Photo Essay: Our Greatest Travel Fails of 2016

Photo Essay: Our Greatest Travel Fails of 2016

Travel bloggers so often focus on all the ‘awesome’ and ‘wanderlust-inspiring’ things about travel.  We try to be realistic here at The Travelators – whether it’s talking about the sh*thouse roads in Armenia to the rather ‘meh’ atmosphere of Dubai – but even we fall into the trap of just showing the ‘good bits’ in our photos. Hence why we thought it appropriate to display some of our travel fails from the last 12 months.

Don’t get us wrong – we love travelling and we are lucky to be able to do it. And the worst days often make the best stories. But here is the truth: Sometimes travel sucks.

Sometimes you just want to go home and eat mum’s roast lamb. Sometimes you’re cold, hungry, sick or all of the above. Sometimes dragging your ass up a mountain on that allegedly ‘life changing’ trek just doesn’t feel worth the effort.

So here’s a collection of photos showing 15 of our less-than-perfect travel moments over the last 12 months across Eurasia. We hope you get a giggle out of it!

1. Laundry Fail

Visit Angkor Temples Cambodia
KG checking for stains on her white singlet at the Angkor Temples in Cambodia. Conclusion? Stained AF. Hostel laundries just aren’t designed for white clothing.

2. Shower Fail

Visit Song Kul Lake Kyrgyzstan
After not showering for 3 days on our trek to Song Kul in Kyrgyzstan, we decided to go for a quick dip in the lake. The only problem? This lake is 3,000 metres above sea level. Just a tad chilly.

3. Drinking Fail

Brandy Tasting Noy Brandy Factory Yerevan Armenia
KG enjoying her brandy tasting at Noy Brandy Factory in Yerevan, Armenia. Or not.

4. Patience Fail

Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal
Tom managed to capture the exact moment KG launched a death stare at our poor porter on the Everest Base Camp trek. After 7 days of our porter talking non-stop, and KG battling a chest infection, she nearly snapped after she was interrupted and told to ‘Listen’. Woe-betide any man who tells KG to be quiet and listen! #ohnoyoudidnt.

5. Driving Fail

Pamir Highway Tajikistan
Our Kyrgyz driver for our Pamir Highway trip also turned out to be a mechanic. While this was great news for our car, it also meant we stopped to assist every broken down Kyrgyz car on the Pamir Highway. We were here for over an hour, just chillin’.

6. Sand Dune Fail

Khongoryn Els Mongolia Gobi Desert
We were so excited to see the iconic Khongoryn Els sand dunes of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia that we jumped at the chance to climb them. Unfortunately, our guide decided we should make this climb straight after dinner. Cue an hour of climbing with sand blowing in our faces feeling like we were about to vomit up our boiled mutton. Noice.

7. Spice Fail

Spicy South Korea Food
Our waiter in Busan, South Korea warned us that this chicken hot pot was ‘very spicy’. We didn’t listen. Before….
Visit South Korea Spicy Food
…and after. Tears, red face and lots of water!

8. India Fail

Visit India Backpacking
After only three weeks in India, the country was starting to wear us down. This picture perfectly captures Tom’s mood after one too many days of tuk-tuks, rubbish and street vendors.

9. Museum Fail

Taxidermy Gobi Desert Mongolia
Perhaps the best worst taxidermy we have ever seen. This was in a small museum in remote Mongolia, so perhaps we are being a bit harsh. We assume it’s some kind of small cat, but we can’t be sure. 10/10 for effort.

10. Scooter Fail

Motorbike hire India Hampi
We were pretty pumped to hire a scooter in Hampi, India for only $5 per day. Turns out there was absolutely no suspension. Tom’s bum paid the price.

11. Local Cuisine Fail

Vegemite Australia
Despite being able to enjoy delicious curries every day in India, KG just needed a taste of home. Here she is preparing a gourmet cheese and Vegemite sandwich. Delish.

12. Hiking Fail

Hiking Hallasan South Korea
We set out to hike South Korea‘s highest peak, Hallasan, under the impression that the trek was 9 km return. Turns out it was 19 km return. Here is Tom resting his poor feet on the way back down. We are not built for hiking.

13. Snow Fail

Cho La Pass Gokyo Lakes Nepal
This was without a doubt the worst day of our Everest Base Camp-Gokyo Lakes trek. The day we were set to cross the Cho La pass (5,420 metres) we encountered heavy snow. KG ended up with the first signs of frost bite on her fingers as we were woefully under-prepared with poo-quality gloves. Here she is looking really happy in the snow.

14. Bedding Fail

Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal
When we heard that we would be staying in ‘lodges’ during our Everest Base Camp-Gokyo Lakes trek, we couldn’t believe our luck! Turns out our expectations may have been a tad high. Basic fibro-cladded rooms with no heating whatsoever. At least there were plenty of blankets!

 15. River Crossing Fail

Song Kul Kyrgyzstan
Now this may look like a small trickling stream to the untrained eye… and it was. But KG had an enormous amount of trouble crossing it. It was a tad boggy and she was unconvinced she’d make the leap with the extra weight on her back, so opted to throw the backpack to Tom on the other side. Needless to say, the backpack landed in the mud and stank of cow poo for the rest of the two day trek to Song Kul in Kyrgyzstan.

Have you had any ‘travel fails’? Tell us about them below!

8 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Our Greatest Travel Fails of 2016

    1. We should definitely have known better than to pack white! But alas, it was sitting in our wardrobe when we packed and we thought we could get away with it 🙂 thanks for commenting!

  1. This is probably the best article about travelling in a long time. So damn honest haha. It’s me and my husband dealing with all these on a daily basis when we travel. It’s not all glamourous! It’s about making the most of it and seeing life for what it is: a big adventure. These pictures scream: epic memories.
    You guys are awesome.

    1. Thanks so much Cory! Glad you liked it 🙂 we have another photo gallery coming up called ‘It’s A Small Man’s World’, which is just photos of Tom (who is 6’4) trying to fit into small things haha. Happy travels!

  2. Oh love it! 🙂 Travel is so much more interesting when things go wrong, as long as it’s just the little things that you can laugh about afterwards.

    I have quite a few…:
    * getting lost coming down a hill, breaking a sandal while sipping in a bed of reeds, ending up in a field of sheep, and having to walk 5km to the nearest town on gravelly roads.
    * getting stuck at an African border with no luggage because the share taxi I was in had decided not to wait for me to get stamped out.
    * illegally crossing another border in Africa accidentally and not noticing for 7km in strong afternoon heat.
    * learning that eating squid from a street market in Phnom Penh wasn’t the best choice for lunch.
    * several journeys where a combination of little things had knock-on effects which meant I ended up arriving at my destination several hours late.
    * getting the ‘slow’ coach across Uzbekistan without realising, and *then* having it miss my stop and drop me an hour further up the road, having to hitch back to Bukhara with a Turkish lorry driver.

    Not had a laundry fail yet, to be honest, but there’s still time … 🙂
    The Barefoot Backpacker recently posted…Pendle Hill – Religion, Witchcraft, and MeteorologyMy Profile

    1. Haha they sound like pretty great travel fails. I love the one about the slow coach in Uzbekistan… lucky you found a lift home! If you pack white clothes, you are bound for a laundry fail eventually 🙂

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