My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

June 11, 2015

Traveling wouldn’t be nearly as fun if everything went perfectly, right?

Maybe I’m saying this to make myself feel better, but I’m prone to mishaps and complete fails whenever I travel. Sometimes things just happen to me, but other times, I put myself in these situations without even realizing it.

Some of you may have read about some of my mishaps, like when I lost my friend in southern Denmark, or when I was on a boat that almost capsized in Panama. There are a few more stories, however, that I have not shared with you.

Please enjoy while I completely, and utterly, make fun of myself. These are my 10 biggest fails abroad.

1. Wearing my closet to the airport in Denmark

I’ll do anything it takes to not have to pay any extra fees when traveling. So when I was heading home after studying abroad in Denmark, I realized my bag was overweight.

What does one do in this situation?

Wear her entire closet!

That’s right. I had 6 shirts, 3 sweaters, 2 jackets, and 3 pants on, and my bras, socks, more shirts, and underwear in the pockets of my jacket. I was also carrying 3 sweaters and 2 backpacks.

I walked from my dorm (wearing and carrying everything while also pulling my suitcase), to the metro, and then through the airport.

I felt like a marshmallow and looked like a kid who shit their pants.

Both of the women at the checked baggage counter stared at me. Their eyes were slits and their smiles were nothing but smirks. My heart sank. They looked at each other and then at me. 

“You can’t have two backpacks as a carry on, only one. So you’ll have to pay for two checked bags,” one of them said. 


I had no choice. I decided to put my backpack into my half empty suitcase and pay the overweight fee, since it was cheaper than paying for two checked bags. I walked away, annoyed.

Did I mention that I had completely forgotten to take off the thirteen pounds of clothes I had on and put them into my suitcase?

It was a fun, hot, 12 hour commute!

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

2. Getting attacked by a monkey in South Africa

I’ve already shared this story on the blog, however, it comes up time and time again. Because how the hell does someone get attacked by a Vervet monkey? Those things are small. And cute. 

Long story short, there were a bunch of monkeys eating bananas hanging around outside of my friend’s cabin in Blyde River Canyon, South Africa. I thought it would be smart to walk over and take pictures.

When I walked inside of their cabin, the monkeys were throwing eggs, smashing pots and pans, and hissing at each other. I felt like I had entered the VIP section at a special club, because who the hell knows what goes on behind those curtains.

I turned around once my common sense kicked in, and low and behold, an army of monkeys were at a stand still behind me. One of them jumped onto my leg, I kicked it off, and it flew into the air like the Human Cannonball at the Circus. I ran away with a bloody leg and a funny story.

Then, I needed rabies shots.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

3. My 8 hour hangover in London

I was visiting my friend who I hadn’t seen in a year, and who I wasn’t going to see for at least another. The night was full of wine, Jäger Bombs, and a bunch of British guys who can drink me under the table over and over again.

Did I try and keep up with the amount of drinks they had? Nope.

I still woke up in the morning with the worst hangover of my life; unable to move. I stayed in the same room, on a beautiful, warm, sunny day in London (It was as if the Universe was saying, “hah! I hope you learned your lesson!”, because sunny days in London rarely happen), until 6 p.m. that night, sleeping on and off.

I wasted an entire day of exploring a new city and being social.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

4. Wearing my converse in a torrential downpour in Norway

I visited Bergen, Norway, in February. The entire weekend, sheets of rain poured down in between bouts of silence, as the charcoal colored clouds hung heavy over the town, waiting for the next downpour.

The day of our flight we walked around the town in the rain. We had 9 hours to kill, and there wasn’t much to do, especially in the rain. I decided it was a good idea to wear my converse in this type of weather (this was during my Wear as the Danes Wear: sneakers and tights phase).

After an hour or so of stepping in puddles and housing hundreds of water droplets in the bottom of my shoe, I couldn’t feel my feet. I get cold fairly quickly, too, so my friends were still warm by the time I felt like an ice cube. 

We spent half of the afternoon drinking coffee in the cafés that never seemed to be much warmer than outside. We spent most of our time hopping from café to café. By the time I could partially feel my feet again, we would be on the move to the next one, and the cycle would start over. Thankfully, we had met a local who kept us company the second half of the day. He was the kind of distraction we needed. 

It was still the longest 9 hours of my life.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

5. Naked on a Rooftop in Norway 

I can’t believe I’m sharing this, but my friends and I went streaking in Norway, on the roof of our hostel, in the rain. We didn’t sneak onto the roof or anything, we had full access to it.

For some reason, we thought it would be a fun idea to go streaking on this roof, in a torrential downpour of icy water, at 3 in the morning. We ran around shouting, “WE’RE NAKED ON A ROOFTOP IN NORWAY!”

It was totally fun until I realized my body was partially numb from the cold. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten dressed that quickly.

A little advice: Make sure there is no one around, and that there is someone watching your things while you prance around. Oh, and that you don’t have anywhere to be afterwards.

Something similar like this happened in Barcelona, except it ended a bit differently: as we were running down the beach, my friend veered into the ocean, was eaten by a wave, and was covered in sand and smelled like wet dog the rest of the night. We were also almost denied entry to a club, since our legs were sprinkled gold from the sand. But that’s another story. 

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

6. Getting stranded at McDonalds at 4 a.m. in Portugal 

My friends and I piled into two cabs at 2 in the morning after spending the night at the bars. One group went into one cab, and one group went in the other.

The thought of greasy french fries and juicy hamburgers made our stomachs rumble, and we convinced the taxi driver to take us to McDonalds. One cab went through the drive through like a bunch of geniuses, and the cab that I was in dropped us off.

“Wait here,” one of us said as we got out of the cab. None of us had felt like asking him to take us through the drive through. 

We turned around a minute later and the cab was gone. 

Before we could tell our other group of friends what had happened, they were also gone.

When there’s nothing else to do except eat and ponder the fact that you’re stranded at McDonalds, you do just that.

We each ordered chicken fingers, fries, shakes, and whatever else our drunken selves wanted at such an absurd hour of the morning, and contemplated what we were going to do.

“Let’s just walk!” one of us said (I can’t remember who, but it was probably me).

We set off on our journey, walking on the side of the road in silence, looking for signs that would tell us where we were.

“We can’t be that far,” one of my friends said.

After 5 minutes, we realized that we were near the airport. The airport was a 20 minute bus ride from our hostel.

All of the taxis were off duty for the night.

We walked back, hoping that we didn’t have to spend the night sitting in McDonalds smelling grease and burgers.

To our luck, there was one off duty taxi at McDonalds.

“Please take us to our hostel!” The taxi driver gave us the death stare. He probably wanted his bed as much as we wanted ours.

He eventually took us back to our hostel, and wah-lah, we were saved.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

I don’t have a picture of us stranded at McDonalds, so here is a peacock.

7. Ceviche in Panama

I’ve mentioned this story before, but I’ll mention it again.

Ceviche is a popular food in Panama; it’s raw fish cured in lime or lemon juice with raw onion and crackers. My friend and I decided to get ceviche for lunch at a fish market near our hostel in Panama City. We walked up to the counter and were surprised at how cheap a quart was ($6). We each got a quart for ourselves. 

I should have known something was up when the woman handed me three spoons. I took them and smiled. She just doesn’t know how much I can eat! 

We sat down at a table next to a Panamanian family. The four of them looked at our ceviche, then us, then the ceviche again.

“Es muy grande! Ha, ha!” the dad said.

“Si,” I said, confused as to why he would say something like that. They each had a half of a pint, which I had thought was not enough food for a meal.

I took my first bite, then second, then eighth, and by the time the twelfth came around, I had had enough.

“My stomach is burning,” I said. I could feel the overwhelming taste and scent of raw onion in every single part of my body.

“I can’t do it,” my friend said. She hadn’t even made a dent in hers. We sat there, laughing at our stupidity, and ended up throwing our food away. Lesson learned.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

8. Missing the Costa Rican bus by 2 minutes and having to wait 2 hours

Our flight landed at 2:00 p.m., the bus left at 2:40 p.m. We got to the bus stop at 2:42 p.m.

The bus comes every hour throughout the day, except for 3:40 p.m.

We sat and waited for two hours in the heat, watching bus after bus pass us, person after person get onto the bus, until ours finally came.

Two hours doesn’t seem too long, but when there’s nothing else to do except stare at the mountain in the distance, it can seem like an eternity.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

9. Ear infection in Nicaragua

The last day of my volunteer trip in Nicaragua I spent eating Advil, chugging water, and praying that my fever and sharp ear pain wouldn’t get worse.

Well, it did.

Have you ever been on an airplane with an ear infection? I pray that you never have to. It feels like someone is taking a knife to your ear and stabbing it over and over again with no hopes of stopping until the plane lands.

I spent 7 hours in pure agony holding a cup to my ear, hoping that it would relieve some of the pressure.

I kissed the ground when I landed.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

10. Mosquitos in Mozambique

Our room was hot. Outside was cool. My friends and I decided to leave the windows open all night, while sleeping in this African country, where, you know, mosquitos definitely don’t exist…

I woke up multiple times throughout the night to quiet buzzing noises flying around my head, as if I were being whispered to. I was too exhausted to do anything about it, so I would roll over and fall back asleep until the next round of buzzing noises woke me up.

In the morning, my friends and I woke up to tiny spots of blood all over our pillows and sheets.

What from, you ask?

Oh, just from the mosquitos landing on the sheets and us rolling over and squishing them the entire night. 

There were that many of them. We spent the night sleeping with mosquito carcasses in this makeshift cemetery.

My 10 Biggest Fails Abroad

The living room of where we stayed in Mozambique.

For more embarrassing stories, check this page out!

What are YOUR biggest fails abroad? Share them below!

Top Photo Cred: Kayla Gray


  1. Comment by Janet Sunderland

    Janet Sunderland June 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    My friend Kate and I were living in Mexico. She had a car so we decided to drive to Puebla and have chilies en nogada. Simple, right? Except on the way, we passed through a small town where a sign said pyramid, or words to that effect. Well, we liked discovering pyramids. We stopped at what looked like the parking area for it, got out, and began climbing the side of what appeared to be a left over pyramid covered in dirt and trees. Me, wearing my customary skirt and sandals, Kate wearing, wisely, pants and tennis shoes. We climbed, pulled ourselves around trees, scrambled through tall weeds, and came to a wall. A very high wall. Stone. The kind of stones pyramids were once made from. The wall stretched in both directions-tall and wide. So since Kate had on pants, I boosted her up, she clambered over, and disappeared. I waited. And waited. Finally, she stuck her head over. “There’s a stairway just a few feet down around that curve in the wall,” she said, laughing. “We came up the wrong way. There’s a church up here.” Do tell. I clambered along the wall, through a section of dump-this-trash-over-the-wall, and found the stairway.

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica June 11, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Hahahah!! Omg! Wow!! I was laughing trying to picture what that must have been like. That’s such a great story. It’s ones like that that make traveling so special!

  2. Comment by Hitch-Hikers Handbook

    Hitch-Hikers Handbook June 20, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Haha, hilarious! I can totally relate with number one 🙂

    Great front picture too!

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica June 20, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Thank you!! :] hahahah I’m glad I’m not the only one who would do that!!

  3. Comment by Ceri

    Ceri July 8, 2015 at 12:06 am

    I love this. I love when you can laugh at the things you go through.

    I got robbed 3 times in Mexico but they were all my own stupidity and complete fail at using common sense haha. It wasn’t a “OMG, this is sad! Ahhhh!” It was like, “Fail, I’m an idiot. Hahaha”

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica July 8, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Hahahah it definitely is great that you can laugh at things like that! Sometimes you’ll end up saying, “Well I’ll never do that again,” and sometimes it will make a great story.

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