The Worst Decisions Travelers Make on Vacation
What is it about traveling that causes us to do things we wouldn’t do at home, from the embarrassing to the stupid to the just plain inappropriate? Like last year, when my husband Jonathan and I were traveling in Namibia and tried to get a waterfront table at the top restaurant in the town of Swakopmund. Suddenly, Jonathan blurted out that it was our anniversary — it wasn’t — and the next thing you know, the kind waitstaff was falling all over themselves to make our “anniversary” special. I still cringe!
A (safe) mountain pass in Slovenia (Photo: Ben Jarman/Flickr)
And then there are the not-so-smart decisions. My friend Tammy and I were on a road trip in Slovenia and decided that we could translate the road sign en route to a mountain path. We were sure it said “drive slowly.” It actually said that the road was closed because of avalanches. Suddenly, we were traversing a narrow, crumbling road in the dark, with no way to turn around.
We reached out to Yahoo Travel’s writers to find out about their worst decisions. Some of them might make you laugh. Some of them will surprise you. We’d love to hear about your worst decisions. Tweet us #worstdecision on @YahooTravel.
This dog does not like your accent (Photo: Thinkstock)
The Bark is Worse Than Its Bite
When traveling I love to explore early in the morning as the city is waking up. Once in Paris I saw this gorgeous dog on the street. I said,” Bonjour puppy.” The dog bit me! His owner, baguette in hand, explained: “He does not like your accent.” I said, “Well I don’t like yours, lady!” I felt mean … but my hand hurt. -Julie Earle-Levine
Related: Hitchhiking in Italy: The Worst Travel Decision I’ve Ever Made (Shocker, I Know!)
What would you do to get into business class? (Photo: Thinkstock)
How about the time I checked in for a friend and me and there was only one upgrade to business class and I took it and pretended it had just fallen that way? -Reggie Nadelson
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I got a tattoo midway through a three-week trip to Bora Bora. After that, I couldn’t go in the ocean or go in the sun, meaning I could do nothing I had planned for the rest of the trip. Instead, I sat in my room watching CNN (this was pre-WiFi) and drinking copious amounts of bottled water. I’m still glad I have the tattoo, though. -Ann Abel
Waxing on vacation — a good idea or not? (Photo: Thinkstock)
Wax On, Wax Off
I was traveling in the Mediterranean for three weeks with girlfriends and by that point our razors were worn out and we were desperate to maintain, so we all agreed to get waxes at this random woman’s house in Mykonos. My friend went first and said how wonderful of an experience it was. I went in all confident — and it was horrible. The two women were strategizing over how to handle me, and I walked out bruised and scabbed. -Jordi Lippe
When it comes to your pet, sometimes a little white lie goes a long way (Photo: Thinkstock)
I was on a cross-country flight with my (otherwise well-behaved) cat that was meowing incessantly. Despite the vet-prescribed tranquilizer, she continued to howl. As you can imagine, my fellow passengers were not amused. And while I believe that karma is king, I was at my wit’s end and shouted out, “MY GODFORSAKEN CAT HAS CANCER!” She does not. I took her final tranquilizer with an airplane-sized bottle of vodka, and fell asleep to the sound her wails. -Anne Roderique Jones
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The beauty of Vietnam’s Tam Coc might cause you to do something you regret (Photo: Thinkstock)
Thanks, but No Thanks
I hate times I’ve been cheap. Years ago I was in a rowboat in Tam Coc, the “inland Halong Bay.” Two Vietnamese women who muscled the boat from rice paddy to rice paddy had bags of embroidery, but I was so burned out I refused even to look at their beautiful handiwork. And I was probably their only tourist that day. Ugh. -Laurel Delp
Bribing your way to a better seat — we approve (Photo: Thinkstock)
It Was the Wine Talking
A friend in The Netherlands gave me a bottle of nice wine as a parting gift on my last day. Rather than keep it and check my bag, I used it to bribe the ticket agent in return for priority boarding and a seat in the emergency row. It worked! -Matt Bell
Related: Bribes On A Plane: How to Make Nice With Your Fellow Passengers When Your Baby Goes Insane
Flirting can go a long way (Photo: Thinkstock)
I’ll Take Two
I flirted ruthlessly with a waiter and promised to go on a date with him (and avoided him the rest of the trip) just to get a discount on my bill because I didn’t realize the restaurant would be so expensive. -Jennifer Billock
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Cheesesteak — the ultimate snack! (Photo:Kim Scarborough/Flickr)
What’s for Dinner?
I think stopping for a 4 p.m. cheesesteak before a three-dinner night in Philadelphia was as dumb as it gets. Still made it to third dinner, my first visit to Zahav — one of my favorite restaurants. -Andy Wang
Related: 5 Cities, 15 Food Trucks: We’ve Got the Best Meals on Wheels
What’s appropriate on a cruise? (Photo: Thisnkstock)
Hijinks on the High Seas
I was 18 and taking my first cruise with my family. Our very attractive dining room server invited me down to the crew bar (this was back in the day when such a thing was possible). A few drinks later, the suggestion was made that a nearby utility closet would be more “private.” It was —until the fire alarm sounded and several fire fighters burst in upon us, sending me back to my cabin and the wait person to unemployment. -George Hobica
When a hotel pillow menu goes wrong (Photo: Thinkstock)
What’s on the Menu?
Once I was staying at an unnamed hotel in Portland, OR, and some friends came over for a slumber party. It started innocently enough by requesting a few extra bathrobes, but soon we found out there was a ‘pillow menu.’ We couldn’t help ourselves and ordered one of each kind for everyone in the room — about eight of us, total. I’m sure the front desk was cursing us by the time almost 40 pillows had been sent up to the room over the course of the night! We made sure to tip well upon check-out. -Alex Schechter
Related: What If… You Get Injured While Traveling
Would you buy a rug at Moscow’s flea market? (Photo: Rich Bowen/Flickr)
Let’s Sweep This One Under the Carpet
How about the time I “forgot” the muddy carpet from the Izmailovsky flea market in Moscow, rolled up in the bathtub? It was cheap and I got caught up in the moment, but once I brought it back to my hotel room, I realized what it was: an impulse purchase, and one I regretted. -Marcia DiSanctis
Beware of critters on vacation (Photo: Thinkstock)
This Trip Really Bites
A few years back my husband and I were on a romantic, remote vacation when he was stung by a scorpion. He had to be carried down a mountainside and rushed by boat to the nearest doctor for the antidote. He was OK but it wasn’t exactly the memorable getaway we’d had in mind. -Claudine Zap
Related: What if … You Have a Terrible Breakup on Vacation?
Seville, so seductive you will sneak out of a bar (Photo: Thinkstock)
Hasta La Vista, Baby
I was in Seville, Spain, hanging out with some new friends made at the hostel. We’d been out for tapas and beers and while getting to know each other, one of our group so clearly didn’t get along with the rest of us and couldn’t catch the hint. At the bar, we one-by-one made excuses to leave, to the bathroom, the bar, or to make a call. And each of us just never returned. With such limited time to explore a new place, we didn’t want to spend it with someone whom we weren’t enjoying the company. -Adam Groffman
Lesson learned: don’t fly while sick (Photo: Thisnkstock)
Sick of It
When I was 21, I flew with a head cold on the way from Philadelphia to Japan to visit my sister who was working in Tokyo. Needless to say, my ears were so clogged, I puked all over the plane. -Allison Weiss Brady
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