Travel Disasters

We had a minor snafu today during our vacation in Pawleys Island, SC. We went on a guided kayaking tour, and in the midst of the excitement, locked the keys in the van. Now, this wasn’t a big deal as I got a ride back to our house with our guide, grabbed the car keys and my cars keys and drove back, but it reminded me of my greatest travel disaster to date. I’m sure this will be minor compared to some of your experiences.

It was on our trip to Hawaii, and mentioned in our Travel Take Two. We had just arrived and driven out to Waianae to visit our friends Dave and Heidi. No sooner had we arrived than had I begun craving a Hawaiian Shave Ice. For those who have never had the pleasure, think of the greatest sno cone you have ever had, then use tiny shavings of ice that meld with the flavors into a solidified slushy. It’s magical. So we drove off to a nearby shave ice stand, and got out of the car to head to the counter. I went inside, ordered, and devoured my slushy (and Theresa had her first), then we perused a nearby shop and headed back to the car. Only then, over half an hour after we had left the car, had I realized what I had done. I had locked us out of the car, with the keys in the ignition and the car still running. Now, being a fairly instinctive person, I’m certainly prone to acting prior to thoroughly thinking about the ramifications of something. But as far as my brazenly stupid acts are concerned, this was pretty unprecedented.

To further complicate matters, we were over an hour from the nearest auto service, so I got to think about my silliness for a while before the AAA truck came. Worse yet, even he couldn’t seem to get into the car. He was trying to pop the lock wires inside the door using a coat-hanger like contraption, then we tried to pop the locks inside the car. Nothing was working. After around an hour of frustrating tugging and prying on the car’s doors, we managed to open up the car. The car ran the entire time. After three hours, we headed next door to get some more gas, and went on our way.

So while not the most disastrous story in terms of repercussions, it was definitely my most embarrassing so far. I’m sure with a full year to try to top it, I’ll manage to do something dumber on this trip. So what is your biggest travel disaster? When did you feel most embarrassed by your actions on the road?

5 Replies to “Travel Disasters”

  1. Well, I was actually with Theresa… and there were a few mix ups on that trip… we were traveling to Rome from Germany for the four-day All Saints Day Weekend. There had been some confusion when we were buying our train tickets about what day we were to leave, but we finally got it figured out with the travel agent who was selling them to us. Five minutes after the train departed the station I realized I’d forgotten my passport–normally not a problem in the EU, but we were going through Switzerland. I spent about 20 minutes hiding in the train bathroom when they announced they would be checking passports. It was stinky, but it actually worked! We arrived in Milan late and looked for the overnight train to Rome, but it was nowhere to be found. It turned out our tickets were for the next night so we spent the night in the train station. Also, I had no money on that trip and kept having to borrow money from people and was hungry a lot. (Isn’t it nice to be an adult with a job!) Even so, it was a great trip–one of the best of that whole study abroad experience.

    There was another time when Boris and I almost missed an overnight train from Vienna to Munich… I don’t seem to have much luck with overnight trains.

  2. I had two:
    1. We were taking a night train from Tolouse back to Madrid and thought we had to switch trains in Hendaya, where we had switched on our way to France. We were supposed to stay on the train for one more stop…whoops. We were stuck in Hendaya where there was only one hotel that made really strange noises and was very creepy. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much and missed classes the next day.
    2. We had spent the weekend in Barcelona thinking our flight back to Madrid was at 9 pm that Sunday. It had taken off at 9 am and we had to return that night for classes the next day. We found a flight back but it wasn’t cheap.

  3. Gosh, I’ll have to think about this. We had a few travel disasters while in Europe…most of which involved trains or accomodations.

    Oh, and you are not the only one who has locked yourself out of a car with the keys in the ignition and the car running. I did the same thing in college. My roommate had borrowed my car one night, and she forgot to lock the car doors when she got home. The next morning I found that someone had stolen my stereo. We reported it to the police, who pretty much laugh and said “oh well.” My roommate felt bad about it and offered to pay for half of a new stereo. We headed to Best Buy that afternoon, got out of the car, locked the doors (manual locks, not automatic), and then I realized I’d left the car on. We waited in the store parking lot for an hour while we waited for AAA to come, and we laughed about what a crappy day it had been.

  4. My almost biggest travel disaster was swimming off the coast of bermuda. My husband and I had shared a vespa to get there, and while the island is small, we were well on the other side of it. With no cash. Just bathing suits under our clothes.

    So we head into the water, my husband ties the vespa key to his swimming trunks and we swim around for a while. When we’re ready to go, I start pulling on my shorts when I notice the look on my husband’s face. Dead panic. He had lost the key… somewhere.

    He started combing the beach, but I just had a feeling it was out in the ocean… so I swam out to where we were and sure enouh, eight feet below me, sat this little silver key. Had we been swimming most other places in the world, we would have never had found it.

  5. That vespa key story reminds me of the time Boris lost his wedding ring while swimming in the Mediterranean in Italy. He had a great stroke of luck too and found it after borrowing some goggles from the nearby restaurant.

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