Tell us about your worst vacation ever?

Mine happened about 20 years ago. There were 14 of us - all family - sharing a large house for a week. 'round about day 3, a couple folks got a stomach bug. A day or 2 later, probably half the people in the house were having bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Every one of the sickos had a bucket in front of him, and I’m not even going to attempt to describe what the house smelled like.

I was not one of the afflicted, but I did not stay the entire week.


We had a trailerable sailboat that we towed from Jacksonville to Key West with another couple. We had a big van, so the drive was actually rather pleasant. We knew that 4 adults on a 23’ boat for a week would be challenging, but we liked this couple. What we didn’t know was that Mary (not her real name) could go from cheerful to bitch in .22 seconds. She was also inclined to try, um, unique diets, and this particular week, it was about food-mixing. No fish with fowl or fruits with bread or I have no idea what else. It made mealtimes interesting.

John (not his name either) was a study in contrasts - he was easy-going, but he wanted to plan every single minute! I’m OK with “Hey, let’s go to that museum tomorrow” but he was inclined to say “We’ll have breakfast by 8, it’s a 20 minute walk to < wherever> and < attraction> opens at 9:30, but tickets go on sale early. So while waiting, there’s a < shop> just down the street, and afterwards, there’s a park just half a mile farther…” Criminy, John, we’re on vacation!!!

One afternoon, we took the boat out to a reef to go snorkeling, and it was a little bit rough. It didn’t bother me, but the rest of them got seasick, so I had to bring the boat back to the marina while they slept.

We all decided the last night there, we’d get hotel rooms - in separate hotels. The reason was that it was so hot and we wanted to sleep in the air conditioning. Um, well, yeah, that was part of it.

What really amazed me - John and Mary declared it was one of the best vacations they’d ever had. FCD and I wondered how bad their other vacations had been. That friendship gradually petered out.

This is an easy one. Alaska State Ferry system from Bellingham, WA to Juneau, followed by a stay in Juneau and flight home to Seattle. I’d done it solo many many years ago, and 'twas magical. A few years ago with the spouse, not so much. (Serves me right trying to re-create something special in exactly the same way; that NEVER EVER works for anything.)

The trip took place during a record-breaking heat wave, and on the ferry the heating system broke. In the “On” position. This happened when we were napping in our “stateroom,” and we woke up from heavy naps literally thinking the boat was on fire. It was more than 100 degrees in the room, heat blasting away. This continued for about 18 hours after that; the room was completely unusable for that length of time, and barely bearable after that. The crew were complete jerks about it; I say this as a government employee myself, but they exhibited the finest not-giving-any-shits attitude of any public servant that I’ve ever seen. Not even a hint of sorry-for-your-inconvenience; it was like being roasted by the IRS.

Once in Juneau, we “upgraded” to a lovely room on an upper floor of our lovely hotel. The record-breaking heat proceeded to follow us from the south (and from the boat, I guess), and the room was in the 90s. No AC, of course, because who needs it in Alaska? A lower floor with no view would have been far better, but by that time there was none available.

We tried to cut the trip short. I’d bought first class tickets to Seattle, but I stupidly assumed that meant changing the flights was possible without extremely stiff penalties. Not so! We stayed.

On the flight home, the plane sat on the tarmac in Juneau for about an hour and a half, with (guess what!) no AC. Also, they would not serve us drinks during the wait. I got my beer when the plane finally took off for its very short flight, the flight attendant saying “Better chug it!” Get bent, ma’am.

We always say, when you go on a trip, you create memories. They aren’t necessarily good memories, but they’re memories! But there was one good one. We went out to Mendenhall Glacier, and the breeze happened to be coming right across the ice (even though it was a mile or more away). That breeze was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, in the middle of the inescapable heat everywhere else. It was easily one of the loveliest moments of my entire life.

Might as well have just gone on a Caribbean cruise!

For me, it was a trip my Girl Scout troop took to an adjoining state, shortly before I left the organization (although this was not why). It didn’t take long to figure out that the leaders, a husband and wife who were otherwise lovely people, had planned this trip around a trip they had already planned, to pick up some equipment their daughter, who was also in the troop, needed for her horse.

We spent the time going to roadside museums, which is not most teenagers’ ideas of a good time, and we let them know it.

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous province of Tanzania in east Africa is made up of two islands, Zanzibar and Pemba

The main island is really well set up for tourists of all types, from shoestring backpackers to the rich and famous.

I am an “adventure tourist” so I convinced my girlfriend at the time to go to Pemba.

In contrast to Zanzibar there are only hyper-expensive super luxury lodges… or run down rooms offering local truckers a place to stay. The concept of restaurants does not exist, even at the street food level. For example, the one place we stayed in offered leftover cold chicken from the night before as breakfast, and literally nothing else except water. The only bar we found was the local military mess (suprisingly, we were welcomed in by no less than a Major in the armed forces).

We were there for new years eve, so we went to one of the fancy resorts (which usually do not allow non-guests in) and had a desultory evening with the approximately 18 guests who turned up, including a guy who was clearly a sex tourist, with a local lady on his side.

The resort vastly overcatered the buffet and I could only think of the difference between the wealth inside and the abject poverty outside the resort.

Eventually we found a wannabe backpackers - not yet open, but the owner let us stay anyway.

On the bright side, very good snorkling, and due to the cost, no other tourists, aside for the few we met at the resort.

On the down side, the ATMs only work with Zanzibari cards, so when I ran short of money I had to hire a guy on a motorbike to take me 80km away to a resort where I bought a box of cigarettes for about US$20 and got US$500 in change, using an international card.

I would not recommend the island unless you are very, very rich.

Thirty-some years ago I made the mistake of vacationing with my wife, my sister, and her husband. We drove to Assateaque Island and camped there for a week.

My BIL had just bought a new truck, so we all rode down together. On arrival he ran down to the beach and jumped into the water……with his truck keys in his pocket. Never saw those keys again.

BIL used a pay phone to call his brother, who looked up info on getting a replacement key. I hitchhiked to a dealership in Maryland then hitchhiked back.

My sister left food open in our tent. Wild horses broke in, ate the food, destroyed the tent. Bought tent #2, which got destroyed in a tropical storm that my BIL said would blow over.

Purchased tent #3, had a horrible time.

I was about 25, in between jobs and unsure what to do really. I decided “road trip!” Maybe I want to move somewhere else. I’ll check some stuff out.

I had a real fun little car. VW Scirocco with a hypoed engine. Still very economical (for it’s time). I also had a new girl friend. Honestly, I was a little unsure about us. Didn’t seem like a great match. But, she invited herself along. I should have said no, but I’ve never been very assertive.

Since there where now two of us, we ended up taking my mom’s station wagon :face_vomiting:

Turns out that my new girl had a bipolar disorder. Manic/depressive. I had not know about this (or even what it was at the time). Medications keep it under control though.

She forgot to bring her medications on the trip. And what a trip it was.

She didn’t tell me until the trip was over. I kept blaming myself for her depressed states, and the manic periods where just very strange. It put me very much on edge, I had no idea who I would be traveling with the next day. Or the next hour for that matter.

Looking back, I feel sorry for her and hope she’s doing OK.

I guess we’ve had very good luck on our vacations. We’ve never had a disaster.

But last year we rented what looked like a charming farmhouse out on the Skagit River plain near Mt. Vernon, Washington. It was a pink Victorian place, and all the pictures of the interior were nice, if a little kitschy. But it was the best place we could find on our budget.

When we saw the interior of the house in person, the kitsch factor ramped up massively. The place was full of lace and trinkets and ultra-religious mottoes. And as we examined the house more closely, it became obvious that the owner lived there and vacated when she had paying guests. To top it off, she was a borderline hoarder. Every drawer and every closet was crammed with crap like old mail, old fabric scraps, etc. And the fridge was full of food in varying states of staleness. The cupboards were full of canned and packaged foods which had expired years ago.

There were pictures of Jesus and the rapture and photos of missionaries everywhere. My husband had been brought up in a repressive Baptist extended family, and he escaped them as a young adult and has been estranged ever since. This vacation home was giving him nightmares of his unhappy childhood.

Bleah, it gives me shudders just to remember the place. I wanted to leave and check into the most spare, minimalist, modern hotel in the world, but there were no options out in the countryside. We gutted it out and stayed our week.

A trip from Los Angeles to Minneapolis would have to rank way up there. Had three kids at the time, all of them fairly small. We took Greyhound from Port Hueneme, CA to LAX and trundled up to the ticket counter to check our bags, etc. The agent couldn’t find our reservations. Turns out, we were not supposed to leave until the following day! The nice lady took pity on us and was able to get us on another flight with a plane change in Denver, so we rushed off to the gate.

We got on board and the door closed, and we awaited pushback. And waited. And waited. Six hours we sat on that plane with three small children and they wouldn’t let anybody off the damn thing while they tried to fix a cargo door. We finally departed, but by that time we had missed our connecting flight in Denver. We got there at about 2 a.m. and there were two people assigning rooms to all the passengers. After about a quarter of the passengers had gotten hotel rooms, one of the agents looked at her watch and left. There was nearly a riot.

We finally got a hotel room and a taxi to get to it, but had to bed one of the kids down on the floor. Our bed was a sofa-bed and in those days they were designed as torture implements. We arrived in MSP totally exhausted and still had to suffer through a car trip up to the Iron Range area.

Upon our return to LAX, we decided we were in no mood for a bus trip, so I went to Hertz to rent a car. I needed something full sized because of kids and luggage and the woman was having trouble finding one, so finally said, “Well, I do have a Lincoln.” I said I’d take it, and then asked if there was a military discount. She said “Oh, you’re military? Are you an officer?” I said no and she says “We can only rent luxury cars to officers.” I lost it at that point and went on fairly colorful rant. She finally located a station wagon. I’ve never patronized Hertz again in the intervening decades.

I’m sorry to hear about these miserable holidays.

My friend had a ‘disappointing’ (but memorable) trip.
He was invited by a couple of good friends to travel by canal boat along the Norfolk Broads.
Home | The Tourism Guide to the Norfolk Broads

Very relaxing, travelling at walking pace through picturesque countryside.

The only problem was the catering (they had basic cooking facilities on the boat), as the guy in charge served baked beans with everything.
So imagine sleeping in an enclosed space below deck with regular farting… :open_mouth: :nauseated_face:

Last week, I was up in NE Alabama at a lakeside AirB&B with family. I hate vacation with family. They’re OK people but I have nothing in common with them. They’re mostly low-level Trumpers and I am NOT. So I showed up Monday and there’s mom, my sis, my great aunt, my uncle and his wife and daughter. Uncle looks like he’s at deaths door and to be honest mom, sis and I have been expecting that phone call for a couple of months. I’m bored but there’s books I brought, some gaming, and sitting at the boathouse.

On Thursday, I wake up and find out that uncle had to be taken home at 3am by aunt and cousin. All the way to JAX FL. And there they called 911. Sure enough on Thursday evening we got that phone call. He was dead. It’s going to be another week before I find out what their plans are about this. So although we had the place until Saturday, we packed up and left Friday.

Super bummer. And there’s still a funeral to go.

The vacation that never happened. Dad took Mom & I on a summer day trip from the New Orleans 'burbs down to Grand Isle. We had driven nearly ¾ of the way when we encountered a sign stating that the beaches at Grand Isle were closed for replensihment. Not knowing what this meant at the time and already past the half-way point, we continued on.

We did successfully visit a Grand Isle beach the next year. Warmest water I’ve ever been in.

In 2000 my favorite band, Pearl Jam, was on tour. I made plans to meet up with some northeastern folks I’d made friends with on the Pearl Jam message board and see the band at Jones Beach on Long Island. The person who lived closest was in New Jersey so he agreed to be my point person. The show was on a Saturday night so I arrived at Newark airport around noon Friday. So far so good.

I arranged a taxi to the hotel about an hour’s drive from the airport. Price was agreed on and we set off. In my online research for the hotel I knew approximate directions and we got off on the right exit. But then the driver couldn’t find the hotel. He drove around aimlessly. I asked if he had a map. He didn’t. And not a radio or a phone to call dispatch. He stopped to ask directions a few times. He stopped and made calls at phone booths. We drove around for two hours. I couldn’t call my friend since this was basically pre-cellphone times and he wasn’t at home since he was to meet me at the hotel. And I didn’t have the phone number for the hotel. I was so upset and scared at being lost in fucking New Jersey. In my research on the hotel there had been a picture of it with a tall distinctive building in the background. I finally saw that building and directed the driver to the hotel. When I paid him the agreed upon amount, he said it was going to be more since it took so long. I believe my exact words were “you can go fuck yourself”.

The weekend didn’t turn out as I had expected. My New Jersey friend turned out to be sort of a jerk (big lesson about online personalities) so except for the trip out to Jones Beach and the fun I had at the concert with other friends, I pretty much stayed alone at my hotel. Well, we did go out for pizza Friday night.

My flight on Sunday was around 5 p.m. I took a taxi to the airport right after checkout because my friend said he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t take me. The plan had been to do some touristy things in the afternoon but by then I was fine with never seeing him again. I was expecting the taxi fare to be around the same as the one before but the driver pegged me as a tourist and charged me twice that. I didn’t even argue, I was just ready to leave. Then I had to hang out at the airport for a few hours.

We boarded the plane and then sat on the tarmac for an hour. There was extremely bad weather between Newark and Memphis. We got off the plane. We were told to check in every 30 minutes for updates. We did this for four hours. I was a smoker and spent this time running to the front of the airport to smoke and then running back to check in. I was wearing new tennis shoes and developed a blister on my heal. I went to the gift shop but they didn’t sell bandaids. I asked it there was a first aid station but there wasn’t one. I put some toilet tissue between the blister and my shoe but my foot was really hurting. By this point, all connecting flights had been missed and the airline offered hotel rooms to anyone who wanted to wait until the next day, even if they were just going to Memphis. I had to go to work in the morning so I toughed it out. We boarded again around 10 p.m. Then we sat on the tarmac for two more hours. There were maybe a couple dozen passengers at this point and we all had our own rows. Around midnight, without warning, the plane suddenly took off. The flight attendants had to scramble to their seats. Then they served us dinner. Then they brought around seconds. Since I hadn’t eaten in over twelve hours, I ate both.

We arrived in Memphis around 1 a.m. I hobbled through the deserted airport. I had parked in a long-term parking lot which was too far to walk to. I sat down at a shuttle stop and waited. A shuttle finally came along and I got on. I told the driver where I needed to go and he said this shuttle was for employees and he was headed out to that lot. I burst into tears. He said he would pick up the employees and then take me to the long term lot. I got to my car and drove to the exit. There was an employee there to collect fees, of course. I was still sobbing and she said “are you ok honey?”. I said I just wanted to go home. I had to miss work the next day and swore I would never go back to Jersey.

In our third year of marriage, we’d finally gotten enough ahead financially to have a “honeymoon”. We decided on a cruise and booked 10 days out of Miami with Carnival (Cozumel, Jamaica, BVI, and some island owned by the cruise line). The entire thing was handled by the cruise line, including the flight, the “Red Top Limousine” to transfer to the boat, attendants to handle our bags, everything with one convenient payment.

The flight was like all flights, late and stressful, but we got there (on a DC-8 no less). The “Limousine” was an ancient city bus with no air conditioning. The “attendants” were the driver who told me what tip he expected if I ever wanted to see my luggage again (yes, he threatened to “lose them” somewhere if not tipped). The attendants at the boat were surly and hurled our bags through the stairways as though they were grain sacks. When I presented myself to the guy in charge of meal seating I was told that “You’ll sit wherever I put you.” We attended a required safety presentation on the ship itself, only to discover it was actually a class on how much to tip (a whole lot if you wanted anything at all) and who to tip (every fucking worker on the ship). The speaker even made a joke about what could happen to our drinks and meals on the last day should our servers/staff be unhappy with their amount. The “meals are available in your room at any time” turned out to be a deviled ham sandwich (that’s all they offered) delivered by a surly worker who (brace yourselves) wanted a tip for handing me a fucking baggie.

The much-vaunted “Dunn’s River Falls” required an expensive cab ride (and wait for it… a tip!). Despite repeated clarifications on the round trip fare, it suddenly became one-way when we tried to return. Arguing about it almost got us left there (other drivers knew the scam, and wouldn’t take us).

We rented a jeep in Cozumel and had to leave a $100 deposit. The motherfucker shitwipes closed for siesta just before the ship left, so we couldn’t recover the money. By this time I was tired of the fucking 3rd world and their scams, so we found a hammer and destroyed parts of the engine and ripped a lot of wiring out of the dash. This was actually one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip. We were laughing as we finished tearing that fucking jeep apart, then ran for the ship as it left.

In short, we spent 10 days stuck on a floating tenement, being offered as walking wallets to local scam artists. This is the only vacation I actually hated, and it was the worst traveling experience of my life.

Never again. Never, ever.

That’s the kind of thing I hear from people who go on Carnival cruises. I’ve done 3 cruises and will never do a cruise again, however my cruises were all very nicely managed by Celebrity.

I like to go somewhere and relax. Explore the island, interact with the people, find the little off the beaten track places that most people never see. With a cruise, you are taken to the port, which IME is the worst place to visit there. Any excursions are rushed, and designed to work with the ship’s schedule. You are a joke to the people who are spending time on the island; we see you arrive with your ship’s towels, dressed strangely, shuffling to a beach chair, drinking your “complimentary beverage”. Then we see you shuffle off to return to the ship.

I have truly never been on a vacation that sucked as bad as some of these. I’ve had parts that sucked royally, but never the whole thing. That is probably because the vast majority of my vacations have something to do with my racing volunteer hobby, and no matter what racetrack I have been at, most things fall into place for me there and everyone there is like-minded about racing so we are bound to get along.

I forgot one. It wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t happy.

I booked us a little vacation cottage at Three Rivers, California. I purposely chose April because I was hoping we would have a vacation during the rainy, lush green time of the year, in the foothills of the Sierras.

But even in April 2021, the Sierras were a frighteningly dry mass of kindling. Everything everywhere was crisp and yellow. I was afraid to stay there, given fires that had happened in other parts of the Sierras during fire season. To top it off, the well system of the community where we were staying went on the fritz and we had next to no water at the cottage.

We did have a couple of hours of happiness when we drove up to the giant Sequoias and wandered among them. We even got a little snow up at that high elevation, and it was a sight to see snowflakes drifting down between the fox-red massive sequoias.

But it was mostly depressing to see the effects of the goddam California drought. And there was indeed a forest fire later that year, in the summer, very near where we had been staying. The fire got near the very grove that we had visited, though it left the giant trees mostly untouched.

Same, I haven’t been on truly awful vacations because I can usually salvage something.

I had a college friend who bought airline tickets a year in advance for a week long trip to Spain with his girlfriend to visit her family. However at some point between buying the tickets and the trip itself his girlfriend broke up with him, and he got a massive deal on his airline tickets that made them nonrefundable. Plus his entire plans revolved around staying at his girlfriend’s families house to save money since he was a broke college student. He wound up still going to Spain because the tickets were going to be wasted regardless but he spent all his money on the first day on a cheap but comfortable hotel room. However the weather was really bad the week he went so he spent the entire week just hanging out at said hotel eating the complimentary food and watching Spanish TV because he could rarely leave his hotel. He came back telling me if he knew in advance he just wouldn’t have gone.

@Asuka, I would have still gone myself too in his situation but would have stayed at a hostel and tried to make some new friends.

Found a hammer? Was one just laying around, probably because other people were using it for similar things?