Vacations are fun, right? Usually, except when something terrifying happens, like witnessing a murder or having your tour bus stop on tracks when there's an incoming train. All true, all real, and all too happy it isn't me.
Fall-Of-Hades asked sojourners of Reddit: What's the scariest situation you've ever been in while traveling?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Don't eat cake in Turkey, got it.
When I visited Turkey, some people staying at our hotel came out of their room and explained that they had eaten some cake offered to them by a fellow traveller, ostensibly for his birthday, and they had fallen asleep for over a day, only to find he had cleaned them out, passports, money, etc and took off. Put me on my guard, that's for sure.
Only eat the turkey.
Uhhhhh, what is this?
Went hiking in the Himalayas in Nepal when I was 18 with a friend. We were the only girls on the hike. The entire time on the first day our Nepalese guide (probably early 30's married man) told us we were going to have a 'chicken' party when we got to our first night stay in a village in the mountains. Not knowing what this was, we were very hesitant. Turns out chicken party meant that all the guys on the trek (guides and male trekkers alike) got hideously drunk and started ramming on our super thin, wooden door with a cheap, flimsy lock clucking like chooks. We spent the whole night sitting with our backs pressing against the door to stop them. lisemolly
So then what happened? Did you talk to them about it the next day?
How hard was it to nope out of there? Did you continue to hike with them?
The next day I burst into tears and said that a family member had died and needed to be taken back to the main village. Thankfully, our guide agreed to take us down. As soon as we got to any accommodation we barricaded ourselves in our room. It was terrifying.
What in the ever loving f*ck?
But did you die?
On a flight from Atlanta to Pensacola and, as we approached to land the pilot announced that we may have to turn back because of fog. Apparently he changed his mind and decided to try landing and I am sitting there by the window watching the when the fog finally broke. We were barely above the tree tops and I could see the runway was about 500 yards on the right side. The plane suddenly starting climbing HARD and we turned around and flew back to Atlanta.
It was a close one.
"You cannot go across without your passaport!" Anyone? Anyone?
I was traveling across Europe with my girlfriend and snapping lots of pictures along the drive as we went through various EU borderless countries. While entering Italy, my girlfriend noticed the "Welcome to Italy" sign and wanted a cliche couples photo. Naturally, I agreed and we got out of the vehicle, took our cringe selfie, and drove into Italy.
20 minutes into the drive we noticed that my girlfriends purse was missing. To contextualize the story, we had been carrying every important legal document we had while we were traveling in case something went wrong and we were stopped by police/TSA. This included our passports, citizenship cards, birth certificates, and drivers licenses. Essentially, this was everything that proved we were who we said we were and there were absolutely no other records of our existence elsewhere. All of these documents were in my girlfriends purse that was now lost.
We realized we had left them at the "Welcome to Italy" sign and I quickly turned the car around and drove as fast as I legally could (I had no drivers license) back to the border. By some miracle, nobody had grabbed the purse and we got al our documents back.
Same happened to me in Paris Gare du Nord (very busy train station). Person I was travelling with left their bag in the cafe there, with all our passports and a bunch of cash in it. He didn't realise till we got to our destination 3 hours away. Googled the cafe number, tried to speak French to the manager, and we think he is telling us the bag is still there. Friend gets back on a train and travels 3 hours back to Paris, and it's still there! So much stress, and a lot of unnecessary money on train tickets, but I'm very glad Paris didn't live up to its pick-pocket reputation that day!
Always keep your passport on your person.
Pulled off a bus around 1 A.M. in the morning when I was travelling from Italy to Croatia. The guards at the border of Slovenia I believe stopped the bus. They got on the bus which was dimly lit and had their guns drawn with lights illuminating from the end of their weapons. They were asking everyone for passports. Mine was in the undercarriage. I got dragged off the bus pretty roughly and was told to kneel on the ground while the driver looked for my baggage. There were about 4 or 5 officers and 1 was behind me with his gun drawn toward me. It could have been for light but it still felt f*cking intimidating. After viewing my passport and lecturing me on always keeping it on me we went on our way.
Slovenia was not nice. Croatia was beautiful!
Ha, I've had almost exactly the same experience, on the very same bus! Except the guys getting intimidated were from a car in front of us, which was clearly owned by some porn production company judging by the logos on the hood and the.. assets.. of the passengers.
Don't travel with this person again.
Got arrested by military police in Angola. My idiot colleague was flying a drone where he wasn't supposed to and the MPs came down with AK-47s and detained us for hours. They clearly wanted a bribe but my idiot colleague kept insisting that they weren't corrupt because they were police. The MPs finally got sick of waiting for their bribe and freed us after saying that our hotel called and "verified our visas." They didn't even know our names or what hotel we were staying in.
We almost got arrested a second time because my idiot colleague started flying the drone around again immediately after we were released.
my idiot colleague kept insisting that they weren't corrupt because they were police.
Saw a guy murdered at about 3 A.M. outside Rome's main railway station. This was back in the 80s. North African illegal immigrants got into a fight and three guys kicked and stomped another one to death.
Jesus, that's gonna stick with you.
Well I remember it vividly. I was waiting for a train and the station was closed. I got there from a late flight from London and my train left at six in the morning. It did not occur to me that the station would be totally shut up and home to illegal immigrants sleeping rough at night. I had a suitcase with clothes and such like but was ready to abandon that and run if things moved my way.
Is this person cursed or something?
I had lot's of them. Here is my top four:
Got stopped at the slowenian border on our way back from a holiday in croatia. They stopped us because we didn't have a sticker for their road toll on the vehicle. As we were clearly on our way back, we were charged with dodging the toll both ways. A few border guards complete with guns and dogs also searched our car, because we might be smuggling drugs. Didn't go down to well with my then 3-year old son, because they took his teddy bear and wanted to slice it open.
Took a night bus from Mumbay to Goa. First scary situation: We were told (after leaving) that we had to changes buses, once we left Mumbay. Got dropped of on pitch black parking lot somewhere. My wife and I were deathly afraid for about an hour, then the new bus rolled up. Next scary moment: Bus stopped for a toilet/smoke break. Jumped out of the bus, lit a cigarette, turned around and saw the bus driver. Huge eyes, wild hair and obviously on something that had kept him awake for the last week and would keep him awake for one more... Next scary moment: realizing that almost the whole way is up and down mountains. I do know about vehicles, especially trucks and busses. Seeing the bus the next morning, made my knees weak.
Went sightseeing in Cape Town. Rode a bus around, walked a bit (all in "safe" areas), took a few pictures. At a traffic light a white man whispered in my ear: "Those black dudes followed you for the last two blocks, as did I. Watch out!". Went into a coffee shop, trying to calm our nerves. Left an hour later, none of the black dudes around. But the white guy was again following us. Ran to our car and drove off.
Got mugged somewhere in the sticks in Jamaica. when is on holiday there with my parents. Was with a tour going to some waterfall, suddenly there is guy with a machete in front of us, waving the blade and yelling stuff. Gave him all the money we had on us, as the tour guide was telling us to. In hindsight: Might have been a setup by the tour guide.
We were stopped at the Slovenian border for not having the sticker on our rental car too! I was petrified we were going to jail. 10/10 would not go back to Slovenia.
I'd need new pants.
Travelling by bus across Java solo when I was 21. Night time driving in heavy traffic,the bus pulls on to a rail crossing in gridlock. you guessed it, the lights start flashing and the barriers come down in front and behind the bus. We can't go forwards or backwards and we can see the llight from a fast approaching train coming towards us.
Everyone started screaming and ran to the front door banging on the glass and begging the driver to open the door. He either couldn't or wouldn't. Longest couple of minutes of my life.
I decided the front of the bus was certain death, went right to the back instead and was contemplating at which moment I should start kicking the window out when someone said (in indonesian, luckily I speak it) 'its on the other track'. there was a moment where we all held our breath..and then the train passed inches from the drivers window in front of hte bus on the other set of tracks.
Afterwards everyone sat down and started laughing like it was totally normal and we drove on. I was sitting in my seat with eyes the size of saucers no doubt! Stayed with me that one.
I wonder why the bus driver wouldn't open the door?
Maybe if he did, people would've started running across the track the train was actually on. This is just my guess though.
Dehydration is painful and terrifying.
I was travelling around Zambia on a three-month holiday on my own when I suddenly fell deathly ill whilst in a backpacker's joint out in the bush. I was throwing up bile and could barely move until someone found me after almost a day and got me to the hospital in Lusaka which was an hour's drive. I was apparently severely dehydrated to the point that my skin was malleable like clay. The doctor had to hydrate me through a drip because I'd throw up anything I tried to drink or eat. Honestly it's incredible how much I've appreciated water since that event. The memories are all a little hazy from the event but I recall being in my hospital bed and all I could think about was a tall glass of frosty water. Moral of the story is when travelling alone, be careful.
This is by far the scariest thing in here apart from the guy who saw a murder.