Learn From Our Readers' Biggest Travel Fail

Travel Tales

Travel Tales Featured Tips Evergreen According to Our Readers

No one is immune to travel mistakes. Whether you leave your passport on the train, misread a bathroom sign in another language, or get totally lost in the middle of a bustling bazaar, travel blunders happen to the best of us.

We asked our readers to share their biggest travel fails and there was one disastrous error that kept cropping up. It doesn't matter who you are, where you're going, or how experienced a traveler you are, no one, it seems, is immune to this pesky oversight. We're sharing their stories with you to help you avoid this misstep in the future.

So what was our readers' biggest travel fail?

Triple Check All Dates and Times

It's the first obvious step when booking a trip — pick a date and time that works with your schedule. But when you start adding in train routes, connecting flights, and tour and hotel reservations, keeping track of your schedule becomes a lot more difficult. Whether you forget to account for international time change or simply mix up your dates, this little mixup can completely destroy your final travel itinerary.

So learn from our readers, and keep these few things in mind the next time you book a trip.

Respect Military Time

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"It was my first trip to Europe, and my mom and I were exploring Portugal and Spain for two weeks. Of course, because we didn't have much experience with travel, we decided to book everything — our hotels, our transportation, our activities — in advance. Cue our arrival at the bus station in Lisbon on our way to Seville; we had bought 1:05 tickets, arrived half an hour early, and confidently waited for our bus to come. Our time came and went, several buses also came and went, but our bus was nowhere to be found. We finally decided to ask somebody, flailing in broken Portuguese, showing our ticket confidently. After a moment, he says, 'Already left.'

'Already left? But we've been here for an hour.'

'No, already left yesterday.'

It took a moment, but then it clicked military time. We had not considered the fact that 1:05 means 1:05 a.m. and that we needed to book for 13:05. Absolute fail. We ended up just buying the next tickets onsite and getting to Seville safely, but I will never forget to double check times (specifically the format of times in that region) ever again." - Esther H.

Double Check Your Ticket Date

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"After a year-long stay abroad with our family, we apparently lost track of time. We showed up at the airport with four young children and many bags of luggage. Our flight was not listed. Still thinking this was normal or some kind of security procedure, we went to the help desk, where we were told we arrived 24 hours too early! Strangely enough, both my husband and I were sure had the right day. We found luggage storage, which we filled up with our many bags, and spent 24 fun hours in the capital before returning home!" - Lotte

Check It Again — Even for Domestic Travel

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"The day after I got engaged, my fiancé and I were flying to Orlando, Florida from Colorado, where he had planned an ultimate celebration surprise at Disney with my best friends. When I'd booked our flights I didn't realize they had shown me the departure times in Eastern Standard Time and NOT Mountain Time. So I, lost in my new engaged bliss, never re-checked the flight times and just remembered the return flight times from when I'd booked them. Low and behold we were two hours off and inevitably missed our flight home. We had to pay for two one-way tickets home on the ONLY other morning departure, which costed a hefty amount. But nevertheless, the surprise wasn't ruined and I was completely shocked and relieved!" - Dani S.

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