Whether you’re a serial planner, or as cool as a cucumber when it comes to travel, there is always the potential for something to go wrong. And, the more you travel, the more mishaps you’re bound to have! It can feel like the world is ending when you’re in a sticky situation, but thankfully, we are able to look back and laugh most of the time. This is actually the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that it’s super silly to travel anywhere without good travel insurance – so make sure you’re covered! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been delayed, ended up in the completely wrong place, and had companies cancel on us, but we have managed to come up with some of our favourite devastating incidents that turned into great memories. In no particular order, here are our top 5 travel mishaps (so far);
Let’s start with a minor bum injury – we have to go back to Greece for this one, where we were very much enjoying our resort on the island of Corfu. The rooms and views were amazing, the pool and beach right across the road allowed us to stay cool in the summer sun and the bartender kept us hydrated and fed. Coming down to the pool in only a bikini and jandals (flip flops), we took the fastest route through the restaurant and down the white marble stairs outside. Unbeknown to us, there had been a burst pipe and a lot of water had flown onto those marble stairs. The colour of the marble and clarity of the water made it impossible to see when you weren’t looking for it. As you must know, jandals and slippery surfaces do not mix, so within seconds I was arse over and looking up at Kieran, a little confused. It took a couple of seconds to register the pain of the impact on my bum before the swear words and tears burst out. Luckily it is very cushioned round there, so my back was saved! Getting to my feet, I did a bit of a dance around clutching and rubbing my butt to alleviate the shock. It left me with a wicked bruise for a few weeks, and ironically, when we ventured back to our room a little later, there was a bright yellow ‘caution slippery’ sign on the stairs, talk about bad timing! In hindsight, it was nothing a margarita by the pool couldn’t fix, and we were happily holidaying again in no time.
I’m hoping this next one has happened to others out there, and it’s not just a naive Kiwi thing. When someone tells you that there is a lovely beach along the English Promenade in Nice, what do you think of? We were all geared up and ready to spend the day sunning in the soft sand and lazily cooling off in the Mediterranean Sea. Togs (bathing suits) and towels in hand, we headed straight for the beach. We immediately thought, surely there was some kind of mistake. Instead of sinking our toes into sand we found ourselves knocking our ankle bones on stones. Not small ones either, proper river stones made up the entire shore of the ‘beach’. If someone can tell me how you lay down comfortably on river stones, you will be my new best friend. That wasn’t the end of it either, trying to get in and out of the water was like a full on workout! The stones drop off quite sharply at the water’s edge, so we kind of had to shimmy in on our butts – it was really nice once we get in the water; warm and super clear, pretty dreamy actually. But my god, when we had to climb back out, we must have looked like beached whales! It was a matter of trying to get enough traction on tumbling river stones and not being pushed over by a wave before you could climb up the drop. More of a hilarious misconception than a mishap, but from that, we’ve learned to check exactly what someone means when they say beach!
Throwback to Bangkok, one of the very first places we visited together. Thanks to a flight delay, we arrived into the big, busy city around 1 in the morning, exhausted and desperately after some sleep. We told the taxi driver we were staying at Top Inn (highly recommended if you want ridiculously cheap, no frills accommodation near Khaosan Road), and he started off on his way. It soon became obvious he didn’t know where he was going as he stopped a few times to ask for directions. Eventually he dropped us off near a dark alley and told us it was just through there… By now it was past 2:00am, pitch black and stupidly humid. We sent one of our friends round the dark corner to try and find the hostel before we let the taxi go. Seeing him reappear, we grabbed our suitcases and the driver was off. But turns out he hadn’t actually found it! After standing there dumbly for a few minutes, we decided to head into the alleyway maze and find it together. Stray kittens swirled at our feet, it smelt like pee, and the locals were definitely amused by our struggle. We ended up on a crazy party street (we later learned was Khaosan Road), before retracing our steps to see if we had missed the place. We finally spotted an incredibly conspicuous A4 laminated sign that pointed us in the right direction. I think we were all asleep before our heads hit the pillows that night! We even set our clocks wrong against the time change, woke up for ‘lunch’ and only realised we’d gotten up 2 hours early because McDonald’s breakfast was still on! That aside, Thailand was incredibly beautiful and friendly, particularly out on the islands.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to function properly on no sleep right? We once had another awful flight delay from Barcelona to Casablanca, which started out small and just kept getting longer. We saw the plane come in a few hours late, but it was another 2 hours before we actually got to board. Apparently some lovely old woman refused to get off the plane until she could be put into her own wheelchair and no one could do anything about it! It was a late night flight anyway, but by the time we landed in Casablanca, it was 3:00am and we had been awake for 21 hours. We had no energy to barter the cost of our taxi down and paid far too much for it. Checking into our hotel at 4:00am proved a little difficult too, we could barely communicate in English, let alone French – thankfully it was a 24 hour reception though. We got to bed at 4:30am, sleeping in musty sheets and surrounded by about 100 years worth of dust, but it was a bed after all. We checked out as late as possible and made the short walk over to our new hotel (where we were to meet up with a tour group). We decided to take a nap before heading out to the Medina and Grand Mosque. We slept through 2 alarms and woke up at 6:00pm just half an hour before our group meeting! We left early the next morning so completely missed Casablanca. Lesson here; it might be cheaper to stay in a different pre-tour hotel, but it’s worth the extra money when you end up in a situation like this one. If we hadn’t had to move, we certainly would havve been able to get out and see the city. We will just have to take this as an excuse to go back!
Finally, we have the mishap that I find the funniest. We were exploring one of the most beautifully decorated and most holy places in Europe, the Vatican City. Making our way through the museum and gardens before finishing up in St Peter’s Basilica – the stunning Italian Renaissance church. A group of us walked through the grand entrance and began to ooh and ahh at the inside. You always sort of feel like you’re being judged by something in these kinds of places, but this time there was an actual, physical sign that one of us was definitely going to hell. Only a few seconds after entering the church, Kieran’s nose started bleeding, and it was not a light drip! He had his hands to his face as the rest of us desperately searched for some tissue (while pissing ourselves laughing at the irony), he was even catching drops on his shoes to stop it getting all over the floor. We managed to get outside and sit him down on the stairs with a little something to shove up his nostril and temporarily stem the flow. One of our friends ran off to the bathroom to get toilet paper, the square was hot and crowded and the security guards were yelling at us in Italian because you aren’t supposed to sit where we were! They soon left us alone when they saw the situation and even tried to help. It was absolute chaos, but gut-bustingly funny at the same time. When you visit Vatican City, take the test for yourself by stepping inside the Basilica… if you dare
It’s always good to be able to look back and laugh at yourselves. We’ve learned a lot over the last few years, but the mishaps continue… We would love to hear about your mishaps too, it would make us feel better!