Travel Disasters: 8 Real Travellers Share Their Horror Stories

Travel Disasters: 8 Real Travellers Share Their Horror Stories

We’re bringing you a collection of stories from the TripZilla travel community – because travel disasters make good stories.

You’d think that after extensive research and meticulous planning, you’d be all set for your next trip. However, there are always some things and scenarios that you’ll be unprepared for. Let’s just say that bad things can happen anytime and even more so when you’re abroad.

Recently, TripZilla invited its readers to share their travel horror stories, and well, some of them had us on the edge of our seats. We’ve gathered the best (or should we say, worst) stories into a quick list.

Here they are:

1. The one who got sick

📍 Busan

“I was in Busan alone. I visited the seafood market and decided on raw seafood for dinner – so I ordered a live wriggly octopus, half a plate of oysters and three abalones. I was really proud of myself for the cheap deal. I ate it all up with kimchi and other preserved side dishes. Then I started feeling queasy in the stomach, and finally vomited at the train station the next day when I was with my luggage and queuing for a train ticket from Busan to Seoul. So I went to the travel information counter and asked them to help me write ‘I have vomited and need medicine’ in Korean. I got my meds from the pharmacy, ate them and just slept my way from Busan to Seoul. It was a memorable solo winter trip.” – Sin Yee

2. The one who got hurt

📍 Kyoto

“It was my last day in Kyoto. I was running down the steps of Fushimi Inari Shrine and I tripped, so my right foot landed badly on the ground. Aside from being embarrassed in front of many other people, my ankle got swollen and it was really painful. I had to endure more than two hours of train travel from Kyoto to Kansai International Airport and five hours of flight back to Manila. As soon as I returned to the Philippines, I immediately went to the hospital. Thankfully it was not a serious sprain, but I was on a bandage for almost a month.” – Tabago Jamaica

3. The one who was almost robbed

📍 Phnom Penh

“I love travelling alone. And when I do, I really stay by myself the entire trip. But that’s not what happened when I came to Phnom Penh. I almost got robbed on my way to my hostel. I was so scared that when I arrived there, I requested my host to inform me if someone books a tour so I could tag along with them. And then I found two new friends! It may be my worst travel experience, but also the best.” – Vic Octia 

4. The one who was actually robbed

📍 Vietnam

“I got robbed of 1,000,000 dong in Vietnam towards the end of a day. The day after that was a public holiday, the Vietnam Independence Day. All banks were closed. Thank you for that!” – Eeman Teoh

5. The one who was cast away

📍 Manadi Island, the Philippines

“We were marooned on Manadi Island for one night, with zero communication signal. A storm came in the afternoon and persisted until early morning. We did not get any sleep, fearing the hut we were in would give way. There were only four beings on the tiny island: myself, my husband, a dog, and an unfriendly caretaker. When the boat came in the morning, we couldn’t wait to get out!” – Anna Miren

6. The one who was caught in an earthquake

📍 Osaka

“I was in Osaka when I got woken up by the building shaking and groaning – it was an earthquake! I had to get to the airport but all the trains to Kansai Airport were halted as they had to check the bridge, so my Airbnb host told me to wait it out for a bit. He called a taxi to bring me to the nearest bus station to catch the airport bus, but the driver did not turn up. Running late, I hailed a cab off the street and told the driver in terrible halting Japanese that I only have 12,000 yen left on me, and asked if that would be enough to bring me to the airport. It was about enough – so off we went! I reached the airport just before the counter closed and I had to run to the gate. That was the most expensive taxi ride I had ever taken in my life.” – Alt Ang

7. The one who got scammed

📍 Colombo

“After reading reviews of travel in Asia, my best friend Stacey and I found ourselves on the streets of Colombo, clueless on how to get to the train station. I constantly told my kind friend not to talk or accommodate to strangers as scams were rampant in that country. When we reached the Grand Central Train station, we found the platform but we had no idea which train was second class. While I was busy looking for the train car, Stacey suddenly pulled me and told me he had found the car! My bliss was cut off short when I realised he was talking to the kind-looking old man who guided us in the train car. My friend was even thankful that the locals were so hospitable. When we sat next to the window seats, the old man demanded a donation worth 1,000 rupees each and even showed us the list of people who gave five to ten thousand rupees! Throughout the train ride, I was so mad at Stacey for making us victims of a scam.” – Adrian Sacan

8. And the one whose disaster was diverted at the last minute

📍 Taipei

“We almost didn’t make it for our trip to Osaka last April because we didn’t have Taiwanese visas. We didn’t know transit passengers to Osaka via Taipei Airport had to go through immigration, even if the passengers were only in transit and weren’t leaving the airport at all. Our trip almost ended in a disaster… But luckily we managed to apply for visas online and in a matter of minutes, our online applications were approved at the CebuPac counter in Manila.” – Ate Son

And… you’ve made it to the end! We hope that none of the stories above were relatable – and even if they were, props to you for conquering them! Here’s to the rest of your travels going smooth and sweet.

The quotes above have been edited for grammar, clarity and flow.

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TripZilla inspires travel with guides, tips and stories by our community of travellers in and around Southeast Asia.


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