Travelling with your significant other can be both exciting and daunting. What could be better than spending some time somewhere away from the familiar with scenic views, beds equipped with an arsenal of fluffy pillows, snowy white quilts and a shower bigger enough for two? But sometimes, despite your best efforts, things go terribly wrong. We spoke to some of our friends and colleagues at Passport Lover to find out about the very worst couple holidays. The good news is many of the couples survived despite the horrors. The worst story? You’ll have to read on:
John and Vivienne recounted their experiences on a holiday in Budapest where what could go wrong, did: ”
“We once had a nightmare trip to Budapest where we got scammed on the train on the way in, then in our accommodation the bathroom flooded, the power cut out, the internet didn’t work, the heating was only turned on for two hours a day (in winter, so we froze), and we accidentally bought tinned tripe because we don’t speak Hungarian”.
Doing Paris on the cheap
“Once, as a student, I was backpacking with my girlfriend at the time and we needed somewhere to stay overnight in Paris, cheap. Some guy at the station recommended a place for us to stay. We trotted off and got our room and wondered why it was painted in red and black, with a toilet literally in the middle of the room and a door with no lock, until we realised he had sent us to a brothel. We couldn’t afford to go anywhere else and one of us had to step outside into the hall everytime the other wanted to go to the toilet”.
When in Denmark…
“We’d been wanting to visit Denmark for a while. We got the bus. no problem. Found the hostel easily and checked in. It was really, really warm inside, but we thought, oh well, maybe the thermostat is broken. We then wondered why everyone was walking around naked. We realised we had checked into a hostel for naturists. We were tired so we ran off to our room and left before breakfast”.
Sometimes you imagine that a road house holiday could be like something out of an old movie: plenty of cool bourbon filled bars, retro kitsch-filled hotels and great American hospitality. Then there’s the reality, as Tim shared:
“This happened a few years back when me and my now wife stayed at a Red Roof inn in a rural place in Texas. We decided to cheap out a bit on the hotel cause we figured it couldn’t be too bad.
The hot water wasn’t working so they switched us around to a few different rooms before determining that the building’s hot water unit was broken. The other people staying there looked like the sort that don’t bathe, so I’m guessing that’s why the problem went unnoticed until we showed up. After taking a cold shower, I decided to try the complimentary coffee they keep in the room. Huge mistake. It tasted like someone shaved a rotten log, took a dump on the shavings, and then packaged it to help it ferment.
That night we got treated to a serenade by the other people staying at the hotel that I think was titled “late night drunken arguments.” It was a long serenade that lasted pretty much the entire 8 hours I was trying to sleep on a deformed spring mattress.
The next day, my wife and I go out and do our vacation stuff. When we got back, we found out that they locked us out of our room. There was a different person working the front that day, so they were just as confused as we were about what to do about it. After about 30 minutes of back and forth, proving we weren’t lying and such, they made us a new pair of key cards.
We had a bit of time to sit down at that point, so I decided to try out their free wifi. It turns out the wifi isn’t free. You had to be a subscriber to some network or other to use it. So I connected to the network of some adjacent business that provided a speed somewhere between dial-up and snail mail. Rural towns don’t have much of a nightlife, so we were pretty much bored out of our minds until it was time to sleep. On the way back home, we decided to double our budget for a hotel in the future”.
The birds are not only the stuff of Hitchcock movies:
If Joao’s tale isn’t enough to give you nightmares, then I don’t know what is:
“I was on holiday in Rome with my girlfriend (now wife), walking back to our apartment from the city centre and the sky is black with flocks of birds going nuts and all we could hear was distressed squawking. People are gasping and pointing and one older local woman did the sign of the cross as she walked past us. Honestly thought it was the end of the days. We had to run through the streets with our coats over our heads to avoid the rain of poop.
We only found out later that people were going around playing the sound of distressed birds with loudspeakers to try to move the birds from nesting in the nearby trees”.
The language of love does not always translate
“We were naive enough to turn up in Salzburg without a map or even the address of the pension where we were staying written down. We thought we would have no trouble finding it because it was near the main station. We were so wrong! Our German was really terrible at that point, but we tried our best to get directions from passersby but no one had heard of the pension. We ended up in a small corner grocery store and the young woman working there was looking through the phone book trying to find it, to no avail. We called the phone number of the pension, but the mother of the woman who ran the pension spoke no English at all and kept hanging up on us until we ran out of credit.
Eventually we somehow found it. But we rang the doorbell and there was no answer. I should also mention that it was freezing and we were ankle deep in snow. So the woman on the phone had called up the old man who lived next door to the pension and sent him over to check on on us. Herr Kausinger also spoke no English but was very concerned and eager to help. Between our German dictionary and a young man walking by who kindly agreed to translate, we managed to communicate the problem. We were assured that the woman was coming to let us in, and Herr Kausinger went back to his house.
But she didn’t turn up, and we were cold and I really needed to pee by this point. So I went and knocked on his door and managed to explain that we were still waiting and could I please use his bathroom. Then, using Herr Kausinger’s phone, I managed to finally speak to the woman in charge of the place who thankfully spoke English. Apparently, there had been a miscommunication with her sister who took our booking, and they had left the key inside a locked safebox but she neglected to tell us the code. So we finally got the code, found the key and got into the room. There was a picture of Jesus over the bed. So romantic, not! We ended up checking out a day early because the people who ran the place were kinda creepy”.
I’m lucky to be one of those people who never really gets bitten by mosquitoes. I don’t know if it’s to do with blood type, genetics of pure luck. My friend Violet is not so lucky:
“I got bitten by mosquitoes and broke out in huge hives that itched constantly. I went to the doctor who prescribed antihistamines that were so sedating I spent most of my time in bed asleep and I’d wake up with blood all over the sheets and my hands from scratching in my sleep. I eventually had to sleep wearing socks which still ended up covered in blood each morning. I’d also drooled in my sleep every night which was hardly a great morning look”.
“Noel and I went for a short weekend break to Coffs Harbour. Booked a cheap hotel, got in the car for the 6-hourour drive and were really excited because we never go away. Got to the hotel – bed was TWO foam mattresses stacked on each other… even if you sat on it you collapsed into a wormhole of foam. Ok. We’ll deal with it, it was a cheap room.
Sleep was horrid, but the next day we drove out to Armidale to see a friend. It was a beautiful winter day and the sky was blue and the grass was lush and green; as we walked across a park I somehow fell over into the thick carpet of grass and hurt my ankle heaps. I kept walking around, limping really, but after an hour it started getting horribly awful. Noel drove me to the Coffs Harbour hospital as I protested, where they proclaimed my ankle fractured. I’d actually chipped the tip off the bone… walking on grass.
Going back to the hotel, to the dense vortex of foam, I faced my first hurdle… two flights of stairs. Another night on foam and the morning brought yet another obstacle: the shower was in a bath, which I could not hop over because my normally high pain threshold was not high enough to overcome the bath tub. We cut the holiday short and came back.
The next weekend holiday we tried to take to Byron Bay, our elderly adopted dog was having heart palpitations (and died shortly after) so we also cut that short.
Have you got the worst holiday story? We’d love to hear it!