42 crazy and cringeworthy – but true – travel complaints

Traveling woman with a beer giving a thumbs down

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Anyone who has traveled has undoubtedly had to deal with problems — from broken toilets and dirty glasses to price gougers and pickpockets.

Sometimes we complain, but more often we just roll with the punches, realizing that the experience of travel (especially when you’re venturing abroad) comes with few guarantees.

But then there other folks who hit the road and bring along their entitlement complexes, very little common sense, and almost no cultural awareness. Without a doubt: People can be really clueless when traveling — especially when it comes to visiting another country.

Here are some crazy but unfortunately true travel complaints and amusing anecdotes provided by travel agencies around the globe, including Island Trader Vacations reviews, Just The Flight, TripAdvisor.com, Thomas Cook and the Association of British Travel Agents.

We weren’t told

1. “We went on a canoe trip but were very disappointed that no one told us there would not be a bathroom onboard. It was very inconvenient.”

2. “There was no sign telling you that you shouldn’t get on the hot air balloon ride if you’re afraid of heights.”

3. “My trip was ruined when I got sunburned and got sick because of it. They should warn you that the sun is brighter in Mexico than it is in the United States, I would have used sunscreen.”

4. “We booked an excursion to a water park, but no one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.”

5. “Tour company did not warn me that I would get wet during the river rafting trip. It ruined my $300 leather handbag.”

6. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

7. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow, but it was white.”

8. “You said the town was next to a volcano, but we went and there was no lava. I’m pretty sure it was just a mountain.”

Man tourist with yellow suitcase
Photo by Kues1/Envato
How dare they?

9. “On our trip to New York, the streets were dirty and we saw people asking for money, it was depressing. There should be a warning to travelers.”

10. “We had to queue outside with no air conditioning.”

11. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

12. “The beach had too many fat people. It was gross.”

13. “Will never return to this hotel because there are homeless people everywhere in this city.”

14. “I was bitten by a mosquito. No one said they could bite.”

15. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

Okay. What?!

16. “The beach was too sandy.”

17. “The water in the Gulf of Mexico was too salty. No one told me that there was going to be salt in the water. It was gross.”

18. “Why doesn’t everyone speak English? We went Spain and no one understood English. We will never go back there again.”

19. “There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad.”

20. “The street signs weren’t in English. I don’t understand how anyone can get around.”

21. “So, [the Great Wall of China] took nearly 2000 years to make, did the Mongols not figure out a way around during the process? At what time did the Chinese realize it was a total waste of time!? SO WHY IS IT SO GREAT? The views are lovely, the wall is a waste of time other than crossing it off your list of things to do.”

22. “You told us that there was a rooftop pool, but above us was just another room.”

Travel complaints about food

23. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”

24. “We went to a Mexican restaurant in Rome and the waiter was Italian. You assured us Italy was the best place for an authentic food experience.”

25. “On our trip to India our son was terribly disappointed and our trip ruined when he couldn’t get just a hamburger anywhere that we went. Someone should have informed us of what to expect before we went as we never would have gone in the first place.”

Married life

26. “The local women were too beautiful; it made me feel bad about myself.”

27. “Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”

28. “My husband was jealous when we were in Spain because men wanted to kiss our cheeks. They should know that that is not polite to do this as we are married.”

Animal life

“No one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”

“We had to cut our trip short to Yellowstone because we were informed that they don’t cage the animals at night for our protection. This is just dangerous and unacceptable.”

“The animals at the zoo looked very sad and it made our children cry. Can’t they train them to smile?”

Blonde woman tourist with camera
Photo by Kues1/Envato
No fair!

32. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, it only took the Americans three hours to get home.”

33. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends’ three-bedroom apartment, and ours was significantly smaller.”

34. “We bought ‘Ray-Ban’ sunglasses for five euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”

Other strange travel complaints & comments

35. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the accommodation.’ We’re trainee hairdressers — will we be okay staying there?”

36. “When I exchanged my money on my way back from Canada, I lost money. My money should be worth the same as everyone else’s.”

37. “Our flight left Heathrow at 07:55, and they told us the flight was 2 hours. But when we landed it was 10:55, making us miss our connection. The pilot didn’t even tell us we were delayed.” [They came from a different time zone.]

38. “Time could be spent pondering over the meaning of some of the many safety signs around the complex. Out of the several we managed to identify, the two we found to be of greatest use were 1. Not to step on any crocodiles whilst barefoot, and 2. No ugly or spotty children to frequent the pool.”

39. “Our guide told us the reason the big tree blew down was because the wind caught the canopy. I don’t understand why they just didn’t take the canopy down before the storm, we wanted to see it and it was gone. That was the whole reason we went there.”

40. “I spent the night in the [hotel] room and experienced a friendly spirit. This presence got into bed with me, an old lady, she was nice and I just patted her on the head and we had a comfortable restful sleep. I think I will ask for a different room next time.”

41. “Hotel staff stole my eye serum and face cream. I am lucky they did not steal my jewelry or laptop.”

42. “My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

We're Nancy and Betsy, and we've been adventuring in the digital world since the mid-90s -- truly making us that type of entrepreneurial internet pioneer Gen X is known for! We started Myria.com back in 1998 and later launched SheKnows.com -- among various other online and print projects. Our partnership has spanned decades and crossed state lines (multiple times!). Nancy currently resides Arizona, and Betsy's newest home base is Minnesota. It's been an incredible journey of collaboration and innovation. You can read more about our story here!

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