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It’s all been a bit doom and gloom of late, so I asked experienced travel bloggers to inject some cheer with their best funny travel stories. Travel isn’t always as glossy and perfect as ‘the Gram’ would have us believe – real people have travel mishaps, and some of them are hilarious!
There’s a raft of funny stories in here, from animals misbehaving to what happens in a Turkish hammam, language confusion, and getting stuck in the loo in a bank!
Funny Travel Stories
Got a cuppa? It’s time to decide which one you think is the funniest story.
1. Up Close and Too Personal in the Amazon
Shared by Hege from The World By Hege
With a wild monkey’s teeth attached to my bleeding finger in Ecuador, I realised I probably don’t know enough about rabies!
My funny travel story was on my first long solo journey when I volunteered at a wildlife rescue centre in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was a fantastic experience working with monkeys, birds, nocturnals, and big cats in the jungle!
Towards the end of my stay, I had quarantine duty, where new arrivals stay so they don’t bring dangerous diseases into the habitats.
The small monkeys went crazy waiting for breakfast, and after securing them (or so I thought), I entered the cage to clean it.
However, these little creatures are neither patient nor stupid, and one figured out how to open the hatch and return!
Within seconds, I had a determined monkey on my arm, planting his teeth into my finger. He refused to let go.
My co-volunteer froze, and then she ran to get the monkey’s favourite food. I tried to stay calm with the monkey still attached to my finger!
As she returned, we managed to lure the monkey to swap back to his regular diet, and I could breathe and get a band-aid for my finger.
After a quick online search for ‘rabies+Ecuador’ I got a post-exposure shot at a vaccine centre in the nearest town. Lesson learned: monkeys are clever, and vaccines are gold!
2. One Kayaking Adventure – Real Travel Mishaps
Shared by Natalie & Steve from Curious Campers Australia
Laughing at someone else’s misfortune is a natural response; the more we care for the victim, the more joy their travel mishaps can give. This was never truer than when my wife Nat and I kayaked near the mouth of the Murray River in Goolwa, South Australia.
The paddle started well; our two hire kayaks glided along the still water, through a lock and towards the ocean; it was beautiful.
An hour into our paddle, I was feeling less and less stable. No sooner had Nat reassured me everything looked okay than I flipped, ending up chest deep in the river, with lots of water sloshing around inside my kayak.
Perhaps it was the sight of me soaked, standing in the glassy river, water dripping off my hat or maybe watching me try to bail out the water with a small drink bottle, but Nat started laughing and couldn’t stop.
I capsized and bailed two more times before reaching the lock. Even the lockmaster had a smile on his face as I clung to a rope trying to stay upright as the lock level changed.
One more capsize later, I was back on dry land, where we found a large crack under the seat.
Nat was so red from laughing and her eyes so wet with tears that the kayak providers asked her if she was alright, never mind me – soaked and exhausted beside her.
It’s still one of our funniest travel stories, and we never go onto the water now without checking the kayak first.
3. Adventures on a Chicken Bus – Police, Phones & Passports
Shared by Erie from Everywhere Ontario
Our funny travel story happened on a trip to Chiapas, Mexico, where we travelled from the town of Palenque to beautiful San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Wanting to get there quickly, I decided that our vehicle should be the local ‘chicken bus.’ A brave move for this non-Spanish-speaking couple!
In the rural (and very non-English) town of Ocosingo, we had a quick stopover at the station before switching buses. As we began the second leg of our trip, I did what I always do when travelling.
I rambled off my checklist of our valuables: Passports. Wallets. Phone.
Phone. Phone…Phone???!!! Of all the travel mishaps – our brand-new iPhone was gone!!!
I yelled to the driver to stop and let us out so we could return to the station to find our phone.
Naively, we hitch-hiked back to Ocosingo in the back of a pick-up truck, paying the drivers with a few cigars and some booze.
Momentarily, we rested, but not for long, because I realised I’d left our bag with our Canadian passports on the bus! We were truly stuck.
At the station, my husband tracked down the police. They searched the area for hours for our phone – opening up shop doors with their massive guns strapped to their chests! It was quite the scene. All for a little lost phone.
Sadly, we never found our phone, but many hours later and with the help of some friendly locals, we did recover our bag – passports included, so our funny travel story has a happy ending.
That night was our last in adventurous Chiapas, as we booked the very next flight out of town!
4. Cheeky Chimps in Uganda
Linda from Muy Linda Travels shares one of the most funny travel stories about her travels in Uganda.
A few years ago, my friend and I volunteered as music teachers in an orphanage in Kampala, Uganda. Before we left Africa, we travelled to the Kibale Forest National Park near Fort Portal to see wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
After about half an hour of hiking through the dense undergrowth, our Ranger Guide found a family of chimpanzees high in the trees. And that’s where the funny travel story starts.
Other tourists were also trekking in the jungle that day, and a small group was talking very loudly, disturbing the quiet of the forest.
Suddenly, there were squeals from the tourists as a waterfall started falling from above onto their heads. At least one of the chimps was peeing from the treetops and had aimed very well.
When he realised he had hit his target, he started screeching loudly and swung down onto the forest floor. It reminded me of the mischievous young boys I teach who love to play jokes on each other. We were lucky enough to spend an hour observing the wild chimpanzees in the forest feeding, grooming each other and lazing on the forest floor.
Tracking wild Chimpanzees in the African Jungle was an unforgettable experience.
5. Getting Trapped in a Bank Restroom in Israel
This funny travel experience is shared by Lisa Garrett from Waves and Cobblestones.
I leveraged a business trip to Israel to take several day trips from Tel Aviv on the weekends.
I stopped by a bank to get local currency from an ATM to have some ‘walking-around’ money and decided to use their restroom before heading out to explore.
I closed the door, locked it, and hung my purse on the bag hook. After I was finished, I slung my purse over my shoulder, unlocked the door, and …nothing.
I only knew a few phrases in Hebrew. I went with ‘slicha’ (‘excuse me’) – and started knocking loudly on the door and repeating ‘slicha!’
An English-speaking bank employee came to the other side of the door and instructed me to turn the lock all the way to the right (already tried it!) and then all the way to the left (already tried that too).
She went and got another (male) employee who gave the same instructions, with the same non-results.
Then he said to turn the ‘other’ lock. What? It turned out that the bag hook, which sat at eye level, was an automatically-locking lock, in addition to the lock at handle height. After escaping the restroom, mortified, I left the building as fast as my legs would carry me.
Tip: when travelling, look at things through a different lens, as they don’t always work in the same way you’re used to. Also, it’s handy to know a few common phrases when visiting a foreign country!
6. Visiting the Bonesetter in India
Anwar from Beyond My Door shares one of his funny travel stories about how a visit to a bonesetter ‘helped’ his painful foot after a fall.
I caught my foot on the sidewalk and hurt myself when walking around Hyderabad, India, in sandals. My cousin claimed it was my fault for using the sidewalk as no one does there apparently.
Seeing me limping, my family (including my mom) gasped and assumed the worst. “You need to go to Salim”, they said. Who’s Salim? Well, he is/was the local bone-setter.
In India, Bone setters provide an affordable and necessary service for people in the community.
I just wanted an ace bandage, and my family assured me that this is where I’d need to go. So they sent me off my way with another cousin – on the back of a motorbike. I had to try hard not to injure my foot even further!
As I approached, the place was insanely busy. I watched people get their bones set and then hop on motorcycles off to their homes.
When my number was up, I sat down, and the bonesetter took and poked my foot. It didn’t seem so bad until he stood up, stepped and pulled my leg in a way that caused me to scream (which my cousin would laugh and recall to the family later).
If my foot wasn’t broken, it surely was now.
After a few more twists and yelps, he wrapped my foot and sent me on my way. My family pushed me to return to change the bandage.
I was terrified to return, but it wasn’t bad on the return trip. They replaced the bandage and put on more ‘medicine’, and sent me on my way.
I’m pretty sure my foot was worse off from the overall visits. If it was actually broken and needed setting…it might have been the right place. But maybe it’s what $2 of medical care gets you.
7. Losing a Pack in Patagonia
Campbell from Stingy Nomads shares a funny travel story about how losing a backpack in Patagonia brought him and his partner closer together – literally!
Travelling through South America, my partner and I were on a tight budget. We spent about three months exploring the national parks of Patagonia, slowly moving through the spectacular region, mostly hitchhiking and camping on the isolated Carretera Austral through the south of Chile.
One rainy day we got a ride from a Chilean family from Santiago who were going on holiday somewhere in the south of Patagonia. We were happy when they stopped, as we were cold and wet and just wanted a ride as soon as possible.
The family were nice and friendly and dropped us off in the town of Coyhaique, but when we took our gear off the back of the truck, only my backpack was there; her pack was gone!
Every backpacker’s worst nightmare! It must have fallen out of the truck on the very bumpy road.
All her clothes, gear, sleeping bag and toiletries were gone. This was quite a loss in this area with few shops and facilities. Luckily she was carrying all her documents and electronics in a pouch.
We managed to buy another backpack and some clothes, but our choices were extremely limited, and we were still trekking and camping for a couple of months. We ended up sharing a sleeping bag for more than a month!
At first, it was claustrophobic squeezing into the same sleeping bag, but it was snowing and cold, and the extra body warmth made sharing a sleeping bag easier once we got used to it!
8. Parking – Not Barking Like A Dog
Ossama from Awesome Traveler Blog shares his funny travel story about being an international student in the US and getting a word muddled up!
Travelling around California in June, we went to San Francisco, arriving at San Francisco Bay in the morning. The view of the tidal estuary and the Golden Gate Bridge was spectacular.
After taking some pictures, we were hungry, so we ate at a local restaurant and roamed around San Francisco until 10 pm. We were learning English as international students at the time, and our English was not that good.
There were parking meters, but we didn’t know how the parking worked. My friend went to ask around. When he saw a security guard, he asked, “where can I bark?’’ He didn’t realise his mistake!
The security guard looked at him as if he was funny and replied, ‘’You can bark anywhere, but not here.’’ He laughed, and my friend looked at him in surprise. He didn’t understand why the security guard was laughing.
The guy apologised and corrected him. ‘’You meant to say, parking, not barking like a dog.”
It still gets me until this day how our poor English got us into this situation!
9. An Unexpected Boob Massage in Morocco
I saved one of the best funny travel stories almost for last. Jenny from Explore Essaouira has a hilarious tale to tell!
Experiencing a traditional hammam is a must-do travel experience in Morocco. This is a cleansing ritual (similar to a Roman or Turkish bath) in a tiled steam room where the visitor is cleaned and scrubbed by a masseuse.
There are both public and private hammams in Morocco. For a first-time experience, I decided to go for a private hammam in Essaouira (a laid-back Moroccan town perched on the Atlantic coast) as I didn’t quite fancy the naked experience with a bunch of strangers.
Laid on the hot tiles in just a paper thong that left nothing to the imagination, boobs flopped to the side, I tried to relax as a black soap (made from olive skins) was massaged over me.
The masseuse started working on my feet, up to my legs, then tummy (giggles started) and then my boobs (I erupted in laughter – I was not expecting that!) I tried to re-compose myself as she left me in the hammam, as the steam filled the room.
She then returned with a scrubbing mitt and vigorously got to work removing a layer (or three?) of skin and was rather proud at how much was coming off, whilst I was perhaps a little embarrassed at how dirty I obviously was.
When she got to my belly, I thought, “surely boobs don’t get scrubbed too?” Well, yes, they do. And if your boobs are on the larger size, they need to be manoeuvred to different angles to scrub in the crevasses.
My boobs don’t get this much action from my husband!
Once buckets of water thrown over me had washed away the piled flakes of dead skin, I was moved to a bed for a full body massage. And you’ve guessed it, the boobs got a massage too, along with the nipples.
Being from England, and despite travelling the world, this was all very new to me.
But the boob action didn’t put me off. In fact, we lived in Essaouira for a couple of months, and after this first experience, I started going to hammams regularly, even to public ones with strangers (all women).
I learned to be more comfortable with my body, inspired by all the shapes and sizes of comfortable naked women in the hammam, so much so that I didn’t give it a second thought when the masseuse in the public hammam asked me to stand up and remove my knickers so she could wash everywhere.
Short Funny Travel Stories
A bunch of great women from an over 50s female travel group agreed to share some of their funny travel incidents too. Which ones will resonate with you?
10. Trapped in the Tube (Lisa)
Running to grab a train on the Tube in London, my husband made it, but the door closed on my right arm. Half of the arm (with my bag in my hand) was inside the train, and I was outside the train!
My husband grabbed the bag, and I pulled my arm out (it didn’t injure me as the door had padding, and it was easy for me to pull it out.
The train left with my husband and bag in it. When I caught the next train and met up with my husband, he said he’d acted as if he didn’t know me!
11. Beware of Pot Elephants (Stacy)
I was going to buy my daughter a really cute ceramic elephant as she loved elephants until I found out it was a pot pipe!! My daughter was about 14 at the time, and pot was still illegal everywhere!
12. Meeting the Italian President – By Accident (Georgina)
When I was in Rome, there was an incredibly long queue to go into the Presidential Palace gardens. Completely out of character, I tagged onto what I thought was a tour group being ushered in a side entrance to avoid the queue.
I ended up meeting and shaking hands with the President of Italy, but I didn’t rate their security much!
13. Stranded Like a Turtle (Cathy)
Rushing to catch a train in Brindisi, Italy, I tripped and fell crossing the road with a 60-litre backpack! I ended up like a turtle in the middle of the road with legs and arms flailing in the air. Thank goodness I had lots of help getting back up again!
14. Blue Legs in Rome (Dori)
I always wash new clothes before wearing them. In Rome, I wore knee-long blue jeans in summer on a tour when it was very hot and sunny.
Everyone in my party was in shorts. Suddenly, it started to rain hard, and my pants started to bleed – my legs turned blue!
When we got to the Coliseum, the rain stopped, and we continued the tour, but when we arrived at the hotel, everyone was looking at my blue legs.
15. A Parting Gift From My Cat (Coralie)
I checked in to my swanky Zurich hotel on a cold, wet Sunday afternoon in February. As I hung up my painstakingly laundered and pressed business suits and shirts, I remember thinking, “It must have been freezing in the plane’s hold – these clothes are so cold, they feel damp.”
Then I got a strong whiff – of cat pee! My very naughty cat had left me a special gift in my luggage!
I had to send the entire contents of my suitcase to the hotel laundry that afternoon – and beg for express service so I would have something fresh to wear to my Monday morning meetings!
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Until next time
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