If you travel often you most likely have your own travel horrors. These can range from scary flights, uncomfortable airlines, missed connections or other travel arrangements, and downright scary or uncomfortable situations. If you have one I’d love for you to share below! I’ve learned that laughing about it helps me deal with how uncomfortable or scary certain situations can be.
Where Was I?
So, where does this lovely story begin? In none other than the destination I had been dreaming about since I was five years old…Rome. My cousin, my friend, and I decided we wanted to go on a mini Euro-Tour. That way we could maximize the different cultures and popular destinations we saw after my friend and I finished our study abroad in Spain. One of the destinations we decided on was Rome. I couldn’t believe it, after 15 years of dreaming about the place, I was really going to walk the streets of Rome. As a history buff and a person intrigued by Romans and their culture, I was in my element and determined to make this the highlight of my trip (it was, but for different reasons).
So, What Happened?
My cousin, my friend, and I started our adventure in Spain and we made our way through the U.K., Greece, and France before we headed to Italy. We started in Venice and after visiting my childhood home we decided it was time to make our way to Rome. Our travel style was very flexible (we had set flights but getting around each country was not set and we usually decided to do something in country the day of). We decided to take the train from Venice to Rome.
When we looked to purchase our tickets we found a train that was leaving fairly soon, unfortunately there was only one ticket available for that train. So we had to take the next available train…which was four hours from when we arrived at the train station. There we were, sitting in the train station, hot and bitten by all kinds of insects. Finally we got on the train and all was well.
Midnight Arrival in Rome
We arrived in Rome around midnight that night. My friend’s family flew into Rome and were waiting for her at their hotel. My cousin and I decided we only wanted to stay one night in Rome and opted to stay in a hostel. This would have been the first time we stayed at a hostel during our trip. The night before we left for Rome my cousin and I booked our hostel room online and received a confirmation email. We believed all was taken care of. Boy were we wrong.
Searching for our Hostel
We left the train station with a mild idea of where the hostel was. After walking around until 1 a.m. we asked a passing taxi if he knew where our hostel was. To which he pointed above our heads and said it was right behind us. So we drug our luggage up the stairs and rang the massive doorbell. The hostel owner answered and sounded puzzled that we were getting in so late. After we told him we had a confirmation email he buzzed us in. Unfortunately he didn’t tell us what floor the hostel was on. Exhausted and creeped out, looking for a bed at the end of a very long travel day, we got into the manual elevator and proceeded to go to each floor.
When I say manual elevator think old horror movies with the creaky elevator and manual doors. We went to every floor, I got out, called “hello, anyone here?”, waited, and then proceeded to the next floor…all the way to the 6th floor. When we got to the last floor in the building a man came out from the floor below us and asked us to come down. Turns out he was the guy in charge of the hostel.
Being Turned Away
We met the owner of the hostel on the 5th floor and he promptly told us no rooms were available. I immediately pulled out my phone, asked for the wi-fi, and pulled up my email with the confirmation number. The man was kind enough to tell us that we happened to book through a third party and the systems don’t sync frequently. Leading to over-bookings and there was nothing he could do. So there we were. 1:30 a.m. frantically using wi-fi for a few minutes before we had to go into the night on our own, with no plan.
My cousin had high hopes that we would find a place to stay. She was kind enough to go to hotels we passed and ask if they had any available rooms. After being turned away by 5 hotels I felt hopeless. On the verge of tears I told my cousin I had a feeling we would be sleeping alongside the homeless (this has turned into a huge inside joke). We made our way back to the train station. Finally connected to the wi-fi we began calling and texting my friend and her family looking to stay with them. After 15 minutes my cousin and I decided to take a taxi to my friend’s hotel.
A Great Ending to a Long Night
We arrived at my friend’s hotel around 2 a.m. and the concierge was kind enough to hear our story out. We explained our predicament and how we only needed one room for the night. The concierge called so many people to see if it would be okay to let us stay for the night and we just stood there hoping and praying. Keep in mind the whole reason my cousin and I were in this mess was because we wanted to save a few bucks by staying in a hostel. Now here we were at a 5 star hotel in the middle of Rome…definitely not what we were going for. Eventually he received the answer needed because our card was swiped and we were handed a room key!
My cousin and I were so grateful to have a safe place to stay and a warm bed to lay on I think that was the best night’s sleep anyone has ever had in Rome. In the morning we got ready, went to the AMAZING complimentary breakfast, and left our luggage with the front desk. Keep a lookout for another blog post containing what we did for our day in Rome!
Have any Travel Horrors of Your Own?
Let me know in the comments what travel horrors you’ve come across!