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Best Travel Stories

Let's have some fun with oddball, funny, groan-worthy, dumb-founding travel experiences.

In 2012 my husband, Ric, and I moved to Italy with our two cats, Janie & Libby. We flew Delta because they were the only airline that allowed pets in the cabin over water. To give the cats a break, we flew Portland to Amsterdam and spent one night before flying on to Rome via KLM. On KLM the four of us were in economy in a row of three seats, so one vacant middle seat and cats under two of the seats. Just before take-off the flight attendant came and said that two of us (one human and one cat) would have to move to first class. I volunteered to go upfront with Libby and as I was getting situated I asked the flight attendant why we had to move. "Because," she explained, "there are only three oxygen masks in a row and there are four of you."

I still giggle to think of getting an oxygen mask on my squirrely anti-social calico cat!

Posted by
2145 posts

As a cat lover, I love your story! My cats are divas and would be thrilled to get special treatment.

Posted by
2412 posts

I've posted this before, but I still think it's worth telling again;

My first trip to Europe was in 2014 and while in Rome I went to the Team Store of the local soccer team A.S. Roma. As a sports fan I wanted to get a souvenir, so I was looking at shirts with the team's logo. Back home I wear a large so I picked one out, but the friendly clerk told me that it was never going to fit. I told her I'm definitely a large, and she looked at me like I had two heads and I looked back at her like she had 2 heads. I had no idea that clothing sizes were different from home, but apparently my wife did and was enjoying watching me make a fool of myself as I tried putting the shirt on. Turns out in Italy my shirt size is XXXL.

Posted by
963 posts

Here’s mine.

I blame the goat.

Camped at Sikklis in the shadow of the Annapurna range, we’d eaten said unfortunate creature for our communal evening meal as prepared by our trek crew, who otherwise could perform miracles with just a couple of paraffin stoves, but whether it was the goat’s revenge or the altitude or a combination, by the time I retired to our two man hike tent for the night, I felt distinctly queasy.

Now Sikklis had previously experienced some tent pilfering by unidentified locals so our tents were set up in a neat line at one side of the site while the toilet facilities, two holes dug in the ground each covered by a vertical tent which afforded the bare minimum of privacy, which with typical black humour we’d dubbed ‘The Chapels of Rest’, were about as far away as you could get - about 200 yards at a guess - on the far side of the site. Our Sherpas and guides, all Nepalis and each equipped with the standard fearsome ‘kukri’ curved knife, had a communal tent midway between us and the Chapels and a little above the level of the site, were keeping a 24/7 watch so nobody could come and go without them knowing to prevent attempted tent pilfering.

At about 2.00 am I lost the unequal struggle in our tent, and clutching a loo roll and a torch, exited the tent in the manner of a cork shot from a champagne bottle and of very urgent necessity, sprinted across the camp site towards the ‘restrooms’ at a high rate of knots.

I’d got about halfway when to my right in the darkness there was a cacophony of screams and yelling as the Sherpas saw some miscreant (me) legging it across the camp site in the middle of the night and took chase to presumably to administer some rough justice.

Aware they might slice first and ask questions later, I panicked and froze. I shone the flashlight onto my face, but clearly they did not recognise me and kept coming, all the while issuing blood curdling screams.

Proof that necessity is the mother of invention, I was seized with inspiration and shone the flashlight onto the toilet roll. The screams changed to gales of riotous laughter and the pursuit mercifully ceased, allowing me to continue my headlong flight to the refuge of the Chapels, now merely pondering which end to point first.

I was in there quite a while and later trudged slowly and miserably back to our tent. I felt shockingly ill the day after and one of the Sherpas offered to carry my rucksack. My friends told me to drop my ‘hard man of the hills’ act and let him carry it, which with little reluctance, I did.

Back in camp at the end of the day I offered a large bottle of beer (which frankly I couldn’t look in the eye) to my bag carrying volunteer as a token of my gratitude. He turned up offering to carry my bag for the next five days straight!

Posted by
13211 posts

I love the cat story, Laurel.

Trying to think of one equally funny, but so far I cannot.

Posted by
6465 posts

In 1972 on my 1st trip to Europe. Whirlwind tour. Lots of cities.

1.) Amsterdam was the 1st stop. Surprised at breakfast that sliced meats and cheeses were offered instead of bacon and eggs.
2.) Realizing the woman in lingerie playing a piano in a window as I meandered one night in Amsterdam that I’d stumble into the red light district. Who knew?
3.) On the same trip my naivety in assuming there was a huge lawn in front of Notre Dame.
4.) In London seeing families with babies and dogs in pubs.
5.) Cringing in the Louvre when a woman with a New York accent started yelling at the top of her lungs, “Harry, Harry where is it?” She didn’t understand that directional signs weren’t going to read Mona Lisa but La Gioconda.
6.) On my first visit to Ireland flew over from London on a grey November morning. Was excitedly looking out the window and caught my first glance as there was a break in the clouds. Absentmindedly uttered loudly “Holy ( bad word ) it really is that green!” Fellow passengers laughed aloud. I’m still chagrined.
7.) Here in the US, visiting Monument Valley. An older man was upset and was yelling at the Ranger. The Ranger was explaining to the man he couldn’t do something. The man was irate at being told no. Uttered the inane “ I pay my taxes, you work for me,” argument. I started laughing because he was such an ignorant ass. He turned and glowered as I said,
“ Sir your argument has no merit here. Welcome to the Navajo Nation.” He was stunned into silence.

Lastly, as I drive around Hollywood, I see the disappointment on the faces of tourists when they realize what a truly shoddy place it is. They expect Beverly Hills but instead discover tasteless, cheap and disheartening streets and shops. It’s a joke. That and the belief the Hollywood sign lights up at night. It doesn’t.

Posted by
2145 posts

I was on a trip to Paris and London in 1999 with a small group from Atlanta, my first trip to Europe. We were visiting Windsor Castle and I had a disposable camera, which by the way, took fantastic pictures. I was taking it out of the plastic and needed to throw it in the trash can. I had stepped into the gift shop and asked the attendant if there was a trash can I could use. She looked at me, pulled herself up to almost military attention and said very authoritatively, “we don’t take rubbish in the Queen’s house”! Taken aback, I said okay and put the plastic wrap in my purse. Interestingly enough, back in those days, there were no trash cans or rubbish bins anywhere on London streets. I heard it was because of the IRA attacks on the British.
My friends laughed themselves silly when I told this story and even today it makes me chuckle to recall it.

Posted by
28107 posts

I heard it was because of the IRA attacks on the British.

You heard correctly

Posted by
13211 posts

OK, so Judy’s story reminded me of a funny experience, 40 years ago.

I was young and single, driving into Canada with a friend to spend a few days hiking near Whistler (before it was much of anything). Both of us carried small “mace” sprayers for “personal safety” as young women (that was a “thing” in the early 1980’s where we lived). It never occurred to us that they might be banned in Canada. But when the border guard asked if we carried any pepper spray, we answered truthfully. He said we would have to turn around and drive back into the US and find a place to stow the offending devices. Or we could “surrender them to the Queen”.

We chose the latter and asked how to do that. He pointed to the trash can, apparently placed there for just that purpose. And then he nodded and let us through.

Posted by
2145 posts

Lola,
That is laugh out loud funny 😆! So you handed it over to the Queen.

Posted by
1787 posts

In Bamberg, Germany, we stayed in a nice garden apartment that our hosts had added on to their house so their son's family could visit. However, they told us, the family rarely stayed there. Why? "Our daughter-in-law doesn't like spiders."

Posted by
10116 posts

Claudia, my first Euro adventure was in 1972 as well. I had a similar awakening in Amsterdam!

That reminded me of my first stay in London. Fresh off the plane from Minnesota my friend and I checked into a B&B. The young man at the desk asked what time we’d like to be “knocked up” in the morning. We choked with giggles.

Posted by
852 posts

I can't claim this story as my own, but it happened to a good friend of mine in Atlanta, who lived in Windsor for years on a corporate assignment. Too add perspective, she's lovely, well-educated, and articulate. After living in England for a few years she went into a village clothing shop to buy new khaki pants. The saleslady reacted with total horror to her request for "khaki pants." Apparently the proper word in Britain is "trousers" and "khaki" in Americanese sounds like the word for baby poop. My friend had unwittingly asked to buy poopy underpants.

Posted by
6950 posts

My wife and I were in CDG airport in Paris, and we'd checked through security--waiting on our flight. My wife needed to go to the ladies' room and was told by security is was through a glass door. She went through that door and returned in a few moments. 10 minutes later, the whole terminal, two planes ready to taxi and the entire security force were sent out of the terminal. All luggage on the two big jets was also offloaded. It took about 2 hours until security reopened and rechecked all of the people and their luggage rechecked and cleared to leave. When we arrived in Detroit, we were just in time for our connecting flight. I hate to think of the dozens and dozens of people that missed their connecting flights and had to make other arrangements. We just wish that security guard would have told my wife she had to return to the waiting room through the security line.

Posted by
1925 posts

Trying to decide whether David or ianandjulie win the internet today for their stories. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Thanks for this thread, Laurel!

Posted by
22 posts

I was on my first international solo international adventure and flying from Seattle to London. I was sitting next to a very tall man who didn't say anything to me for the first couple of hours of the flight. Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, our meal was served and I just picked at what might be fried chicken. The tall man, looked at my food and asked, "you gonna eat that?" I said "no.' He then picked up my tray and finished my dinner. I have an older brother, so I grew up hearing "you gonna eat that?" at many meals. I didn't think it was odd. Later I was telling a friend and she told me that yeah, it was odd coming from a stranger.

Many years later a radio station was having a phone contest for Rod Stewart tickets. They wanted to know the oddest thing to happen on an airplane. I called, I won, Rod was amazing!

Posted by
22 posts

Cringing in the Louvre when a woman with a New York accent started yelling at the top of her lungs, “Harry, Harry where is it?”

Claudia, I think I ran into that couple in the Paris Metro. She was wearing a sparkly baseball cap and yelling at the top of her lungs in a New York accent, "this subway is so confusing."

Posted by
3789 posts

My firt trip to Europe was in 1977. I figured a cruise was most efficient for getting the lay of the land to decide where to return to when I had more time and money. You can imagine ships were much smaller than current cruise ships, which included lower ceiling heights. Final dinner was served with flaming baked alaska for dessert. Lights were dimmed, and the waiters came in all carrying whole flaming Alaskas on trays carried well overhead. However, overhead also meant right under the ceiling fire extinguishers. What a display of passenger faces from smiles to wide eyed concern wondering if the extinguishers would go off and then mixed emotions when they did not.
I was very glad I was debarking the next morning.

Posted by
7990 posts

First time in Athens, we arrived at night. We headed up to rooftop bar for a quick dinner. When we first saw the lighted Acropolis along with an Asian man we all let out with “Wow”and “Amazing” as it was such an incredible moment for us all. Another US visitor arrived and in her thick drawl yelled out” What is that thang? “ when she saw the Acropolis. That is my all-time top “ Ugly American” moment.

Posted by
1277 posts

Oh, this thread is too fun to let it go dormant....
First trip to Europe. Broke college graduate 6 months in on first job, visiting college roommate who had a rotary scholarship for a yr in England....
We took the night ferry to Ireland to save cost of a night's lodging and were looking for a quiet bit of floor as seating areas were either occupied by folks with screaming toddlers or groups of partyers.... we had just dozed off when rudely awakened. Somehow we had camped out near the exit doors for the #%^^$# duty free shop

Posted by
2214 posts

First trip to Europe, age 18. Standing outside Westminster Abbey, in a crowd, waiting for Prince Charles to come out. And I feel someone reaching into my purse! I grabbed the thief and called for the police, who came and escorted him to jail. They asked me to go to jail to make a statement, so I did. Missed seeing Prince Charles, but got a better story.

True story!

Posted by
1732 posts

In 2006, I was in NYC briefly, and decided spur-of-the moment to visit the Guggenheim Museum, since it had been awhile. I went in and saw that there was nothing on the walls of the giant spiral, yet there were lots of people walking up and down (this being New York, pretty much everybody was dressed in black). I must have been suffering from a woeful lack of curiosity that day, because I didn’t think much of it, just started to head off to the side galleries, where they keep their permanent collection. I was stopped by a small boy (eight-ish, maybe), who came up and said “Come, this way, for the Tino Sehgal exhibit”. “Ok”, I thought, and we started walking up the spiral together in silence. After awhile, I became impatient and started to pull away, but then he said “What is progress?” Oh. So, I came up with a definition that seemed suitable for an eight-year-old, and we discussed it, still walking up the spiral. Then he ducked behind a pillar and I overheard him whisper to someone “She says that progress is …….” The someone was a man in his late teens or early twenties, and he and I continued up the spiral, still talking about progress, in a more sophisticated way. He, in turn, turned me over to a middle-aged man - more walking, more evolved conversation. Finally, he turned me over to an elderly man, and the conversation achieved its full glory. When we reached the top of the spiral, he disappeared into an office, and there I was -aaaaahhh. The thing is, I’m guessing that most if not all of the other people walking and talking up the Guggenheim spiral had come in knowing about the Tino Sehgal exhibit, whereas it was a total surprise to me, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The surprise really made the experience for me.

Posted by
3655 posts

Although we found it highly amusing, we're not at all sure our aquaintance from home thought it very funny. On one of our trips to Venice we ran into a man we normaly saw three times a week at the gym. We had no idea he would be there, and we're sure he had no idea we would. But for some odd reason,he didn't introduce the very attractive young lady with him. Must have been his "niece", since we know for sure it wasn't his spouse or child.

Posted by
7698 posts

Oh my goodness TC!!!

David, that is truly incredible - and ianandjulie oh my gosh I think you definitely win the prize.

Laurel - I wonder if the flight attendant didn’t have a chuckle too giving you the oxygen masks explanation !! I love that.

And I do love the expression We don’t take rubbish in the Queen’s house! the indignation !!