5 Holiday Hells

Having forced my parents to endure marathon sessions of the Home Alone movies every Christmas, my fascination with travel calamities was only confounded in adulthood by endless ‘study days’ spent watching reruns of Airline and UK Border Force. Yet whilst Kevin McCallister has had a few tragic Christmases, I’ll be pretty bold in saying that my own international adventures have often gone frightfully wrong.


1. She’s not a child you know!

Coming from a family of rather petite proportions, it has always been difficult to prove to the giant world around us that we are indeed ‘of age’. I have received many child-friendly restaurant menus and plane meals only to have my parents exclaim that I’m ‘not a child!’. When you’re 21 and handed a children’s menu along with your 10-year-old nephews, it’s a little embarrassing.  


2. Try better next time

Stereotypically and in reality, girls are great at organisation – we innately possess the ability to cram a fashion show into a miniscule case. Yet returning home after a trip across the Atlantic I found suitcase locks missing and a personal note inside my suitcase comprising ‘Packing Tips’. Insulted by the Border Police for my shameful packing, beat that Kevin!

3. Hasta la vista, baby

It’s a well-known fact that closely timed airline connections are doomed to fail. Failure indeed when the plane I was on had to circle the runway at Schiphol airport for 45 minutes due to a technical issue, forcing me to watch my flight to the US board and leave before we finally landed on Dutch soil. Catch you next time?


4. No such thing as a free mattress?

On a holiday to the always-classy Costa del Sol, some friends and I thought we’d make the most of the supposedly free tours offered to us by the hotel. Early one sunny day, we headed out on a coach packed with ageing retirees to the Spanish hillside where our anticipated day of antique markets and tapas was in fact a quick walk through a village finished off by a two hour pitch about magic ‘arthritis soothing’ mattresses. Tip: read the small print.


5. Horrors of Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport

Having worked as a tour manager for international students across Europe, my worst memories always revolve around this Paris airport. Over the past few months I’ve endured arguments with airline staff who sought to divide up a group of tearful 11 year olds in the check-in line, trekked 40 students through a car park to change terminals and missed numerous flights in its torturous security lines.


Kevin McCallister may have the monopoly on cuteness but with a list of nightmares like this I rival his reputation for being a travel trauma. Think you can do better? Email your nightmares to travel@owleyesmagazine.com and we’d love to publish your calamitous excursions!


Images souced from Caitlin Rose,  Kendra Wings, Ana Borbolla's Wishwall, Yann Coroller, Sydney Schwager and Clarissa Butelli.