7 of the Worst Holiday Travel Nightmares


There is no denying it, at one point or another we have been faced with a travel crisis that has seemed like a nightmare. Whether it’s close to home or in some distant land, having a travel nightmare is the last thing you want to happen when you are on holiday. Some of the things that happen to us are actually serious situations, however there are times that seem like nightmares, but in perspective they are not as critical as we think.

Lost Children

This could be anyone’s worst nightmare. Even when it’s not your child, if you see an anxious parent hopelessly looking for their precious child your heart breaks. Especially in a holiday situation where your mind might be somewhere else and the environment is unfamiliar, it is easy to see how children can become lost. Many parents often dread taking their children away for this very reason, the thought of losing them. This travel nightmare happens in situations when you least expect it, in a busy marketplace, at the beach and even at the first stop – the airport.

Some very protective parents will take pictures of their children before entering crowded places to have a way of identifying them to the police should they need to. This might be slightly extreme, especially when on holiday and that might be the last thing on your mind. Another way to help resolve this nightmare is to give your child an emergency contact number that they carry on them so that they can call you if they get lost.


In today’s tech world it is easier than ever for parents to keep track of their kids. There are devices that you can attach to bags or clothes that have GPS in built, or having special alarms children can carry to activate if they are in danger.

Stolen Wallet

A stolen wallet is something we all fret over at least once when we plan a trip. If this happens it can be a very traumatizing experience, especially when you are in a foreign country where you cannot communicate your stress to the police.

The best way to avoid this kind of nightmare is to make sure you have a backup ATM card, a comprehensive list of what is in your wallet, and a photocopy of all the important documents such as your passport and identity card (if you have one). Another great tip is to never carry all your cards in the same wallet, spread your valuables so that if you do have your wallet stolen you will always have another alternative to get you home.

If you are one of those tourists that will go to the Las Ramblas in Barcelona and take out your wallet at every corner or flash your cash, you are going to be a prime target for pickpockets. When travelling you should aim to take it out as little as possible, also to hide where you are keeping your wallet.


Though you might freak out if your wallet gets stolen, just look on the bright side. At least it wasn’t your passport. That would be much worse in many foreign countries where there bureaucracy can be very slow and frustrating.

Getting Arrested

This might be one of the scariest nightmares you could face when you travel abroad. Especially if you are travelling in places like Thailand, India or South America. These jails are renowned for having poor conditions and frightening inmates.

Even one day in a foreign prison can leave you with post-traumatic stress for a few months afterwards. And it’s not as difficult as you may think to get arrested. Many foreigners have been arrested for drug possession or selling, also carrying legal amphetamines that happen to be illegal in the country that you are travelling in.

Many countries do not distinguish between possession and trafficking and your punishment can be brutal.Reasons for getting arrested can even be trivial in a foreigners eyes. For example, it is known that people have been arrested for photographing secured government buildings and making noticeable displays of affection in very modest countries. If you find yourself in trouble abroad you should contact your home country’s embassy for advice.


To avoid this horrible nightmare you should get yourself clued up about the country’s customs before you fly out. Try and understand the culture with relation to what you can do in public and what you can’t. Sometimes going to the toilet on the street is OK but holding hands when unmarried is illegal.

Luggage Dilemmas

If more than 2million bags are lost or damaged every year, there is a possibility that this could actually happen to you. Especially if you are in the frequent flyer club. Losing your luggage could be due to many reasons, misplaced, stolen, wrong plane, forgotten, or even as simple as you mistagged your bags.

If this has ever happened to you, then you already know that sick feeling you get when you wait for your luggage to come around the carousel and you end up being the last one there. There is nothing worse than eagerly waiting for your once in a year/lifetime holiday abroad and when you finally get to the destination all of your clothes are no-where to be seen.

To avoid this from happening at all, you can put an itinerary of your trip in the suitcase so that whoever picks it up will be able to contact you and return your valuables. Also remember not to leave your luggage unattended in any public place, you have no idea how fast thieves can work.A creative way not to lose your luggage at the carousel due to mistaken identity is to attach bright colored ribbons or choose a neon colored suitcase so that no one will get mixed up thinking its theirs. I mean who has a neon pink?


If you are a tech fan, there are also many tracking devices you can buy that will help keep your mind at ease. Though, we are not sure how reliable those gadgets are so don’t be fooled into a false sense of security.

Air Sickness

One of the worst travel nightmares (that isn’t serious) is being on a plane with the having person next to you throwing up for the entire journey. Yes, we can feel sympathetic, poor guy, but in our heads we are cringing.

Usually when you are on a plane you can be faced with many mini nightmares, like a screaming child, a snoring passenger, or getting stuck in the toilet. However, the sick passenger tops it all. There is nothing to do at 35,000 feet in the air and your neighbor is unable to stop vomiting. Now, we are not talking about the occasional travel sick passenger who forgot to take his medication. This is the passenger that has either terrible food poisoning or suffers from severe travel sickness. The air hostesses may try and help by providing a bigger bag, but this is often one of those see through bags that make the whole experience a lot worse.


So what are you supposed to do? The best option in this situation is to grin and bear it. Try and be supportive to your sick neighbor and think that it’s a much more embarrassing situation for them than it is for you.


Maybe this has happened to you or someone you know. You are enjoying the holiday of your dreams and then suddenly you fall and break something. It could be from running too fast to the pool, not remembering there was an extra step or taking part in some crazy holiday activity.

Having any kind of accident happen to you whilst on holiday is the biggest downer you can have. Luckily, many accidents are not fatal and just cause distress and frustration that you hadn’t taken that bit extra care with your body. If you happen to have an accident whilst you travel you should make sure your health insurance will cover any costs from doctors or hospitals. What most people do is check their health insurance prior to leaving for their holidays, to see that all bases are covered. If your health care doesn’t cover international destinations, you should definitely look to buy travel insurance that will help you out should you have any illness or accidents.


It might cost a bit extra, but having the peace of mind that if something happened you would be taken care of is much better than being in the situation where you have no alternative but to cough up thousands of dollars for a spider bite.

Natural Disaster

This travel nightmare is not something that you can really prepare for when going on holiday. A few measures such as avoiding hurricane season in certain countries is advisable but natural disasters can happen at any time.

What you can do before you fly is to read up on the country and any natural disasters it’s had in the last 100 years. This way you can understand what might happen, and how to react if it does. Being equipped with knowledge could be the difference between life and death in these situations.What many people do before going on holiday is that they leave an itinerary behind with family members, so that if this travel nightmare happens, there is a rough idea of where they are. Another great preparation you can do for yourself is to once you get to your destination, arrange a central meeting point with your travel members.


The first thing you should do after any natural disaster is to inform friends and family that you are safe. With social media, it is a lot easier to locate people through shares and viral messages.