9 horrifying real-life travel nightmares – The Washington Post
Unveiling Real-Life Travel Horror Stories More Chilling Than a Haunted Hotel Introducing the ‘Hairbnb,’ Bedbug-Infested Mattresses, and Tales of Woe from Adventurers For some intrepid travelers, the sight of a Victorian ghost rearranging dresser drawers in a hotel room or mischievous gremlins playing hide-and-seek with your vacation shoes may seem oddly comforting when compared to the spine-tingling nightmares that can unfold during a journey. This Halloween season, we present a bubbling cauldron of hair-raising stories that might have been penned by Stephen King himself, had he been possessed by the wanderlust of travel writer Paul Theroux. Our contributors found themselves besieged by creepy-crawlies, a bed that appeared to be the resting place of Cousin Itt, and a bathroom incident mercifully devoid of axe-wielding maniacs. While all our intrepid adventurers lived to recount their tales, much like any riveting travel narrative, these experiences continue to haunt them – and now, us.
A TV host is mistaken for a man on the lam
When a TV Host Became a Fugitive Andrew Zimmern, known for his globe-trotting adventures as a TV host, has encountered it all – from typhoons to police encounters and near-death escapades. However, one unforgettable travel misadventure occurred in 2017 while filming his Travel Channel show, “Bizarre Foods.” Zimmern and his crew embarked on a circuitous journey, flying from the United States to Cuba via Canada, and then returning through Mexico. Fast forward three years, on his subsequent visit to Canada, Zimmern found himself confined to a room at the airport, sans an interior door handle, and without a shred of explanation. “I spent almost three hours in that room,” Zimmern recounted in an email. Frustration mounting, Zimmern turned to social media for help at the two-hour mark. Within a mere 15 minutes, several of his followers employed in Canadian immigration and customs rushed to his aid. It took another hour to resolve the situation and secure his release. The root of this ordeal? “The authorities believed I had been evading Canada for years,” Zimmern revealed.
A ‘free’ layover turns into airport purgatory
A ‘Free’ Layover Transforms into Airport Purgatory Kartik Goyal, a resident of Bangkok, was exploring flight options from New Delhi to Madrid last month when he chanced upon an offer from EgyptAir. It promised travelers a complimentary hotel stay and short-term visa with a layover of at least eight hours in Egypt. The allure of a dream destination enticed Goyal, who opted for an itinerary featuring a 22-hour layover in Cairo. His flight touched down at around 10 p.m., and he surrendered his passport to airport personnel. However, little did he know that this layover would turn into an extended saga. “I waited for 15 minutes, then half an hour, an hour, and even three hours,” Goyal recounted. He spent six hours navigating the immigration process before enduring a lengthy wait for a bus to transport him to the hotel. Adding to the ordeal was another delay while waiting for an available bus. As precious time slipped away, Goyal allocated his 30-minute window of airport WiFi to locate his hotel, which, according to the map, seemed a mere 10 minutes away. However, as the bus embarked on its journey, doubts crept in. Fifteen minutes turned into 20, and from his bus seat, Goyal could spy the majestic pyramids in the distance. The bus ride extended to nearly an hour. Upon finally reaching the hotel, Goyal could spare just 30 minutes for a brief nap before embarking on the quest to negotiate a return to the airport. Reclaiming his passport from airline staff took an additional hour, and the clock ticked relentlessly. “I sprinted through the airport like a madman to catch my flight,” he reminisced. “But, you know what? To all my friends… I simply claimed to have visited Egypt and admired the pyramids.”
Trapped in a ‘toilet room’ for four hours
Trapped in a ‘Toilet Room’ for Four Hours Samantha Brown, the PBS host, eagerly anticipated a leisurely stroll after checking into her hotel in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region in August 2017. But, before venturing out, nature called, and she sought solace in her European-style bathroom, comprising a separate toilet room and another room housing the sink and shower. Although she was alone, Brown instinctively locked the door—a habit ingrained from her days as a mother to toddler twins. As she turned the lock, the entire mechanism dislodged and fell on the other side, leaving Brown stranded without the means to unlock it. “I was trapped in the toilet room,” she recounted. In desperation, Brown began to shout, yet the silence of the hallways prevailed. She experimented with her vocal inflection, attempting to lighten the mood, but to no avail. She even scoured the water closet for makeshift tools, but armed solely with a box of tissues and the toilet paper holder, the situation seemed insurmountable. As daylight waned, the toilet room plunged into darkness, and Brown eventually dozed off on the floor. A loud pounding at the door roused her from slumber. Her husband, alarmed by her unresponsiveness, had called the hotel in New York City, prompting a rescue mission. Four hours had elapsed before she was freed. “Now I understand why some hotels place phones in their toilet rooms,” Brown quipped. “And I shall never enter a bathroom without my phone again.”
A ‘Hairbnb’ ruins a country retreat
When a ‘Hairbnb’ Shatters a Countryside Retreat What was meant to be a serene four-day escape in Michigan turned into a harrowing experience for Liz Silverman and her partner, John, after driving for over four hours from Ann Arbor one fateful June evening. Exhausted yet excited, they arrived at their rustic Airbnb at around 10 p.m. Their initial enthusiasm gave way to dismay as they discovered an unsettling infestation of dead ladybugs, scattered throughout the property. They attempted to shrug off these disconcerting revelations, along with a grimy coffee machine and filthy floors. “I was making excuses,” Silverman admitted. They hastily ventured to a grocery store, prepared for bed, and retired for the night. But as Silverman pulled back the comforter, she was confronted with a shocking sight: hair strewn all over the bed, and not just one kind but multiple varieties. The discovery left her a ghastly shock. “All sorts of hair,” she lamented, and the unsettling find extended beyond the master bedroom to all four beds in the rental. “I couldn’t possibly stay here,” Silverman declared. Stranded in rural Michigan with no alternative lodging, the couple made the arduous decision to embark on a late-night journey back home, opting for a spontaneous staycation. From that day forward, their nightmare accommodation earned the moniker of their “Hairbnb.”
A Toxic Seat Assignment:
When a Routine Flight Turns Disastrous Allison Sicking, a seasoned travel blogger, embarked on a flight from St. Louis to Mexico after attending her best friend’s wedding in February 2020. Seated beside a couple, she decided to escape the hubbub by donning her noise-canceling headphones, seeking tranquility high above the clouds. Little did she know that her peaceful reverie would be rudely shattered. Shortly after takeoff, one of her seatmates succumbed to a sudden bout of projectile vomiting. The unexpected onset of this unfortunate event left no time to secure a barf bag, resulting in a calamity that extended from the airplane seats to the window and even the floor. “He just kept going,” Sicking recalled, her options limited on a fully occupied flight. Fortunately, a doctor happened to be on board and came to her rescue, swapping seats with her temporarily. Suspecting a possible seizure, the flight was rerouted for an emergency landing in New Orleans. Paramedics attended to the stricken passenger, and the rest of the passengers, along with the lingering scent of the incident, continued their journey to Cancún.
Sharing a Hotel Room with a Stranger:
A Dismaying Twist of Fate Stephanie Brown’s heart sank when she couldn’t locate her laptop in her backpack after a flight from Greece to Budapest, traveling with her boyfriend and two friends. Already three months into a year-long global odyssey, they had paused for a brief stopover at an airport lounge in Mykonos. Realizing the essentiality of her laptop for work, Brown hastily arranged a last-minute Ryanair flight back to Mykonos the following morning. It was a moment of self-recrimination that felt akin to a roller coaster drop, punctuated by self-deprecating thoughts: “Oh, my God, how could I be this careless?” Brown lamented. Her return flight to Hungary was plagued by repeated delays and, eventually, an outright cancellation. Ryanair’s staff began organizing passengers into nearby hotels, posing a peculiar question to Brown. She noticed that men were not subjected to the same inquiry, as the staff asked if women would be willing to share rooms. In her thirties, Brown found herself paired with a woman a few years her junior. The two were squeezed into a room with twin beds, and Brown’s newfound acquaintance sought her advice on which Instagram photos to post. “It felt like having a little sister,” she reflected on the unusual camaraderie.
These rewritten narratives are enriched with elements of perplexity and burstiness, fostering a more engaging and memorable reading experience while still adhering to English language standards.
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