Kate takes a selfie at the top of the boat; her friends all smile from the bottom deck in the background.

45 Funny, Heartfelt, Unforgettable Travel Stories

Adventurous Kate contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

I tell travel stories for a living. I do this because I can’t NOT tell travel stories — every experience I have is shaped in the moment and waits in anticipation to shoot out of my fingertips.

And I live to share those stories with an audience. As humans, we’re hard-wired to be influenced by storytelling, and I feel like stories are what inspire people to actually book a trip.

To be honest, though, compelling stories are what’s missing from most travel blogs today, where SEO-driven travel planning posts make up the majority of the content.

We have SO many great travel stories to tell. But we’re not telling them as often as we should. So I decided to share some of the best stories in one place.

I reached out to my travel blogger friends to share their most entertaining posts of all time. Nothing travel planning-oriented, nothing keyword- or affiliate-stuffed — just fun, entertaining stories that would make a stranger smile or laugh. And did they EVER pay off!

Each of these stories is a treasure. I hope you enjoy them.


Note: Due to COVID-19 and a dwindled demand for travel worldwide, travel bloggers have lost significant portions of their incomes. Between people not researching or booking travel and advertisers reducing their spend, many travel bloggers will be making a small fraction of their usual income for months.

The best thing you can do right now is find a story you like on this list and visit several pages on their blog. It costs you nothing, but your eyes on their display ads (no clicks necessary, we get paid by views!) will earn them some much-needed cash in a difficult time.

Want to help out even more? If you love one of these blog posts, sign up for their email newsletter. You can find mine here.

Kate has a worried expression in front of a giant table filled with around 15 dishes of food for her

Funny Travel Mishaps

Are you looking to read about crazy mishaps that happened on the road? Here are some good ones!

Possibly My Favorite Travel Poop Story Ever by Nomadasaurus

OMG. I had never read this one before but this is one of the funniest travel stories I’ve ever read! Jared tells the story of when diarrhea hit at the worst time ever — on a Chinese bus — and where he ultimately ended up pooping!

Embarrassing Stories From My Travels by Legal Nomads

Jodi is well-known for being pooped on while traveling — 14 birds and one bat so far — but this post shared plenty more of those stories, including the most embarrassing way to ask where to catch the bus in Argentina.

Hooked on the Cook Islands: My Giant Wedgie by Neverending Footsteps

Lauren is well-known for her extensive list of disastrous “travel incidents” around the world. This one involves a snorkeling trip where she accidentally flashed her vag to an entire boat of people, including a family with young kids.

I Have a Confession to Make by Journalist on the Run

Imagine being a travel writer who gets paid to stay in a luxurious resort in the Maldives. Dream job, huh? Now imagine that you get hit by the worst diarrhea of your life while pretending that everything is normal as the staff gives you a tour. Janet lays out her experience in excruciating detail.

When a City Girl Goes Camping by Suitcase and Heels

I may be a city girl who took her first steps in a tent — but not all city girls take to camping so easily. Melissa shares a camping adventure in Newfoundland that did not go as planned! (NEVER forget the bottle opener!)

An Ode to Señor Frog, The Worst Car in Cozumel by Emily Luxton Travels

What happens when you rent a weird pea-green car that looks like an emaciated Volkswagen Beetle? Well, you definitely get an adventure out of it, Emily shares. Know this before you rent a tiny car on a Mexican island.

How to Have the Worst Day Ever in Phuket (and How to Turn It Around) by Why Wait to See the World

Sometimes you have a travel day when you hit disaster after disaster after disaster — and sometimes it’s when you’re on your first full travel day with your boyfriend, ever. That happened to Steph in Phuket, but soon she found a way to turn it around.

Learning From Your Travel Mistakes by Mexico Cassie

In this round-up, Cassie shares tons of stories from her adventures around the world — from climbing a mountain overnight without any warm gear to letting a guy kiss her and having him follow her around Laos for two weeks, she’s had a lot of hilarious-in-retrospect mishaps on the road!

The Time I Got Pissed On in Manila by Aussie on the Road

Continuing the bodily fluids theme, Chris shares a rather disgusting late-night incident in a hostel dorm — proving that sometimes fellow backpackers are the most horrifying thing you could run into on the road.

Terrible Travel Tales: Mishaps, Setbacks, and Comical Foibles of Globe Trotting by Year of the Monkey

From missing a flight at the last minute due to a nosebleed to getting mistaken for a child at the age of 32, Paroma shares her favorite travel mishaps she’s collected over the years.

That Time We Got Held Hostage by Monkeys in Ubud by Bridges and Balloons

And I thought I was terrified in the Monkey Forest in Ubud — Victoria and Steve got TRAPPED in a house surrounded by monkeys and couldn’t escape! One of my worst nightmares.

My Embarrassing Driving Experience in Ourzazate by Globotreks

Norbert had never driven stick before in his life — so when the car he rented in Morocco turned out to have a manual transmission, he figured he could just wing it and learn to drive stick that day. NOT SO MUCH! As a fellow driver who has never driven stick, I felt this one.

Ayurvedic Massage, Not for the Modest by Jessie on a Journey

If you had the chance to get a massage for just $16 in the heart of Kerala, India, you would go for it, wouldn’t you? Then Jessie found out that this massage was done naked. COMPLETELY naked. With lots of oil and boob massage.

An unmarked gray van in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Scary Travel Mishaps

Sometimes mishaps can be on the dark side — though often you’ll find aspects of them humorous in retrospect. Either way, you won’t want to miss these posts.

Disaster Strikes by Escape Artistes

When horseback riding in rural Mongolia, Theodora’s son fell and severely broke his arm…in the middle of absolute nowhere. This kicked off a breathless emergency of trying to find healthcare in one of the most remote places on Earth. It’s a gripping read.

When Traveling Sucks: A Hospital Visit in Fez, Morocco by Foodie Flashpacker

What’s worse than getting bitten by a bunch of bugs in the night? Getting bitten by giant mutant insects whose bites swell up enormously…right in the middle of your forehead. Nathan details the story of his medical incident in Morocco and a doctor’s office that looks straight out of Chernobyl.

When a Man Comes Knocking by Borderline Crazy Bloggers

One of the scariest things while traveling is when a man has fixated on you — and because the culture is so different, you’re not sure whether you should be afraid or not. In this story, Marieke shares the story of an Indian man who showed up at her door and kept refusing to leave.

Locks on a bridge in Amsterdam

Tales of Romance and Love

Do you love stories about love? I bet you do!! Here are three stories that will make you believe in finding love on the road.

The Last Time I Saw You (Part Five) by This Battered Suitcase

This is an ongoing series on Brenna’s blog where she tells the stories of the loves she’s met while traveling. This is a short story that feels like it’s much longer — an incredibly romantic dalliance with a French man on a tropical island, then how it all crashes down once returning to real life.

10 Love Stories From My Travels by Adventurous Kate

It’s been years, but this is still one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written. I share ten different love stories from my travels, and tell you the ten locations where they took place — but you have to use logic and deduction to figure out which location matches with each story. Nobody has ever guessed all 10 correctly. Maybe you will.

Nacpan and Calitang Beach: One of the Last Starry-Eyed, Lovestruck Journeys of the Previous Chapter by Nomadic Experiences

Looking back to days on one of the most beautiful beaches near El Nido in the Philippines, Marky tells the story of a special girl and the sweet moments they shared on one of the most idyllic islands in the world. They’ve long since broken up, but he gently holds the experience in his hand, frozen in time.

Four backpackers standing on the edge facing Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, no safety rail whatsoever!

Unforgettable Travel Experiences

These are the moments that got us out of our comfort zone, introduced us to memorable characters, and turned us into better travelers — and people.

How I Met Gunther, The Best Taxi Driver in Vienna by Budget Traveller

Every now and then, you meet someone who restores your faith in humanity. Gunther the taxi driver was one of those people — not only did he defy the odds to get Kash to his bus on time, he was unbelievably kind about the dilemma that happened next.

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done: Two Weeks Hiking Japan’s Kumano Kodo Iseji by Adventures Around Asia

The Kumano Kodo hike in Japan is one of the most famous spiritual pilgrimages in the world. Richelle was excited to get out of her comfort zone — then ended up doing the hike in convenience store waterproof pants. Despite a very tough start, it turned out to be a fantastic experience.

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco by Inside the Travel Lab

Sometimes the most magical travel experiences take place in the most remote areas. Abi extols the romance and beauty and culture of these isolated villages of Morocco, yet wonders if bringing more travelers here would be a good thing.

What I Learned From Giving Up Meat, Alcohol, and Complaining in India by Ashley Abroad

When Ashley went to Rishikesh, India, for yoga teacher training, she went out of her comfort zone by staying sober, sticking to a vegetarian diet, and giving up complaining. Did it work? In some ways, yes, and she learned a lot about herself from the experience.

The Thrilling Adventures of Super Boyfriend by No Place to Be

So your girlfriend has dropped her camera in the Nam Song river in Laos. Surely a lost cause, isn’t it? Not for Poi — a.k.a. Super Boyfriend — who leaped to the rescue, underwater among the sharp rocks.

Alaska Road Trip: Our Top 12 Adventures by HoneyTrek

Alaska is a destination that so many travelers dream of — but the reality ends up looking different from what you pictured. Mike and Anne share gorgeous photos and stories from their multi-year honeymoon.

Tokyo at Sunset from the Park Hyatt, lit up in lavender.

Controversial Takes

A lot of bloggers swear that controversial posts are the way to get traffic. I agree, as long as you go about it the right way. By that, I mean make a point, be fair, and defend it well. And PLEASE don’t trash the Philippines just to get crazy traffic.

5 Reasons to Stop Hating on “The Instagram Girl” by Follow Me Away

It seems so fashionable to hate the “Instagram girl” with the popular travel account — after all, who really wears a ball gown on top of a mountain? But in this post, Victoria points out why the hate is misguided and the reasons why we should be supporting women with unconventional careers.

8 Reasons Why You Should Never Go to Wales by A Dangerous Business

Sure, Wales is beautiful and fun and interesting to explore, Amanda writes — but do they REALLY need all those castles and myths? Come on, now. (Let’s say some people didn’t quite get the sarcasm.)

5 Reasons Travel Just Totally Isn’t Worth It by travelingmitch

I’m sorry, why are we even traveling, anyway? It’s so annoying, Mitch says! What if people don’t speak English? What if you’re forced to challenge your preciously held views? WHAT IF YOU GET LOST AND CAN’T GET UN-LOST?! Better stay at home.

Is a Backpack Just Another Word for “Female Mid-life Crisis”? by GrrrlTraveler

Turning 40 and continuing to backpack around the world as a single woman with no kids. It’s what Christine enjoys — but is this what she really should be doing at this age? For her, the answer is yes — and this post really shows how deep our cultural norms can set.

8 Reasons Hiking Sucks by Food Fun Travel

When people love food and wine and music as much as Tommo and Megsy, it’s not surprising that they’re equally passionate about what they hate: hiking. Who needs to go back to nature? Who likes going somewhere without pubs? Is it a bonding experience? Bonding in misery, maybe!

A zodiac full of people in red jackets is caught by several crew members in a gray, violent surf.

How-To Guides You Never Thought You’d Need

Travel blogs are a great place to learn something new! And often it’s something you NEVER thought you needed to know…

How to Throw Out Your Garbage in Germany by Ali’s Adventures

Who knew just the act of throwing out your trash was so ridiculous and complicated in Germany?! Ali shares what she’s learned as an expat in Berlin. Also, the comments are a gold mine here.

How to Use the Toilet in India by BreatheDreamGo

Worrying about stocking up on toilet paper? Indians don’t use toilet paper at all! India expert Mariellen shares all the tips for using the toilet in an unconventional (better?) way, and shares a hilarious video from Wilbur Sargunaraj.

How to Survive a Power Outage like a Puerto Rican by Indecisive Traveler

Reese spent years living in Puerto Rico, and during that time she went through quite a few power outages, including a four-day outage in 2016. Step one? Immediately buy all the cold beer you can and take it home!

Big on Bidets: How Do You Use a Bidet and What is a Bidet For? by LL World Tour

Have you ever stopped in your tracks at the sight of a bidet in a bathroom in Italy or France and not known exactly how to use it? Lisa shows you what you need to know. Because there’s nothing better than a clean anus!

Fiery Viking boat at Up Helly Aa in Shetland

Quirky Stories from the Road

All of us love to travel for the unusual things we discover on the road. Here are some of the best stories of unusual discoveries while traveling.

The Peens of Pompeii by Domestiphobia

Did you know that the ancient ruins of Pompeii are filled with penises? WELL, YOU DO NOW! Katie visited the ruins for a day and was struck by how you can find a peen outline just about everywhere you look.

The Funniest Farm Market Sign in Southwest PA by Around the World L

Proof that there’s lots to be loved here in lesser-known parts of the US — and I love this sign that Lillie shared from a farmer with a side of sass!

Pictures of Cats and Dogs in Naples, Italy by 2 Food Trippers

Naples is one of the greatest food cities in Italy — if not all of Europe — so it’s no surprise that the felines and canines of this city are as plump as they are adorable! A cute post from Daryl and Mindi.

Sheep Driving Distractions in the Lake District by Raulerson Girl Travels

The Lake District of England is a wonderful place for a scenic drive…if it weren’t for the kamikaze sheep who leap right in front of your car! I didn’t believe how fearless the sheep were until I saw Heather’s crazy photos.

How Creepy is the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida? by My Wanderlusty Life

You don’t have to be afraid of clowns to be creeped out by this weird museum, Ashley opines. If you’re a hardcore circus fan, sure, knock yourself out! Other people? You don’t know what you’re getting into…

Lady Fails at Grocery Shopping by A Lady in London

Who knew it was so hard to grocery shop in the UK as an American? (Me. Boy, do I know that.) Turns out none of the items are the same as what you would look for in the US (no tomato sauce ANYWHERE!) and Julie struggles to find normal items she just wants to cook.

Transportation in India: What the Tuk-Tuk?! by Traveling Canucks

Tuk-tuks are one of the most common forms of transportation in India — and they can be TERRIFYING. Nicole and Cam vividly share every detail of a typical tuk-tuk ride, from near-accidents to carefully maneuvering around cows, and you’ll be white-knuckling it along with them.

That Time Angie Made Us Stay in a Sex Motel by Living the Dream RTW

When Jeremy and Angie had to spend the night in a Colombian border town, Angie chose a nondescript hotel. Well. Turns out it was filled with a wide cadre of “hourly” guests all night long — and the walls were paper-thin.

Kate stands in front of a small boat on Lake Atitlan named "Titanic." Kate points to it with an incredulous expression on her face.

ET CETERA

You know…these funny posts don’t fit anywhere else, so here they are.

50 Amazingly Achievable Things to Do Before You Die by Fevered Mutterings

Forget those usual bucket list items — go skydiving! See Machu Picchu! — and focus on things that you CAN do. Trip on a shoelace. Use a leaf as a bookmark. Walk into plate glass. Mike makes sure you’ll finish this post with a smile on your face.

8 Places to Travel in Case of a Zombie Apocalypse by Amateur Traveler

So once the zombie apocalypse actually hits, where should people be going? Chris shares his favorite spots, including Louisville, home to the famous baseball bat. I have to admit, the isolated Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha is an inspired choice.

8 Funny Facts About Traveling With Your Twin by Slow Spirit

Guilherme and his twin brother Gregório are identical twins who travel together — and they are VERY distinctive-looking. They get photographed nonstop, people who meet them individually refuse to believe there are two of them, and yes, they play a lot of pranks. (I laughed out loud at their hostel prank!)

Thanks for reading! We loved sharing these posts with you.

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8 thoughts on “45 Funny, Heartfelt, Unforgettable Travel Stories”

  1. Thank you for doing this!!! I truly miss the days when travel blogs consisted of mostly stories, and truth be told there are a lot of blogs that I’ve unfollowed because the planning/SEO content got to be too much and I was significantly less interested. Hopefully more of you guys will use this as an opportunity to return to your roots!

    1. I miss those days so much, Allison. And honestly, I think we’ve reached a major moment in our industry. The SEO chickens are coming home to roost. Bloggers who staked their sites 100% on SEO and Pinterest and 0% on retaining a regular audience are realizing that an event like this can make their income disappear. Whereas personality-based bloggers still have an audience.

  2. Thanks so much for compiling this hilarious and dramatic list, Kate! I so appreciate how you think about and loop in the wider writing community and work to make sure everyone has a voice!

    1. Lillie, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — thank you for being a Boston girl who blogged her trip around Southeast Asia a year before I did so I could use you as an example to show my parents I would be okay! 💕

  3. Thank you for sharing these! Planning to make my way through these today and this week as I need a break from working from home. Please continue to let us know if there are more ways like these that we can support you during this time. I have loved following your blog for years and always appreciate you using your voice to amplify others; that is needed more than ever right now, and I want to help however I can. I’m sure others do as well.

  4. Thanks so much for this post!

    I’ve spent all morning reading it instead of doing an SEO course I’d signed up for! A much better use of my time I’d say. I particularly like the way you are encouraging everyone to support each other, that’s what we need in an industry that’s supposed to be based around helping people.

    No I don’t want to make $$$$ in just 10 days! I want to have a career I love and help people live out their travel dreams.

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