No matter how much you plan for a trip or how many hours you spend researching your next destination, there are going to be times when it simply doesn’t live up to your expectations.
For whatever reason, you get there or you get yourself into a certain situation somewhere where you think, “Wow, it was a mistake to come here,” and then you’re left trying to figure out how to get out of there as fast as possible. Learn from fellow travelers’ mistakes so you don’t have to go through it yourself.
How Creative Can A City Planner Really Be?
“Qatar. I had a 24-hour or so layover in the ad-hoc Doha airport on my way to Tanzania. It’s a very cool looking city, but it reminds me of something someone would build in Minecraft when they’re playing on creative with no stakes.” — Reddit / ConneryFTW
The Beach Day Is Canceled
“Daytona Beach. It was pretty disgusting, with garbage all over the beach, people smoking in the public bathroom, and a really creepy guy in a speedo that wouldn’t stop staring at my kids. We spent 10 minutes there, packed up and left.” — Reddit / higbee77
The Magic Has Faded
“Disney World with my grandkids. I practically grew up there but hadn’t been in over 20 years. I had no idea it would be nothing but a huge traffic jam of strollers and screaming children.” — Reddit / convextech
Maybe This Was More About Poor Hotel Choice
“The biggest let-down was Hollywood, California. It was…seedy. The whole place was just this false, sickening, soulless mess. I stayed in a grotty hostel—I slept clutching my possessions—and got up and got to the Greyhound station as early as I could. My only memory of LA was just wanting to be anywhere else. I hated everything about the city.” — Reddit / mrcchapman
Time To Hike Your Way Back
“I once took a wrong turn in Hong Kong and ended up hiking up this long, winding road into the hills that led to a Chinese Army base. Walking up to the gates for directions did not get a friendly response.” — Reddit / mrcchapman
No Hike Is Worth A Potential Disappearance
“Cordoba, Argentina. I was stranded there for a week due to a bus strike. Packs of wild dogs everywhere. Dirty streets. Tried to go on a hike at one point, but an old lady stopped us because people had been disappearing on that trail. We ended up staying in our hostel most of the time, and actually had some great times with the Israeli travelers that were stranded with us.” — Reddit / pumpkin_pasties
Stick To The Beaches, Not The City
“Avoid Manila at all costs. If possible, stay in the airport until your connecting flight to someplace else.” — Reddit / DeluxeTea
“I’ve been to the Philippines about 5 times and must say the people are lovely and I’ve always had a good time… but the first time I landed in Manila, I wanted to go back to the airport and leave ASAP…” — Reddit
Not The Roman Holiday You Planned
“We just visited Rome and while I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a mistake, I was very surprised at the amount of people trying to swindle tourists. Even if you indicated you weren’t interested they were still scarily persistent and I was constantly afraid we’d get pickpocketed or mugged.” — Reddit / narwhalambassador
Bermuda, Jamaica, I Wanna Take You… Home
“Bermuda. I went last year for work and was there for about a week. I saw most of the country (it’s small), ate at a lot of different places, interacted with most of the culture.
“I found it to be nothing more than a boring watering hole for rich British tourists. There is literally nothing to do on that island except drink and eat subpar overpriced food.” — Reddit / elizabeaver
The Waffles Aren’t Motivation Enough
“Brussels. I have a friend who works there at the European Parliament so go there relatively often. Each time I think I might have misjudged it the last time and we try other places, both touristy and local. Nope. Expensive, dirty almost as much as Naples without the charm.” — Reddit / michaelisnotginger
The Reviews Are There To Help You
“I was at a restaurant in Athens and me being naive ignored the Google reviews warning tourists to stay away. I ordered the chef special and started to regret it when I heard the familiar beeping of microwaves from the kitchen. I was hungry enough to not care, but what I was served will forever remain burned into my brain.
“It was an abomination of food resembling a face with paprika for cheeks, tomato slices for eyes and a lemon slice for a nose, all above a small piece of meat buried underneath molten cheese.” — Reddit / TheOnlyZ
No Love For You, Poipet
“Poipet, Cambodia. It’s basically an awful trap that was built to milk cash out of anyone trying to enter Cambodia by land from Bangkok. In my case, I was taking a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap en route to Angkor Wat. I got trapped in Poipet for a few hours and I can’t remember a lot of angrier days in my life.” — Reddit / ebimbib
If You Feel Like You Should Turn Around, You Probably Should
“Crossing over into Juarez from El Paso. Well, I should back up, El Paso was that first mistake, that city is just dirty.
“Now, we walked over to Juarez to simply say we went to Mexico. The scary part was the graffiti everywhere that said ‘Kill Whitey.’ Immediately turned around. It took us two minutes to walk into Mexico and an hour to walk back into the States.” — Reddit / zidanetribal
Trust Your Gut
“I went to Shanghai on business, and met up with an ex-pat to have some drinks. Three beers later, we are off to find a new place that had great beer, so says the ex-pat. We end up going to this sewer/basement that is obviously a dance club/Russian drug den. I remember thinking to myself, ‘… and he was never seen or heard from again.’ I noped, and left to find a cab to go back to my hotel.” — Reddit / Insert_Coin_P1
Grab Your Pizza To Go
“Naples, Italy. It’s literally a pile of trash. Like, trash piled three feet along every road and sidewalk. It’s just a mountain of trash. We noped out of there immediately and went to Sorrento.” — Reddit / mostlyemptyspace
Explore The City Or Go See A Movie?
“Glasgow is really dumpy. I went on a two-week trip to several places in the British Isles without doing a whole lot of research. Just booked the travel, accommodations, and a few things I really wanted to do. But generally, I like to travel without too much of a plan so I can explore.
“In Glasgow I wound up just going to see Spider-Man: Homecoming.” — Reddit / ONE_GUY_ONE_JAR
Nothing Says “Relaxing Vacation” Like Scientology
“I accidentally wandered into a Scientology-backed
psychology psychiatry museum in LA. I knew I had to escape as soon as the video at the start of the tour began.” — Reddit / gomiyade
Thanks For The Vote Of Confidence
“Initially, Kenya. When we arrived at the airport, after security, we wanted to see if we can order an Uber, but there was no Wi-Fi from the airport, as we had hoped. There were military guys around it and one came and asked us what is the problem, seeing we walked around searching for Wi-Fi.
“Told him we try to get a cab to the city and he said something like ‘you don’t have an arrangement for the transportation? Big mistake,’ and left.” — Reddit / HowToFlyForDummies
It’s Tiring To Always Be The Scam Target
“I live in Tokyo and my company sent a team of us to Bangkok for some business. We had a few days to ourselves and ended up going on a few highly rated tours.
“I was the only non-Japanese and the only English speaker. So I was constantly bombarded and singled out by hucksters and street vendors. The tuk-tuk drivers were the most aggressive. It ended up being mentally exhausting getting singled out and targetted for 7 days.” — Reddit / TCsnowdream
You Should Have Kept Driving
“Flint, Michigan. Drove through on our way to Indiana, and wow, that place is in dire straights. The main road? Was a potted cobblestone street more akin to driving over a pile of bricks than a road. Every business along this street was closed save maybe two, and a group of day drinkers had set up chairs on the lawn of what looked like a government office.” — Reddit / Daenkneryes