Amazing, Harrowing, & Weird Travel Situations From Readers!

While traveling, what is a situation you found yourself in (scary, weird, funny, etc.) that you were not prepared for, and what did you do?

I asked this question to readers and got the most incredible stories submitted! From the harrowing to the funny, I was scared, I laughed, I was so happy some of you made it home alive...I received so many entries I might need to do a part 2! 

I won't spoil anything, so grab your popcorn and read on!

 
 
 
My biggest fear was when we were hiking through a National Park in Chile, got robbed by two masked guys with a knife, and they stole everything we had and left us behind with nothing. It was cold and we had no money anymore. Another traveler helped us, supported us, and stayed with us until we came back home safely. I just cried and can’t remember how we got back. I was just shocked and couldn’t believe what had happened in this moment.
— Klaudia (Germany)
I decided to take an “Eat, Pray, Love” trip to the Amalfi Coast last summer. It was a volunteer trip that allowed me to live on a sailboat for 7 days. After boarding the ferry headed for Capri (where the sailboat was docked), I had a panic attack and ran off the boat. I found myself alone in Naples with no backup plan. I ended up hiring a driver and toured the coast, met tons of new people, and enjoyed the local restaurants and museums instead!
— Lyndsay (USA)

I had just finished my birthright trip in Israel and had extended my stay for about a week. I decided to take a solo trip to Jordan when everyone else bailed. First morning there was totally fine. I got across the border with the tour group and went on an amazing tour of the ruins. That afternoon the tour returned to Israel while I extended my stay. I realized after they left that I had no way to get to my hotel and no Jordanian money. I met another tour guide who brought me to dinner and dropped me off at the hotel so crisis averted. Thinking back I probably got lucky that nothing happened since I just blindly got into his car after talking to him for 5 mins. Next morning everything was fine again. I found my way back to Petra and took myself on an epic hike. Back at the hotel that afternoon I was picked up by the same tour company to bring me back to Israel. They pulled me away from lunch and told me I never paid my deposit for the trip. In reality I had paid and already got confirmation on my credit card. They didn’t believe me so they took me to their headquarters in this creepy van. They wanted to charge me a singles fee since I traveled alone but I argued they couldn’t charge me after the trip was almost over and without notice. Finally probably 30 mins later they let me go without paying. I go back outside and that’s when I realized my ride had left. I was now stranded on a street corner in the middle of Jordan, a prime target as I had a camera and I am white as can be in shorts in a predominantly conservative Muslim country. I’m not sure how long I was standing there but it felt like a year. Finally my ride randomly shows up and tells me to get in the van. He brings me back to the group and I have a moment of respite. Later that night once we make it back to the border I hit another snafu. Apparently the boarder security lost my paperwork saying I entered the country illegally even though I had a stamp in my passport (which you can only get at border crossings) by this time it is night and I’m stuck in Jordan as border security confiscates my passport and is debating what they are going to do. By this point I’m completely freaking out! Finally the bus driver from my tour comes to my rescue and starts arguing with boarder security. Mind you this is all happening in Arabic so I can’t understand anyone. Finally after probably 2 hours being held at the border they let me go. I ran across the boarder to then be stopped by border security in Israel. They questioned me and because I was so freaked out I couldn’t properly answer any of their questions. So now they are suspicious and discuss holding me. At this point I’m like hell no no one is holding me anywhere. I was able to calm down enough for them to release me. I’m now standing in a parking lot in the middle of the night once again stranded because the bus I was supposed to catch is long gone. There was one light in the parking lot so I just stood next to that trying not to freak out. Then a women come out of the dark and try’s to hand me a phone. She didn’t speak English but was literally pushing this phone on me so I take it and start talking to whoever was there. I thought I was being pranked or something but the man on the other line was the head of the tour company who I had spoken to in Jordan about paying a single supplement. At this point I’m thinking I’m being followed but I told him once again that I will not be paying and hung up. Finally after another long amount of time a bus shows up and the lady with the phone gets on. The bus driver asks me where I’m going and I told him the bus stop and I’m getting out of town. This wasn’t true but I didn’t want that lady to follow me. I then walked from the bus station to a hostel in the middle of the night and finally felt like I had escaped. The next day I get on the wrong bus out of town and ended up in Arons an hour from where I needed to go. I was running out of money and had no way of contacting anyone so I chose to get to the right location and didn’t eat for like 2 days. Finally once I made it to the airport to get the hell out, they thought I was suspicious so they tore open my luggage and searched through everything before having 2 people escort/flanking me all the way to my gate. I could not be happier once that plane took off.
— Lindsay (USA)

One time I was driving in the middle of nowhere near Idaho when an insane snowstorm hit me and eventually I could not drive any farther. Luckily, I came across a resort and even though it was closed, there was a community kitchen that was a small building outside and it was unlocked and heated. I had to sleep there all night and hope no one found me!
— Daniel (USA)
We were canyoneering in the Subway in Zion National Park. It started to rain right after the 3rd rapel. Ang had tendonitis in her knee so we started running. We reached the final ascent right as the river started really rising and it started pouring. We were really lucky!
— Ang & James (USA)

My friend and I had just come off a train from Vienna to Munich, about 6 or so hours. We were near the beginning of our three months of backpacking around Europe, so still learning the ways of getting around and pretty tired. We knew the general area of our hostel and my friend speaks German so we weren’t overly concerned about getting there in a hurry. What we didn’t know was that Munich train station is seriously dodgy at the back exit, which is where we ended up. There were middle aged men gathering in large groups drinking heavily and smoking and staring. You can imagine we were fairly freaked out, two eighteen year olds from Australia with huge backpacks looking a tad lost. Anyway, we decided to push on and venture out into the street; after about 10 minutes we saw this creepy man walking towards us coming the opposite way. We was grinning and we got awfully weird vibes from him. He also stank of alcohol. I had a strange feeling he was from the other group of men and had doubled back across the road to intersect with us. We looked at each other and clutched our bags a little tighter, moving as quickly as we could. When the man caught up with us and walked past he winked and nudged into me. And when I turned around to watch up walk away, I swear on my life I saw him making a hand gesture at someone, as if gesturing them to ‘go now’ and come over. My friend and I freaked the hell out and bolted back inside the station, seeing someone suss who appeared to be part of the operation as we got inside. We found refuge in a Starbucks where my friend was trying to act calm and I was having a huge anxiety attack, refusing to speak to her. To this day, we still don’t know if they were trying to bag snatch us, or actually kidnap us. We’d heard stories in hostels (and from our dads who were both policemen in Australia) about the sex rings that operate by kidnapping tourists. We were a little naive, but not stupid. Some people think we were overreacting and maybe we were; maybe they were just drunks. But I trust my gut in life and I’m certain it was an organised operation we almost became victims of.
— Emma (Australia)

I had 2 days in Rome. I was nearing the end of 13 countries in 13 days. Throughout the day I went to visit Vatican city. Whilst on the road and travelling I’m not a drinker so pubs/clubs don’t attract me at night. I learnt that there are 12 fountains in Rome and decided this is an alternative activity. I started at Trevi fountain. I was so amazed by its beauty and stayed for awhile to admire it. I realised that I’m in Italy and still haven’t had Gelato. I ended up with this huge bowl of 3 different flavours and wandered the cobbled alley ways in Rome. I noticed this super cute guy talking on the phone. I was just minding my own business trying to eat this cup of Gelato for two when he finished his conversation and came up to me. I told him about my mission of going fountain hunting. I remember him saying to me Italian men are very upfront and direct and I like you like a girl. Do you understand what I mean? Obviously I’m not naive. The next minute he kissed me. He wants a passionate kiss but I’m so surprised and in shock that I pull away. He was absolutely stunning for me but I could not let go of my inhibitions. He escorted me to the next fountain at the parliament house. Then led me to a side of a building. He told me that he wants to know me and just keep trying to kiss me. I’m still frozen and in shock and refused to let my guard down. Even for a gorgeous Italian stranger. Eventually he realised I’m no easy catch and I’m only interested in seeing the fountains in Rome. That is where I stood in the parliament square and watched this gorgeous Italian stranger who’s name I can’t even remember walk away never to be seen again.
— Petro (Australia)

We were in Khajuraho, India. Stig had bought me a a beautiful and very special bracelet for my birthday and we were going to a concert when I noticed it was missing. When we arrived at the concert after a tuk-tuk dropped us off, we started walking up the road again, looking for it, and all the other tuk-tuk drivers started helping. They remembered who dropped us off, called him, and said he would take us to him, so we sat in the tuk-tuk and started driving. We drove further and further from civilization til all the lights were gone, there were no more houses, and we were driving on a muddy dirt road that led to the woods. Suddenly, our driver steps out and said he will go meet the other guy and we could wait here. So we sat there in the pitch dark and waited, and i was so scared and afraid for what was going to happen next. After a long time, they both came back and the other driver gladly gave my bracelet back.
— Marita (Norway)

Back in 2011, I embarked on a grand solo journey throughout the South Island of New Zealand on a bus with about 50 or so Europeans. I was one of maybe 2 or 3 Americans on this bus, and so far everything was going smoothly. I was 25 at the time, and everyone on this bus seemed to be under the age of 25 which worked out perfectly for me. I even spent my 25th birthday on top of the Franz Josef Glacier which still might be one of the greatest birthdays I have ever had. The entire bus chipped in and bought me a birthday cake and I’ll never forget it. But of course, me being a young and dumb 25 year old traveler....I failed to budget my money appropriately. Needless to say, I ran out of money very unexpectedly. My entire trip came to a screeching halt when I attempted to pay for a meal down in Queenstown, New Zealand. To my horror, I drained my entire bank account on that helicopter glacier tour. In a huge moment of panic, I decided not to show up to my bus which was soon departing and headed for the southern tip of the South Island. I knew I needed to make enough money to feed myself, and somehow get back to Kaikoura, New Zealand which was on the other side of the island... so I started thinking up ways to make this happen. I knew that all of the local bars in Queenstown offered free food for those who purchased drinks at the bar...so I worked my magic and put on the nicest clothes I had in my suitcase and set sail for the first group of dudes I could find who were likely to buy me drinks. Luckily, this went all according to plan, and turned out to be a lot easier to eat for free than I thought it would be. I managed to get 3 square meals in 1 day but also ended up getting very drunk as this was a requirement to get free food at the bar! That night, my final plan was to go towel hunting. You see, when you check into a hostel in NZ, you put a $15 deposit on your towel. Knowing this....I hunted every bathroom and hallway in the hostel collecting as many abandoned towels as I could find until I had enough in my hand to get some serious cash! I felt like a vagrant, but what was I supposed to do? A girl has gotta eat and get make her way home right?! Everything pretty much worked out perfectly, and I was able to find my way back to the North Island where I was staying and everything became a distant and funny memory. Although I think of that experience as incredibly irresponsible, I also think it’s incredibly hilarious. I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything in the world, and you better believe next time I travel alone on the other side of the world, I will be properly prepared!
— Rachel (USA/New Zealand)

This is part 1, as so many of you wrote in that I was overwhelmed with incredible things you have all been through while traveling! Goes to show that many of us know how to run our of money while some are out of our control and become scary very quickly.

Please take care out there everyone, be safe, be smart, and if you have one I missed, please submit it on the Facebook Page!

XO

Whitney