The Dark Side of Travel: 4 Horror Stories

Traveling is often romanticized in literature. Heck, even in this blog. But sometimes misfortunes happen, in the best case, turning into good travel stories. That’s why I always recommend getting additional protection before your departure. Here are a few 100% true travel horror stories. Mom, I hope you’re not reading this!

Where’s all our stuff?

Porto Port

At the very end of a fantastic long weekend in the picturesque city of Porto, I return to my 3-star hotel room but something is just not right. Tablet, books, chargers, bags, clothes and even toiletry – all gone! And the worst part? ‘They’ took the bag that had all the passports and various other useless membership cards. However, the bottles of fine Port wine that we bought were still there… weird priorities. With an early flight the next day departing from Lisbon, this trip ended with a mad rush for replacement passports. No perpetrators were caught (what a shocker) and no apology from the hotel was given. Always secure your stuff, even in hotel rooms!

Is something wrong with my air?


Every scuba diver is used to big bubbles coming out the mouthpiece – that’s a good sign. But a noisy stream of tiny air bubbles rushing out – that’s a really bad sign. On an uneventful dive off the coast of the French Riviera, this is exactly what happened. After alerting my 60-something-year-old divemaster, an emergency ascent was ordered… there’s a first time for everything. It turns out a faulty valve in the ‘octopuss’ (the part which distributes oxygen) is what caused this scare. Always double-check your equipment!

They drive here on the left or right?

Rainbow in Savaii Samoa roadtrip

On a sunny and humid day in beautiful Samoa, I went for a long drive with nothing but palm trees decorating the side of the road and church music playing on the only station the radio picked up. After killing the monotony with fruits from a roadside stall, I swung back to the ‘highway’ en route to the beach. As I round the turn, a red pickup truck is heading straight for me! In a split second, I realize that I am on the wrong side of the road! Guardian angels were definitely watching over me that day because the driver managed to avert a crash at the last second and nobody got hurt (including the cars). Moral of the story: if you’re driving alone – always have a music playlist on your phone.

This must be how it ends

Semuc Champey

Your mom always reminds you not to do stupid things when you travel, but for some reason, you never listen. I should have listened to her when no life jackets were distributed for the tubing trip down the river in Guatemala’s Semuc Champey. Apparently, it had heavily rained in previous days and the rapids were at their worst. I was the first one to go down, getting sucked by the currents underwater as my body was smashing into boulder after boulder without the ability to surface. As life flashed before my eyes (seriously), I managed to grab the root of a mangrove tree and yank myself out with my last ounce of strength. Moral of the story: listen to your mom!

So as you can see, traveling can be a dangerous sport. Always think twice, be protected from the worst, and keep a smile on even when you’re down!