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Top 11 Travel Nuisance Tales in 100 Words or Less

Make Your Complaint Count
Travel Nuisance Tales from Our Readers
Airplane Horror Stories Part I and Part II
Post Your Own Travel Nuisance Tales!

Nearly every time we publish a story about some innocent traveler's horrific travel experience, we receive reader mail advising all of us, almost always in these exact words, to "STOP WHINING!"

But at what point does an honest complaint cross the line to qualify as whining, exactly? Does three hours on a tarmac have to stretch to 11 hours before it is no longer whining to comment? I suppose it's all in the eye of the beholder (who's almost always someone who wasn't there!).

But let's grant a few truisms of travel whining:

  • Some "horror" stories are actually mere nuisance tales.
  • Everyone has one of these stories to tell.
  • The stories can go on and on and on (often because the experience gets worse and worse and worse -- travel is unquestionably one of those realms of human endeavor where things usually go fairly well, but when things go badly, they go REALLY badly).
  • Reading long sob stories online is bad for the eyes, spirit and attitude, not to mention your L-5 disk and your carpal tunnel problem.

    None of which makes it any more pleasant to endure said nuisance, but at least we can ask that we tell our stories in an entertaining way. So in the spirit of tolerance, good humor, healthy reading habits, and not least of all brevity, here are my Top 11 Travel Nuisance Tales in 100 Words or Less.

    1. Pre-Dawn JFK: No Buses
    December 27, straight from celebrating the holiday with family, we drive 140 miles to arrive at JFK long-term parking at 4:40 a.m. Temperature: 12 degrees; wind speed: 20 - 30 m.p.h.; wind chill: holy smokes. Airport shuttles: zero. Finally a single bus arrives, and is completely full -- of airport employees.

    Another bus idles next to a fence nearby; travelers stage a siege on the bus, driver shrugs and says "the brakes don't work." Travelers stick noses back under coats and wait -- for 40 minutes, when six buses arrive, all at the same time. (95 words)

    Extra credit kicker: One guy missed the last bus -- we could see him as we left the lot, throwing snowballs to try to get them to stop.

    2. Bubbling Crude, Part 1: Lights Across the Water
    Sitting on the beach, you realize that the lights you're admiring across the water are not cruise ships -- they're oil derricks. And your first pair of clean shorts, which you pulled right out of the suitcase upon check-in after a long travel day -- are covered in tar from sitting on the beach. As are your flip-flops. And as the floor of your room will be very shortly. As will almost everything you own unless you get out of there (which we did). (84 words)

    3. "Your Loogaaj Ees Meesing..."
    ...and will stay missing until you get home, French accent or no. Your revenge: your carry-on on your return flight consists entirely of eight bottles of Spanish red, which you foist on the cabin crew for safekeeping. (37 words)

    4. Front Desk Faux Pas
    Immediately after you check in, you sprint to your room, tear off your grimy travel clothes and get ready for a shower. Meanwhile, the person at the front desk is confused and gives the next person who checks in the same room, with the same key ... leading to nothing less than hilarity for the second group, and fury for you. Say no more. (64 words)

    5. Time Share Shoutout
    You are invited to attend a time share hardsell (which is presented in the invitation as anything but a time share hardsell), and when you politely say no thank you, you didn't know this was a time share offer, the saleswoman has a temper tantrum and kicks you out! (49 words)
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