I often rave about how amazing it is to discover new places, and travel the world as much as possible. And that’s a claim I’m pretty sure I’ll always support. However, traveling isn’t always sunshine and rainbows (even though that’s all you’ll see on Instagram) – and I’ve definitely had my share of #fml moments when traveling. Luckily I can look back on all of them laughing now, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the experiences that stuck by me the most – starting with one that happened on my trip to Panama.
2017 is the year I turned 30. An age I wasn’t particularly looking forward to, but at least I would celebrate it in an amazing setting (Casco Viejo), with fun things going on (Panama jazz festival), and in the company of my sweet boyfriend. What could go wrong, right? We stayed in a room via Airbnb that was very close to Casco, and slightly more expensive than what we usually spend per night. On the early morning of my first day as a thirty year old, I grabbed my phone on the nightstand next to me… and the (unstable) thing started tilting over, along with the heavy glass lamp on top of it. Talk about starting the day with a bang! I made an attempt to jump out of bed and save the day, but that really didn’t do anything else but me ending up barefoot in a pile of glass. After a rude awakening, I had the walk of shame moment to inform the host about what happened – and that’s where it all started getting worse.
The host was neither happy, courteous nor friendly about the incident at all, and his general attitude about it made me feel so bad, I could cry. After a first unpleasant conversation, we agreed to see what the sum of reparation would be after he asked his handy man about it – but he warned (or was it threatened?) us: Panama is not cheap, even though the stuff that was broken did look that way. Fast forward to a couple of hours later at lunch, when I received the message saying the repair guy asked for 320$, but he negotiated it down to 200$. My boyfriend and I immediately felt all the feels: anger, disappointment, sadness and tears (ok, maybe that was just me). There was no way in hell we were willing to pay that amount, simply because it was a completely unfair request. After more (unreasonable) conversations with our host, and me feeling the absolute worst I had ever felt on my birthday we decided to not pay the amount on the spot, and let Airbnb be the judge of the situation. After some arguing, the host agreed (but not without claiming it would cost us more if we would arrange it like this) and we attempted to make the best of the night that was left although it didn’t feel great to leave all of our stuff with that guy. All I can say is that we were both so relieved to get out of there the morning after, knowing we never had to see or speak to him again. Later we both presented and defended our case to Airbnb, and they decided to judge in our favor – meaning we never had to pay the ridiculous high amount that was requested after all. Yes, that victory tasted very sweet.
Years ago – I wasn’t even an avid traveler back then – I went to Egypt with my boyfriend at the time. We stayed in one of those all-in resorts, and were warned in advance to not drink tap water and be careful with raw vegetables and fruit. I guess we were too much in a vacation type of mind, or weren’t careful enough because the both of us got terribly sick on day two of our stay. And when I say sick – I mean it. The both of us basically weren’t able to eat anything for a week, and going on a trip outside the hotel was literally out of the question. Oh no, wait – we attempted that once, and ended up feeling so bad that we just waited like two sad people in a corner somewhere for an hour until the driver was picking us back up. To make things even worse, we didn’t bring any medication with us (rookie mistake). I felt so bad one night, I basically forced my equally sick boyfriend to go to the hotel counter to ask for medication. It was already late at night, and the only thing they could give us was some dodgy looking, half-used strip of pills of which we had no idea what it actually was. Good news: we did make it back to Belgium alive.
Our trip to Sri Lanka a couple of years ago didn’t start out too well. When traveling, we always get our cash from the ATM when we arrive – mainly to avoid the expensive exchange rates. This has never been an issue, besides here. My boyfriend’s card immediately got blocked at the airport for no known reason, which led to a small panic attack since we only had my card to rely on – and we had quite a long trip and some costs ahead. Besides a scare here and there, we managed to pay for everything during our stay but had maxed out the card on our last day. Luckily, we were entitled to a food voucher for a long layover at the airport – because there was no money left to buy it ourselves anymore.
What were some of your worst travel moments?