It is definitely not the most pleasant experience when travels go wrong and nothing goes as planned. But if I am being honest, some of my travel fails do make the most interesting stories. I also think it would be weird if everything would always work out as planned. Here is to all the times I failed at traveling. Enjoy these travel fails!
1. The time I spent the night outside a closed airport in Sydney (November 2014)
So this happened in my second week of my gap year in Australia. I had just been to Surf Camp for a couple of days and just gotten back to Sydney before flying out to Cairns the morning after. Since I didn’t get back until late in the afternoon and my flight was at 9am in the morning, there was no way I was spending $35+ on a hostel that night if I had to head to the airport at like 6ish anyway.
Me being a dumb 18-year-old person at the time, just assumed that the airport was going to be open at night. Sydney is huge, so people should be flying out at night, right? Anyway, I ended up hanging out at some hostel lounge until later at night and then took the last train to the airport, so I just thought I would chill there for the night.
But you guessed it, the airport was closed. And since I took the last train to get there I couldn’t get back to Sydney either. What a failure!
I learned from that experience though and when I wanted to spend the night at an airport again I always checked in advance if it was open so that this wouldn’t happen again.
2. The time I was stranded in Switzerland (August 2018)
This story happened last year and you might have already read about it on my travel review of 2018. After I had spent three days of hiking in beautiful Interlaken, I was waiting for my bus back to Germany. It’s a really small town and they legit only have three busses a day.
One to Bern, which is only like an hour away, one to Italy and one to Germany. So the bus that I needed actually started its journey from a place that was only 20 minutes away, therefore it was kind of impossible for it to be really late. But the bus never showed up.
Also there was only me and this American guy waiting for it and that was it. The guy kept calling the customer service but they didn’t know anything and said they would call him back which they never did.
Three hours after the planned arrival of the bus and waiting around, Flixbus sent an in-app notification that the bus was cancelled. Great! Later, I took a train to Basel and then another bus from there, but the train trip was about as expensive as my entire three-day (NOT SO BUDGET anymore) trip in total. Fail.
3. The time I did a “deep dive” to 19 metres (August 2016)
This story took place in Thailand. I was in the process of getting my Advanced Open Water scuba diving certificate. As you might now, when you get your basic open water certificate you are allowed to dive to 18 metres. After completing the advanced one, however, you are allowed to dive up to 30 metres deep.
The advanced Open Water certification consists of 5 different specialisation dives which you can choose based on your liking. But two are mandatory: the navigation and of course the deep dive. I don’t think you need to dive down to 30 metres but you should at least dive somewhat deep so that you feel comfortable in deeper depths, which is the point of this specialisation dive.
So when it was time for my deep dive I was super nervous. It was just my instructor, me and some random dive master. Now throughout the whole dive I was waiting for the instructor to dive deeper but that just didn’t happen. We constantly stayed at like 14 metres and went down to about 18 and a half at some point.
I thought maybe I mixed up the dives and this was supposed to be level dive (I’m not sure what that one was called exactly).
Anyway, at some point we went up again and I was really confused. So was the dive master as well since he was also expecting a deep dive. Then I asked my instructor about it and he said that we went down to 19 metres and the deep dive counts when we go deeper than 18 metres. Wow.
So basically after completing my advanced certification I definitely did not feel comfortable to dive any deeper than 18 metres because I have never done it before.
Also, I was really disappointed. Thankfully, I went on two fun dives a few days later on a different island. It was only me and the instructor in one group so between the dives I told her about that disappointing deep dive. And she said she never heard of anything like that happening.
So when we were under water she wrote on her board if I wanted to do a deep dive and then we went down to about 26 metres so that at least I would feel more comfortable now for future dives.
4. The time I spent $25 for a 2 kilometre taxi ride in Costa Rica (July 2017)
This still makes me super angry thinking about it to be honest but I guess it was my own fault. I know in pretty much every country you can get ripped off by taxi drivers. I believe, what they usually tell you is to choose the ones with a taxameter to avoid that, right?
So I had just gotten off the bus in San Jose, coming from Puerto Viejo. My hostel was only 2 kilometres away but the problem was that it was raining really badly. I also still had my whole luggage with me. So I thought I’m gonna treat myself with a taxi so my electronics wouldn’t get wet.
But then I was stupid enough to choose one of the taxi drivers that pretty much approach you when you get off the bus. I know you shouldn’t choose them, but I asked if he was using a taxameter and he said yes so I thought that was fine.
Anyway there was a bit of traffic so the ride took a bit longer and it just kept getting more and more expensive. I told the guy to just let me out at that random street we were at the moment but he didn’t speak any English and kept giving me his phone to translate.
I was like “aqui, aqui esta buena”, which were the only Spanish words I could think of, but then it took him like another 5 minutes and $10 more until he finally let me out and I still had to walk another ten minutes after.
5. The time two of my suitcases ended up in the wrong country
This story was not too bad after all in the end, because both of these suitcases turned up later. This was at the end of a trip and I was traveling home. It was not like I needed my suitcases straight away. But anyway, how did this even happen? Like, I said I had two suitcases with me and your are probably wondering who the heck travels with two suitcases?! To my defence, I was going home after my year abroad in the States. Therefore, I wasn’t traveling but instead stayed at one place for the entire time. And I just bought a bunch of clothes, so what?
Actually I had a small vacation after in Florida, which is where I was flying home from. A flight from Orlando to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Frankfurt. As I arrived in Frankfurt, both of my suitcases were missing. Apparently one got accidentally shipped to like New York or something and the other one to San Francisco. Super random! One suitcase came a week later and the other one two weeks later.
Bonus: The guy who was in the wrong bus in Thailand
This travel fail didn’t happen to me but to some random guy at a bus. It was too funny at the moment not to share. I was on a night bus to Bangkok, leaving from Krabi I believe or that area. Where exactly does not really matter for the story.
As you know, when you travel in Thailand, you usually get your little ticket and then some guy just screams the destination of your bus. If that’s where you want to go then you follow the guy and you’re in the right bus. Super easy.
Since I was heading to Bangkok everyone was just following the guy screaming: Bangkok, Bangkok. Sometime around 4am and three hours away from Bangkok, some middle-aged dude started screaming through the entire bus: “Whaat, you are not taking me to Bangkok, you can’t take me to Bangkok! This is the wrong bus!!”
Pretty much everyone was awake at that time and everyone apart from that screaming guy were heading to Bangkok. Apparently, the guy wanted to go to Hua Hin, which I had to look up because I have never heard of it.
And apparently, since it is almost on the way when heading to Bangkok, he just assumed that the bus what heading there as well. Then when he realised that it was his own stupidity that got him on the wrong bus, he started telling everyone in the bus how stupid Bangkok is and how much he hates it. That was super rude, especially because Bangkok is one of the coolest cities in the world!
How it ended?
Around that time, the bus had stopped at a gas station. The guy was like: “You have to bring me to Hua Hin, otherwise I’ll rather get out at this gas station.” The guide on the bus told him, that he would have to stay in the bus until Bangkok and then take another bus from there.”
I mean, obviously, he was the only one who wanted to go to Hua Hin. He ended up getting out of the bus at that random gas station. And everyone was happy, because they could finally continue to sleep. It was kind of funny though at the time.
Interested to hear more travel fails? There will definitely be a part 2 of this series at some point but for now you can read about all the times that natural disasters have interfered, ruined or tried to ruin my travel plans!
Talk to you soon x