Amidst the excitement and adventure, there are moments that can make even the most seasoned travelers wish they could disappear into thin air. In this article, we delve into the side of travel that rarely finds its way onto postcards or social media posts – the most embarrassing travel moments.
From language blunders that lead to unexpected situations to comical cultural misunderstandings, these anecdotes remind us that while travel may broaden the mind, it can also provide ample opportunities for a good-natured blush.
1. Oh No, He Didn’t
Don’t you love it when your hotel room cleaner goes that extra mile to make you feel welcome? Unfortunately, the original poster found hers went beyond the realm of service after returning from dinner when she saw a disturbing sight. “My lingerie was splayed out on the bed,” recalls the disturbed customer, who adds that the creepy hotel porter had also laid out “rose petals, a plate of chocolate strawberries, and a bottle of Champagne nearby.”
2. Remove Glasses
When an arriving traveler passed through the eye-scanning machine in U.S. Customs, they felt lost after being told to remove their glasses. “I panicked and said, ‘But now I can’t see it!’ Then, the guy at the machine next to me laughed and hit the ‘take picture’ button for me,” recalls the commenter. “My brain doesn’t work well after a long flight.”
3. I Choo-Choo Choose You
When a hapless tourist found themselves racing to find the train station for their shortly departing train, they flagged down a French couple. However, in their stress, they forgot any French they already knew. “I ran up to this nice couple and yelled, ‘Ooh-ay el choo-choo,” while making the “pull the cord” motion. After pointing them in the right direction, this tourist notes, “They were doubled over laughing the entire time.”
4. Accidental Gatecrashing
A solo traveler recalls boarding a public ferry one day, only to notice everyone “was in white and dressed kind of fancy,” but he figured they were traveling, too. “Then, fifteen minutes into the ride, someone started pouring champagne and passing it around to passengers,” claims the jet setter. “I was impressed with the service on a public ferry.” Only then did she realize she was aboard a private party boat.
5. Tofu Soap
In a weird cultural faux pas, a visitor to Japan remembers sitting in a restaurant with their colleague. The waiter put a “perfectly square piece of tofu” on the table as an appetizer, though neither person knew what it was at the time. “We figured it must be soap to clean our hands before eating, which seemed logical,” he says, “so at the same time, we picked up the tofu and started smashing it into our hands.” The staff and other customers looked on in horror at these strange foreigners’ decorum.
6. Shoe Powder, Indeed!
The next story involves a tourist, a cheap motel, and a container of shoe deodorizing powder. “I accidentally spilled some of it on the desk in the room and tried to wipe some away, but was in a hurry to go to a timed ticket museum,” he explains. “I came back, and the house cleaner had cleaned and left a cut-up straw for me on the desk.” Surely, this deserves a tip for effort?
7. Don’t Bring That Up
A gruesome encounter befell one poor commenter as they waited in the Costa Rica customs line on arrival. After a night of heavy drinking, they vomited in their friend’s scarf, causing a traumatizing scene. “Couldn’t leave the line; nowhere else to vomit. It was awful,” recalls the shell-shocked observer. “Then I had to carry a fabric bag of vomit until I cleared customs.” I would imagine they had to declare the goods.
8. Canadian, Eh?
One hilarious anecdote reveals how dishonesty will sometimes come back to haunt you. An American citizen, worried about Americans’ reputation in Europe, told people she was Canadian. However, a friendly couple got talking to her. “He switches from speaking German to French and asks why I don’t know better French,” she explains. “Then, we have to take out our passports for a ticket check, and he realizes I lied.” According to the poster, they sat silently for hours, and she no longer tells people she is Canadian.
9. What Does This Cord Do?
When using a bathroom in a Milanese restaurant one summer, an unfortunate guest struggled to work out how the toilet flushed. “There was a cord hanging from the ceiling, and having been to countries where that’s how you flush, I pulled it,” says the poor chap. “Turns out it was the emergency help cord, an alarm went off, and staff entered the toilet. Mortifying.”
10. Surfing a Puddle
Aged seventeen, I was learning to snowboard in the French Alps, and I noticed a cute French girl sitting at the bottom of the practice slope who had glanced at me several times. Later in the day, feeling confident in my new-found snowboarding prowess, I rode the slope. There was a melt-puddle gathering at the bottom, so I seized my moment to impress the young babe by surfing the watery chasm. I failed to realize the puddle was an inch deep, and I did a faceplant on impact.
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