questionshave you ever had a vacation that wound up being…

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I have had vacations that had a lot of small things go wrong, but nothing I would consider hellish. I have never had a vacation that made me think "wow, I wish I was at work...."

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@tarasadies: My buddy told me he never though so many things could go wrong in such a short period of time.

Just to name a few problems he had;

Two flat tires, less than 30 miles apart, on the way to the hotel. The second flat meant they had to wait for road service. Both times it was something the tire had picked up from the road.

When they got to the hotel, even though they had a written reservation the front desk claimed they couldn't find it. They finally found it about, according to him, an hour later.

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I've had vacations where getting there or getting home were incredibly difficult and complicated...mountain passes closed due to wildfires, convoluted flight routings, flights delayed and cancelled due to snow storms, roads closed to busses without chains due to excessive snow fall, etc. But not enough major problems that I would consider it a "vacation from hell".

Now, we did go to Hell on a mission trip once. I was in high school and my youth group was on a trip making repairs on a summer camp in Michigan. After dinner one night we had an outing to go play mini-golf and get ice cream in a small town called Hell. Best evening activity ever, if only because we could then say we'd been to Hell and back on a mission trip. :)

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We've had lots of little stuff go wrong (passport and all my cash and ID stolen in Rome, hours unsuccessfully searching for our prepaid hotel in Paris, car troubles, lost reservations, getting separated, murderous GPS plots, etc). But I generally take the view that it's the things that go wrong that make the best stories. But sometimes they are bad enough that you can't really take a zen approach. When the towers fell, we were on a cruise ship anchored off a tiny private island. It was a surreal experience, all this tragedy sweeping over the ship while we were snorkeling and parasailing in a tropical paradise. We were due to fly home September 12th, and needless to say that didn't happen. It took us two days of being shuffled all over the country to get there. Coming back from Australia two years ago was pretty hellish, it took 36 hours and the 8 we spent in the Melbourne airport were positively miserable. I'll tell my worst travel story in the next post...

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We'd taken several white water rafting trips, a couple in Taos Box Canyon. The year before we'd gotten about 15 co-workers to come with us, this time it was only two other couples, and only the guys went rafting while their wives shopped. It was ill-fated from the first. The company had these new long, narrow rafts, and unlike the round ones that ping off obstacles, these lovingly wrapped around them. Our guide was not very good at his job and was snapping at everyone and giving confusing orders. Just before lunch we hit some rocks and the raft flipped. Most people list their hats and glasses and I lost a shoe when, caught under the raft, I kicked off against it. We ate lunch but when we got back on the raft we were all very tired from the adrenaline and much spookier which made it even harder to control the raft. Finally we fetched up against some rocks and were filled with water and pressed there by the full force of the Rio Grande. Sorry, this is long...

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This was the toughest spot on the river, big rocks just a few feet apart and a 5' drop. We'd hit it first and were blocking the pass. Two of the other three rafts in our group managed to pull over, although one sank in doing so. The third hit us broadside, bounced back, was pushed at us again and flipped over longwise. Pretty dramatic. Half drowned ourselves, we grabbed as many of them as we could, a few were swept over the rapids with no boat, a few managed to get to the shore. The hit had dislodged us and we went over with 15 people on our boat. We got to the side, about 3' of shore bracketed by 50 foot canyon walls. It took about an hour for them to raise the sunken raft and come over the falls. That's when we discovered that a woman from the flipped boat was missing. The company owner carried the most seaworthy boat up the shore and started tacking back upriver looking for her while the rest of us went downriver. Calling and looking for this lost woman. TBC

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Sorry, this is so long but it's too late to delete part 1 so I will finish. Everyone was really shaken, the guide was screeching at us, we were cold and exhausted, and we got stuck on every rock in that river. We got hung up badly again and a guy was swept off the boat. Bob caught his life jacket but the current was too strong and he said to let him go. When we caught up to him he'd smacked into some rocks and broken his ribs. So we carried on fighting the river every inch of the way with this seriously injured man in the boat, terrified he'd drown if we flipped again. We finally made our way to the takeout point, where no one knew there was a problem other than that we were late as the canyon is too deep for radios. They bussed us back to our hotel and never a word of apology or a promise of news. Later we read that the search and rescue teams had been pulled off the river because it was too rough for professional rescue staff. They found her body four days later.

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I went to Vegas with my wife a few years ago and the time spent there was pretty good, but the flight home totally ruined the experience.

It started with a phone call @ 5am the day we are supposed to leave from United saying "your flight has been canceled" no reason given as to why and rescheduled you to fly home tomorrow @ 1pm. So I call and ask are they going to pay for our hotel for an extra night and food the next day and a half. Their response no your on your own. I respond with then you better find me a flight today. They found us a flight that day @ 4pm. Thats where the nightmare began we arrive at the airport 2 hours early and they say that the flight is over booked and they may need to bump us, I said no way you already did that once. 29 hours later (should only 6-8 hours) we get home after delays, reroutes, missed connections, and other BS. It didn't end there because now we have to wait for our luggage for another 6 hours.
I will never fly United because of this.

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Almost every one since high school. I have yet to have a real vacation since sophomore year. Since then it has been trips to the Grandparents place which always starts nice but turns into an all out hate session for everyone.

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Two years ago, my family and I rented a cabin for eight days up in the Smoky Mountains. The day after we arrived, I got a nasty case of food poisoning that lasted through the twelve hour ride home.

I was bedridden for a solid week, while they went out and had fun.

We haven't been back since...

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@moondrake: OUCH! Compared to what you went through my friend's vacation seems as if it had been made in heaven.

I'm also thinking about that poor woman too. Do you believe it was the fault of the rafting company?

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Once my wife and I were checking into a B&B in Hawaii. We went in and were surprised how dark it was inside. The owner said they had just had a power failure. As she was filling out her paperwork, she told us a story about how another newlywed had ran away after seeing a bunch of cockroaches coming out of the kitchen door. We went upstairs to our room and noticed a number of extension cords which the owner said she had just put in to get us light in our room. They had dust on them. We turned around and went back downstairs without unpacking.

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My wife and I rented a bed and breakfast on a small island in Lake Erie. It was our third trip to the island and we love it there.

However, we tried out a new bed and breakfast that looked really nice from the brochures and had good reviews online. When we got there, the lady was nowhere to be found to check in and drop off our things, which wasn't a big deal as we went down to the water to see the view. That was problem #2. This B&B was on the east side of the island, where all the seaweed liked to gather and caused a terrible smell. We went back to the B&B and the lady finally showed up so we checked in.

The first night my wife complained that she felt itchy in the bed. When we woke up the next day she had been eaten alive by bed bugs. She was pretty upset and freaked out, needless to say. We still had another night that we were scheduled for, though, and just as we were trying to figure out how to tell this lady that she had bed bugs there was a knock at the door. (continue

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It was the owner and she was banging on our door asking why we hadn't checked out yet. We told her that we were scheduled to stay another day and she essentially called us liars. It was at that point that she stormed back to check her calendar and realized that she double booked. We graciously told her we'd leave and head out (which was good because my wife wasn't going to stay there another night) and she was very happy.

She apologized to us for the double book and said that we wouldn't have to pay. We were pretty happy about that and we didn't even complain about the bugs as we thought it was very kind of her to allow us to stay for free since she double booked.

However, once we got our stuff gathered up and started to leave she stopped our car and asked us to pay for our stay. She said that when she said we didn't have to pay, she meant for the night that we weren't going to be staying any longer but we had to pay for the nights we had stayed.

Never went back to that B&B.

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@djenkins1982,

Hopefully you also refused to pay for the first night. Courts have held that it is appropriate to withhold rent payments in the case of bed bug infestations, and the last thing a place of lodging wants is a public lawsuit.

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@narquespamley: To be honest, we were so flustered that she told us that we didn't have to pay and then asked us to pay for the night we stayed we just paid and left. We laugh about it now, but it was a strange stay.

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My honeymoon was to Sedona, AZ in July... it sure felt like hell outside at times.

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My worst story involves a canceled flight the day BEFORE a storm, for no apparent reason, then a car accident while driving to the airport the next day in the storm, missing the rescheduled flight because of the accident, and eventually getting to the destination a day and a half late, and so exhausted we all just went right to sleep. Then the rest of the trip itself was fine, but on our return trip, we actually aborted a takeoff run when our plane apparently blew a tire on the runway. Got shuttled back to the terminal and delayed several more hours, eventually got into the airport late at night, then had to drive home in a blinding snowstorm on roads that had not been treated... so the trip itself was fine, it was just the travel experience from hell!

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When I was young my family went to Virginia and suffered through a hurricane. The very next year we went to Florida and suffered through another hurricane. We learned to stop traveling during hurricane season.

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Went to visit my mother-in-law...

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@wnyx585am: YOU WIN the prize for the most horrific vacation ever! :-]

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My sister had a wedding in April almost two years ago. She was marrying a lovely Brit and his relatives all came in for the event. A few even stayed to check out Miami or Washington DC and other sights. Well 24 hours after her wedding the volcano erupted and closed down all flights into Europe, therefore everyone who didn't leave immediately after the wedding was grounded for weeks. My parents and the in-laws had houseguests for quite a while. They all took it in stride, but I'm sure being stuck in another country for weeks waiting to get home was a bit taxing on them. The best is even when the airspace was cleared they kept getting bumped off of flights because they didn't book THAT flight to Europe... they booked the one 2 weeks before that.

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@gt0163c: I'm from Michigan and I know the town you're talking about. There is a town named Paradise in the UP and weathermen still LOVE to say (on the few days the UP is hotter than the LP), "Boy it's hotter than Hell in Paradise."

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@joslynmsu: I've been to Hell and back a few times. My friend's parents live in Pinckney, pretty much right next door to Hell.

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I had a visit to Hell (Michigan) on 6/6/06 and have shirts and postmarked postcards to prove it. The visit was hellish actually. I had my 1 yr old in tow just to do the tshirt/postcard thing, not realizing a massive party was starting up and the town overrun by Harleys and news crews. We waited in line for the postcards to be postmarked, line went out the door and around the bldg. At the 1/2 way point my kid soiled his diaper, kind person let us out of line so I could do a diaper change. Nearest decent spot was a grassy area behind a different bldg. Massive diaper, wipes bag empty, had to use travel Kleenex. Then I needed the facilities which there were only port-a-pottys. Me and my kid squeezed into the john and my glasses fall off, arm on them broke and 1 lens fell out. We got back in line, finished what we were doing and headed home. Got a phone call wondering if I was in Hell that afternoon, because I was in the background of some local news footage. They said I looked disheveled.

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@arevan: We got chased all over the Caribbean on Carnival Conquest by Hurricane Ivan. We had to hug the coast of Mexico so we could get to shore if it turned toward us, and one by one all our ports of call were canceled as the hurricane hit them and crushed them. We couldn't fuel up so they had to pull in the water wings, and that gigantic boat was wallowing around like our little cabin cruiser used to when I was a kid. I have a picture taken from Deck 4 maybe 50" off the water with a wave curling up over the rail. Not only were most passengers seasick, most of the crew was unable to report for duty. The place was like a ghost ship. In the end we just visited some unscheduled ports in Mexico, but we got a chance to visit Chichenitza that we would never have otherwise.

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@jnissel: I do, but I doubt they could make a wrongful death lawsuit out of it, as the news reported that when the woman went over the waterfall without benefit of a boat, her life jacket got caught on something and drowned her. Irony, much? It was pretty much a perfect storm of mistakes and bad luck.
1. The river was too rough. The El Ninos has apparently made all the rivers really dangerous that year, and a lot of people drowned that summer.
2. The rafting company tried new rafts without having taken them down the river with only experienced rafters.
3. Of the 11 people on our boat, only Bob, me and the guide had ever been rafting. They didn't distribute experienced people across the 4 boats.
4. After our raft flipped, they should have redistributed us. We were too tired from the adrenaline and the newbies were too freaked out to paddle properly.
5. Our guide was worse than having none at all. I've been rafting a half dozen times and this guy was just awful. TBC

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Longwinded am I:
6. All four rafts were loaded to capacity and the one that sank was over capacity by one.
7. After the raft flipped they should have done a head count both below and above the rapids.
8. I can't believe in this day and age there was no kind of communication device available.

But the fact is that woman was dead as soon as her raft hit ours the second time and flipped. Only the five of us on the river side of the boat could grab people out of the water, which left half of them unprotected at the waterfall. So I doubt the company could be held legally at fault. But I absolutely think the were morally at fault.

Sorry to take so long to reply, I have stomach flu.