Travel Nightmares

Having just been through my travel nightmare, that was China. I thought I would share my Top 5 worst travel experiences, and add in a little competition to show I’ve still got my sense of humour.

1. Trapped in an inescapable travel nightmare

China Overland

Just a few weeks ago I suffered my worst travel experience, ever. I was stuck in China on a group tour with a bunch of selfish, unprepared, thoughtless bikers who didn’t understand the word compromise. Combined with massive driving days, and extreme weather conditions, getting caught in the middle of some of China’s worst storms in years didn’t help either. The icing on the cake was when one of the bikers had an accident, and had to be airlifted out of the country for a replacement hip operation. Fortunately he was o.k but it screwed up the rest of the itinerary. 35 days in a group situation, through incredible tough conditions, was both physically and mentality tougher than any journey I’ve ever attempted. That fact that I was already 70 days into a 250 day overland vehicle journey made it even more challenging.

If I was to describe my worst travel nightmare. It would be, being stuck in a bad group situation that I couldn’t escape. This was exactly what it was. Fortunately time heals wounds, and you start to remember the positives, while forgetting the negatives. You also tend to wear the experiences as a badge of honour. It stays ‘I took on all the challenges and set backs, and I survived!!’

If you would like to read the full story, here is the 3 part series on China:

China Part 1 – Unhappy Campers, Bike Wankers and Butt Spankers

China Part 2 – The Great Wall of China, The Storm, and The Accident

China Part 3 – The Slow Road to Happiness, The Flood, and The Great Chinese Dumpling Challenge

2. When experiencing foods of the world, goes wrong!!

Morocco to Amsterdam flight sickness

In April 2011, I had two weddings to attend over a one week period. One was in Marrakech, Morocco and the other in Amsterdam, Netherlands. They were only two days apart so I had to MC at the Marrakech wedding on the Tuesday, and fly to Amsterdam on the Wednesday, in time for the wedding on the Thursday. This required two flights, connecting through Milan airport. I was a little hungover but otherwise in good shape when I departed Marrakech. This however changed drastically on the flight from Milan to Amsterdam. I was hit by a vicious bout of food poisoning.

I went pale and was dry retching on the plane. By the time I got through customs I was positively ghost like waiting on the platform for the train. Finally, on the train into Amsterdam I was sick all over the floor of the train. I was pining for my hotel room. To make matters worse, while I was cleaning myself up in the toilet, the train entered the city station and promptly went straight back out to the airport, before I could gather my wits to get off. After a train ride to the airport and back I was finally able to get a taxi to my hotel. I spend the next 12 hours moving between the recovery position in bed, and the bathroom. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I made it to the wedding the following day, just.

To this day I am deeply suspicious of the pizza I had for lunch in Milan airport.

3. Partying to hard and playing the price!! 

Hogmanay by bus – 12hrs with the hangover from hell

In December 1998, I had just arrived in the UK, at the beginning of my big overseas experience. I headed to Hogmanay in Edinburgh for the new year celebrations. Coming at the end of my first December silly season abroad, I had been partying hard, before I had even reached Edinburgh. Five days later and only seven hours of sleep, I had to travel back to London on a 12 hour bus ride. It was a brutal introduction into the long distance bus journeys that would define many of my backpacker adventures. I had pretty much lost my voice, and not for the first time, I swore I’d never do anything like that ever again!!

I never did learn that lesson.

4. A kids life in the back seat!!

Getting car sick going over Mt Messenger as a kid

As a kid growing up in New Zealand many of our holidays were around different parts of New Zealand. My folks and I used to travel from New Plymouth to Auckland regularly to visit friends and go boating. I used to hate the drive north, as we would have to cross over Mt Messenger. Every time without fail, I would be sick. This was back in the days when there were no seat belts in the back seat. As we drove the winding roads over Mt Messenger, I would just slide sideways across the back seat until I turned green.

Car journeys were about the least amount of fun I could l think of as a kid. Who would have thought then I’d now be driving 25,000 miles across the planet.

5. Planes, Trains and Automobiles!!

Missing plane back from Ibiza and getting a taxi, just to catch the train back.

Back in 2007 I found myself in Ibiza for the wedding of my girlfriend’s cousin. It was a top weekend. However when it came time to catch out flight back to the UK we struck a problem. We the departure time approached we couldn’t get a taxi. We had made the fatal mistake of calling one ourselves rather than getting the campsite to do it. By the time we finally got one, we were really behind schedule. We arrived at the Easyjet desk 40 minutes before the flight only to be told it closed 45 mins before the flight. No pleading and begging would work. We both had important meetings at work to attend the next day, so failing to get back to London wasn’t an option. Our only solution was to buy a ticket (200 pounds each) to Leeds arriving at 3am, and get the taxi (another 250 pounds) back to London. We arrived back at 7am shattered. The kicker was, I then had to get a train back north to Birmingham for my meeting. Boy, it was a long day!!

At least I got some sleep as I travelled. My girlfriend was so traumatised by our taxi drivers 150km per hour race to London, she didn’t sleep a wink.

Keep calm and be a winner

Super Exciting Competition and Prize

I’d love to hear your worst travel stories or experiences. So please contact me via the contact page with your best stories. There will be a prize for the best story according to me.

I promise to call the winner or a friend/family member of their choosing, from where ever I am in the world on their birthday. The recipient will get a live update on the expedition from somewhere between India and London. From where exactly? Well your guess is as good as mine.

You will have until the end of the expedition for the call to take place. The expedition is schedule to finish back in London on January 11th 2014.

Closing date for submissions is: Friday 13th September 2013

p.s Remember to let me know if you would prefer me, NOT to use your real name. I will publish the responses after the winner has been selected.

p.p.s To be eligible for this amazing prize you just need to take a moment, to sign up, to follow the blog (that is, if you aren’t already following). Just enter your email address on the top right of any page of the blog, and confirm your email address with the follow up email from WordPress. Easy.

So what is your best, worst travel story?

6 Responses to “My Top 5 Worst Travel Experiences”

  1. William Thomas says:

    mmm, this all seems very tame considering your reputation Mr Beardmore :0
    No mention of lady-boys, no waking up in a ditch, no waking up in hospital or being robbed within three hours of starting a holiday, come on now we now there is more to this story.

  2. I have two fairly bad travel experiences – both involving loosing or temporarily loosing my bags. First time I was on a boat in Thailand on my way to Koh phanang I went to buy a drink came back and my bag bad disappeared. I feared it had been pushed off the side of the boat accidentally. It was my personal luggage bag with everything I really needed in it – passport, money, camera, phone, guide book… I spent the rest of the day in the police station. Teaches you that you actually can live without things and to value what you always have which aren’t possessions. Second time was totally my fault, I ended up doing that classic (and rather silly) thing the night before going on holiday where you finish work and go out on the piss. Ended up having a brilliant night but was rather hungover the next day and left my bag on the plane by mistake. Whoops. I was at Geneva airport where the customer service team were particularly unhelpful. I then spent that day and the following day stressing and taking trains to and from the airport to pick up my bag. Great way to start a holiday! I have some other stories too, but what’s funny about all of these is that you realise that unless you are actually in danger, nothing is really that bad and you get through all of them being able to look back and smile and hopefully learn from you experiences. Best of luck with your expedition 🙂

    • Great stories Sophie. I agree that most problems we have are first world problems that aren’t really that bad at all.

      Congrats on completing the Ironman (IronWoman) event. I take my hat off to you. Awesome effort.

  3. Oh dear, just realised I’ve missed the deadline. Actually, it’s the deadline’s fault, being Friday 13th of course. I have too many travel woes to tell, but here’s one I’m happy to share…I’ll keep it short.
    I fell off a big glacier, Franz Josef, NZ. 15 meters. (50ft) I should have died. I didn’t. I bounced a little, rolled some more, ripped the skin off my arm from elbow to wrist. Cracked my heel bone. Stopped bouncing and rolling 3 feet short of another, higher, killer drop, 40 + meters. I was lucky, no doubt. I even heard the guide say out loud, “I can’t believe he’s alive!!” Read the full story here-


  1. Readers Stories – Worst Travel Experiences Competition | Big O's Adventures - […] Each of the winners will receive a call from me, from the road sometime before I the end of…

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