Going on holiday is meant to be carefree. Whether we look forward to sunny beaches or prefer exploring architecture, we expect to have a memorable time. However, sometimes holidays can be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

1. Dangers of the Local Wildlife

Sandy Henson and his friend went camping in Yosemite National Park. One night, he was wakened by terrified screams. A giant black bear was attacking his friend. Running for their lives, they reached an old toilet hut. Inside, they trembled as the bear hurled itself against the door. Only then did Sandy realise his friend had a large bite hole in his neck. Luckily, the bear eventually decided to look for a more accessible meal.

2. Nightmare at the Holiday Camp

Robert and Geraldine Adams were unlucky when they took their disabled daughter Lindy to Butlins in Bognor Regis. The three were amongst two hundred people who contracted the norovirus, which causes sickness and diarrhoea. Robert vomited every fifteen minutes throughout his stay and all three had a miserable time.

3. Sunshine and Sewage in the Dominican Republic

The Edwards paid £4,000 for a luxury Caribbean holiday. First, Mr Edwards came down with food poisoning. Then a storm arose, causing the drains to overflow and large amounts of raw sewage to flood into their hotel room. Mrs Edwards, standing ankle-deep in filth, had to brush the sewage out of the room herself.

4. A Fiery Time in Greece

Cathy’s family were enjoying an idyllic holiday in Greece, when from their hotel balcony they saw distant smoke: a forest fire was raging. They were assured it wouldn’t reach them. Later, however, the sky was red with flames. They ran towards the beach, hot ash raining down on them, and stayed there all night. They felt lucky to be alive.

5. Water, Water, Everywhere

Lisa Holmes wanted adventure for her fortieth – she and her friend Tracy got that when they went on a South African safari. Torrential rains broke out during a game trip and their vehicle was engulfed in floodwater – in a ‘lion hotspot’. They were rescued two days later.

6. Terrorist Attacks

Mr and Mrs Cairns-Lawrence look normal, but they have an unusual holiday jinx. They had three holidays ruined by terrorists. They were visiting the Big Apple on 11th September 2001. They were on a double-decker in London when the 7/7 bombings took place and in Mumbai during the terrorist bombing attacks. This was bad timing, but not bad luck since they themselves escaped harm.

7. You Can’t Rely on the Weather

Mr and Mrs Flores chose St Lucia for their honeymoon. They had to change planes in Puerto Rico. They were dismayed when their ongoing flight was cancelled, and horrified to discover why: hurricane George was heading their way. They spent the night huddling with others in a concrete-walled room, while George roared outside. The earth literally did seem to move that night.

8. Accidents Happen

Suzanne Cassidy was swimming in Ibiza when she got sucked into the blades of a speedboat propeller, which sliced into her leg. Friends pulled her to safety. It took surgeons four and a half hours to set the badly mangled leg.

9. Train Ride to Nowhere

John was travelling by train from Gujarat to Jaisalmer. After twelve hours the train stopped. The guard told him the line did not go any further. It was still under construction and they had reached the end of it – in the middle of the desert. John spent a small fortune getting to the nearest bus station.

10. Exchanging Sun for Snow

Emma wanted Christmas in Goa and booked with a Bulgarian airline. The plane landed in Bulgaria – and didn’t leave. Civil unrest in India meant Emma had to stay in Bulgaria all week. She had packed only summer clothes, but instead of sunny Goa she spent Christmas amongst icy streets and snow.

Usually, we have a great time on holiday, and nightmares are rare. Often we can look back on them with a sense of humour, or at least with relief that we survived. What is certain is that, when on holiday, you should always be prepared for the unexpected.

Photo by Johan Douma

Luxury holidays by ITC Classics wishing you a safe and nightmare free trip.