’t have to call me. Thank God she did, I had a great vacation.

Sandy

June 17th, 2009
4:10 pm

We have traveled to myrtle beach every summer for the past 5 or 6 years. We found a large resort with something for everyone onsite. It was always clean with friendly staff so we never booked anywhere else when we were going to S.C. That changed last year as we booked later than normal and could not get a room at the usual place. They offered us a room next door at the company’s sister property. We assumed it would be ok and booked it. We also decided that we would drive my husbands new car since gas was more expensive instead of the s.u.v that we normally travel in. We arrive only to find out that our room is not ready,thay told us to maybe go to the water park and wait. We opted to go back into town. We get a call 3 hours later saying our room is ready. We open the door to a dirty room with no other options in town as it was nearing the July 4th holiday. Back to town to purchase cleaning supplies as we got no assistance from the staff. We finally get back to the room and turn on the air conditioning to find it is loud enough to be heard outside the room and vibrated the floor around it. Maintainence would check it as soon as possible(next afternoon) We decided to turn in for the night and make the best of it since tomorrow would be another day. 3a.m and the fire alarn goes off,we are on the 10th floor and scurry downstairs to wait with the other guests only to have it start pouring rain as soon as we stepped outside. 2 hours in the rain to find out it was someone”playing with the alarm on the 3rd floor. We went to the water park first thing after breakfast,stayed inside for 15 minutes only to be told it was closing due to an “accident in the lazy river”,no problem,we will go to the beach. The beach consisted of alternating days of sharks and stingrays so the life guards would not let anyone in the water,understandably so. We were so happy to be returning home after a week of things like this. We are driving thu Columbia at 12 noon discussing lunch options and how at least we did not have to spend so much on gas thanks to the new car. AT that very moment,we drive under an overpass and a huge block of wood is hurled from th top. We essentially drove right into it shattering the windshield in a million pieces and spraying glass all over me and my son who was seated behing me.My sunglasses saved my eyes.We pulled off onto the next exit to call police and insurance agents as were in very heavy traffic. i walked into the convenience store to ask if there was a carwash or someplace with a vacum nearby so we could clean out the shattered glass. She asks is I need an ambulance since I am bleeding,I told her no and explained what had just happened. She proceeds to tell me that we are driving a nice car in a bad neighborhood and we should leave and drive up one more exit for assistance. I walk back out and see a van full of men staring at my husband while he is talking on his cell and look in th other direction to see 2 pit bull dogs chained to a fireworks stand. By then,my husband has gotten instructions to drive to a safe light auto glass store and get the windshield replaced. The gps still worked so we started driving the 8 miles to the store when it starts raining so hard it was caving what was left of the windshield in. The folks at the safe light place were great and it gave us several hours to pick glass out of my arms,legs and feet. We were finally able to start back on our way after a 500 dollar deductible. So much for our gas savings! We did not go to South Carolina this year,went to Florida instead!

Julie

June 17th, 2009
4:12 pm

Most of these stories must be from people who don’t know how to plan for a vacation! How can it take months of planning for a trip to Daytona? Paris, maybe but Daytona! GMAB! I don’t get it! Oh, and always check the weather especially if you are going to travel during hurricane season!

SayWhat

June 17th, 2009
5:11 pm

Carrie L – lighten up, girl. This is not “complaining,” it’s story telling. Hate to use a tired cliche about you, but “there’s one in every bunch.”

LeeDawg

June 17th, 2009
7:34 pm

Mary Jane

Where is your spirit? – If people didnt travel they wouldn’t have these wonderful stories to tell.

Maybe you are one that has to have all your ducks in a row or its not fun at all.

The real fun of a vacation is creating memories – and these stories are those memories that last a lifetime.

Lossen Up Mary Jane

cp

June 17th, 2009
8:52 pm

Oh, blah blah to those who don’t like the topic. DON’T READ THEM. The guy in the St. Lucia hospital who wanted to kill the author made me crack up!

bigguy

June 17th, 2009
9:06 pm

The worst trip I ever took was my honeymoon! We went to Mexico, where my wife promptly ate or drank something that gave her da runs for the entire week. Both times I have touched her in the 23 years since I can’t help but think of that trip.

Candace Crutchfield

June 18th, 2009
2:34 pm

Houston, we’ve got problems!

The year was 1989. Our son was 15 years old. We were making a trip “out West” and Houston, TX was one of our planned stops. The NY Mets would be in town playing the Astros and a then untroubled Darryl Strawberry was our son’s favorite player. Because we all were baseball fans, we thought it would be fun to visit another MLB stadium. Little did we know …

Tired from driving all day and not knowing our way around the area, we asked about the public transportation system when we checked into the hotel just after dusk and were told the bus stop was conveniently located right across the street. We hurriedly took the suitcases to our room and went to the bus stop where we waited for an hour, only to be informed by the bus driver that the bus stop to the Astrodome was back across the street down a few blocks. What he didn’t tell us was that it would take over an hour to get there due to that particular route which took us right downtown Houston and stopped at every other corner.

Finally we arrived and stood in line for tickets. It was a sell-out with standing room only available. Our son was taking his turn carrying the very large and heavy video camera. My husband and I made it through the turnstile only to hear our son calling out behind us that they wouldn’t let him in with the camera. A security guard had been summoned to explain the situation and suggested we return to our car to leave the camera there. Not an option for us bus riders. After a good bit of “discussion” (my husband said the guard must have gotten tired of hearing me), our son was allowed through and we were lead to the security office. I continued to plea our case and the guard finally relented, telling us to go but warned us to keep the camera in the bag at all times.

The game was already in progress, the Mets were in the outfield but Darryl was nowhere to be seen. Another fan told us that it had been announced earlier that Darryl would not be playing due to a hurt finger. Swell…

Deciding to leave early to beat the crowd, and because we were tired of standing, we left after the 7th inning stretch. We had only seen three innings of play, hardly worth the effort and expense it had taken to get us to this point.

Expecting to see a line of buses waiting in the parking lot, we were directed instead to a bus stop a mile down the road. It was my turn to carry the camera. Arriving at the stop and reading the schedule, we discovered it would be another thirty minute wait. Time to pass the camera bag to my husband.

This particular bus stop, which had no seats or benches, was located beside a large marshy area and the mosquitoes that inhabited it were plentiful, very hungry and definitely Texas sized. The swatting and slapping gave us something to do for the next thirty minutes and the diversion of a passing car from which raw eggs were thrown our way temporarily distracted us from scratching the bites covering us.

Not a moment too soon the bus arrived and we thankfully boarded. The return route was different from the one that got us there and had fewer stops. We were grateful until we were told we were at the end of the line and would have to get off. We were over a mile from the hotel. It was close to midnight. We had no idea what was between us and the hotel but what could we do but start walking. I don’t remember who was carrying the stupid video camera at this point.

In what seemed like forever, we finally spotted the lights of our hotel and quickly picked up the pace, anxious to be the first one to claim the shower. July 3 temperatures in Houston, accompanied by countless number of yolk-covered mosquito bites tend to make a person long for such a thing.

Safely back in our hotel room, everyone showered and began to feel somewhat better. The local news was on TV and the sports segment showed a reporter interviewing none other than Darryl Strawberry as he discussed the injury to his pinkie. My husband was ready to show the TV screen his own injured middle finger but thought better of it as our son was taking it all in.

We weren’t sorry to leave Houston that next morning but what did hurt was seeing in the not-so-distant horizon the larger than life Astrodome. Had we just known how close (as a crow flies) we were to it, we could have easily driven ourselves to the game. At least then we would have had a car to return the video camera to and that poor security guard would have been spared.

Candace

DLink

June 19th, 2009
2:12 am

I’d so love to vote on these stories as I read them!!!

I’ll abbreviate my car trip to Canada in a station wagon to the highlights… Take this as a warning people! Big family traveling long distance with kids from 10-16 years old. One parent driving, other staying home working.

OK, here we go. Spitballs out the back window of the station wagon: With huge McD’s cannon straws, back in the day… Many a bird finger and cussing driver later, that got put off… we had a dozen straws hidden for just such a situation. The owls, still kinda bother us today… Folks never found out about that one. A row of baby owls on a branch that let us walk up to them with a machete (found one) and we all figured they’d move, birds always do, right? Nope, took down the whole row (hotel, middle of nowhere, wooded area). Same hotel had a shack of a game-room with quarter machines. Pried it open and played running people over black and white game where the stick figures became crosses. All night long. We just wanted to play that new game, and it was fun. I’ll try to speed this up a bit.. Older kids rolled the wedding gift car. Wrecked some rental dirt bikes after coming across bear cubs up in Canada, needless to say, mama bear came around and high-speed escape led to damage. 3 speed bicycle going down a temp monster hill at a construction site/turned killer dirt track, bent the rim, and some frame. Antique bullets discovered and stripped down for fun gunpowder to burn. I’m thinking I was around 12 at the time.

So, in fact, this was the best vacation in my life. Looking back, though, I can’t help not stopping laughing. We were a rolling wrecking ball, and I’m quite sure there is a different side of this coin.

Still not sure if we’d ever be accepted across the border, but God Bless our mother for not killing us all. And for keeping dad from finding out some thing that would’ve gotten us killed. You have been warned.

DLink

June 19th, 2009
3:23 am

Don’t think I’m not watching the complaining ^ there. I’ve had a Georgia judge look me in the face and ask me exactly how old I was. I never forgot that either. Some folks just haven’t been around long enough to find out some things, and this is as good a place as any to learn.

It’s also one of the best places to learn: In the context of the story. True stories. So in all humbleness, STFU, (shut up) and listen to what people have to say. It’s a simple thing about learning how to avoid bad situations on a vacation really. We’re enjoying the growing pains of others, as in Misery loves company.

My sincerest apologies, for the interruption.

Do tell your story. BTW did you know the angle of a 2X4 across the back is the difference between the breaking of the back or the board? AKA, I’d like to relax here and learn some interesting stuff. A lot of It I know, some is new to me. On with the stories, I like them.

Easier to drive

June 19th, 2009
5:53 am

Its unfortunate that personal service is no longer par of the job description. BTW – its only 7 hr drive to Orlando from Atlanta. And its an easy drive. Leave 1 day earlier, stay at a motel for the night before the cruise and get to the port early the next morning. The drive back isnt a bad one either.

Susan McElrath

June 19th, 2009
7:41 am

My husband and I got “buddy passes” on an airline from a relative. We planned a trip to Hawaii, even paying a few hundred dollars down on a nice place to stay there. We flew uneventfully from Atlanta to Dallas on the first leg of the trip. Then the disaster started! Just before boarding the flight to Honolulu a group of about 40 passengers showed up at the gate. Their flight on another airline had been cancelled so they were booked on our flight. Since we were using buddy passes we were bumped from the flight. After spending all day in the airport we made it on a flight to LA, hoping to get on a flight to Honolulu the next day. After spending all the next day at LAX we decided we’d never get there, much less get home on time. We booked a flight back home and went to Callaway Gardens instead. We still have never been to Hawaii! Total $$ for our non-vacation:
$300+ for the buddy passes
$90+ cheap hotel near LAX
$300+ deposit on accommodations in Hawaii we never used
$50+ for calls to the relative to see about available flights (this was in 1999 before we had cellphones)
Ouch!

Susan McElrath

June 19th, 2009
7:52 am

Here’s another one from my travel disaster files:
Our extended family camps together every year. We have a blast and wouldn’t miss it for anything! There are now 16 of us on this trip. Usually we go to Vogel State Park but one year we went to Unicoi. That particular year there was some kind of tropical system that somehow stalled out right over Unicoi. We set up camp on Thursday. My immediate family tent camps, all six of us in a good-size tent (but not quite big enough!). Friday morning the rain started and it did not stop. Rain rain rain, I think they ended up having like six inches the three days we were there! Everything was wet wet wet. We had three campsites together and had tarps strung over everything! We looked like a camp of gypsies or something! Nothing got dry Even the board games, puzzles and magazines we brought were soggy from the humidity. I walked down to the bathroom and narrowly missed being hit by a huge limb of a tree falling. But perhaps the worst part was the last night, one of my kids threw up in the tent! We got it cleaned up and guess what! Another kid threw up. Repeat! Gross. I ended up sleeping in our van with our wet, smelly dog! We still go camping every year!

Linda

June 19th, 2009
8:48 am

I’m laughing out loud at some of these stories. (But writers, keep it simple and short!) I agree with SayWhat — these stories are FUN and won’t affect someone’s decision about whether to go on a trip. Sheesh.