When Travelling Goes Totally Wrong

I knew my Europe trip this January had been a bit rough when it ended with me walking into airport arrivals and bursting into tears. Almost everything that could have gone wrong did, which is why everyone who asked about my trip got a very inconclusive answer…”oh, it was great, Belgium and Prague are beautiful, but I was really sick!” Here’s my take on when travelling goes totally wrong:

Cancelled Flight

Everything seemed fine when I arrived at the Halifax Airport, and it was fine until we got on the plane and sat there for half an hour. Then they told us we had to wait for some sort of mechanical check, and after endless waiting for that we were told to get off the plane…sending us back to the gate. We stood there for a while, as I started getting nervous that I was going to miss my connection in Philly. Rereading my travel journal, I seem very positive at the beginning, and then it quickly turns into trying to figure out my options. Luckily, the airline just rebooked me for the next day and I was given a free night in the nicest hotel at the Halifax airport! I did miss getting a day in Brussels, but all my pre-bought train tickets still worked – so no real loss. I also got an upgrade to first class for the short flight to Philly!

Worst Sore Throat Ever

I spent a few hours working on the biggest iMac I’d ever seen in the hotel lobby, then settled in to the massive bed to watch a few hours of What Not to Wear – living the dream. However, I quickly realized my throat was starting to hurt..I brushed it off thinking that it would be fine soon. Little did I know that it would quickly become the worst sore throat I’d ever had, making it so my eyes watered in pain every time I tried to talk. I spent the whole trip walking around cringing every time I swallowed, avoiding speaking and feeling bad for myself.

See how dead I look? I felt worse.

See how dead I look? I felt worse.

Broken Phone

About 12 hours into my trip, my phone started turning on and off and on and off over again, before turning off basically forever. I got a few minutes of use out of it every now and then, but it was pretty much down and out. For me, the biggest problem was not being able to Instagram (my life is so hard) and not being able to access my Lonely Planet PDF I’d downloaded, but my parents were NOT impressed that I was hardly ever in touch. Luckily, European hostels seem to mostly have computers for guests to use so I could let them know I hadn’t died yet.

My phone not working also made me extremely nervous when I had to wake up at a certain time to catch a flight…I spent the night before my flight to Prague running upstairs to check the time every 20 minutes. So restful!


Ah, the memories. Upon arrival in Prague, I had one perfectly blissful day exploring the city and enjoying the sunshine. The next day I woke up feeling worse but still went out to explore, even buying a concert ticket for that night. I went back to the hostel for a lunch time nap and started feeling slightly nauseous – 5 seconds after the first signs, I was the sickest I’ve ever been in my hostel dorm’s bathroom. I managed to message my mom that something was very wrong, and then spent the next 8 hours alternating between throwing up and shaking feverishly in my bed, completely out of touch. Sorry mom – I guarantee I felt worse than you! I’m just glad I was staying in such a nice hostel (Mosaic House) with such nice bathrooms.

I thought it might have been food poisoning, but my mom suggested norovirus and I would agree – apparently you can get it from basically anything, so I have no idea what the cause was!

Hitting My Head

On my glorious day in Prague, the only thing that marred the experience was rather stupid of me. I climbed about 7 towers that day, and on one of them I smashed my head SO hard into the concrete ceiling. Apparently, the sign saying to watch your head and the yellow caution tape weren’t enough for me…..I saw stars for a long time and had to hold back tears because of all the other tourists! I’m just glad I didn’t get a concussion…now that would be a story.

Hurting My Back

After leaving Prague, I was just excited to get home. Normally the last thing I would want to do is leave Europe, but after all of the above I was exhausted, weak, and had lost at least 5 pounds – not a good thing. I made it through my flight to Philadelphia thanks to a lovely Belgian woman next to me who fed me cake and asked if I was okay. In the Philly airport, however, I turned around to see something and felt something snap in my back. I spent the next 3 hours of my layover and the 2.5 hours of my flight holding back tears (which seems to be a common theme) and trying not to move. Waiting to board with my backpack on my back was excruciating, and the gate attendants probably thought something was seriously wrong from the expression on my face. (Hm….they should have put me in first class!)

When I got through customs, I walked as quickly as possible (not very fast with my back) to my parents and burst into tears. They were mad at me for not getting in touch all day, which I had TRIED TO DO. Luckily my mother was able to put aside her annoyance to comfort me for a bit, and I had never been happier to get back to my house.

Have you ever been on a trip where everything seems to go wrong? Have you gotten sick while travelling?



  1. Sara says

    That sounds awful!!! When I went to Ecuador in January I had the flu and didn’t get over it until the end of my first week there 🙁 but then the friend I was with got SUPER sick the next week and ended up in a sketchy hospital on an IV. Not the best start to our first trip abroad!

    • bethanydickey says

      Oh noo, that’s brutal!! Being sick abroad is seriously the worst. I hope it picked up from there!

  2. Katrina the Two Week Traveler says

    Wow that sounds like the worst trip ever! I am trying to think back to all of my travels, but I don’t think I’ve ever been extremely sick on a trip. I’ve had colds and I’ve had some stomach issues, but nothing that ruined my trip. Sorry you had the worst week ever, but that just means your next trip will be extra good compared to this one.

    • bethanydickey says

      Remarkably I still have fond memories of the trip – I have that one incredible, perfect day in Prague to make up for the rest of the awful ones! It’ll be nice to have a healthy, warm summer in Europe though!


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