FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Tell Me Your Travel Horror Stories

From approximately ages 5 to 14, I puked every time I entered a museum in a city outside of my own. I’ve thrown up in the National Air and Space Museum as well as the Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway, in the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA. For my 12th birthday, I didn’t even make it all the way to the International Spy Museum — I threw up in the car on the way. Maybe by this point the myth had settled in me so strongly that it had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It felt like something that had been forced onto my identity; if I go to a museum, I’ll get sick. To this day, my family says I’m allergic to museums.

And let me tell ya: Getting sick at museums makes you extremely not want to go to them! This did not, of course, stop my parents from making museums a regular part of vacation itineraries. I don’t begrudge them at all, because 1. A museum allergy is not real and 2. Museums are a great (often free!) way to occupy children’s time. It became a bit of a pathology for me though; trips to new places meant museums, and museums meant sickness.

Once I somehow overcame my mysterious museum issue, I honestly haven’t had that many travel horrors. Someone asked me recently if I have travel anxiety, and I replied that I have anxiety everywhere all the time and have never noticed a particular spike while traveling, so probably not but who’s to say. I’ve missed flights and gotten lost in other countries and once slept on the floor of Newark airport at the start of a two-week stint in Norway where I felt dissociative and on edge the entire time because, as I would find out later, my then-girlfriend was already in the midst of an affair. Shit happens! And if you’re lucky enough to travel and take vacations, they don’t always go the way you want them to! No matter how much planning you do! Sometimes you’re just going to puke up pink remnants of the strawberry Pop Tart you had for breakfast all over your white t-shirt in the middle of the Air And Space Museum because you couldn’t make it to the bathroom and then cry a bunch because is there anything more mortifying than a bunch of adults you don’t know staring at you with concern when you’re a little kid?!

(For the record, museums and I have made our peace. I mean, I went to the Met every week for a long stretch of last year.)

I want to hear about your travel horrors, big and small. Tell me about your vacations gone wrong, your fucked trips, your sullied plans. Did you go on vacation with an ex thinking that was a good idea? Did your entire suitcase disappear (big fear of mine)? I know there are some of you out there who have been dumped on vacation and, like, you don’t have to talk about it, but also I do have questions. Another question: WAS ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE ALLERGIC TO MUSEUMS?

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

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  1. Just went on a cruise to Alaska, and my ex left an unsatisfactory pizza on the floor in a dark corner of a hallway instead of doing anything remotely appropriate with it. We did not have a fun cruise. Whoever found that pizza did not have a fun cruise. Was it horrible? Like someone who wants you to watch that Rushmore movie again, yes.

  2. Oh! And speaking of travel and puking! So it was Thanksgiving Break, 1996, and I was going to school in Vermont. My parents arranged for a cheap flight home, but made it out of a little dinky airport in New Hampshire. I had no car, but my utterly New Hampshirian roommate lived nearby, and her dad was picking her up the day before my flight. So! I caught a ride with her, and they dropped me at the airport. I would have to spend the night in the concourse. I was also coming down with the grosses. The airport closed at 9, and my only sustenance was the pack of strawberry Mentos I managed to buy from the gift shop before everyone left. Feeling like complete shit, I made a rough night of it sleeping on the floor of the mezzanine level of the concourse.
    Comes the dawn, I’m feeling the worst effects of whatever hippy sickness I’ve contracted compounded by poor nutrition and terrible sleep. A terrible racket breaks out down on the main level. Groggily, I lift my head up above the railing and almost puke all over Bob Dole and his party as he rushes past the press corp on the tail end of his election campaign. That was the highlight of my vacation. It went downhill from there and resulted in me not being able to eat corn chips for almost twenty years. Skål!

    • Whew, y’all have some truly awful stories here!
      One of my worst experiences was travelling to Denver for roller derby (second worst was flying home from Philly, also roller derby). We were accosted by a stranger the morning the Pulse shooting happened, they waited for us outside of a public bathroom to tell us we needed jesus and to shout obscenities at us. On the flight home that night I was a wreck about Pulse and someone whipped a Catholic witnessing card at my face, which hurt emotionally but also WOW sharp corners. All of this after I spent the weekend being benched for most of our games and arguing with my girlfriend about leaving her husband. BIG YIKES. Summer 2016 was a rough one. And I still refuse to go back to Colorado 🤣

    • Was in Tennessee with my girlfriend and we got into an argument because one of her friends stole one of my credit cards. She got mad and stormed out of the hotel, stealing my Jeep. She was high af and wrecked. She got arrested but they took her to the hospital first. This was the mid 90’s in small town Tennessee and I could feel the hate oozing off the walls. So, the cops are asking me all these questions and wanting to know if I want to report the Jeep stolen. The hospital won’t tell me anything. My Jeep is totalled and now I’m stranded. I wasn’t out to my parents yet so I didn’t want to call them. Because my credit card had been stolen I had limited funds. I had all these decisions to make and nobody to talk to. I ended up being there a couple of extra days until a friend came and got me. My girlfriend’s dad came and got her. She wasn’t out to her parents. So he didn’t understand exactly what had happened and why we were both so upset. I didn’t press charges because I didn’t want to explain everything to my Southern Baptist family. Basically, our weekend get away effectively ended our relationship.

      • That is a fiery end! What an awful time and place for you to find yourself in that situation. Sounds like she and her friends weren’t people you’d want to be around anyways.

  3. I HAD A JOB INTERVIEW! It was just a few round interview. I haven’t even made it to the second round yet, but after a year and a half of nothing, I consider it a minor win. I even feel that the interview went well. HURRAY!

  4. This should be a fun thread.

    I had diarrhea on an international flight. It was miserable. I managed to climb over my sleeping seat mate and get to the bathroom in time but it was so unpleasant.

    After that I had a four hour layover in Amsterdam and another eight hour flight home. Thanks to the travelers aid station plus gluten free crackers and mint tea I managed to get well enough during my layover to survive my flight without incident. I will never ever book a middle seat on a long flight.

    My other tale of woe is more about what happened when I came home. I was lucky to have a semester abroad when I was a junior in college. I spent six months in England gallivanting around and occasionally writing essays and while I was out of the country my dad accepted a job out of state and my parents sold the house I grew up in.

    The one bright spot was that before I went abroad I’d started coming out to myself but I had no idea how to come out to anyone else. I returned home to discover that THREE of my close female friends had come out as bi or lesbian while I was out of the country and a fourth was questioning. So that made coming out really easy for me. I just had a lot of OMG SAME type conversations.

  5. As a college student, I managed to loose my bus ticket and subway pass while traveling in Japan! I was there with a college group, so I wasn’t totally alone, but we were exploring by ourselves on that trip day. I’m pretty sure that loosing both pieces of plastic was the result of me pulling my phone out of a front pocket to text my girlfriend at the time. Eventually I was able to find our professor and get her to help me stumble through some Japanese to get a replacement ticket (my spoken fluency is still really terrible), but wow was the situation nerve-wracking.

  6. Ooh I had a dramatic breakup in front of security at the Istanbul Ataturk airport.Very sad, very gay, very dumb.

  7. My worst holiday was when we went abroad for my (now-ex)wife’s sister’s wedding, which was never going to fun because her parents were awful, but her Dad had a stroke in his spinal cord two days before the wedding and in between the wedding and hospital visits my ex and her sister spent a lot of time on the phone trying to get his insurance from confirming they would actually pay the medical bill and for his repatriation.

    My second worse holiday was when I turned 13 in a caravan in Wales where it rained every day and I didn’t pack a raincoat and my parents bought me a hideous one that I found deeply embarrassing and every day was a choice between getting soaked or extreme embarrassment. Also I had to go to an activity club which as an introvert who didn’t fit in was awful. Plus it was my Mum’s 40th birthday and she got all these birthday cards with jokes about sex when you’re 40 and she put them up but didn’t want me or my sister to read them.

    • I really feel for thirteen year old you and the hideous raincoat. So horrible when you’re sure the whole world is watching and judging you.

    • Also I am 40 soon and I don’t get the idea of people having sex or not having sex or whatever the jokes were about as amusing concept, but maybe it’s a straight person thing.

      • Having passed 40 a few years back, I can affirm that the only people at my party being crude about sex where the straights I did not invite.

  8. Great topic! I have travel anxiety, which covers everything from taking the subway to going to an outer borough to going to another city/state/country. Once I’m somewhere, I generally am fine, but it’s the physical travel (plane, train, bus, car, etc.) that makes me anxious. That being said, I went to London last fall and Montreal last summer (both via plane). I think planes are generally less panic-inducing for me because other people freak out on planes, and it’s not just an in-out thing, meaning you are in the airport and then on the physical plane for a while before it takes off and guaranteed a seat, unlike a subway where you just get on with a billion people. My biggest fear of traveling is being stuck and unable to get out and/or get home.

    I’m doing really well with overcoming my travel anxiety. I’m taking a big trip next weekend from Manhattan to Brooklyn to go to my dear friends’ wedding. While I’m joking about it being a big trip, it actually is for me because I’ll be traveling solo! I’ve never traveled to an outer borough by myself. I told these friends I would not let my anxiety (or anything) stop me from going to their wedding, and I’m standing by that.

    In other news, does anyone know how to make nectarines ripen in the course of an hour? I’m having 15 people over for Shabbat dinner tonight, and I have a dozen underripe nectarines that I was planning on putting in a salad with tomatoes, feta, and basil. (I bought them on FreshDirect, and I stupidly assumed they wouldn’t be so hard). Should I not be able to magically ripen them, I’ll probably get some mozzarella and make a caprese salad.

    • I’m happy to hear you’re making strides on the travel anxiety. Listen, it’s tough! I have subway/underground anxiety that comes and goes in phases and since I live in New York it can make things difficult.

      As for the nectarines issue, unfortunately I think you’re gonna have to switch to the caprese! Most hacks for ripening fruit don’t actually work!

    • I’ve had some good luck putting fruit in a paper bag to ripen but not in an hour. And sometimes it works and sometimes it accelerates from too hard to bruised and mushy. So yeah. Caprese salad is delicious.

  9. I can’t think of any real travel horror stories. Closest would be my birthday that passed during Spring season. I mentioned it, but it was a joint celebration for my best friend and I as our birthdays are 2 days apart. I got a room with a nice tub at one of those motels one could pay by the hour. It was all going well until we came back after a late-night LGBTQ rave with an extra guest she was digging. I was very much not sober, nor was my friend; not sure about the guest. We got to the room, I passed out, about 10 minutes in the dude at the front desk pops into the room and kicks everyone out at around 4:30 am-ish. My friend was wasted and assumed she and the dude were kicked out so she goes to dudes place and I am stuck sleeping it off in my car in the lot. 7 am I am woken up by a knock and told to leave the parking by a different person at the front desk. The guy who checked me in still owed me $17 because he didn’t have change and was told she knows nothing about that. I asked can I at least get the stuff from the room she goes sure, but most of it was thrown out. My You do You Autostraddle flask was thrown out, but thankfully my charge wasn’t nor was matching clothes my friend and I bought. At first, I thought it was, but then later in the day found out she had it. She right now out of town and wears my purple AS they/them pin to feel close to me, but also try out if they/them pronouns work for her. I left a scathing 2-star review for the place. Good hot tub, terrible service.

    How’s everyone’s week going? It’s been a long week for me. I matched up with the same person on two different dating apps(bumble and OKC), only not to reply or message me. I was having a good convo with a baby queer, only to tell me goodbye cruel world and not reply back after that. Another one told me she matches with people as a joke, which I am not sure what to make of. I spent my Sunday at an acquaintances house for show-tunes and piano party. It was a reminder to hear stories from older gay men(think 70+ years alive) who have seen the changes. I have my usual Sunday plan of going to Cuties and hopefully meeting someone I matched with.

    This was the view I had Sunday.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive and cool weekend!

    • That bird on the wire really dominates. Sounds like you had the good time, but I can’t handle hot tubs. I got a CPO license years ago and I can’t forget how gross they get. Also WTF with people on dating apps, they sound like my real life friends only even less present. Also, Fever Ray just put all her live stuff up on utoob, so that’s exciting!

      • We sprayed the tub with that bleach spray and hard alcohol before we got in. If my friends said what some of these dating app people say as a joke sure, but two of them I am pretty sure were serious with what they said. lol

  10. I moved in with my then girlfriend and to celebrate we booked a trip together to Argentina for the New Year. One week before the trip she breaks up with me. We decided to make the trip anyway, me hoping maybe we could get back together. While we are on the plane waiting to take off I overheard her talking on the phone, saying things that made it clear she was talking to a romantic partner. After I confronted her she confessed she had been cheating on me and was already dating someone. Wasn’t the best flight or one week vacation of my life.

    • Ouch ouch ouch. I got dumped right before the previously mentioned trip to Alaska, which could not be cancelled, so it ended in tears, frustration, and pizza on the floor. It sucks smeared ass to be in that kind of situation, I’m so sorry.

      • It really sucks! It was a long time ago, like over 8 years, so I’m fine and in a different happy relationship now…but like for anyone reading us, let this be a lesson. Always make sure you can get your money back on a trip you book with a partner or if you break up, just don’t go. Don’t think about the money, just take the loss. Don’t go on a trip with your ex you just broke up with.

        • omg I am so sorry this happened to you, but this is such solid advice! DONT TAKE THE TRIP! TAKE THE LOSS!

      • Nop. Same room. And when we got back from the trip we were still living together and had to deal with that whole mess…I should probably write an article for Autostraddle about the whole experince…it was something.

        • I’d read it. 4 months after we broke up my ex is still living with me, in my bed, with a giant body pillow separating us. Also, she needs help with her credit card debt. And tuition? Yes, and help with tuition. And she just wrecked her car and needs help getting a new one? On my insurance plan? Yes and Yes. Decided she’s straight and wants to look for doods? Also yes. :(
          This may be why I’m aggressively commenting on things here

          • Hi, I’m neither Yoda nor the Advice columnist, but get out of that situation like right now?
            Pretty sure a motel would cost less than car, credit card and tuition.
            That kind of shit gives ulcers and bad karma, my friend.
            Also, you deserve your own bed.
            For bonus unasked advice, get a fancy gym membership, too, because you deserve good things and it gives you a place to go, that’s not home.
            If it makes you feel any better, I‘ve heard similar versions of this story as my friends have slipped along in age and separated, but then not, and this shit can drag on for a long time.
            Also, ulcers. Own bed. Out now.

            P.S.: In the spirit of language matters,there is no such thing as „helping with a credit card“ and there is no such thing as „ helping with tuition.“ It’s called „wants money from me for“. Now, we can also philosophize about the emotional costs incurred by that whole pillow situation, but let it just be said, that four months is tooo fucking long.
            Love, seriously, get out of this situation if you don’t have the heart to make her leave, leave yourself.

          • WOW. Ouch. Ew. So sorry! Unsolicited advice, but you are not financially responsible for her. Cut ties and start over. It will hurt like hell, but a 4 month toxic slow bleed is more damaging. I feel for you.

  11. This is on behalf on my partner and it’s a true near-death travel story. She was in South Africa with her family and ex-partner for her sister’s wedding. After the wedding they went to Kruger National Park on a wildlife safari and all got trashed on their last night at the park, which happened to be their last day in SA. She was was the least hungover in the morning so had to drive the rental car to the airport while her ex, new brother-in-law’s bro and his girlfriend slept on.

    They took the gate out of the park that seemed the quickest route to the airport…..bad move. The road was littered with big sticks and other debris and tricky to navigate. Then she encountered logs on the road and the bro was gonna get out and move them but they had a bad feeling and told him to stay in the car. This was fully realised when my partner glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a strange man standing beside the car. This was swiftly followed by the massive boom of elephant gun shot through the back window that by some miracle missed everyone one!! Chaos!! But my partner was a total legend and hooned over the logs and got everyone to safety.

    Turned out the gate they used was a total no-go zone (do your research peeps 😁). They missed their flight back to New Zealand and had to spend thousands on new flights (because getting travel insurance tempts fate, bahahaha she has changed her mind to on that one), plus long airport waits with post-traumatic shock. Her ex’s brother lent them the money to get home but to add insult to injury, presented them with a spreadsheet calculating the interest payments on the loan when they got back. Also on that trip her other sister got trapped outside the car on a beach with baboons on her back.

    Lessons: always get travel insurance. Research safe travel routes. Don’t borrow money off dick family members who will charge you interest. And take big sticks to baboon beaches. I’m really glad this was before we met!!

    • Big sticks to baboon beaches sounds like a line from a Peter Gabriel song! That is one of those stories better told than lived, I’m sure.

      • No animals were harmed I promise! Baboons were the winner on that day. I should have clarified that you whack the sticks together cause the baboons hate the clacking noise and run away, you don’t hit the baboons 😁

  12. OHOHO I’ve been waiting to tell this story that just happened to me in June!

    So I lose my job, house, and gf within a week. I’m in a really shitty place so I decide to go live with my aunt across the country. I don’t really want to go but I don’t have a choice, so I get on the Amtrak train and secretly vape for a solid 2 hours (I know) just to keep the panic attacks at bay. I’m a high-functioning stoner and I don’t really feel much, just slightly more relaxed. Eventually I get a cheeseburger from the dining car and bring it back to my seat. It’s kind of gross but it’s food so I eat it and try to go to sleep.

    About 10 minutes later I’m burning up and drenched in sweat when a few minutes early I had been cold. I’m nauseous and dizzy and almost certain that I have food poisoning and need to go throw up. The bathrooms are on the lower level of the train so I start walking down the stairs and COMPLETELY BLACK OUT on the stairs. This has never happened to me before in my life. Not from drinking, not from standing up too fast, never. My vision is going black and I really think I’m about to die. With my last tiny ounce of consciousness I angle myself so I don’t fall on my neck.

    I wake up a couple minutes later lying face down ass up in the middle of the stairway, covered in my own pee and barely conscious. Long story short they stop the train in the middle of nowhere Nebraska around midnight and I have to go to the hospital alone. The doctor can’t find anything wrong with me, so I’m about to leave and find a hotel when I realize my bag is missing. All of my money and IDs as well as my phone charger are still on the train. I eventually figured it with some help, but needless to say next time I’m flying!

    • THIS sounds like a god awful treatment for a Ben Stiller comedy! You get to be represented by Seth Rogan.
      So you landed ok? Things looking up? Sworn off shitty burger food for life?

  13. LOL, buckle up y’all.
    So. Traveling to Gay Camp in Vermont from Baltimore, seems easy enough. I used Greyhound, and it was supposed to be a 13 hour trip. Got on the bus in B’more, got to NY, no probs. Couldn’t sleep, but oh well.

    But. At the NY station, the workers were on strike, (which is fine, do your thing.) so there were no buses going in or out. I sat around for hours, found three people who needed to go the same place as me, (Springfield, MA), and we became somewhat friendly.

    Hours later, a single bus pulls in. It’s going to Springfield, but it’s only got four spots on it. Me and the new friend that’s a girl, we forced our way to the front of the line and talked to the driver first, and he let us on after we argued and made it clear we would be difficult. (I’m so sorry to that driver, I was very desperate.)

    The boys we were hanging with, they were polite and went to the back of the line, (they didn’t get on lol, suckas.)

    So I’m on my way. I get to Springfield and there’s literally five minutes before my next bus leaves! Whew!
    J/k that bus was FUCKING CANCELLED. SO.

    I really sat at Springfield from 10 am to 7 pm. They couldn’t get in touch with anyone about whether or not the bus I needed would actually come that day. I was exhausted, scared as shit, and I wasn’t allowed to sleep at the station, and I couldn’t leave in case the bus did come.

    They said their best guess was between 4-6. I sat outside in the sun from 4 until 7, which was lucky because the fucking bus DID show up at 7, but the driver dropped a passenger, threw his bag off, and ran back onto the bus to leave. I had to run and pound on the door to get on.

    So I’m on my next to last bus. But. He can’t take me any further than my next to last stop. He’s not going that way.

    So my best friend (who was also going to camp), she drove an hour and a half to get me, then an hour and a half back to camp.
    She’s a fucking goddess. I would kill ten men for her.

    But we didn’t get back until 10:30 pm. So I was up from Thursday all day, to 10:30 pm on Friday.

    I was SO SICK and sleep deprived I thought I was dying. I made it through most of the next day before I had a panic attack and had to eat a whole bottle of like, chalk to stop my stomach forcing everything out.

    Worst ever. No buses for me again, and no fucking Greyhound. (I called and they hit a brick wall trying to not give me my money back. I got it back.)

    • I once got stuck in Boston at the bus/train station trying to get back to Vermont! I also had a hero friend drive all the way down to get me! I also never took Greyhound again! ha
      What part of Vermont where you headed to? I was going to school in Marlboro at the time – that’s near Brattleboro, south east corner.

    • I read this really cute Supercorp Christmas story over the Holidays, that had the very exact premise of Lena getting stuck in Northpole town due to the crappy bus service and falling in love with Santa Claus (Kara).
      I‘m really sorry, but your story just made me laugh so much, because reality.
      I hope gay camp was nice, and your friend is a hero.

  14. While I was studying abroad in rural Spain, I made a friend in my program and we decided to go to Paris together. Our flight left from Madrid at 6am Friday, meaning there was no way we could get to the airport unless we left the night before, so i gave in when she convinced me we should sleep in the airport. it was a horrible night of sleep, extremely well lit and near a 24 hour news television. early in the morning we climbed onto our flight and I passed out immediately. If that were the whole story, i wouldn’t even be writing it here.
    Sunday afternoon, she and our other companion told me I was overreacting when i said i wanted to get to the airport 2 hours early. “you’re in Paris! make the most of it, you’ll get to the airport eventually.” against my better judgement, we stowed our bags in the storage area of the hostile and went out to lunch. We didn’t end up at the airport until about 10 minutes before our flight took off. and you cannot check in for an international flight in that time.
    I was distraught but luckily my friend held it together. She dragged my sobbing ass to the counter, where we purchased new one way flights (for more than the amount as we had spent on round trip tickets). We were likely going to miss our bus back to our town, so we paid a fee to push that trip back as well. Our flight was delayed taking off and when we landed we barely had time to make it to the bus. if we left the airport, we’d either have to find a place to stay or sleep in the bus station. so we slept in the airport, again.
    we got up at 4am, got Cafe y Pan from McDonalds, and took a train back to our town. My teacher asked where i’d been when I rolled into art history 2 hours late, and i just looked at here and said “Paris.”

    speaking of museums, the Mona Lisa, and really the whole Louvre, is not worth it.

  15. Oh boy, how to phrase this.
    Imagine someone thinks you are a dominant daddy top and really likes being told what to do. But you’re not into it.
    Still, this is the situation you find yourself in, but on vacation, for several weeks, and also, you’re travel buddies, not lovers.
    Or you have super unhealthy couple fights with your gay bestie who makes you sob in your airbnb in Zurich, and locks you out of your broom closet of an apartment in Paris. At night. Forcing you to wander those wholesome Paris streets.
    Also, there are bedbugs.

  16. My mom and sister and I flew into Philadelphia, where they proceeded to load way too much luggage onto a car and ignore all of the signs warning not to take bag carts onto the people movers (and my repeated warnings against the same). Of course the cart got stuck at the end of the walkway, and we all got stuck behind the now-fallen cart and a mountain of luggage. I jumped the rail and walked away to join the growing crowd in the food court who were watching and gawking. They eventually extracted themselves from the pile and righted the cart and re-stacked the bags- but not before my mom (literally) peed her pants.

  17. When I was a sophomore in college, I went on a spontaneous trip to Austin to see a male friend. I somehow didn’t piece together the fact that him offering to pay for the trip was an offer in more sense than one. It turned out he was very in love with me, and assumed I knew and was visiting because I was ready to take things to the next level.
    When I realised my mistake, I had a panic attack that filled my whole body with lead. The trip had felt sort of like a bad idea, so I had lied and told everyone I was going to Seattle. I was afraid of my parents finding out, so I couldn’t use the credit card they had access to. I was stuck in an unfamiliar city on a vacation that turned into a hostage situation.
    I stayed for the whole week. We had sex several times. We basically behaved as a couple. Although he was a pretty chill guy, he was ex-military and was way more sprung than I had understood so I was afraid if I rejected him he would hurt me. The peak was when I saw that the guy had gotten a TATTOO for something I drew for him once!

  18. I don’t know whether to tell you about the food poisoning in Paris when I was 12 and passing out on the Metro…which would’ve been fine if I didn’t have to fly back to Australia the next day (a 24 hour flight just FYI).
    Or, turning 20 in a tiny town in Central France and getting hospitalised where no one speaks English, bc v bad bronchitis but I couldn’t breathe and no one could work that out.
    Or, taking a red-eye flight to Iceland when I was way too hungover for my own good (never ever do this) only for my roommate to go full ableist on me – but you can read about that on another open thread LMAO

  19. Got a fresh travel horror story from yesterday.

    Family car trip: mom, dad, niece, nephew and moi.

    First off the car is too small and the regular driver is on the bench due to eye injury.

    Now what makes this a damn horror story is the alternate driver has a sleep disorder, we’re on a coastal road at night and he decide not to take his medication because “it was too late in the day” and he “didn’t want to up late”

    Motherfucker(literally)we didn’t get to the place till 11 when we shoulda got there by 8.

    My grandmother died this past December so I had to do the praying this time but texted a confirmed(unlike my apostate witchy ass) Catholic to light a candle and my impromptu will just to cover the bases.
    I was like St. Christopher preserve these children pretty please, if somebody gotta die let it be me I’ve had love, wild passionate sex, really bomb ass desserts, seen Black Panther, watched Kiss live, witnessed Dirty Computer and Lizzo’s stardom but these children have barely lived.

    Drifting lanes on a lil coastal road still isn’t as scary as going up curvy steep mountain roads in an SVU driven by an auditorily sensitive student driver being bellowed at by their reactive parent as the sun goes down.

    That drive had my grandmother petitioning SAINT JUDE.
    The patron saint of lost causes and hopeless cases.

    Uhh I think all evacuation travel is horrid but not necessarily a horror story. However one time I sprung a leak on the nice new leather seat on the way back, I was 13 and couldn’t even look my mother in the eye about menstrual supplies.
    Wanting to get home around dinner time a “no more stops!” edict had been put down.
    Combine all that you get a very stressed out child trying to discreetly wipe out blood that keeps coming with naught but their hands and spit.

    Big credit to my parents they noticed the seat as they unpacked the car DIDN’T draw attention to it in my brother’s earshot and told me if “no stops” doesn’t count for periods.
    My nieces’ and nephew’s father wouldn’t be so “nice” about one of them bleeding into a new car’s seats.
    Nope he’d admonish their lack of control. 🙄

  20. To set the scene, I am 23 years old and in my first “serious” relationship. We’ve been together for something between six months and a year. I met her a few weeks after she moved to Portland from California, and we hung out and flirted a bunch and then she asked me out on a date and I did some light social media stalking and found out that she had a girlfriend back in California who she conveniently did not mention to me. She assured me that the relationship was open, also practically over anyway, and she would break up with her now because she really liked me. I said great, sounds like a great plan for all involved. (Again, I am 23, and an idiot.) We start dating, fall in love, etc. She wants me to come back to California with me to meet her family, have fun in LA and go to Disneyland. I’ve never been and it sounds like a great trip to me. I’m making barely any money at a nonprofit so it’s a pretty big splurge, but I book a plane ticket on a credit card.

    We fly in and hang out with some of her old friends, which is fine, though I suspect they haven’t heard much about me. Then we head back to her mom’s house in the Inland Empire. Her mom seems sweet but doesn’t speak much English and my one term of Spanish I took in college definitely isn’t helping. I know she also doesn’t really approve of the whole gay thing, and I’m pretty socially awkward in most situations, so I’m not exactly at ease. The next day is the day we’re going to spend in Disneyland. I always wanted to go as a kid but my parents were pretty broke, and I am very excited. I’ve made it very clear that I don’t want to go on any rides, though, unless they are like, for tiny children, because they give me a lot of anxiety. We get there, I pay for both of our tickets because she doesn’t have the money (she makes more money than me and pays less rent, she’s just worse at managing it) and she says, let’s go on the Pirates of the Caribbean one. She assures me it’s not scary but I don’t really want to–it’s underground, dark and I don’t deal well with feeling like I’m trapped somewhere. She pushes and pushes and I say fine. I have a panic attack on the ride. I’m also frustrated because I felt like this would happen and I let her pressure me into it. She tries to hold my hand and I push it away–I just want to get out. When it’s over I’m really quiet and she gets mad at me because she feels like I’m taking it out on her. (I don’t even say I’m mad at her, I am just quiet.) Then she breaks up with me. I’m kind of in shock–surely she can’t meet that, while I’m in California with her, visiting her family, while we’re at DISNEYLAND, but she’s serious. I say that, considering that I just spend almost $200 on our tickets, we are doing something fun there at least before we go, and I make her go on the teacup ride with me. I cry on the teacups the whole time and then we leave and go back to her mom’s house. She drops me off there and then leaves to go hang out with her friends. I lie down in her mom’s bedroom, where we were sleeping, and cry, and hope her mom doesn’t need anything in there.

    She comes back but wants to go out again, this time into LA. She car she was borrowing (her mom’s maybe?) is now needed, so she tries to get her sister to give her a ride. Her sister asks her what I’m going to do, and she doesn’t have an answer. I say, how about you drive us both into LA and just drop me off somewhere where I can go to a bar on my own or something. I don’t know anything about LA but I know West Hollywood is the gay part (I’ve seen The L Word) so I say, how about there? Her sister drives us into LA, and her sister is clearly mad at her. They speak in Spanish to each other–definitely so I can’t understand them, it’s not either of their preferred languages. Her sister refuses to drop me off on my own, says it’s not safe, and then turns around and takes us back to their mom’s house. So then we’re just back there, in the same bed in her mom’s bedroom again. She tells me that she didn’t just break up with me because of my reaction to that ride, she also still has feelings for her ex. I think maybe she was trying to arrange seeing her and was trying to get me out of the way. She basically tells me that this whole time her ex has been assuming that she would only be in Portland for a year and they would get back together when she came back to California, and obviously she hasn’t said anything to make her think that’s not what would happen.

    I look at flights back to Portland because I am in hell, but I’m not sure how to get to the airport from where we are, and we only have one full day left. I’m super mad and I tell her that I spent a lot of money on this trip, and I wanted to go to LA, and she is going to take me to LA. She agrees that we’ll spend the next day in LA, and we walk around and eat at some restaurant, mostly in silence. The next day we’re flying back to Portland. Here’s something funny–she has a lot of anxiety about planes. I, personally, have no issue with them. I don’t want to talk to each other in the airport, or on the plane, but she is completely panicking about flying. I want to read my book and ignore it and she gets so mad at me because I’m not supportive of her while she’s experiencing anxiety. She basically tells me that yeah we’re broken up, but maybe she would want to get back together, but not if I’m like this. I’m an idiot and talk her through it, pretty sure I hold her hand on the plane. We land in Portland and go to our separate houses. The next day she says she’s sorry and begs me to take her back. I say ok because I’m 23 and again, am an idiot, and we’re together for something like a year after that. Eventually she pays me back for her Disneyland ticket, but I should have demanded that she paid me back for my ticket too.

    • You weren’t an idiot for helping her thru her flying anxiety after all her bullshit.
      If anyone was the idiot it was her for not appreciating someone with that much kindness.

      But eh there seems to be only one way manipulative people know how to “appreciate” kindness and that’s wasn’t your fault.

    • This whole thing sounds terrible but the thing that got me was that she dumped you at Disney Land. No. That’s just cold and wrong.

  21. Pretty much every trip I took with my now ex girlfriend was a horror story. We would always fight like we would never do at home, it was so stressful and totally made me dread going away with her. Now I have two small trips booked to the UK by myself and I am so so excited!

  22. After I graduated College, I had some family that lives in Scotland and let me clean rooms in their BnB in exchange for room and board. So I used them as a home base and traveled on my days off for a few months. And let me tell you what! I am bad at planning!
    I have:

    A) booked a flight to one city and booked a hostil bed in a completely different city for the same night.
    B) booked a (expensive) bus ticket going to the city I was already in, from where I wanted to be
    C) got stuck on a bus going onto a ferry accidentally and almost went to a different country without knowing
    D) showed up for a bus two days early and thought I’d be sleeping in a London bus station
    E) cried in an airport for two hours because I couldn’t find where my bus departed from.
    F) forgot to change my currency on a ferry and had to walk 2 miles through a creepy shipyard with my heavy bags because I couldn’t pay for a bus or taxi

    So basically I cried a lot, was stranded a lot, and I really need someone to plan these things for me.

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