We all need some laughter in our life after the year that’s just gone, so to try and cheer you up I asked 13 travel bloggers to share their favourite short, funny travel stories.
There’s quite a range in here, from hot policemen to an angry nun, unintentional nudism to lizard fishing.
And if these stories have taught me one thing, it’s stay away from animals!
I hope you you enjoy them, if you have any funny travel stories of your own then drop them in the comments at the bottom.
The Never-Ending Bus Ride
There was this time when we wanted to travel from Puerto Princesa to the tropical paradise of El Nido (Palawan, the Philippines). The journey was around 260 km and I had done plenty of research online to see what would be the best transportation option.
After careful deliberation, it seemed that a trip with Roro Bus company would be the best value for money. In fact, based upon the recommendations and reviews online, my expectations were actually quite high…
The promises made were all very appealing:
- The bus would be air-conditioned! (I guess it technically was, if open or simply missing windows count)
- The bus would be modern! (It made the Temples of Angkor seem thoroughly modern)
- The bus would leave on time! (Forget leaving on time it ARRIVED three hours late)
- The bus would take five hours! (It did. Plus another three. And that’s not including the three hours it was late)
- The bus wouldn’t stop to pick up people along the way! (Um, well, no. It stopped everywhere. And I mean everywhere. At one point, there were around 20 school children standing in the middle of the bus, rice bags stowed under every seat and I swear I heard a rooster’s crow coming from a paint can)
No, Roro bus was definitely not what I expected it to be. Despite the fact that our trip journey took twice as long as advertised and I for sure wasn’t too happy about it at that moment, looking back it’s one of my fondest travel memories.
Because who cares that the bus trip was not what I expected. And that I was six hours late. Late for what? I didn’t have anywhere to be! In that moment I learned that, sometimes, you just have to let go instead of getting upset or annoyed. Though needless to say, we didn’t book a ticket back to Puerto Princesa with Roro bus!
By Lotte from GezondWeekmenu
An Aggressive Nun
As an atheist who has travelled to sixty-five countries, I’ve always taken pride in respecting local religions (even if I disagree with them) and erring on the side of being overly conservative when I visit places of worship.
When I was travelling in Armenia I made a special detour to Tatev, a monastery built at the edge of a cliff, at the end of a long aerial tramway.
I made sure to dress very conservatively that day, with my legs fully covered in loose pants, a loose top with long sleeves and a scarf covering my head. I kept my camera and phone safely inside my purse, as per the posted rules and, to respect the actual worshippers, I stayed towards the back of the monastery, sitting silently, even as other groups of local tourists snapped photos with flashes, wore miniskirts and generally caused a ruckus.
So, imagine my surprise when a nun walked past me and gave me a firm slap on the arm!
This was no gentle tap – the nun full-on smacked me, then stood there staring. I tugged at the scarf over my head, thinking maybe some of my hair had slipped loose. It hadn’t. I looked at the bench I’d sat on, thinking maybe I’d missed a sign saying it was off-limits. It wasn’t.
The nun smacked me again, harder this time, and on the leg.
In shock, I shifted my position to move my legs out of her reach, in the process uncrossing my legs.
At that moment, the nun smiled, gave me a sharp nod, and walked away. I realized that my offence had been my crossed legs – an offence not forbidden on the list of rules posted at the entrance, but that one nun apparently so found so horrifying, so distasteful and so vulgar that she had to smack me… twice.
By Carly from Fearless Female Travels
An Eight-Legged Visitor
Sitting in the breakfast boma at Quatermain’s safari camp in South Africa I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast after an early morning safari and chatting to our guide about the animals we had spotted.
My son, who was 12 at the time, casually turned to me and said “I think I’ve just seen a spider run up your leg”.
Thankfully I don’t have even a small fear of spiders, but looking down at my leg and realising it wasn’t there I have to admit to being a tad concerned.
I turned back to him “did you see where it went?”.
I wasn’t expecting his answer, but then who would be? It turns out our little friend had gone shooting up my back, used my hood as a little diving board and was now entwined in my hair.
At this point a dark thought crossed my mind.
Spiders in Africa have the unfortunate nack of being a little bigger than their cousins in England. Whilst my fear of British spiders was non-existent, the beads of perspiration forming on my brow suggested my brain was filling in the blanks on how big this guy would be.
Our safari ranger heard our conversation rushed over and rummaged through my long hair to retrieve my eight-legged visitor. To say I wasn’t prepared for what he showed me was an understatement, this spider made your average house-cat look small.
My eyes must have popped out on stalks and the ranger couldn’t help but laugh. He was nice enough to tell me I had stayed really calm compared to other guests who had had a similar experience – including one who had gone into a frenzied screaming fit and run naked out of the shower cubicles!
It turns out that it was a rain spider and I had been sitting beneath its nest. It had just come out to say hello!
From Angie at WhereAngieWanders.com
It was late in the evening and I was wandering through Sky Avenue in Genting Highlands eating some ready-to-eat noodles before boarding the cable car back to Kuala Lumpur.
Suddenly, I heard sounds of hysterical laughter from behind one of the pillars near a subway kiosk. I decided to approach and see what was going on, but little did I expect to see a giant dinosaur come bursting around the corner snapping its jaws.
“Oh, Jesus!” escaped instantaneously out of my mouth.
Of course, I knew that that the dinosaur wasn’t for real. Malaysia has some pretty exotic wildlife, but even I figured that this had to be some clever trick.
However, by now my heart was beating rapidly and some natural instinct kicked in. I turned, ran and managed to spill the noodles I was eating all over the street. For some unknown reason, I was also laughing uncontrollably!
A far less natural and more modern instinct then took over. This would make a great selfie! I stood in the path of the dinosaur which was now a few feet behind me. It opened its big mouth as if it wanted to take a huge chunk of me for dinner, but I still managed to force out a smile.
As soon as I heard the sound of the camera shutter, I ran away from there without looking back.
This has to be one of the most amusing farewells I’ve had from a place!
From Anukrati at bulbulonthewing.com
Smuggling in the Galapagos
We were on our honeymoon in the Galapagos and had spent a relaxing week sailing around the islands, snorkelling with sealions, and meeting marine iguanas. It was the culmination of a month travelling around Peru and Ecuador, and we were sad to be returning home.
However, as we arrived at the tiny rustic airport and put our backpacks through the scanner, all hell broke loose.
Several armed guards suddenly appeared and marched Hubbie off without a word of explanation. I ran pathetically behind, assuming there had been some sort of mix up, but as they took him behind a make-shift screen, I could see his bag lying forlornly on the ground, surrounded by suspicious officials.
My heart sank. Had we unwittingly been used as drug mules or something?
The guards began barking at Hubbie in Spanish, who didn’t understand what they were asking. Trying to eavesdrop from outside, I offered to translate but they ignored my pleas. Eventually it transpired they’d found a small bag of white powder in the bottom of his rucksack.
Panic set in.
Not only might we miss our flight, but were we going to jail?
Finally, they allowed Hubbie to unpack his bag, and the culprit was revealed.
An innocent packet of salt that we’d purchased at some mines in Peru.
And definitely not Galapagos sand, which was what they thought he’d been trying to smuggle!!
Ironically, after all the effort of getting it home, that salt still sits in our kitchen cupboard 13 years later. Yet another souvenir that seemed a good idea at the time.
Heather Cole at Conversant Traveller
A Lizard Lasso
I spent a year of my university studies in Malaysia and at the end of this year I went to an island for the weekend with some friends.
We decided to stay in some cute little huts with ensuite bathrooms which were very basic – think student budget!
My first plan when we got to our apparently vacant apartment was to use the bathroom, only to find to my horror that we were not alone. Staring back at me when I opened the door was a one-metre long monitor lizard minding his own business, chilling out on the toilet.
Obviously freaking out, I turned to my Malaysian friend thinking he might be more comfortable and have a clue what to do. He immediately hid behind me – not overly useful!
I went to the reception and tried to explain the situation and you can only imagine their faces when I gestured that they need to follow me to the toilet. The staff had an in-depth discussion and called more and more people to join, each turning up with different tools, implements and devices.
They then created what I can only describe as a lasso to try and it. But by this point, she’d (we’d named her Lizzy the lizard by now) got scared and disappeared down the pipes.
The staff left us with strict instructions that when she came back we had to pull the lasso sharply and fish her out of the toilet and bring her to reception. Sounds simple enough, all part of the normal contract between a hotel and the people staying!
Let’s just say that our lizard-toilet-fishing skills were not up to scratch and Lizzy was still living there when we left. Good luck to future guests!
From El at ElOnTheMove.com
A Stylish Baboon
Cape Town, renowned for its dramatic landscapes, wineries and natural coastline, is also well known for the abundance of animals living in the surrounding region. One afternoon, during a visit to the beach, I had a very close encounter with a group of Chacma Baboons, one of the cities most visible and brazen creatures.
Shortly after midday, with the African sun at its peak, I made my way to the beach. Despite the waters along the Cape Coast being some of the coldest, I decide to go for a swim, leaving my belongings enveloped in a towel on the beach. There was no-one else around and seemed like there was very little risk involved.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
After about ten minutes in the water, I looked back at the beach to see a troop of baboons rifling through my stuff like a baby with its first bowl of jelly.
I got out of the water as fast as I could and swiftly sprinted up the beach scatterring them into the surrounding shrubbery.
When I finally got to the devastation that was once my belongings, there was not much left behind, including my clothes.
Fortunately, they haadn’t quite got the hang of money so left my money behind, they clearly just needed a new wardrobe (Homer’s brain: money can be exchanged for goods and services).
That was small comfort to me though, as I was forced to spend the rest of the day in nothing but swim shorts and an embarrased smile, including a rather awkward trip back to the hotel on public transport.
Rai at A Rai of Light
An Alternative Love Story
After Boys Over Flowers, a popular Korean series, hit Asia by a storm, I got curious about Macau. So when my former employer asked me where I wanted to go for my next all expenses paid vacation as part of my incentives for finishing our biggest campaign to date, I chose Macau.
Days later, I found myself in Macau with our three staff that we chose to join me. Like Jan-di, I enjoyed the free delicious snacks they offered me in Senado Square – jumping from one stall to another, because….. well, free food!
Munching on the best pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) that I ever had while walking the busy street of Senado, I reflected on my life’s choices.
Food can do that to you, you know, so don’t judge me.
I was 24 at that time, single and a promising young executive who just finished a successful campaign with one of the two major political parties in the US. I should be celebrating and feeling proud but being in Macau made me feel a bit melancholic and realized I wasn’t content with what I have achieved at a young age. With my mouth full of pastéis de nata, I was having an existential crisis, right in the middle of Macau.
Then, someone blocked my way, which disturbed the growing emotional turmoil.
I looked up and boy, forget the existential crisis.
I just found my Gu Jun Pyo!
The hot man in front of me was flashing something at me but I couldn’t understand what it said or what he was saying. It wasn’t just that I can’t speak Cantonese but I was also fairly distracted by planning our wedding in my head.
This is it.
I need a boyfriend.
Then he flashed his wallet in front of me again.
Does he want my number?
A girl can dream.
Oh my god, what’s my number? Why I can’t recall my phone numbeeeers?
These were just some of the thoughts running through my head, alongside cakes, photographers and venues for our future nuptials.
All thoughts quickly disappeared though when one of my colleagues shouted to me, crying and surrounded by scary looking men.
Confused, I turned back to my future husband and realized he was flashing me… a badge. So much for our wedding and two kids – Andres and Damaris Cristina.
My supposed love story turned into a shit-show in a matter of minutes. The hot guy in a black jacket wanted me to give him my passport.
In South-East Asia, there’s a popular scam where people pretend to be police so they can ask unsuspecting tourists to hand their passport over. Once they get your passport, they will then ask you for money or say goodbye to your passport. Yes, passport-napping is a thing. So I told him I wouldn’t give him my passport but I could show it to him.
Due to the language barrier, he misunderstood this as resisting. And then he started giving signals to his colleagues to take us.
There was no way I would allow anyone to drag me in an empty narrow street.
So what a well-respected lady gotta do?
Hug a lamp post of course!
I managed to combine this by screaming petulantly that I wouldn’t be going with them unless I see men in uniform! The hot policeman tried to drag me but I just held and embraced the lamp post like it was my one true love. The guy was getting frustrated as I started getting attention and he tried to intimidate me by showing his gun. I don’t know what kind of demon possessed me that day but I just shot him a dirty look and even had the guts to even tell him not to ever touch me. Ah, the beauty of the language barrier.
Frustrated, he got his radio and minutes later, over 20 policemen with a couple of men from some special units (probably a local version of SWAT) arrived and started surrounding us. Be careful what you wish for, Christine.
They then took us to an empty parking lot. By this point I was co-orperating, as it had become abundantly clear that they were legitimate agents of the law!
But when the hot guy told me to face the wall and raise my hands I lost it and started laughing. It felt surreal I thought I was in the movie. I was surrounded by guys holding MP5 submachine guns, this simply couldn’t be real.
Most of the SWAT team just stood around scratching their heads, probably wondering why they were there in full battle gear surrounding dainty looking ladies in their early-twenties who could barely even open a wine bottle, let alone fight back against what was now a crowd of nearly 30 people.
Feeling secure and more confident, we went with them to the police station and got detained there for more than 4 hours that we almost missed our flight back home.
They interrogated me until they got bored with my answers. Eventually, the hot policeman handed over my stuff and passport and when he mentioned the words “legal”, I couldn’t help but do an “In your face!” mental note.
If you’re confused as to why they arrested us, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. To this day I still have no idea why.
by Christine Rogador of TheBackPackingExecutive.com
A Needless Journey
It was the 8th January 2020, my birthday, and we were wanting to get from the town of Chefchaouen in Morocco to the city of Fes. We bought two tickets for a 10am departure aboard one of the cheaper buses.
The first sign that our journey wasn’t going to be pleasant was when we were charged double the usual amount by the baggage handler. There was nothing we could do, so we just paid and put it down to experience.
The bus set off late and crawled southwards, stopping frequently and seemingly at random to pick-up more passengers.
Half-way through the journey, the bus stopped at a truck stop. The driver shouted back that we had five minutes to grab food and visit the toilet. As we tried to get off the bus, a flurry of traders selling food and trinkets piled on. It was chaos. I was bursting for the toilet and pushed my way through the throng.
Having been ripped off earlier by the baggage handler, I had no money for the toilet and had to beg a fellow passenger to give me some coins. I made it back to the bus just in time.
The bus rolled on. Without functioning air-conditioning, it was really hot. After several hours, we arrived in Fes over an hour late, tired but relieved.
A couple of weeks after our return from Morocco, I found some files on my computer. As I double-clicked, I recognised the acronym ‘CTM’ in the file name and remembered what they were. A few weeks before our trip, I had pre-booked two tickets aboard a CTM bus, Morocco’s government-run bus company. CTM runs modern, air-conditioned buses that almost always arrive on time.
I’d forgotten about them. Our entire ordeal aboard the other bus had been completely needless and could have been avoided if only I’d remembered these other tickets.
It certainly wasn’t funny at the time, but looking back on the experience now I allow myself to laugh, just a little!
by Matt Morelli of HereToTravel.com
The Scott Gold Incident
I wasn’t pleased to find myself on a layover in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, only to learn that my flight to Little Rock, Arkansas had been cancelled. So I ran to the American Airlines help desk and got myself put down as number 11 on the standby list. There was a good chance I would still manage to make it to Little Rock that night.
A few minutes later I took a seat and looked at my standby ticket had noticed it had been issued to “Scott Gold”.
I still have no idea how this happened because my legal name is Estella Gold, and the American Airlines employee took my name from my passport. I went back to the same woman, and she apologised and gave me a new ticket.
The only trouble is that now I was 47th on the standby list.
I asked if I could have my original spot back on the standby list, and I was told no.
The conversation that followed felt like the plot of a badly written sitcom.
“So despite the fact that this problem is entirely American Airlines’s fault, you’re going to force me to spend the night in Dallas, at my own expense, and you’ll do nothing to help me?” I said.
“That’s correct,” she responded.
“Why can’t I just have Scott Gold’s spot, since he doesn’t exist?” I asked.
“What if Scott Gold shows up and wants his seat?” the American Airlines employee demanded.
“THERE IS NO SCOTT GOLD! I AM SCOTT GOLD!” I wailed.
A crowd had started to gather around, and I realized there was no point in continuing this conversation.
When the flight to Little Rock started to board, and Scott Gold’s name was called, I went up to take my seat. The flight attendant didn’t even notice that my name didn’t match.
As I boarded the plane, I could hear the cheers from my fellow passengers, “WOOO! GO SCOTT!”.
Their support almost made the whole experience worth it.
from Estella Gold of Around the World in 24 Hours
Smile and Wave
A few years back, I was on a solo trip in Norway, to spend as much time in nature as I could and indulge in some outdoorsy activities. I decided to explore the fjords in a kayak, and joined a 3 day group tour, kayaking each day and camping at night. It was idyllic.
I’m pretty used to roughing it, so the notion of not having a flushing toilet for three days wasn’t too alarming for me. At night there were long-drop toilets where we camped, but in the day, while we were kayaking, you just had to pull over and find a spot behind a bush or something.
By day three, I was pretty used to this and maybe got a little complacent. We were paddling away and weren’t due for an official break for another hour and I really had to pee. I told the guide and he said we could stop on some rocks at the side.
It was a little exposed, and I basically had to ask everyone else in the group to look the other way, as there was nowhere to hide. I was wearing a wetsuit, so in order to pee, I had to take everything off.
In case you already haven’t got this image clear – I was squatting on the top of the rocks, practically naked, with my wetsuit around my ankles. What a look!
Mid-flow I looked up and to my dismay, a cruise ship rounded the bend with about 50 people looking over the side, cameras in hand. Overcome with embarrassment as everyone stared, all I could think to do was smile and wave.
I got a few bewildered waves back as I hastily pulled up my wetsuit.
It was utterly mortifying but remains one of my favourite travel stories.
by Seanna Fallon of SeannasWorld.org
The Flying Huntsman
When I first arrived in Australia I’d, of course, heard a lot about the local wildlife and how almost anything can kill you.
This was at the forefront of my mind when I first came face-to-face with one of the country’s famous spiders. a traumatic experience but also hilarious now that I think about it in hindsight (it took a lot of hindsight to make it funny though, a LOT!).
I was living in my campervan at the time and left the window open late at night. When I returned to the car I found a giant huntsman spider sitting right on the steering wheel. Huntsman, though technically harmless to humans, are bloody huge and are one of those creatures that would make a Great White Shark look cute and cuddly.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know this at the time and was faced with the task of getting the spider out of the car.
It was after midnight with no one nearby to help. I didn’t even have any insect spray.
My first attempt to nudge the spider out of the car with a broom lead to it getting scared and disappearing into the airconditioning vent. Great, as if having a spider in the car wasn’t bad enough, chances were the next time I needed a blast of cold he was also going to become a new species – the Flying Huntsman (not to be confused with a train). Flying straight at my face. No one needs that!
I was already preparing to camp next to the car overnight when the spider reappeared after around 30 minutes. Using one of those most versatile and important of survival tools, a selfie stick, my boyfriend was somehow able to guide it out of the car window and back into the great outdoors of northern Queensland.
I definitely did not sleep well that night in the campervan. I was too worried that he’d come back with his mates, armed with a selfie stick and that would be the last anyone would ever see of me.
by Victoria of GuideYourTravel.com
So, you know how, within most travel couples, each person shines at different things? Well, me and my fiancé are this kind of couple. I tend to do all the planning, booking and write the itineraries. He is usually in charge of directions when we get there (if you’ve ever seen me driving a car, you’ll understand why!)
Well, it was summer 2019 and me and my family had gone away together to the Algarve in Portugal. We were staying in the gorgeous little town of Alvor and had decided to travel to Lagos for a day.
It seemed simple.
We’d discussed where we were going, had our backpacks packed and were ready to go. We knew we needed to catch a bus, so we decided to walk to the bus stop in town and catch the next one to Lagos.
Or rather, we thought this was where we were going!
My fiancé was leading and my family and I were following him, completely trusting his sense of direction. Some 20 minutes later, however, we were starting to get a little suspicious. We were in a rather shady looking industrial area with no sign of any buses. Despite this he insisted we were going the right way, so we kept walking.
Another 10 minutes and we stopped in the middle of absolutely nowhere and he turned to us and said “It should be here”
It looked like a housing estate, smelled like a factory and was severely lacking on the bus stop front! We were all boiling hot, had all but given up on surviving let alone finding a bus stop and regretted not letting Google Maps guide us!
In the end, we took a taxi to Portimao and spent the rest of the day chilling by the harbour and exploring the beautiful Praia da Rocha.
The following day we finally took the bus to Lagos, this time asking the hotel receptionist for directions!
by Alice from Adventures of Alice
Mike and I had gone from living in tents for work all Summer to living in a typical, simple home. You’d think ‘professional’ campers like us would know what we were doing as it was literally our job for years, but you’d be mistaken.
On a windy August day in Swanage, UK, we decided to go camping.
We packed all the necessities like cider, a blow-up bed and a small two-man tent and hit the road. When we arrived at the site, the wind was at a level that even Michael Fish would worry about but as experienced campers thought we knew better than the weatherman and decided to try and put the tent up anyway. 20 minutes of wrestling between nature and canvas, the tent pole snapped in half.
What we lack in skill we make up for in determination, so we headed off to the local camping store to find a solution.
That solution, ladies and gentlemen?
A pop-up tent.
Now, If you’re not familiar with pop up tents, the problem was that such a tiny tent, plus a blow-up bed and two people, doesn’t really leave a lot of space.
In fact, to be quick truthful, it doesn’t leave any space. We didn’t even fit inside.
We spent our week camping in Swanage, surrounded by (actual) professional campers.
You know, the kind who actually know what they are doing, with their big fancy camping kits.
Then there was us, Mike and Brie, really unprofessional campers – so inexperienced that we had to sleep with the tent door open and our feet hanging out at the end. Every morning we woke up with dew-wet socks and confused stares from all the other campers (if you’re looking for quick-dry travel socks then click here).
It’s safe to say that we’ve come a long, long way since then. However, we’ll never forget it. Our first proper camping trip together.
The trip where the only answer was to get very drunk on cider each night to forget that we were basically sleeping outdoors.
Written by Breanne from Family Camping Europe