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The worst travel experiences from seven travel bloggers


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We always remember our best travel experiences, but what about holiday memories where something went wrong? There are some experiences abroad which we try to forget, whether it is a stolen phone, a scam or food poisoning. However, just as we recall holidays filled with happy memories and entertaining stories to tell our friends, it is equally as important to understand where things went wrong to prepare for the next time you travel abroad.

I spoke to seven travel bloggers about their worst travel experiences abroad and their precautionary advice to other travellers.

Here’s what they had to say.

1. The Diary of Dittrich in Budapest, Hungary

Image credit: Dan Novac on Unsplash

What happened? “Budapest was completely different from my expectations. By this, I mean the nightlife was a lot more full-on than I expected. We visited Peaches and Cream nightclub and despite pre-arranging an area and a price, they went against this and ended up giving us fewer drinks while charging us more. They saw we were on a hen do and took advantage of this.”

What is your precautionary advice? “In hindsight, I would make sure all events are planned and that we take written proof of confirmation with us to ensure we receive the right prices.”

2. Amerz With Love in Paris, France

Image credit: Kylie Paz on Unsplash

What happened? “I didn't quite enjoy the city as much as everyone else seems to... My phone was stolen in a cab, which kind of ruined my experience as I was capturing my memories in the city!”

What is your precautionary advice? “If I were to travel again, I would take out insurance because I had my phone stolen and had to buy a completely new one, which is another reason to take care of your personal belongings. If you are staying in a hotel make sure to keep valuables in the hotel safe and only take the essentials with you.”

3. Kachee Tee in Malaga, Spain

Image credit: Caleb Stokes on Unsplash

Kachi and her husband hired a car while abroad in Malaga. When it was time to return the car to the rental company located at the airport, they decided to fill up the car with fuel as per car rental policy but they were unable to understand Spanish signs.

They unknowingly filled the tank with diesel instead of petrol.

What happened? “After around four minutes we approached a sign that said we were four minutes from the airport and we felt the car jerk once, twice and then it came to a complete stop on the expressway. This was at around six pm. Our flight was in approximately two hours. We did not speak a word of Spanish, we had no local SIM cards - and no phones.”

Not only did Kachi and her husband end up missing their flight but after returning back to the UK, they were given a huge bill for damage to the rental car.

What is your precautionary advice? “Try, as far as is possible, to be reachable by phone (perhaps get a local sim) and let someone have your itinerary and accommodation details. If you don't speak the language at your destination, consider downloading apps to help with translation. Also, get travel insurance.”

4. Gone with Nikita in New Delhi, India

Image credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What happened? “Experiencing some degree of food poisoning in India is almost a rite of passage. However, within a day of eating from a buffet at a high-end hotel, I knew that this was not an ordinary stomach ache. I was sick for days and unable to keep down water for a day and a half. I was finally admitted [to hospital] which meant that my recovery involved a nebuliser and a drip, and that my recovery took longer than expected. It took well over a week to feel “normal” again and weeks to regain the weight I’d lost from sickness.”

What is your precautionary advice? “Wherever you are staying, I genuinely advise that you ask for the nearest hospital after a day of being unable to swallow water or eat anything substantial.”

5. The Navigatio in Normandy, France

Image credit: Norbu Gyanchung on Unsplash

What happened? “Even though I adore France, this trip was not planned out very well. We simply decided to go on holiday and just went without any planning or checking the weather. We were stuck in our holiday home all week because of terrible weather. There was not much to do near the place we stayed either, making it a very long week of watching the Tour De France on television. We even decided to go home a couple days early because we had had enough.”

What is your precautionary advice? “I think this is a tip for all holiday destinations: plan your trip properly! You don’t need to plan out every hour of your trip, but having a good idea of what you want to do each day, what the weather is going to be like and if there are any national holidays you need to know about can help you so much. It is such an easy way to avoid tons of problems and disappointments.”

6. Mamma Prada in Venice, Italy


Image credit: Teo Zac on Unsplash

What happened? “My worst experience was visiting Venice in August. We would never normally visit during this month. The heat is very oppressive this time of year. It's far too busy and not great for small children or the elderly. We have all heard about not going to big Italian cities in the height of summer but it really should be avoided. Heat waves in Italy are quite dramatic. There are lots of storms and the humidity is unbearable sometimes. Not all hotels have air conditioning as Italians don't like it and they have particularly vicious mosquitoes called 'zanzare tigre' meaning 'tigers'!”

What is your precautionary advice? “My advice for travellers would be to spend as little time as you can in railway stations. Do use them to travel, but Italian stations are not a place to hang out and wait hours for another connection. Find a nice cafe/bar. Stations in Italy tend to attract unsavoury characters in a way that we don't see in the UK.”

7. The Daily Struggle in Gran Canaria, Spain

Image credit: Anna Utochkina on Unsplash

What happened? “We checked into the hotel around eight pm after a late flight from Manchester, put our cases in the room and headed straight out for drinks. We'd been drinking on the plane as we had planned to go straight out to make the most of our first night, completely forgot to put our money into the room's safe and went out with all our cash still in my handbag. The next day we were pretty hungover and couldn't remember much and when I checked my handbag to put the money into the safe, it was all gone - envelope and all!”

What is your precautionary advice? “When travelling anywhere abroad, I always make sure to use the hotel safe and when changing my currency I opt for a travel card as you can use these to pay in most places, withdraw from cash machines and if lost, you can simply go into a branch and withdraw the cash or get a replacement card.”

Unfortunately, we can’t always control our travel experiences abroad but you can prepare for your trip with the correct travel advice.

You can avoid simple mishaps abroad using the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel checklist and the FCO’s A – Z country guides where you can find specific information on national holidays, rules for driving abroad as well as information on the local laws and customs.

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