The craziest things can happen on vacation. Missing your flight, forgetting your passport only to realize when you’re at security and getting lost somewhere you don’t speak the language, we’ve all heard the horror stories.
No matter the ending, you’ll have a good story to tell. While I’d rather a seamless trip with good memories and amazing photos, I have a story or two including my most recent disaster of leaving my phone on the Paris Metro.
Stories from the Road: 7 Epic Travel Stories From the Whimsy Soul Team
For this round up, we asked our Whimsy Soul team, “what is your craziest travel story?” And we got some good ones, so let’s get into it!
I was in the middle of a Category 5 Super Typhoon. A typhoon is a tropical cyclone, just like a hurricane, and Typhoon Hagibis was a big one!
It was October 2019, and my husband and I were in Tokyo (on the 37th floor of our hotel, to be exact) when Typhoon Hagibis hit. Our room began to sway and lurch like a boat at sea, and the windows heaved violently with the force of the winds. It felt like the whole building was about to topple over—maybe I was being overly dramatic, but I thought we might die.
We went to the hotel’s first-floor lobby, where at least the swaying wouldn’t be so bad and I wouldn’t feel so seasick. Though it was the strongest typhoon to strike mainland Japan in decades, and one of the largest typhoons EVER recorded, the hotel staff acted surprisingly nonchalant and I was somewhat reassured.
When the storm finally passed that evening, we went outside and were greeted by eerily empty streets. Here we were, in the middle of Shibuya (home of the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world), yet there was hardly another soul around. It was still blustery and drizzly and most businesses would remain shuttered until at least the next day.
Japanese 7-Elevens, however, would probably stay open through the apocalypse, so a typhoon was no biggie. We picked up some potato chips and egg salad sandwiches and it was one of the best meals of my life. If you ever go to Japan, you have to get a convenience store egg salad sandwich—trust me.
I used to be an adventure cat! I would climb all over the dunes at Ocean Beach and under the trees in Golden Gate Park. But one day while at the beach someone had to get rescued and there were a lot of loud sirens. I got really scared and never felt comfortable going on walks again. That was sure crazy.
I lost my phone on the Paris Metro. In November 2021, I traveled to Paris with my boyfriend. fter traveling for 24+ hours, two planes, two shuttles/trams and finally the Metro to our Airbnb in the Latin Quarter. I was exhausted and picked up my book to stay awake.
I set my phone in my lap between my legs on the seat. When we got to our stop, I looked back to make sure I grabbed everything, but my phone was neatly tucked into the folding seat.
We were riding an elevator up into the city, and I was so excited. I wanted to capture our ascent into the city on video, but couldn’t find my phone. I looked down at my Apple Watch to see it was disconnected and heard a swish as the train took off.
I looked at my boyfriend in horror. We rushed to the person working at the gate and told them our dilemma. They took our “report,” but pretty much told us it was gone. Defeated, we went to our Airbnb where we realized my boyfriend could track my phone (we share locations), but only when connected to Wifi.
We saw my phone riding up and down the 7 line, so we decided to try to track it down when it got close to our stop. We ran back to the station in the rain. The person at the gate remembered us and let us in for free after we explained we were tracking it.
Then we began car hopping. We knew the general area of the car and spot we were sitting, so we went in at one stop and jumped out the next. After a few failed attempts, we decided to go back above ground and look for Wifi.
We sat under an awning of a random cafe where my boyfriend had again explained the situation for the Wifi password, and it was coming near again. Back underground, we searched one, two, three cars and no luck.
Losing hope, we decided this is the last train we’re checking. Jump in the car, he’s checking one area and I’m checking the other, and there it is! I found my phone on the Paris Metro!
I lost my camera at Dubai International Airport, and didn’t realize it until I landed in Bodrum, Turkey. It was a Canon G7X. I was so bummed out because I had been planning to vlog my entire trip to the Middle East while on vacation last year, and all of the Dubai footage was gone.
On top of that, I also lost my camera bag and tripod. I captured the rest of my trip on my phone. It is what it is.
Robin and I once flew to Germany for one night. Ages ago Lufthansa airlines reached out and invited us to work on this campaign centered around CES in Las Vegas. They were going to do this whole in-flight event on a flight from Frankfurt to Vegas so we of course needed to be on the flight.
This was well before I was confident in negotiating with brands, and I was just super pumped to land my first international travel campaign. So when the brand contact told me we would fly to Frankfurt for just one night before hopping on the official event flight back, I didn’t push back.
Robin and I flew for like, 11 hours, to Frankfurt and had exactly 7 hours to explore the city before we had to go to bed. We had to get back to the hotel soon since we had wake up really early the next day to go back to the airport and fly back to the US. We obvi were totally exhausted and because we had to be “on” for the event flight, we couldn’t even sleep on the way back!!
I really didn’t want to waste a trip to Frankfurt, even if it was short and crazy so we pushed ourselves to see as much as we could in the limited time. I remember falling asleep on a museum bench because at that point we were traveling for over 24 hours straight.
And, once we landed in Las Vegas we also then had to spend a whole day at the CES event. We were zombies after that trip. I also learned the lesson to ask brands to fly us out earlier so we can actually function on these kinds of press trips. Last year when I was invited by VinhoVerde to their wine weekend, I asked to fly out 3 days earlier and paid for hotels those days out of pocket. It was totally worth it to start the work trip functional and adjust to the new time zone instead of a zombie like I was in Germany!
But, if you do ever find yourself short on time in Frankfurt, I do have a post on all the best things to do on a Frankfurt layover.
I stayed in a vacation rental owned by the former keyboardist of Wizzard – random, but it was seriously the #1 most magical place I’ve ever stayed.
I was camping with my friend in Lake Powell. She went to use the campground porta-potties before we left… and she dropped her phone into the abyss of disgust! The hole was at least 7 feet deep. She went without her phone for a full week. It was a very enlightening experience, and I learned to never put your phone in your back pocket when you go to the bathroom in the wild.
Have a crazy travel story? We want to hear it! Let us know in the comments!