Missed Flights And Death Road: Your Best And Worst Travel Stories

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Ever left your suitcase circling the baggage claim at the airport? One of these travellers has! Read on for more epic travel stories from around the globe.

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As meticulously planned as your holiday may be before departure, they rarely ever go exactly as you had envisaged. There are good reasons for deviating from the plan (i.e.the elusive upgrade), and there are plenty of not so good reasons too. Whatever the reason, these wins and fails make for some damn fine travel stories.

We’ve all got an interesting travel tale to tell, so we asked around for some of your best; and boy oh boy, we got some fantastic replies!

If you’ve got a travel story worth sharing, email [email protected] for your chance to feature on So Where Next.

Luggage travel fail
Source: Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

The Left-Behind Luggage

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“I left my suitcase doing circles on the carousel at Vancouver airport, after travelling through Canada for two weeks with acute jet lag (I was actually very sick with it). Late at night, and due to my distress checking in at reception, the hotel actually paid for a taxi to get the suitcase from the airport to me. I only realised my suitcase was missing when they asked for the credit card I booked the stay on, as my handbag often sat on top of the suitcase. Luckily for me, the barcode on the back of my boarding pass was sufficient proof of ownership. I found that gesture to be an incredible act of kindness. Hence, I’ve since recommended that hotel to so many people visiting Vancouver.”

Marie Barbieri
Travel writer
Instagram: @marie_barbieri

yacht travel tale
Source: Michael Held on Unsplash

What to Do With a Drunken Sailor?

“I spent five days holed up in a red-light district hotel as an illegal alien, after a mutiny on the yacht we were delivering to Japan and before faking an ‘arrival’ into the harbour so we (myself and another crew member) could clear into the country. While at sea the captain had revealed himself to be an alcoholic. Once he started drinking the medicinal alcohol in the medical kit, jumping ship at the next port was the safest option. I ended up in a completely different country with no money (I was to be paid for the delivery on arrival in Japan) and no way of getting back to New Zealand where I was living. Fortunately, some Australian yachts were returning from the Melbourne-Osaka race and I was able to hitch a ride all the way to Brisbane on one of them.

A proposed 6 week delivery from Tonga to Japan took 5 months and took me on a tour of the South Pacific. Oh to be so young and carefree again.”

Fiona Harper
Travel Boating Lifestyle
Instagram: @travelboatinglifestyle

bolivia death road travel win
Source: Dianne Bortoletto

Cheating death on Death Road

“In Bolivia’s capital La Paz, which is also the world’s highest capital city, I somehow got talked into doing a downhill mountain bike adventure on ‘Death Road’. The fact it was called that was apparently part of its appeal. On average, 300 people die on this stretch of road per year with cars flying off the cliffs at a rate of one every two weeks.

On our Bolivian standard mountain bikes, we started at a glacier, 4,600 metres above sea level. For the next five hours, I don’t think I breathed once. We rode downhill on gravel roads that had sheer cliffs that dropped straight down for 60, 70, 100 metres or more. One wrong move, one sudden squeeze of the brakes too hard and I’d skid straight off and be another statistic. During the 65-km descent, we passed that many crucifixes that I was seriously questioning my own sanity. By the time we’d finished, we’d dropped in altitude some 3,000 metres to finish at 1,500 metres above sea level, surrounded by tropical rain forest in the cute town of Coroico. I’d never been so happy for a tour to finish ever. And I live to tell the tale, so that’s a major win!” 

Dianne Bortoletto
Travel writer and PR consultant
Instagram: @travelletto

Passport travel fail
Source: ConvertKit on Unsplash

A Case of Mistaken Identity…

“I turned up at the airport for an international flight (work and personal trip) with my husband’s passport. I tried to convince the check-in desk I could zip home in a taxi to get my passport and be back in time… needless to say, I missed the flight!”

Ginni Post
Managing Director, GP Communications
Instagram: @ginnipost

buenos aires travel win
Source: Sander Crombach on Unsplash

Some Have All the Luck

“In 2018 I won not one, but two trips to Buenos Aires, Argentina! I know right, I hate me too.

The first was in May when I won a ’25 words or less’ competition with Flight Centre and Air New Zealand. It included 2x airfares, a week itinerary in Buenos Aires exploring the city, and a quick trip to Brazil to visit Iguazu Falls. It was incredible! While boarding the plane in Auckland our tickets declined and we panicked because we didn’t want to explain how we hadn’t actually paid for the tickets. The tickets actually declined because we had been upgraded to Business Premier! You know, the ones where the seats turn into beds that lie flat, they serve you three-course meals better than what you cook at home, and shower you in champagne? Yes, those!

It was one of the best surprises and upgrades we had ever been given, and we sure made the most of it – much to the dismay of all the other passengers who were very used to travelling in business class. Now I shed a tear now every time I fly economy as I wish I never had a taste of the other side! It was much greener.

Winning two trips in the same year, to the same city, I was in shock! In a similar fashion, the second was a ’50 words or less’ competition. But, this time, it was a solo trip with Miller Genuine Draft. I had never travelled solo, but don’t cry for me Argentina, it was me and 100 strangers from around the world who, before long, became great friends. We spent three days drinking beer and listening to live music (I met Kyle from Bastille!). The trip was genuinely a life turning moment for me and one of the best things I’ve ever done.

So rub your belly, and start entering competitions! Someone has to win them…”

Charlotte Howells
Publicist and travel enthusiast
Instagram: @charhowells_

If you’ve got a travel story worth sharing, email [email protected] for your chance to feature on So Where Next.

Feature Image: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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