I have certainly had my share of vacation mishaps. Looking back, I notice that quite a few of them involved rental cars. And, quite a few of them were costly: emotionally and financially. Travel incidents aside, these were some memorable experiences that I’ll never forget. This is a list of stories of things that happened to me while traveling. As with many past happenings, I can look back on some of them and laugh (some of them – I laughed while it was happening).
1. Natural Bridge, Virginia: “Breezy Shorts”
I’ll start the list of vacation mishaps with our family trip to Natural Bridge, Virginia. We arrived the night of July 4th and stayed overnight. The next day after checking out the bridge and eating some lunch, my wife and daughter went to a safari – while my son and I went to hike the Devil’s Marble yard. The hike was going well, until my favorite cargo shorts started to split up the back.. The walk back to the car was quite breezy. My son still has the video, still gets a big kick out of watching it.
2. Maui: “Hawaiian Crunch”
After a day of touring San Francisco, we headed back to the airport to catch our flight to Hawaii. It was a great day, but with the three time zone changes in a single day (EST, PST, HST), I was wiped out. Besides a short nap on the flight, by the time we arrived in Maui that night – I had been awake for the better part of 24 hours. And I was TIRED! Sleep deprivation led to another of my vacation mishaps. We arrived at the place we were staying and unpacked. After unpacking, I went to park the car. As I was backing up, I heard a small “crunch”. I backed into a dumpster, putting a dent in the car. Every car I rent now – I get insurance.
3. Australia: “Strapless in San Francisco”
We had another long layover in San Francisco. Did some touring, took some pictures and I left my Peak Design Camera Strap in the rental car. It was black, and the car interior was black. Those straps aren’t cheap. I was fortunate to find a replacement from a camera store in downtown Melbourne. This is addition to my list of expensive vacation mishaps.
4. Australia: “Bad Reservation”
I arrived strapless for a two week stay in Australia. It was early morning, and the rental car places hadn’t opened yet. We caught a shuttle to a rental car location… but it still wasn’t the right one. This was one of the more annoying vacation mishaps. So, we had to wait about an hour for another shuttle to take us to the “right” one. Anyway, we get there – and they tell my wife the car she rented wasn’t available (despite the email that she had with the reservation). They said they tried to call her to tell her. In their defense, my wife never answers her cell phone. So, they shuttled us back to the airport where we rented a car from a reputable vendor. Unfortunately, this would not be the last of the Australian travel incidents.
5. Australia: Where’s the Car?
My son and I returned from a day of hiking in Grampians National Park. We got back to downtown Melbourne, and for the first time in nearly two weeks, we managed to find a parking spot without a problem directly in front of the building. I was curious, but we had just gotten back from a 3 hour drive (one way). So, I was just happy to find a spot – totally ignoring the sign we parked near.. Well, the reason there were so many available parking spaces was… after a certain day/time it becomes a tow away zone. We came out in the morning, and the car was gone! After seeing Avengers:Endgame (three days earlier than in America), we caught an Uber to the impound yard. The last of the Australian vacation mishaps cost me $300US.
6. Orlando, Florida: “Camera Chaos”
We had a great time in Florida, but this was another of the rental car vacation mishaps. I had gotten a lot of use of my first DSLR Camera, Canon EOS Rebel. We were on our way to the airport in Orlando. We stopped so my son could do some go-karting. When we arrived at the go-kart track, I put my camera on the floor of the car (on the driver’s side). I was driving; so there’s no way I could forget it. Well… we were late getting to the airport. When we got there there was a chaotic shuffle of baby car seats, luggage, stuffed animals, and trying not to miss our flight. In that shuffle, I managed to leave my camera in the car… which I didn’t realize until things calmed down and I was on the airplane.
7. Ricketts Glen: “Broken Drones & Waterfalls”
My friends, Abu, Roger, and I went to Rickett’s Glen State Park. This time the vacation mishaps were equally divided amongst the group. It all started when Abu slipped on a rock and hit his knee. About midway through, I decided that it was a great spot to get some aerial waterfall shots. Well, the drone uses GPS, and we were in a gorge with a very weak signal. The drone started to go up on its own, and I got worried. I used the limited control I had to bring it to crash landing. It landed out of site near a waterfall. Fortunately, it landed near the fall – but in a place where it wasn’t getting directly wet. Roger offered me his tripod to climb on up the fall to get it. On the way down, the tripod broke.
8. Orlando, Florida – “Soapy Pool”
We took a family vacation to Orlando. There were nine of us, 5 adults & 4 children staying in an airbnb townhouse. It had plenty of space for everyone, and it had a pool & jacuzzi. I guess Disney World and Universal Studios wasn’t enough excitement for the younger crew. Their need for additional fun put this on the list of my vacation mishaps. They put some kind of soap in the swimming pool and jacuzzi (it was shampoo or dish detergent… I can’t remember which). But, BUBBLES WERE EVERYWHERE!
9. VA Beach – “Glasses Not Goggles”
This particular 4th July trip took us to Virginia Beach. Normally, I don’t get in pools or the ocean. But, we went to the beach, and my daughter asked me to get in with her. So, I did. Since this is a story of vacation mishaps, you can probably guess it didn’t go well. I wasn’t planning to put my face in the water, so I kept my glasses on. The waves were getting high. causing my daughter to get out of the water. With my back towards the ocean, I started to walk to the shore. Just then a very big wave came, and its power knocked underwater. I managed to get to my feet and orient myself. But, when I stood up my glasses were in the Atlantic Ocean. I need my glasses all the time – I had to go to the mall to get a new pair.