Travel Enthusiasts Share The Worst Case Scenarios They've Found Themselves In During Vacation
Travel can lead to memories and adventures unattainable in your home town. Architecture and memorials to civilizations long gone, and interactions with a populace from a completely different upbringing. It's a treat for anyone, except for those people that fear something bad will happen 14,000 miles away from home, far from their couch and Commercial-Free Hulu subscription. Getting lost or forgetting your hotel room key or having a literal nightmare scenario in the airplane bathroom is very possible, as evidenced by these Reddit answers to user, r/fizio900, when they asked:
Travelers of Reddit, what's the worst scenario you found yourself in?
With Help Like this...
Was in Cambodia, group of men trying to mug me. Spot a police officer very close by. I look at him for help, he proceeds to also demand for my money.
At the time it was a bit of a prickly situation but today it makes me laugh just thinking about how I felt when I finally understood the cop was also trying to rob me.
Making A Bad Situation Terrible
Wife and I dined out at a remote town in Italy. Wife decided to take a short cut out of parking lot and ended up in a ditch. The only chef and waiter came out to help. Chef ended up twisting ankle badly. Waiter brought his car and tied a rope to mine to pull it out. His bumper ripped off. All the while we were communicating through gestures because I didn't speak Italian and they English.
I Guess Say Thanks?
My husband and I were on a road trip through Romania when part of the car started to come off. I don't know what it's called, but it was like a plastic piece that went from one side of the car to the other right in front of the wheels, sort of like a guard. One side of it had come loose, so it was just dragging on the ground. The broken part was really frayed, as if it had been working its way loose for some time before we ever got the car. We were in the middle of nowhere at the time and the only way we could see to solve the problem was to cut off the guard on the other side, but we didn't have a knife. It was fairly awkward to drive with this piece dragging on the ground and so we didn't want to risk trying to find a proper mechanic (and also, it was Sunday...)
This guy drove up to us as we were parked by the road, and he was like... well, imagine an American guy named Bubba from Alabama who drives a pickup truck with a Confederate flag and only listens to country music. This was clearly the Romanian version of that guy. We indicated the issue and mimed cutting it off with a knife, and this redneck went to his truck, pulled out a large knife, and sliced the piece off for us. We thanked him, and he tossed the piece on the back of his truck and drove away.
Ew, Ew, Ew
When I was about 10 I was at a run down French train station in the middle of nowhere, and I had to take a sh-t like nobody's business. So I go to the restroom and find out that there's no toilets, just holes in the ground. Apparently, the process for sh-tting in a hole in the ground is you pee first, and then poop.
But being the champion that I am I decided to go for both at the same time. Ended up peeing directly into my pulled down pants and then had to sit inTHEM for a 3 hour train ride back home.
Clowns To The Left, Smokers To The Right
Having the middle seat on a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland.
Quite A Pickle
We were crossing the border from Malaysia to Thailand over a bridge. As we were making our way across no man's land, this local looking guy ran out of nowhere in his underpants chased by 2 guys. He got to the Malaysian side and a soldier put his hand up to say he couldn't go through. He did a U turn, dodged the 2 guys chasing him and ran to the Thai side. Again, a soldier put up his hand to stop him. He did another U turn, dodged the guys, tried to jump on a scooter, but as he was taking off, they pulled him off the scooter. He got away from them again, but was stuck on the bridge with no way out.
We got to the Thai side, checked into Thailand and to this day, still wonder how the hell he ended up almost naked, in no man's land, with 2 pissed off guys after him.
When Coming To Jersey Is Traveling Abroad
We once traveled to visit friends in Camden, New Jersey, who had their first apartment in the downtown area.
When it was time to drive home, we found that the wheels had been removed from our car and the vehicle was sitting on blocks. (Thankfully, they left the interior alone.)
When You're A Spy But You Didn't Know
I was in Berlin when it was a divided city. To go from West Berlin to East Berlin I, as a US citizen, went through Checkpoint Charlie. Some friends and I were meeting in East Berlin for dinner one night. We were traveling separately. The thing to realize is that once you were on East Berlin soil, you were on your own. If there were any problems, I was told to seek help from the Russian occupiers. (The Cold War was still real, so this was just surreal) We were to have limited to no contact with the East German military or police. So, I get through Checkpoint Charlie and walk into East German soil. I stopped at their checkpoint - it was like a little horse stall were you stood and had the Easy German military look at your passport. I handed it over. He looked at it, said something in German. I said I didn't speak German. He began accusing me of being a spy. I was escorted out of the "stall" and into a very plain holding room with a bench running the length of the room. That's all that was there. I remained standing. It was January and really cold. I wondered what my friends would do when I didn't show up as planned.
About 30 minutes later, two soldiers came into the room, handed me my passport, and let me go.
I drank a lot that night.
Lesson? Don't Take Pictures Of Russian Tanks
Your story reminded me of when two of my friends were arrested by the Russian military as teenagers. Their story is less terrifying than yours, though.
They were American high schoolers on a trip abroad for school, and they were out during their free time walking around. They saw some tanks sitting behind a fence in front of a building, so they stopped to take pictures. From what they said, out of nowhere they heard shouting and were confronted by two very angry Russian soldiers. They were brought to an interrogation room and held there while the soldiers took their passports and went to find someone who spoke English. They finally found someone, and he came in and tried to interview them, but by that time they were both sobbing, terrified messes who could barely answer any questions. They were convinced they were going to be put in prison. The interviewer realized he was dealing with hysterical, stupid kids and not spies, gave them back their passports, told them to enjoy the rest of the day, and let them go. Let them keep the pictures too.
Luck Is Thy Middle Name
Got stuck in Sydney. Gigantic cluster of a day.
Took the rail to the airport 3 hours early to go back to US. Went to check in and realized my passport was back in the hotel. In attempt to still make flight, took a luxury cab back to hotel. Got it, and sped back. Expensive. Got back to airport, ran in, but still missed flight. Went to reschedule/reorder tickets for next available, realized my wallet was missing. Now no cash. Ran back to cab, but was already gone. Tried to call company but my world phone was running out of minutes and charge---with no credit cards or cash to recharge. Was my birthday.
Ultimately was able to reach my wife who arranged a stay at nearby hostel and rescheduled flight the next day.
Cabby ended up showing back up at the airport much later that day, and I asked if I could search cab. I ended up finding wallet in between the seat cushions. Crazy. Day.
Maybe It's Not Always So Bad
My brother spent the summer one year living with a friend in a family friend's summer home in this tiny Mexican surfing town. Another family friend lived close by and had taken them out to lunch that day at a tiny non-descript restaurant, about 30 minutes by car, in a much poorer / non-expat town nearby.
My brother forgot his camera at the restaurant. He likes photography quite a bit, so I don't know anything about cameras but I do know he spent upwards of a grand on it. Tried calling our family friend but couldn't get a response and the sun was going to set relatively soon, so he got on a bus, which was actually just more of a hop on hop off system of VW-esque buses, where bus stops were only based on landmarks (Stop at the bridge. Stop at the purple house, etc). He rode this system of buses for about an hour and a half to get to the town based on what looks familiar. Wandered around for a while and tried to find anything that looked familiar to get to this restaurant.
By this point the sun has gone down completely, and he's this gringo kid walking around some Mexican town he doesn't know, and only speaks the broken basic Spanish of someone who grew up in Texas / Florida / California / Arizona / New Mexico knows just by osmosis.
So walking around in near darkness, phone's dead, he started getting pretty nervous when this guy starts yelling down the street at him. He can't understand what he's saying so he just stands there until he realises this guy screaming at him is also running at him. So he books it. Starts sprinting away -- no idea where he's going, while this guy is chasing and yelling at him in Spanish until he finally hears the guy yell camara.
So he stopped, the guy caught up, and after some poor Spanglish and a lot of pantomime, he figures out that this guy's family owns the restaurant they ate at where he left his camera. So this guy walks my brother back to the restaurant (he had actually gotten pretty close by dumb luck and 'things that looked familiar'). The guy's mum opened up the kitchen again to make him more food than he could eat. Refused when he offered to give them money for the camera, or even for the food they gave him. Made their son accompany my brother on the bus back to the town my brother was staying in. And the mum packed extra food to give him to take home as he left.
Better Lesson: Don't Mess Around In Russia
My -sshole co-worker thought it would be a great idea to be an ahole to the police while on a business trip in Russia. The cops arresting him and asked him for his passport. He proudly whips out his US passport and tells the cops off they be not dare touch an "American". The cop takes his passport, his phone, and wallet and proceeds to throw it down a sewer and arrest him as an undocumented foreigner.
He ended up sitting in a Russia jail for 8 months before [the] US Embassy was allowed to see. He spent three years in prison in Russia before he was released. When he came back he looked like he was 30 years older, lost most his teeth, and went from a muscle bound 220 pound to somebody who weighed 160 pounds.
Overseas Healthcare Is Great
While traveling in Greece, my son had an accident - a large boulder crushed his foot. Lots of blood, lots of broken bones. I held pressure against the wound on the way to the hospital in aN ambulance. It would not stop bleeding even with pressure. Finally get to the hospital, they wheel him to the most sub standard emergency room you can imagine. It was closer to a Russian prison cell than a place for medical care. Dirty, dark, multiple people laying on stretchers. They put my son between two people, one of whom looks like an enforcer for the Russian mob - BIG guy, like muscle big, not fat big, about 6 foot 6 inches. Tattoos, unhappy disposition, with cuts on his shaved head. While the doctor starts inspecting my sons foot (no pain medication, jamming his fingers in the wound and adjusting bones), Mr. Mob Enforcer starts to argue with the doctor who is working on my son. Presumably they were refusing him service and asking him to leave. In a matter of about 30 seconds the argument escalated to the point where Mr. Mob is standing over the doctor, screaming at the top of his lungs, fingers in the doctors face, being very threatening. The doctor still has my sons foot in his hands, trying to provide care. It is at that moment it becomes clear I may need to wrap my arms around Mr. Mobs neck so that the doctor can continue to provide care to my son. I am just waiting for some physical contact before intervening in a situation guaranteed to not end in my favor. At the last second, a very small diminutive security guard arrives and gets involved.
Very thankfully, the guy turns around and storms out, and the Dr. goes back to working on my son.
Everything about that situation makes me sick to my stomach when I think back on it. The fear of your child being hurt, the fear of uncertain outcome, the fear of being in a situation where your child wellbeing is out of your control, the fear of putting yourself in they way of certain physical harm to protect your child. NOT F.U.N all around.
Silver lining. 3 day hospital bill, $200 USD.
Dodging A Literal Bullet
My family and I were took a 16 day trip across Europe a few years ago. We were supposed to get on the 11am train to Paris from Munich that morning, but we all had gotten up early and decided to take the 9am train instead. Found out later there was an incident with an armed gunman on the train we were initially planning on taking.
Making The Large March Home
When I was 18 I went travelling around Europe by myself, one of the things I wanted to do was visit the beaches at Normandy and because I love band of brothers I decided to stay in Carentan. While I was there I got a train/bus to the American military cemetery and spent a few hours there and at Omaha beach and then went back to catch my bus, I somehow however managed to miss the last bus by about 10 minutes and with it being a Sunday everything was closed early. So I was stuck in Normandy 20ish miles from my B and B, my phone battery was nearly dead and so I had to make a decision between trying to find an English speaking taxi firm or to use it for maps.
My stupid 18 year old self decided it'd be better to walk it, 6 hours and a few sketchy looking French villages later I got back to my room and stuck my mouth under the tap in my bathroom, because to top it all off I had no food or water with me at the time.
Fulfilling Your Promises
Was leaving the Forbidden City in Beijing with my Chinese buddy. Right outside there's a ton of touts trying to sell us jade dragons. We ignore them and try making our way to the street. My buddy bumps into this tout and the tout says something to him. All of a sudden my buddy starts flipping out, yelling and screaming, shaking his fists at the tout. They start pushing eachother and a crowd forms to watch.
All of a sudden I see like ten rough looking Chinese guys materialize. They're balling up, I see brass knuckles on one of them. I don't mind a good fight, but I don't want to see what the medical care inside a Chinese jail is like either. I grab my buddy by the shoulder and start pulling him away from the tout. He's still screaming.
We eventually get to the street and he gets out his phone to call a cab. My buddy says that the tout called him "the white man's dog" or something to that effect. I ask him how long the taxi will be and he says "No, I'm just calling my friends. We're gonna come back and f-ck those guys up later"
I had my wallet/ID stolen in Ireland while roughly 5 hours away from where all my other stuff was. By the time I was able to get back to my hotel and cancel my cards, the thief had already spent 1200 dollars.
I was in Guangzhou, China at a trade fair and at the end of the day I was SO tired plus I was jetlagged and just wanted to go to my hotel room and sleep.
There was a line for the Taxis (think of Disney attraction lines, like velvet ropes that zigzag through a hall) and there were like 200 people in line. I was like fuuck I don't wanna stand in line for an hour so I walked towarda the metro station (it was like a 45 min metro ride to my hotel) and then some guy walks beside me, looks both ways and says to me "private taxi?" And I was like "yes please" guy told me "wait here" took my briefcase and left and came back in a brand new honda Accord, I hop in the back and off we go..
Like three blocks from there we stopped at a red light and suddenly some guy opens the passenger door, jumps in, and takes the key off the ignition, another guy opens the driver's door grabs this dude by the shirt collar drags him out of the car a throws him on the ground, and the first guy (the guy with the key) goes around and turns on the car locks the doors and drives away with me in the back..
I was 1000% sure I was being kidnapped. In China of all places. I was like f-ck f-ck f-ck f-ck now what? My heart was at like 250 bpm. We drove in silence for like 5 mins and it felt like an hour. Then we turns at a dead end street, pulls over, turns around, looks at me, reaches for his pocket.. and whips out a badge.
He was an undercover policeman. And there was a sting to catch illegal taxis. Which ironically often kidnapped tourists. Dude takes out a video camera a makes me tell him how everything went down, hoW much I paid him etc. So in some courtroom in China there was a video of me testifying against some dude that probably went to jail thanks to me.
The policeman then went to the street waved at a taxi with his badge out and put me in the cab and told me never to take anything other than the cars that were painted like this. (This was before uber was around).
It was scary but thankfully nothing bad happened.
This Is My Nightmare
I was an hour into a 9 hour international flight. I started feeling ill and went to the lavatory. I sat in the toilet with the lid down and leaned against the sink splashing some water in my face. Next thing I knew, everything faded out.
A woke up crumpled on the floor and completely disoriented. It took me a moment to get uncontorted and to get up. I was dizzy and shivering. I looked down and I had vomited all over myself. In addition, I peed and soiled myself.
Edit: Ironically, I'm about to get on an airplane but when I land and get settled I'll describe the aftermath.
Edit: The Aftermath - once I got clarity, I really had little choice. There were no clothes in my carryon, a big mistake and one I would never make again traveling international. I had been in India, and on the last day felt a little off. After a long delay, long flight and long layover in London I was tired and my stomach was gurgling. I wasn't sick, but I didn't feel right...
...After waking up, I washed and cleaned as best I could everything. It took a while, and thankfully it came out as well as I could hope. Especially since the hardest stains were on the inside of my pants (sigh). I emerged from the lavatory soaked from head to toe, probably with a thousand yard stare. I went to my seat which was on a right side aisle, grabbed a blanket and wrapped up in it as I started shivering. Instantly the person next to me hit the attendant button and requested that he and his wife be seated elsewhere since I was obviously ill. She relocated them, and the entire row was empty except for an Asian woman on the other end. She stared over several times and had a medical mask on. Poor lady. I fell asleep not long after and woke up feeling better on the inside but a wet, crusty, nasty mess otherwise. In Chicago, I switched to a flight to St. Louis which is my home airport and arrived home incredibly tired. I took a shower, slept two hours, then took my kids to Six Flags for the Halloween thing. It was the last weekend the park was open, and having been divorced in the last year, I had promised them no matter what I would take them. THAT, was the longest night of my life. But I was just tired from there, not sick.