Top 10 Worst Things to Happen While Traveling

It’s time.

Today I flee the oppressive 100 degree heat and parched land of Texas for the cool, 70 degree with a chance of rain land of Canadians. Calgary to be exact.


No kids. No husband. No family.

It will be my first Mommy vacation. The first time I go more than twenty-four hours without seeing my children since they came into this world.

I’m giddy.

And sad.

But mostly giddy.

In honor of my trip, here is a Top 10 List cobbled together from my own experiences, twitter, and facebook.

Top 10 Worst Things to Happen While Traveling

10.  Running Out of Gas: While never a fun occurrence, having this happen while you’re loaded up with children makes it even worse.

Worst case: Add in the unfortunate locations of it happening while on the border crossing into Canada on your honeymoon.

Or in the dessert where the nearest gas station runs on a generator and charges twice the going rate. You’re wishing you’d never thought the words “road trip”.

9.  Missing The Last Connecting Flight of the Day: For some, this is a mere bump. For others, particularly those traveling with children, it can evolve into Meltdown Central because of the hoops you have to jump through to reclaim your luggage, find a place to stay, and deal with the dashed expectations of children.

Worst case: Delay is weather related so the airlines don’t give you vouchers for your hotel, as they would with mechanical issues.

8.  Making an Incorrect Connecting Flight: If you happen to fall asleep on a plane connecting with a destination different from your ticket but no one reserved the seats for the second leg, you will wake up as you land 150 miles from your intended destination.

I should be able to avoid this one, given my inability to sleep very well on planes…

7.   Stuck on a Plane. On the Ground: Experienced too many times to count by most of us whether waiting for:

  • De-icing fluid and praying they don’t run out
  • A de-fueling pump
  • A jump start (as you roast because without it not only will the plane not move, but the little vent thingies don’t work)
  • Other mechanical issues
  • Runway clearance
  • The attendants who pretty much said, “I’m sorry we boarded the entire plane but at least three of you have to get off and take another flight because we weigh too much. So you’re going to sit and swelter with the sleeping baby on your lap while it’s 104 outside until some of you crack or miss your connecting flights and are screwed anyway. So what if you have to be at your sister’s wedding tomorrow?”

Yes, I have personal experience with each reason. Can you tell?

6.   Airplane Poopapalooza: May this never. Ever. Happen. Again.

Luckily I should be safe without my children for this trip.

Pray for me in two weeks when I travel alone with them…

5.  Luggage Disappears or Makes Side Trip: Guaranteed to happen if you packed your favorite shoes or anything of value into the suitcase.

One tweep and his wife took two separate flights from Kansas City to Orlando. He ended up in Philadelphia, his bag at LAX, his spouse in Chicago, and her bag in New York City.

“It was a perfect storm of crap.” – Tweep

Another friend took a direct flight to Boston. Her luggage went to New York.

You can’t make this stuff up.

4.  Missing Proof of Age for Child Under Two Years: It doesn’t seem like much, does it? Have a birth certificate to prove your child is in fact under two years.

But what if you didn’t bring it, because your child is say… not yet eight months old and there is no way anyone could think they were remotely close to two?

They sent my dear friend into a panic as she contacted with her pediatrician to fax vaccination records so her son could board a plane.

I’ve been asked once. On a return trip. When my daughter was under a year. They let me fly.

I can be persuasive.

3.   Montezuma’s Revenge: If you don’t know what it is, you can check it out at wikipedia.

Worst case: Your children have it too.

2. Your Vehicle is Robbed: There’s nothing like catastrophes where you must contact your insurance company (let’s hope you were insured).

I witnessed this second hand when Bobbi called me, sobbing from a Houston Red Lobster. Her family went in to eat. They came out to find their truck had been cleared out. Not the stereo, but mutiple laptops, cameras, phones…

Oh yeah, it was very profitable for the theif/thieves.

Then again, she got a new laptop. Eventually.

Worst case: They steal the items using your vehicle to transport them – stranding you.

Even worse: About that insurance…. Oops.

1.  Your Suitcase Containing 98% of What You Need for Your Trip Never Was Placed Into Your Car: That’s right. It’s at home. Upstairs. Not at the airport for the flight leaving in an hour for you and your two young children.

Please send good vibes my way.

So none of this list happens.

A stay tuned for CG’s Tales From the House of Chaos and mine of Dancing with Canadians.

Me. Three Canadians. A cabin in the mountains. White water rafting. What could possibly happen?

What did I miss? Please share your travel horror story (whether by boat, plane, train, plane, car, helicopter…) in the comments below.

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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15 Responses to Top 10 Worst Things to Happen While Traveling

  1. Piper Bayard says:

    Definitely sending good vibes your way for your travel.

    I once missed my plane by a day. I was 19 and the ticket to see my freshman roommate in Paris was a gift from my grandparents. I forgot they changed the departure date at the last minute to Friday, and I went through the whole trip convinced I was leaving on Saturday. I never did look at the ticket.

    I had $72 American and an expired credit card. I first rebooked with TWA from New York to KC and had to borrow money from my host family to pay for the ticket change. No ATM’s back in 1983. Then I spoke with Air France for my trans-Atlantic flight. Fortunately, they were so horrified by how much TWA charged me that they put me on the next flight for no charge except to ask me to tell my friends to fly Air France. I’m still fulfilling my end of the bargain–fly Air France.

    When I got to NY, I managed to find a filthy hotel in Queens that included transfers from JFK to LaGuardia. It cost exactly $68, plus tips for the drivers. Fortunately, my host family sent me home with croissants and a cake so I didn’t starve.

    Have a great trip, Kelly! My the road rise up to meet you, but not in a slap your face kind of way.

  2. Elena Aitken says:

    May none of those things happen to you! And we’ll see you soon for super fun Canada wordbitches time!
    Assuming of course that I ever finish my own travel from the west coast with my children….

  3. haha very nice and funny!real life can really be funnier than fiction haha!thanks for the laughs!

  4. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    LOL! You’re going to be fine my friend and I can’t wait to see you in about 12 hours!!!!
    But I’ve got a story to share… years ago I was traveling with my sis and we were (very) late for our flight from Australia to New Zealand. We’d checked our bags and were running for the gate. A flight attendant came running up to us and said something too hurried to make out. She waved at us to follow her. We started really sprinting to keep her in sight. Panting, we made it onto the plane and the attendant left us to check on something. We started looking for our seats on the very full plane. Looking around we realized that our flight was 90% Asian.
    “Is this the flight to Auckland?” my sis asked another attendant, as the door to the plane was closing.
    “No,” she said. “Singapore.”

  5. stace8383 says:

    Have a great trip! I’m sure NONE of those things will happen! 🙂

  6. Kelly!

    This is great! I am beyond jealous. Enjoy your time with the WordBitches. Dang, I’m jealous. I wish I were a WordBitch, too.

    Do you guys take WordSluts? 😉

    Enjoy your time –AWAY!

  7. Lori Dyan says:

    I’m most jealous that you’ll have a plane ride to sleep or read a magazine or watch a movie without your kids climbing over you. Have fun in cowtown!

  8. Unfortunately I’ve had experience with much of these plane-related fiascos as well. Calgary is one of my FAVOURITE Canadian cities to visit – especially because it’s so close to the Rockies. Banff and LAke Louise are amazing. Make sure you take the gondola up the mountain in Banff.

    So glad you have a chance to get away for a little time on your own especially to Canada!

    Enjoy the trip – can’t wait to hear all about it.

  9. lexy3587 says:

    haha, hopefully none of those things happen to you.
    My worst travel issue was in Paris. A friend and I were going back to the airport to pick up a friend who was meeting up with us partway through the trip. Paris friend and plane friend had cell phones that worked in Europe… I didn’t even have their cell phone numbers on hand.
    Paris Friend and I raced down to the train stop, and, seeing that a train was on the ‘B’ platform, she bolted and hopped sucessfully onto the train. the doors closed before I got there, and the train drove away. I speak french, but apparently, not very coherently when I find myself stranded and alone in a Paris train station. I pointed helplessly at the train, saying, “Le train… aeroport! mon amie… sur… train?!”. Apparenlty I was just coherent enough for the security guards to gather that “My friend is on the train, we’re supposed to be going to the airport together, what do I do?”… at which point they told me that my friend was on the OTHER B train… the one that doesn’t go to the airport. Eventually, all three of us met up at the airport, but it was the most stressful train ride of my life. Not helped by the elderly man propositioning me for the first half hour on the train.

  10. Annie says:

    So excited for you! This heat is….ugh…well, you know! I’m suffocating!

    This list makes me nervous for our Orlando trip in November. First time flying with 4 kids. (I’m going to need so much crap!) Last time I flew at all was in 1999. Yikes.

  11. True story: Two summers ago, for my father-in-law’s 70th birthday party/family reunion, the four Gardners traveled to a tiny town in upstate New York. And by tiny I mean no stop lights. Two-mile circumference. Two thousand people.

    No McDonalds. Or any fast food. Or restaurants, for that matter.

    The airline lost our luggage. I suggested driving to the nearest Target (which was an hour away in the closest “Big” town); but before the words were out of my mouth, my dear mother-in-law was calling her sister-in-law (everyone’s related, by the way) for keys to the church thrift store. Which was in the church basement. Which was two houses down.

    Each article of clothing cost 25 cents. For four dollars, my family was able to parade around town for a week in used thrift-store clothes. My daughter’s favorite purchase?

    A pink t-shirt that said “ONE TOUGH COOKIE” on it. And sported a large decal of a half-eaten cookie. Naturally.

    We still call her Cookie.

    (and I still get hives thinking about having pictures of my family taken at a 70th birthday party wearing outfits that the rest of the town had decided weren’t worth keeping…)


  12. The problem with commenting after Julie is that I can’t top her story 🙂 (Julie, Oh My God, that is all I have).

    I had an insane travel itinerary once: NYC – Detroit – Tokyo – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur. All fine and dandy if you ignore the fact that my travel agent was obviously trying to kill me. Also? My first flight landing at Detroit would have left me with less than 30 minutes to catch my connecting flight to Tokyo.

    Murphy’s Law dictates I would definitely have missed that flight. So I traipsed all the way from Manhattan to La Guardia 2 days before I left, to change my ticket to catch an earlier flight out. I had to do that as I couldn’t change my ticket online due to a lack of an American credit card (bah)!

    Thankfully, I made it home in one piece, no flights missed. I don’t recommend catching 4 flights to get home though.

    I’m sure you’ll be fine though! Enjoy the alone time!

  13. Hillary says:

    Ok, I’m supposed to be going to bed right now but I’m afraid I’m going to be having nightmares about all the horrible travel issues that come with having kids. We’ve made our plane trips pretty easy, but there’s always the inevitable doozie that must make its way to everyone. Prayers your way.

  14. Hoo Sze Ling says:

    I love #1!!!! Hilarious!

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