Travelers Open up About Their Worst Experiences While They Were Abroad

©Unsplash,Mantas Hesthaven

I knew a guy back in the day who wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

He ended up taking a trip and he got arrested.

And he ended up in jail.


Yeah, he said that was quite an adventure…and it sounds pretty terrifying to me.

In the spirit of that memory, let’s check out some interesting stories from folks on AskReddit about their travel horror stories.

1. Paris.

“I took a late train into Paris at the Gare du Nord station and didn’t have enough money for a hotel or hostel that particular night. I did however get used to “roughing” it a few other times so I was just going to sleep at the station or something, didn’t plan it out too much.

Anyways, I get to the station and the one thing about the Gare du Nord is it’s not in the best section of the town. Also, they close the train station for about 6 hours so you can’t stay there.

I get outside the train station and there is nothing but bums and some crazy guy in the street drunk off his *ss yelling and throwing bottles at passing cars. I say f*ck this and start walking down the street trying to find a place I can post up and sleep for the night.

I am carrying my large backpack and its obvious I am a traveler/tourist. I head one way and spot some people and that start looking at me as if I am gold. So I stop and turn around and walk quickly back to the station, to where people were.

Eventually I start heading down another street and it’s not looking any better… by this time its about 3am and the drug addicts and drunks are in full control of this area. I go back to the station and decide to tough it out near the guy who is yelling at passing cars.

I post up in a corner near a McDonalds and I am so tired I am battling myself to keep one eye open on everything in front of me. Homeless people are staring at me and I am getting the feeling something bad was going to happen. Then a giant f*cking rat jumps around me near my backpack and I jump up, said f*ck this, and started walking up another random street.

Exhausted and my body shutting down I crash on a bus stop bench on a quite street, somewhere. I closed my eyes but never slept. After a few hours I walked back to the station got on the train and got the f*ck out of there.

2. Stranded.

“Getting stuck in Manila airport for 8 hours. It was supposed to just be a quick stop over.

Some kinda crazy storm started, the power kept cutting in and out, none of the food stores took card as payment, there were no ATMs, the advertised free Wifi wasn’t working, they changed our departure gate three times (and we only figured this out because we kept asking staff why our flight wasn’t listed on the gate’s TV).

None of the staff seemed to give a flying f*ck about anything (some even seemed to be taking a nap at their station- leaning on counter tops or leaning back in chairs with their eyes closed), the ONE toilet block they had for the entire terminal had 4 cubicles (one was being used as a storage closet though).

And then as I was waiting in the f*cking huge line for this toilet, word spreads down the line that the water is now not working and the toilets are all out of order. So everyone just keeps using them, and piling more and more paper and waste into the bowl.

Needless to say, the food on the actual plane sucked and I’m never flying with Phillipine Airlines ever, ever again.”

3. The men in Italy.

“A few months ago when i was in Italy i decided to go read at the beach nearby.

It ended up with me there nearly everyday we didn’t have anything planned. I should mention i was a 23 year old girl in the middle of rural Italy and the italians are very open about how they think and feel.

I was followed home and nearly run off my bike by one man, found a guy watching me in the bushes, asked out by random old men nearly every day, had a guy masturbate in the bushes near by.

Though i loved my time in italy it did ruin it slightly.”

4. Bad idea!

“A cousin of mine bought cocaine from a street dealer in Ibiza, turned out to be some sort of laxatives.

Him and 4 friends spent 3 days sitting in communal toilets.”

5. Amsterdam.

“Signed up for a three day trip to Amsterdam that said it had good accommodations in the center of the city.

It actually turned out to be a boat that was docked in a canal nowhere near anything. It was the middle of winter and there was no heat on the boat.

The sewage system malfunctioned and leaked everywhere on the second day so the boat stunk. There was nowhere to even buy food nearby so I spent most of the trip huddled under a blanket feeling cold and hungry and wishing I had the energy to walk into the city.

6. India.

“Saw a dead woman on a train platform in Varanasi, India. She was covered in a very sheer cloth and it was clear that rigor mortis had set in, so who knows how long she had been there.

All the locals acted like it was perfectly normal. No one batted an eye and they all just stood there waiting for their train. When i told one of the men that worked on the platform that there was a dead woman there, he looked at me like he could NOT be bothered to care.

Although there were some very interesting things in India, i will never, ever go back.”

7. The rundown.

“Seoul, South Korea (2010)

lost my passport

got robbed by my taxi driver (later called by Seoul police, they got the taxi driver and my passport)

hotel was in a different part of the city then advertised

had a rice bun thrown at my head by an old lady outside my hotel, twice

got yelled at by a US serviceman while at the DMZ gift shop. I’m American, but wearing a “communist hat” according to him. When did the SF Giants beanie become communist?

got super drunk, almost got hit by a cab (I admit that one is all me)

got yelled at by some Korean teenager for some unknown reason. I was just staring at the city skyline. He tapped me on the shoulder and just screamed at me

taxi cab driver fell asleep while waiting in traffic on the way to the airport. got yelled at for waking him up

police at airport thought my tattered (i had been travelling a lot at this time) passport was fake.”

8. Train travel.

“My husband and I were traveling by rail around Europe. We got on a train from Nice to Pisa. We’d heard lots of stories about people getting robbed but figured the American tourists in Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts a couple cabins down would be the most likely victims.

We sat up chatting for awhile, and after we crossed the Italian border, we decided to lay down – not to sleep but to just get comfy. The last thing I remember is the door sliding open and then shut again and suddenly getting super sleepy.

I fought the sleepiness as hard as I could but just couldn’t fight it anymore. The next thing we know, we’re pulling into the station in Pisa, and our backpacks were out of place. They hadn’t gotten anything really important, since that stuff was buried down deep in our big packs, but they’d gone through my husband’s wallet and stolen my handbag out of my smaller pack.

Unfortunately for us, all of our money was in my bank account, which we no longer had access to. We had to ring my husband’s parents in Australia and get them to deposit AUD 500 into his bank account, since he still had his card, which was unfortunately only about USD 250 at the time.

That’s all we had to travel on from Pisa to Bologna to Munich to Brussels to London, where we finally visited his brother.

It was quite an adventure.”

9. Whoa…

“Went on a 3 week holiday with my SO to Brasil and was robbed after 2 days by 4 guys with knives in broad daylight on the Copacabana.

We had nothing on us but a few Real (about $10). People who saw it happen did nothing and it ruined the rest of our vacation because of fear it could happen again.

Such a shame for such a beautiful country.”

10. Street people.

“Went to Paris.

Gypsies EVERYWHERE, constantly coming up to me, pretending to be deaf or mute, giving me things that I declined, but still they insisted that I paid for it, stuff like that.”

11. Getting sick.

“Many years ago on the way to UK we had a brief stopover in Dubai.

I was around 9 years old, first time flying and really suffering air sickness. We debark the plane and the heat hits me hard. I stumble from the steps to the tarmac and proceed to vomit foamy water.. inches away from the toes of a security guy armed with a machine gun.

I was scared witless and couldn’t move. My family apologised profusely and dragged me onto a waiting bus. Granted this fellow didn’t change expression or even move from my sad puddle, but damn, we were green travellers and had never seen guns before let alone potentially pissed off a gun owner.

I still cringe when I remember the look in his eyes and my mothers white face.”

12. What a creep.

“Sometime in the mid 80’s.

I was in my early mid-teens. Arrived at the Munich train station early in the morning. My family was with me, including my brother and uncle Rob. Rob is only a couple years older than I. We needed to wash up a bit and hit the restroom while my parents wait outside.

The restroom was empty except for us. A older guy walks in and waves. Uncle Rob waves back thinking folks sure are friendly in Munich. Guy then gets between me and Rob and starts mast*rbating. My brother and I run out. Rob did not realize what was going on.

I yelled for him. He figured it out real quick after that. Told my mom and grandma what happened. They laughed it off. I guess today they would have said something to a cop. Back then….laugh at potential r*pe situation.”

13. Let’s get outta here.

“Bangkok – red light district,got lured upstairs to a strip club by a ‘No pay for anything, only one drink’ line, having been told specifically NEVER GO UPSTAIRS IN THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT.

Bough the drinks, eventually noticed we were the only ones in there. Forced to hold a balloon so a stripper could shoot a dart out of her v*gin* (managed it on like, the fifth attempt).

Went to leave, suddenly surrounded by fat strippers and the manager demanding £80, threatened to bring pimp in, paid, got followed out by pimp. Sh*t my pants.”

14. Congrats, graduate!

“College graduation present: Euro trip beginning in Istanbul, on to Izmir/Efes, then to Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Paris. After two in Istanbul, I was flying to Izmir and started feeling some pretty serious back pain—I assumed it was from sleeping poorly or something else minor, but by the time I landed and picked up the rental car, the pain was unbearable and I was on the verge of vomiting.

Thankfully, the Swissotel was understanding enough to let me check in at 10AM, and then I vomited as soon as I walked into the room. By this point, I assumed I had a kidney stone, but I was not sure how to get emergency care in Izmir, Turkey.

I hailed a cab and the hotel concierge told the driver to take me to the hospital, but where I ended up was not surprisingly less than ideal. It took two hours to see a doctor, and she felt my stomach and moved my legs before declaring there was no kidney stone.

I was squirming uncontrollably so they finally gave me injections of some sort of pain medicine, which helped, but it certainly wasn’t morphine. They sent me home (not actually home, of course) with a pack of syringes and vials of the pain medicine.

I woke up in the middle of the next night in excruciating pain again, so I contacted a relative back in the U.S. who had a business connection in Izmir. At this point I must note that every Turk I actually interacted with was VERY nice and hospitable. The business contact picked me up on the first day of his vacation (while his family waited on him before they all left for a trip) and took me to a more advanced hospital (comparable to U.S. standards) and translated for me all day.

Turns out I had a 7mm stone lodged in my kidney that was revealed in a CT scan at this hospital. It was too large to pass, so I had to catch the next flight back home to have it surgically removed.

Thankfully, Delta waived the additional change fees and rebooked my ticket home. Additionally, Hotwire reimbursed for all of the prepaid reservations after I provided a medical reference for the issue.

Missing Italy (what I was most looking forward to) and Paris sucks, but I couldn’t risk my health.”

Now it’s your turn!

In the comments, tell us about YOUR travel horror stories.

We look forward to hearing from you!