If you travel enough, it’s inevitable that things will go wrong. I count myself very fortunate that, so far, I’ve managed to avoid any extreme crises while traveling (knock on wood).
We’ve had a few hiccups – a couple flat tires, almost running out of gas once (this one was 100% my dad’s fault), forgetting something (this has happened more than once, we now own 3 hammers…), and I remember as a kid I once left one of my favorite books on the plane. But these are all minor inconveniences.
The time we drove 2 hours out of our way to visit Four Corners and arrived to find it closed certainly wasn’t one of our best moments.
But in all honestly, our biggest vacation fail didn’t really involve our vacation at all. In fact, we didn’t even realize what we’d done until we arrived back at home.
(FYI, if you’re easily grossed out, I don’t recommend eating while reading this…)
A few years ago my mom, sister, and I spent about 10 days visiting Mount Rainier and Crater Lake, which I’ve recently written about. We were, of course, packing and preparing up until the last minute, including doing our laundry. Well, my mom has a front-loading washing machine with a light inside. When the door is open, the light is on and there’s no way to turn it off. We didn’t want to close a wet washing machine and let all kinds of gross things grow in it, but we also didn’t want to leave the light on for 10 days.
(In retrospect, we should have just left the stupid light on.)
Plan A was to unplug the machine, but the location of the shelving units in our laundry room makes it impossible to get behind the washer without completely moving both it and the dryer and probably some other stuff too.
So we went with Plan B, which was to flip the circuit breaker labeled “washer and dryer.” Both machines turned off. The light in the laundry room stayed on. Success!
Yeah, not so much.
Fast forward 10 days and we returned home from our trip. With no food in the fridge, my mom went to see what we had in our large chest freezer.
Which is also in the laundry room.
You can see where this is going….
If you guessed that our “washer and dryer” circuit breaker also controls the other outlets in the laundry room, you are correct!
What ensued is – to this day – the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, smelled, or experienced. Our freezer was basically a giant container of liquefied ice cream, foul-smelling leftovers, and spoiled raw meat, all bathed in rotting meat juices.
To say it was gross is a colossal understatement.
And so instead of unpacking from our trip, we spent the evening cleaning out the world’s most disgusting freezer. We threw everything into giant garbage bags, which promptly went out to the dumpster. I don’t actually remember how my mom got all the fluid out of the freezer.
It took 3 weeks and every trick in the books (baking soda, bleach, vinegar, etc.) to get the horrible smell out.
Definitely a mistake we will never, EVER make again.
Have any stories of your own vacation fails? I’d love to hear them!
5 thoughts on “Our all-time most epic vacation fail”
Ugh, what a surprise to greet you! We’re always careful about the freezer when traveling and thankfully it’s in a completely different storage room away from any other appliances. We also ask our neighbor who has the house keys to check if it’s still on and nothing went bad. But one year we left a huge batch of ribs that we made for the trip in the fridge and didn’t realize it until we were too far from home to turn back. So to avoid it going bad, we called the aforementioned neighbor and gifted it all to them.
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Glad you guys had a solution to avoid a smelly mistake!
Yeah Diana I got one today. Epic Failure. For three years now I have been going to Weymouth Woods down near Southern Pine NC to hike. Well when you look at the map of Weymouth Woods there is the main area and then what are called the Boyd tract and the Paint Hill Tract. Well on the Boyd Tract it showed the oldest Long Leaf Pine in NC. and the second largest. Naturally it’s something that us travelers want to see. Every time I went to Weymouth Woods I searched for this “Boyd Tract” without success. My Buddy Nate somehow got the address and we found it …. behind a place called Weymouth House which is a museum and gardens. So off we go into the forest map in hand to find the trees. We wandered over two miles. We saw many many like super large pine trees…easily the largest I have ever seen. But which one is the largest and which is the oldest? We found out that the trees are not marked to keep people from vandalizing them. They have ranger walks throughout the year and they point the exact tree out to you. So I think I might have seen them I just don’t know which ones they were. After a three year quest to see these trees this easily qualifies as an epic travel failure!
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That’s really frustrating. Hopefully you can take one of the guided walks so you can see them for certain.
I had my first cancelled flight ever when travelling in Australia last year. Getting back from Brisbane to Melbourne took a lot longer than necessary due to typhoon winds which had swept a set of moving stairs into the side of a plane and caused chaos! The airline had to put us up in a hotel overnight, which turned out to be just over the river from where we’d been AirBnB’ing, but my friend didn’t have time to find a shop selling nappies so her 1 year old had to make do with 2 nappies in 14 hours. Not great, but the little one managed it okay.
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