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24 of the Worst Real-Life Vacation Disasters

There’s a reason psychologists say that vacationing is among the most stressful of life events, right alongside changing jobs, moving residences, and divorcing. In fact, we’ve got 24 of them.

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Woman cleaning floor with mopPhoto: CHAIWATPHOTOS/Shutterstock

It had to pee you

“In the middle of my first night in a hostel in Amsterdam, I heard a loud, gushing sound,” Jamie Zipfel tells Reader’s Digest. “I chalked it up to faulty pipes until I smelled it: one of the drunken guests had peed all over the floor. All my belongings except my phone and notebook were soaked.” To make matters worse, she had nothing to wear the next day to take her peed-on belongings to the laundromat, so she ended up going al fresco, but for a windbreaker she borrowed from a generous Chelsea footballer.

These travel secrets practically guarantee a stress-free trip.

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Spider monkey on a treePhoto: Pakhnyushchy/Shutterstock

Bungle in the jungle

On a family vacation in Mombassa, Kenya, Alexandra Allred’s family was having dinner on the balcony of their hotel room when a group of spider monkeys swooped in to partake. It was dark by the time they managed to get rid of all the monkeys, at which point they were descended upon by a swarm of giant mountain moths—thousands upon thousands of them. After Allred’s father sprayed and killed all the moths, and they lay scattered thickly over every surface of the room, Dad insisted they all just go to sleep. Alexandra and her sister were, shall we say, not impressed.

Find out the most common travel illnesses (and how to avoid them).

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Knife on rustic kitchen table with copy spacePhoto: Ollinka/Shutterstock

Slaughterhouse dive

But wait, Allred tells us, there’s more. “Another time we drove and drove into the night to find a cheap motel in Colorado, only to wake at 4:45 a.m. to the most indescribable stench and learned that our cheap motel was across the street from a slaughterhouse,” she recounts. “We fled, retching and choking.”

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Two skydivers in freefall on a sunny dayPhoto: Joggie Botma/Shutterstock

Another one for the meat wagon

Speaking of meat, Maryann Karnich tells Reader’s Digest about the time she went skydiving. Sure, it’s risky, but with proper guides and training, it should be a “controlled” risk. Nuh-uh. On this one occasion, another skydiver cut Karnich off on a landing… and she ended up literally corkscrewing to the ground. “Someone get the meat wagon,” she heard someone say. P.S. Karnich is perfectly fine today.

Read on for more travel disasters that could happen to you.

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JaguarPhoto: Ronnie Howard/Shutterstock

Maybe these jungle vacations aren’t such a good idea after all?

But back to world traveller, Allred. One time she went on a family vacation with her husband and kids to Belize. Their rental car ended up breaking down in… a jaguar sanctuary. With no choice but to push the car out of the danger zone, the entire family got out and started pushing. That’s when a bare-footed machete-carrying man emerged from the jungle. Luckily, he was just looking to hitch a ride.

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traffic jam with row of car on express wayPhoto: All About Space/Shutterstock

Why do they call it a highway, if you end up parked for hours?

Amanda Ponzar, chief marketing officer for Community Health Charities, recalls the time that what should have been a two-hour trip to a Busch Gardens amusement park for a work party took her family six hours because of terrible, gridlocked traffic. If that wasn’t bad enough, her baby son screamed the entire ride, his diaper leaked all over his car seat, and by the time they finally arrived at the park, everyone was gone.

Here are eight things you must check on your car before your next road trip.

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Dying cockroach Blattodea crawling around the kitchen, isolated,Photo: YewLoon Lam/Shutterstock

Hey, I think this room is bugged

Andrea Cordts tells Reader’s Digest about the time she was with her family at a really nice resort in Mexico. While chatting before bed, her sister started scratching at her neck. “What’d you throw at me?” she demanded. But it turned out it was a massive cockroach that had fallen from the ceiling. She grabbed it and threw it across the room. But that’s not where the story ends: the cockroach landed in one of the suitcases… alive.

Find out why you should think twice before sitting in a hotel chair.

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Photo: NigelSpiers/Shutterstock

He felt the earth move under his feet, and not in a good way

Author Bailey Gaddis tells Reader’s Digest of the time his vacation in Roatan, Honduras was rocked by an earthquake so large (it was 7.6 on the Richter scale), his beachside hotel was evacuated due to tsunami warnings. Although the tsunami never came, the ocean groaned for hours, and the aftermath left the area a disaster zone.

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golf ball on lip of cupPhoto: Yellowj/Shutterstock

Not up to par

It was supposed to be a fun three-day golf outing for eight of Jim Zamichielli‘s buddies, but their connecting flight didn’t connect, and their luggage went missing. Not willing to give up, they drove to their destination only to discover their hotel had only a one bedroom waiting for them when they’d booked a three. Still trying to make the best of it, the buddies rented clubs and played two holes… before getting rained out for the rest of their stay.

Check out these 10 luxury resorts you can actually afford.

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Back Umbrella in the rain in vintage tonePhoto: donatphotography/Shutterstock

When you knowingly travel during the rainy season

“On a whim, I decided to travel solo to Tonga during the rainy season,” Lauren Juliff, travel blogger at Never Ending Footsteps, tells Reader’s Digest. “When I arrived at my guesthouse, I discovered I was the only person staying there. It was too rainy for me to go outside, the storms brought the Internet down, and the local grocery stores offered shelves full of… corned beef. Then my flight home was cancelled due to, what else? Rain!”

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Close-up Of A Person Stealing Purse From HandbagPhoto: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The first rule of vacation: location, location, location

Ville Salminen planned a lovely trip to Budapest, Hungary with friends for spring break. The plan was to spend a week relaxing in the sunny European city. But it turned out the hotel they’