Funny Travel Mishaps – Perspectives in Finding the Positive Side

At some point there are stressful and challenging travel moments that become funny stories if you’re open to positive perspectives.


The magic of travel mishaps are in the stories that are left to be told at some later time when you can reflect upon the travel incidents and are left with laughter over grimace.

The magic will come if you pack the right attitude.

Sometimes I just pack an “attitude” and I need to ground myself and take a moment to remind myself that trips don’t always go as planned.


African Safari Wildlife Park, Port Clinton, Michigan

Traveling with infants, toddlers, or as a family, by air, car, rail or by RV will always lead even the most well-seasoned traveler along the road of despair at some point in the their journeys. This means that unless you are planning on an Astral Projection trip you will likely encounter some mishaps along the path.

I can’t offer you tips on spiritual travel, as I know nothing about it, but I can tell you where to get the best Cuban coffee and toastada Cubana in Key West. Some say it’s a spiritual experience.


Every traveler has tales to tell and can share the paths of mishaps that include vomit, illnesses, empty airports, delayed flights, pigeons at the luggage carousel, lost luggage, cancelled flights, lost reservations, late-night arrivals, bad rooms, bad directions, bad decisions, cactus, snakes, RZR’s, “this will be fun” and “that will be an adventure” moments along with the simple things… or at least I can share those and more.

Quick Travel Tip:

1. Getting pooped on by a bird is apparently good luck. I must have excellent luck!

On a recent adventure with my kids to Washington, DC, for a long weekend we started our adventure with a delay at the airport.


It was a very long delay that turned into a second delay and then we found out the good news at 9pm that our plane had finally left Atlanta inbound for Minneapolis: Possibly this would have been better news if they were reporting that the plane was actually landing in Minneapolis at 9pm.

We finally made it to our seats for take-off just a bit before midnight and we were feeling pretty confident we had made it through the worst of what the trip could share.

We landed at Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) in the early morning hours and made our way across the airport and to the tram. We were tired and ready to pick up the rental car, drive to the hotel and crash in bed for a short night.


Planning ahead would have meant I checked what time the rental counter closed and had ‘after-hours-direction’ listed on my itinerary for the “just-in-case” moments that arise while traveling. This trip was squeezed-in between too many things going on and the planning took a back seat to other priorities. The lack of planning for those “what if’s” created challenges that didn’t need to be part of the trip.

Quick Travel Tip:

1. Check ahead and see when the car rental counter closes and make sure your phone is charged prior to arrival at your destination.


While in Sedona, Arizona, this past summer we decided to celebrate my daughters birthday by renting a RZR for the afternoon to take in some of the sights that would be more fun in a four-wheeler. “This will be fun,” moment.


We were not heading to grandmas house but we did get lost while trying to follow the map. We spotted a Black-tailed rattlesnake on the side of the road and stopped for a photo. If anyone remembers “Raiders Of The Lost Ark…”

“Snakes… why did it have to be snakes?”

Quick Travel Tip:

1. Rattlesnakes have a strike radius of up to two feet: Don’t stop along the side of the road to take a photo of a rattlesnake.

I bet you’re wondering why?

Luckily, there were no snake bites in that story but my children found it hysterical when the rattlesnake rattled its tail and slithered in my direction. I found myself just shy of astroplaning back into the RZR and driving off in a cloud of red dust.

By the way: Don’t plan on a nice birthday dinner following a day four-wheeling through Sedona unless you like looking like a Fire Ferret… go ahead look one up.

Reservations: Fire Ferret party of three.

Yep, exactly.


Quick Travel Tip:

1. Check yourself in the restaurants bathroom mirror before sitting down for a nice dinner following a day on a four-wheeler in Sedona and skip that photo op too near cactus.


On a return trip from Steamboat Resort for Christmas we flew home on a Delta direct flight out of Haden, Colorado. We were looking forward to our flight home.

Hayden, Colorado, is a small airport and their arrivals and departures do not have jetways; instead you walk the ramp from the tarmac next to the plane. It’s both exciting and exhilarating… unless you are apprehensive and have a fear of flying.

All was perfect in our departure home until we had last-minute seat changes to the back of the plane in order to be seated together.


The back of the plane really isn’t any big deal unless it’s on a B-717-200 as they don’t have windows in the back row, the seats don’t recline and the engine is strapped on the back-side of the plane right where the window isn’t.

Mix the “last-seat” location in the airplane to the conversation by my future pilot/aeronautics-engineering-passioned son who was explaining to my daughter that in this particular plane the back isn’t actually the safest place and in fact he made sure to emphasizes it was the worst possible place you could sit on the entire plane because in an accident the turbine engine would be in your lap.

The conversation going on across the aisle between my children was overheard by the gentleman sitting next to my son.

Remember, when I mentioned that small airports aren’t always so exciting to apprehensive flyers?

Quick Travel Tip:

1. Make sure after getting on your seatbelt when flying you check the seatback for a vomit bag. I guarantee the last row of all B-717-200s won’t have a single one in any of the of the last row of seats.

So, we have your vomit comets, snakes, fire ferrets, cactus, empty and dark car rental hubs and really those are just the tip of the travel iceberg mishaps.

The Old Post Office Restaurant in Door County offers traditional Fish Boils.

Travel writers don’t often focus on the mishaps but there are stories in them that can make some pretty good tales.


From Amtrak derailments on the rail lines ahead causing 18-hour delays to destination resorts having lost reservations on Thanksgiving or driving around lost trying for hours to find an RV park in the middle of the night in Kansas City, Kansas, or almost getting tipped over in a canoe by a very cute manatee in Florida, and even a disgusting bathroom experience at a Flintstones-themed amusement park in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Drive faster to a clean bathroom. My husband always looked for the bright side and found humor everywhere.


I can offer that even with the train mishap, we still arrived at our destination and even on a holiday weekend we were still able to find last-minute accommodations and we finally found the Kansas City, RV park to stop for the night and just before the canoe almost tipped we were each squealing in delight and sometimes, and only sometimes, Porta-Potties are the best options.


Yampa River Botanic Park, Steamboat Springs, Colorado


Plants grow better with a little fertilizer and some rain…

A little positive perspective in your travels will go a long way when you’re facing travel challenges and mishaps and it can be all the difference between having a wasted or terrible trip and a great trip with some funny stories to share in the future.

Happy travels!

Peace Park, Sedona, Arizona

Hiking with a new boot after an accident along the rocks of Lake Superior.


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