Tamz Explores

When Travels Go Wrong!! Three Travelers Share Their Worst Travel Moments

Oh Travel, how much we love that word. Many of us live our lives around Travel and the many adventures that unfold during our journeys. However, like two sides of a coin, there are bound to be certain misadventures too that end up as unwanted blips and sometimes even ruin the experience for travelers. Recently, I had more than a couple of these mishaps that halted my travel plans (for now). In this post, three bloggersBernard Tan, Anne Slater-Brooks and yours truly – collaborate to share individual experiences of the time when our travels went wrong.

Bernard Tan @ Bernard The Traveller : The infamous Thai gem scam


Photo credit @ bernardthetraveller.com

I was approached by a ‘friendly’ Thai guy claiming to have worked as a teacher in Singapore, while navigating myself in Bangkok. He had mentioned that there is a temple that is opened today only and we should visit it. He stopped a tuk-tuk by the road and negotiated the price to 20 Baht. The tuk-tuk brought us to the lucky Buddha temple, at the temple we met some Thais that initiated a chat with us and ask us to head to the Thai export center.

While at the Thai export center, we purchased some small blue sapphire, and it cost us about SGD 70 after discount. The gems that we bought were worthless. We also gave the tuk-tuk more than the 20 baht that was expected from us! We were considered lucky, as others have been scammed thousands of dollars.

Read more stories and travel tips from Bernard on his blog BernardTheTraveller. Follow Bernard’s travels on Facebook and Twitter.

Anne Slater-Brooks @ TravelTheGlobe4LessNarrowly avoiding a riot in Tunis

Tunisia Beach

Photo credit @traveltheglobe4less.boardingarea.com

The beachfront killings just a few days earlier seem to have angered the police as they systematically chase down pop up stalls, unleashing ferocious blows on those in their way, with no regard for age, sex or circumstance. We see elderly ladies thrown to the ground and trampled in the melee, pregnant women pushed aside and the growing panic of the more vulnerable.

I’m oblivious to my husband’s unease so intent am I on taking everything in, unfamiliar stores, scents of incense, street food and garbage, the occasional glimpse of a whitewashed architectural gem beckoning to me, until suddenly he grabs me and urges me to run. ‘What?’ ‘Why?’ I shriek to no avail as he drags me away from an oncoming surge of people suddenly heading furiously in our direction. We dash around a corner, flip flops slapping the floor, adrenaline pumping as we fend off bodies jostling us. The panic is electric, as though a stray spark could ignite some unthinkable violence like a scene from Lord of the Rings.

We come to a stop in an oasis of calm where my ashen husband fills me in on events which I completely failed to witness. It seems we narrowly managed to avoid becoming embroiled in a Tunisian riot, gangs throwing bricks at a police cavalcade ahead, and locals of all age and race trying desperately to get away. Shaken we leave to return to the sanctuary of our hotel unharmed but a little more aware of how quickly things can get out of hand!

Read more Anne’s journey and read her precious travel tips at TravelTheGlobe4LessFollow her travels on Facebook and Twitter

Tamshuk @ Tamz Explores : Debit card cloned, Snakebite and Severe sickness in Thailand


Photo credit @ Tamz Explores

I had set off for my travels in mid-June with a concrete plans and finances for the next 5 months. But today, I am back home in India as I write this post thinking about the mishaps I had in Thailand, especially Bangkok. On my first three days in Bangkok, my debit card got cloned and I lost more than 90% of my money  to an anonymous cash withdrawal with my card details. This I realized on the day I was leaving for Chiang Mai. Till today I am struggling to get any portion of that lost money back from any of the two banks.

Chiang Mai was really nice to me though with some great food at the night markets, lovely friends and those beautiful temples. Oh, I got bit by a snake right when I jumped into the river after a white-water rafting session. The availability of a snakebite kit saved any further “burns” for me. But the final blow came when I made another four day run to Bangkok to get myself a social visa for Indonesia – this, after I had spent a month in Indonesia using the Visa exemption facility. Already having an on and off cold, I landed in Bangkok with plans to fly off to Jakarta after four days. But, as destiny had other plans, I got sick real bad and at the end of day four when I was at the airport to fly off, I was declared “Not fit to fly” by the airport medical team. So, there ended my travel plans for now and I flew back to India!!

The purpose of this post is to highlight the fact that not all goes well when we are traveling. Long-term or even usual vacations always have the possibilities of being bitten by unfortunate incidents. With the joy of traveling and visiting different places, comes the risk of getting unintentionally involved in bad situations. Having said that, will we change the way we travel? No! Will I go back to Bangkok? Absolutely!

Collaboration Post

42 thoughts on “When Travels Go Wrong!! Three Travelers Share Their Worst Travel Moments

  1. Roberta

    Oh god!! These kinds of stories are what make people doubt if they should travel. It is good to share them so people know what to be aware of while traveling.

  2. Aditi

    I think, travels going wrong is a part of traveling and learning and every traveler goes through some mishap. I’ve been through it by not getting my visa, being mugged in turkey and stuff. But this yet doesn’t stop us from traveling. It’s a sad thing that happen to you with your debit card, these scams are so unfortunate.

  3. Tae

    Oh wow, I’ve heard and met people who fell for the gem scam in Thailand – apparently it’s super common!

    Horrible about the violence in Tunisia 🙁

  4. wanderingwagarschristina

    Thanks for sharing these! It is always good to be aware of possible things that can go wrong during one’s travels, especially scams. Tamz, we had a similar experience when we were in Naples, Italy. Instead of our debit card, our credit card was cloned. So many unauthorized purchases! Lucky for us, all charges were reversed on our card. A sincere good luck in getting your money back soon!

  5. Alberto C.

    Wow that wasn’t the best experience you can hope for when travelling! Fortunately nothing has ever gone too wrong for me while on holidays. Probably the worst one was a stomach bug we caught in Turkey that had us in bed for most of our holidays, but at least it wasn’t anything too serious!

  6. Judson L Moore

    I had similar export scams run on me when I went to India. It happened everywhere I went in the country. Usually it was rugs and stonework. Maybe “scam” is too harsh of a word for what I experienced, as much as “forced factory tour and sales pitch” at the end of every tour.. there was no way around it. The craftsmen were brilliant sales people and really put on the hard sale. I quickly just came up with my narrative (which has the benefit of also being mostly true) that I live out of a backpack, have a strict 1-in-1-out policy on anything I buy and that, no, I do not have a home address where the products can be mailed. They usually moved to argue that I should buy some nice things for the lovely ladies in my life.. I would say that there were none, so then they would suggest to buy my mom a gift, and that is when I would lie and say she was dead (sorry mom!) but that also usually ended the negotiations and I was allowed to leave without having made a purchase.

  7. Traveling Bytes

    All these experiences were awful. However, there is a silver lining to the stories as well. Telling them later would be so entertaining. Of course, there is a huge difference between losing most of your money (I am so sorry that it happened to you :(. Hopefully, you might still be able to recover your losses? ) and having a lesson learned from dealing with unscrupulous “guide” in Bangkok.

  8. Ami Bhat

    How terrible. Yes, the incidents go to show how vulnerable sometimes you are and how travel can sometimes go wrong. Thanks for sharing these for these are some learnings for all of us.

  9. Jenni

    These stories make you realise how careful you do need to be whilst travelling but luckily there are more good stories than bad. And even though these things can be traumatic at the time it gives you a story to tell. Safe travels !!

  10. Komang Ayu

    wherever we go ought to be careful because there are bad people around us. do not be too trusting with new people you know.

  11. Tom

    Every traveler has at least a near miss with some disaster eventually. We should all remember that it happens to all of us, including the scams that make us feel stupid.

  12. Janine Good

    Gosh, those are crazy incidents! It is so important to research a destination and plan accordingly, especially if the destination is out of your comfort zone. I am glad you all are okay in the end!

  13. piernirandara

    Thank you for sharing a post on a topic that may be harder to talk about! Lots of people only mention when things go right – but it’s just as important to plan for contingencies 🙂

  14. Stella the Travelerette

    These stories are terrible! Having a debit card cloned is my worst nightmare! I don’t know what I’d do if I lost all my money when I was traveling. For me, my worst travel story was getting caught in a city on lock down (Munich) because a shooter was on the loose.

  15. sensubhadrika

    Well, every travellor has to go through something bad during their travels. I am sorry to hear about these but i think that they are experiences. As travel nurtures a person, these mishaps too nurtures them . 🙂

  16. Liana

    I love learning about travel experiences because when you wander around a city or the world, there’s so much that can happen, and that you don’t expect at all. When you’re encountering misaventrues, on the moment you’re just so pissed, but it’s such good memories! I had many bumps onto my travel journey, but actually, now I cherish them!

  17. indrani

    I had a similar experience in Bangkok. The hotel guys had advised us to take public transport, but we wanted to save time in the process ended up spending more money 🙁

  18. Shounak

    Yes it surely does. I was pickpocketed in Rome and I lost a lot of money. And another time, I was stuck in a stormy sea in the boat and was praying for my life

  19. John Rodgers

    Travel can be really hard sometimes. We have not really had any major problems or issues until a trip to Mongolia last month. On our last day there we witnessed a car roll over just in front of us and when we got there the man and lady were weeping over their dead baby. A hard thing and yet we had to go on after about an hour when the police an ambulance finally came. Travel is dangerous but probably not more so than if you were home.

  20. Dunja

    I had some bad experiences too, sadly that’s a possibility every time you travel. We need to be really careful. Story about avoiding riot is Tunis is the scariest one, it’s unbelievable how fast things can get crazy!

  21. Me-An Clemente

    I’m sorry to hear about your travel situation in Bangkok. And that’s the spirit! You don’t let those circumstances discourage you from traveling again. It’s truly inevitable that mishaps happen in traveling. However, these unfortunate circumstances are what shapes us into stronger persons that we didn’t imagine we’ll be. Praise God that I still haven’t encountered those kinds of traveling mishaps, but I’ll learn from your experiences to be extremely vigilant.

  22. Amazing Life Daily

    Scams happen everywhere. Being caught in an unfortunate situation where serious harm could have been incurred happens everywhere. Tam, you could have your card cloned in India too. You get sick in India too. So, yes, go travel again as soon as you are fit!

    Mishaps are just… that. Nothing more but lessons learned.

    http://www.amazinglifedaily.com #AmazingLifeDaily

  23. Berlin

    As travels can be real exciting and fun, we cant dismiss the fact that it can also cost us big bucks. A number of natives can be real scammer and i really just cant understand why the need to be so dishonest and be such an opportunist.

  24. Sydney Fashion Hunter

    Great stories from all the bloggers. Travel surely is an adventure which doesn’t always go to plan. While it might not seem so at the time the things that go wrong always give you the best stories to tell. I hope you get your money back.

  25. Gemma

    Things always go wrong when you’re traveling long enough… it’s sad but true, and all we can hope for is that nothing leaves permanent damage, physically or financially! Good luck getting your money back!

  26. Melisa Centino Sanchez

    OMG I’m so sorry about that. Actually I am scared sending important information through fb, email, viber anything specially online. Specially bank account…. Anywhere right now there’s a lot of scammers! But it’s okay only God can punish them. I’m sure there’s more blessings to come pa in your pocket.

  27. Nilyn

    Oh dear I am so sorry to hear about your experience. I would not know how to react if I were in your position I think I would freak out and cry! The cloning and anonymous credit card transactions sound really scary. I hope your feeling a little better now. 🙁

  28. alyssa tuangco

    When traveling to another country we need to always be cautious. I’m sorry that happened to you. We’ve had the same experience once in Bangkok when the taxi driver drove us around in circles instead of straight to our destination. We need to always be alert.

  29. Rowena C

    Oh no! Those are the reasons why I don’t travel alone! I can be persuaded easily and I’d rather pay than find myself lost

  30. Anne Slater-Brooks

    Oh god I am so sorry to hear about your financial situation. How did it happen do you know? I must say I am really cautious when it comes to withdrawing funds checking both the hole where you put the card for any cloning objects and always hiding my pin code. That said I rarely withdraw cash preferring to use my credit card which is then protected by the card insurance. Being bitten by a snake sucks too. I thought I had bad luck travelling as I have had cellulosis, broken collar bone, snapped ACL etc. Hope you get everything sorted soon

    1. Tamz Post author

      Just one of those instances when you become that unfortunate one among a million. The atm machine apparently was rigged to read the card information which was then used to clone the debit card.

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