When sh*t hits the fan: travel problems


Like many, I’m guilty of filtering my life on social media.

I mean everyone does it, and to be honest there’s no shame in it – I think it’s a good thing!

Goodness knows, I don’t want to be bombarded on social media with crappy photos from your day-to-day life. Please only loop me in on stunning holiday photos, cute new ZARA outfits and whatever interesting (totally ‘grammable) food you ate on the weekend.

(Notice, I didn’t say ‘baby pictures’. Notice again, I pointed this out to make it even clearer than not mentioning it at all.)

Moving on.

The point of THIS post, is that unfortunately travel is not always this carefree journey, full of incredible sunsets, refreshing cocktails, smooth flights and gorgeous resorts, as an Instagram feed might have you believe.

Things go wrong all the time.

People just choose not to share about the clouds that stopped them viewing the northern lights in Iceland, the infection they got from coral in Costa Rica, the non-stop rain in Thailand, or the Greek resort that didn’t look anything like the pictures online.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of travel problems, which is why I always buy travel insurance – I actually don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t. For example, here’s some of the travel problems I’ve faced…

Location: Las Vegas, NV. USA
Problem: Lost passport



I’ve actually mentioned before how I lost my passport in Vegas after a big (and I mean BIG) night out. Long story short, I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday and got completely carried away in the amazingness that is, Vegas. It was bound to happen really.

Luckily I had fate on my side, and it turned out the NZ Consulate was in Santa Monica – where we were already booked to spend the last few days of our holiday. This made getting an emergency passport a lot easier than it would have been, had I been in one of the other 49 states – or even just a different Californian city.

Lesson learnt: Never underestimate Vegas… and take an alternative ID on out at night.



Location: Auckland, NZ – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Problem: Missed flight


Yeah, I missed an international flight…whoops. What’s even more embarrassing is that I was working for a travel company at the time. Like, what an idiot.

What happened was my flight was scheduled to leave at like 1am, and so I knew in my mind I had to be at the airport around 11pm, but when working this out, I forgot to change the date in my head. So instead of getting to the airport at 11pm on say the 12th, I planned to get there at 11pm on the 13th…

Fortunately I worked this out the morning of the 13th – obviously too late to get my original flight, but not too late for the flight that was leaving at the time I’d had in my head all along. A few tears and several hundred dollars later and I was off to Vietnam – thanks insurance!

Lesson learnt: Always double check your itinerary and book travel insurance.



Location: Madrid, Spain
Problem: Phone pick-pocketed


Unfortunately pickpockets in Spain aren’t unusual. Actually I did pretty well, considering I was in Spain for a good 5 months before it happened – and it was bound to happen.

Finally on a night out celebrating a friends birthday, I forgot to constantly keep my hand on my bag (what should be compulsory habit for those in Spain). Nek minute: bag open, phone gone.

All connection to friends and family gone. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal – but at the time I was broke, new to Madrid, couldn’t speak Spanish and my phone was pretty much my life line – so it was rather shite for me. Luckily insurance saved me again, with a pay out a few weeks later, allowing me to buy a new phone.

Lesson learnt: I actually stopped taking my phone out at night in Madrid all together – advice I still recommend to friends visiting Spain. And I learnt the importance of backing up all contacts and photos to the almighty cloud.



Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Problem: Bed bugs


I’ve written about my trip to Morocco before, it was awesome – BUT there were some things that were pretty average too. The worst part by far, being the bed bugs my friend and I picked up at a shitty riad.

What made these worse was the ‘soothing ointment’ I got for the bites was a fluorescent red colour. Meaning that in a lot of my Moroccan photos I look like I’ve come straight from a paintball fight.

Lesson learnt: The cheapest accommodation is cheap for a reason, and red bed bug ointment will stain white clothes.


So they’re a few of the common travel problems I’ve had. Believe me, there’s been others. Have you had any of these? or what problems have you faced on your travels?


  1. Haha! There are always some tough times while travelling, but they make the best stories! This post has inspired me and I may write one like this too! While also linking back to yours, of course!

  2. Love seeing the less-than-stellar side of travel – makes me feel a bit better about myself & my own mishaps!

  3. You poor thing! What a mixture of unfortunate circumstances. I have a small motorbike accident in Thailand, the cheap bike just slide out and I ended up with some wicked scratches and cuts, because I wasn’t wearing the right clothing. Luckily I was near a hospital where I was and in Thailand it was relatively cheap for a visit, but the lesson I learnt was wear the right gear. So next time its jeans, a long sleeve top and gloves!

  4. I’ve had bed bugs twice now and that seems to be the worst of it. Thankfully we never had passports or anything else lost just cancelled credit cards by the banks choice rather then our own.

  5. Absolutely love this. And so true about the Instagram filter! I haven’t posted any photos about the things that went wrong.

  6. Ahh I really, really enjoyed this!! I agree it’s a good thing to filter yourself on social media…who wants a constant moaner on their timeline? But it’s so refreshing to see even a seasoned traveler like yourself has encountered problems.
    Last year, although we weren’t too many hundred miles away, it was our first time at CDG Airport Paris and we were told our flight had been over booked (despite having our seats booked for 9/10 months) the staff were awful with us and it was so scary!

    But yeah, tangent diverted, I enjoyed this a lot! haha

  7. This is totally my sort of post! I’ve been in hospitals while travelling on almost every continent I’ve visited!

    Never ever leave home without travel insurance!

  8. I totally like that post! And I’m happy that I have been lucky in my trips so far!
    But.. still.. I have a few stories too. I was in France waiting for my train…taking pictures with my friend… on the wrong platform. The train just never arrived.. I wondered why. But we got a nice shot of us with our train on the right platform in the background! Or that time where some random people started to follow me in Turkey…

  9. How lucky it worked out with the NZ consulate in Santa Monica! I thought the red on your arms in Morocco was some horrid rash at first. Glad it was just the ointment, at least!

  10. Ok you’ve almost scared me into getting regular travel insurance lol. We don’t usually travel with it but made an exception during our 2 months in the USA… better safe than sorry there!

  11. A very important topic. About the case in Madrid. That’s why I have empty pockets, ALWAYS. I keep all my stuff in the special bag which is very hard to open even for me 🙂 I wish you safe travels, Liz.

  12. Damn those were some pretty bad ones :/
    Till now I was mostly lucky…
    In Malaysia I was at a beautiful island with no more then 30 euro, didn’t make it to the atm and kind of forgot that there were no atms on the island either xD I had enough money for the hostel, but food was limited to pot nuddles…
    Otherwise bad luck with the weather a couple of times, so I was stuck at the airport for a day and or my luggage was late…ohh and once I had the bed bug issue too, but in my case it was in a Hostel in Rome 🙂
    When I am travelling I am already expecting a couple of disasters to happen, things never work out as planned 🙂
    But fingerscrossed that I can keep on avoiding any major problems 🙂 and I am kind of considering the travel insurance now 😉

  13. Yeah, I think having our rental car broken in to and ALL luggage stolen 30mins after picking it up takes the cake…. but I too have missed a flight after a BIG night out! I celebrated my 25th birthday in London, didn’t get home until 6am….was meant to catch a flight to Germany for WORK at 10am…train was down, I missed the 1 flight that day. So (possibly still drunk) I just caught “any flight to Germany”, and caught 7 different trains to get to the small town I needed to be in. It took me nearly 24 hours to make it there…and I arrived about an hour before I would of if I had just stayed another night in London and caught the flight the next day. Panic + the thought of explaining to my boss why I missed my flight = STUPID travel!! haha!

  14. We missed our first flight a few months ago and it also was at 1:00 AM. We had our ticket out of Indonesia booked for months and had forgotten the time. The day before we glanced at our ticket mistook AM for PM. Felt a little silly showing up at the airport half a day late for our flight.

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