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Top 11 Travel Nuisance Tales in 100 Words or Less

6. Your Lucky Night -- or Maybe Not
You request and receive a seat in the exit row, only to board the plane to discover that it is nearly empty. In fact there is exactly one person for each block of seats, so every person on the plane can recline across their entire row. Once airborne, everyone stretches out and gets comfortable, while you discover that the exit row armrests do not move -- so you and you alone sit bolt upright for an entire red-eye. (77 words)

7. May I Buy Another Vowel Please
Elderly couple from the U.K. purchases travel to Sydney, Australia to visit family, but makes a small, minor, inconsequential typo during booking that goes completely unnoticed until they get off the plane in Sidney -- in British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver Island is nice, but heck, it's still another ocean away.... (50 words -- and this isn't my story, but I thought it was too good to omit)

8. Borderline Wakefulness
Before crossing the border into Canada after a long day's drive, you take a 15-minute nap in the border control parking lot. After you wake up, your traveling partner blinks, starts the engine, pulls into the gate and is asked by the border officer: "Where are you from?" Said groggy driver replies, "Actually, I'm originally from California, but now I'm from New York City -- well, I live in New York City, but we're coming from New Jersey..." Long stare from border officer: "Pull over." Empty your entire car, continue on two hours later. (94 words)

9. Domo Arigato, Mr. Cab Driver
From the back seat of a Japanese taxi at 2 a.m., you hear your driver say "oohhhhhh," and watch as his dashboard GPS goes from a road map to a flashing red screen -- all in Japanese (of which you speak about six words, most of them from a Styx song). The light flashes until the next highway exit 80 kilometers away. You take the exit, and the red flash goes to a full-screen flashing X, your taxi grazes a cow, and you end up on someone's lawn to avoid an oncoming truck on a one-way street.

After that, you... (Oops, that's 100 words, sorry -- can't finish the story!)

10. Bubbling Crude, Part 2: Invasion of the Wallet Snatchers
While making your way across North Dakota on a cross-country trip, you learn from your scratchy AM radio that Saddam Hussein has invaded Kuwait. You wake up early the next morning to a 30 percent increase in gasoline prices. You ask a small-town gasoline station owner whether the gas in the tanks under his station was in the ground in Kuwait yesterday and costs more as a result; station owner sighs and replies that every time the oil companies do this to him, he loses a friend in town. (89 words)

11. Rand McNally All Dried Up
You're on a camping trip with a couple of rowing shells, which you try to put in the water regularly, so you check the map for state parks and campgrounds that neighbor lakes and rivers. You pull into a campground in New Mexico well after dark, set up camp and lie down for the night, and in the morning ask the park ranger how to find the lake. "You slept in it," he says with a laugh. "There hasn't been a lake here for 10 years, but it used to be right under your feet." (95 words)

Think these are good? Check out the ones from our readers! And don't forget to post your own on our message boards. Remember, misery may love its own company, but you may as well make us laugh. Just don't forget to use Tools --> Word Count!

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Go Anyway,
Ed Hewitt
Features Editor
The Independent Traveler


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