People Share Their Worst Family Vacation Experiences That Will Make You Want to Stay Home


Family vacations are meant to be fun times where amazing memories are made with the ones we hold dearest. But sometimes, our trips don’t go as planned when people get sick, act like fools, get arrested and almost die! If you think you have some vacation horror stories to share, we bet that it pales in comparison to these. Here are the worst family vacations people have experienced.


36. Stomach Virus


Two years ago, we all got to our vacation spot and spent one night. The next day we are out doing touristy stuff and my then two-year-old daughter vomits. Kids randomly puking is expected and everyone assumed that it was from all the excitement and whatnot. And one by one, 26 people end up with the most intense stomach virus I have ever seen.

At one point, my aunt was pooping on the toilet and puking into the waste bin; my cousin was laying on the floor of the family room, puking where she lay; and sister was standing on the balcony debating if she had the time to run to the sink or should just heave over the balcony. I sat in a chair and puked all down myself during all of this. The worst part for me was waking up the third day, naked in bed with my aunt and finding that I had pooped in my sleep.


35. Vacation Quarrel


My family and I went to the snow for a weekend. We rented these cabins at the base of the mountain; my mother and I were in one, my sister, her partner and their kids in the other. On the first night there, my sister and her partner had a few drinks, brought up some sensitive things, and got in a fight.

My sister’s partner ended up smashing two windows, hurting himself in the process, breaking my mom’s foot, and punching my sister, while she was protecting their kids. He was taken away by the police, and we left the next day.


34. Sick as All Hell


My worst family vacation was my two-week trip to Singapore with my family. We saw the sights, smelled the smells, rode a giant Ferris wheel, and all that. However, in the second week, a few things started to compound together.

Long story short, in most of the second week, and an additional third one because I was literally too sick to fly, I was the illest I had ever been in my entire short life. I was vomiting like a firehose, had a painfully sore and inflamed throat, I was light-headed to the point of constantly feeling like I was about to faint, and was dehydrated as all hell. The second-degree sunburns I was covered in were not helping matters either. We ended up staying in the hotel (yeah, including them, because they needed to take care of me) for almost 2 weeks. I also got to ride a wheelchair home.


33. Upset Tummy and Rude Attendants


My family and I were traveling to Acapulco when I was thirteen when our 90-minute layover in Mexico City turned into nine hours. Flight announcements in Spanish would come in, and people would wearily applaud. Not a good sign. The worst part? There was no food for sale anywhere on the concourse, except for snacks at the newsstand. We were starving – we hadn’t eaten since four that morning. My mom went and bought two bags of Fritos, a yellow bag and a red bag. I assumed the red bag was barbecue or chili or something and tore into it.

I’m so hungry at that time that I stuffed a whole handful in my mouth before I realized I was eating something foul that didn’t resemble any flavor of Fritos I’d ever had. I looked at the package: “Sabor Catsup y Limon.” Ketchup and lemon flavor Fritos. In the name of God, why? We finally boarded a flight to Acapulco staffed with the rudest attendants I’ve ever traveled with to this day.


32. Separation after Vacation


My husband pouted all the way to the New York State Thruway on the way to Lake George. I told him that I should hold the directions, but in his insane way, he insisted on putting them in the visor. He then opened the window at top speed.

Guess what? The directions go right out the window! The kids and I laughed so hard, we couldn’t help it! He didn’t find it funny. That was the beginning of the end; we were separated 2 months after that vacation.


31. Dad’s Child-Bride


When I was on a vacation with my family, I was at a black-tie art show and the nicest thing I owned then was a white dress. I had bought a diamond ring that looked a lot like an engagement ring and it only fit on my ring fingers. I also had flowers braided in my hair and was holding my dad’s hand and skipping with flowers in my other hand to give to my mom in our hotel room.

Suddenly, this guy saw us and called the cops saying this adult man entered a room with a young child alone and waited outside our room until the cops came. After my dad and mom answered the door and proved I was their child, the guy explained he thought I was just some girl that didn’t know that being married at 10 is not a good thing. It was traumatic.


30. My Parents Ruined It


It didn’t have to do with the actual destination, but when I was eight years old, my family and I went on a vacation to this typical beach city. The problem was that my parents’ marriage was in a crisis and they kept fighting during the whole trip. 

Eventually, my dad went home before the rest of the family because he wanted to spend some time with the woman whom he was cheating my mom with. And yeah, eight-year-old me and my seven-year-old sister were aware of that because my mom told us. Worst vacation ever.


29. I’m Going to Take a Shower, Get Out!


We went to Muskegon, Michigan in the summer. It was hands down, the worst trip I’ve ever been on. We were supposed to be there for two weeks. I don’t know how because there’s nothing to do there; no attractions, nothing cool to visit, no food to write home about. Plus, my step-dad (not the brightest man) booked a weird honeymoon room with a weird shower that you could see in from damn near any direction. So if anyone had to shower everyone else had to leave the room.

We hated it. Even our mom hated it. By day three into the two-week venture, we were sitting in the hotel room watching movies. By day four, all three of us had pitched a big enough fit about the place to cause the trip to be cut short and go home early the next day. But it doesn’t end there. Upon arrival back at our home, we found someone had taken a bat to my car and slashed the tires.


28. Oops. I Didn’t See That Coming!


While on holiday in Italy, my mom and I decided to walk to the nearby beach. All of a sudden, a middle-aged gentleman on his bike was coming towards us on the cycle lane. Of course, nothing about this was alarming apart from the fact he was touching himself the whole time. We were both incredibly surprised but laughing hysterically.

Later in the evening, we decided to go to a local restaurant on the nearby high street. While conversing with my family, we were soon greeted by our waiter – the cyclist. It was an extremely awkward encounter and kinda killed our appetite.


27. Got Yelled At For Everything


When I was 13, I went to Disney World with my aunt, uncle, two six-year-old and one two-year-old cousin. I got food poisoning, threw up for two days straight and got yelled at for throwing up on the pirates’ ride. I also got yelled at for going to the bathroom by myself to throw up.

Not just that, I also got yelled at for wanting to get my hair braided with my own money, I got yelled at for wanting to buy something in the Disney store with my own money and got yelled at for bumping my arm into my sunburned cousin on the way home. And I got my period for the first time on that trip.


26. My Rude Dad


My family and I took a trip to California about three years ago. California is like a fairy tale land; I loved it but, my dad’s a narcissist and was particularly bad on this trip. He was rude to us (his children), my mom and any customer reps we came into contact with.

One example of many, our plane landed but the cabin got an announcement that we had to wait to disembark; something about the staff preparing for us outside. In absolute silence, my dad stood up and yelled “Bullcrap!” and sat back down. Silence. And embarrassment. He also started hurting my brother at one point, because he wasn’t “enthused” enough. Definitely worst trip ever.


25. It Wasn’t Magical


My family vacation to Disney/Universal Studios was going great, until we found out just before the ride took off that the Twin Towers had been hit and America was under attack. My parents said it was the most surreal experience to hear that information from the ride attendant and then be sent on our way on the ride.

We had to evacuate the park because there was a real concern that the parks would be a target, and I remember my siblings and I being stuffed into one of the spare rooms in the house we were staying in and told to play Pokémon Stadium and not watch the TV. To top it off, there was a tropical storm at the end of the week so we didn’t get to go back to Magic Kingdom and we were trapped in the airport in Orlando for even longer than we would have been otherwise.


24. Dirty Place. Unfriendly People.


I reluctantly spent a couple of days in Boston because my husband always wanted to go there for some reason. I visited Boston a couple of times and am quite frankly just not impressed. The weather is always bad, it’s difficult to get around, parts of the city are VERY dirty and the people just aren’t friendly at all. Unless you are really into sports, there’s not much for you here. The historical stuff is nice, but I already saw all of that and once is enough.

While we were there, it rained the whole time and our hotel was hot and gross. Someone tried to rob a store we were in over by Fenway Park, which was kind of scary. Perhaps the fact that it was a lousy trip was a blessing in disguise. I’m pretty sure my husband won’t request that we go there ever again! At least the food was good, I guess.


23. Be Vigilant, Thieves are Lurking


I was at a family beach holiday this year and the rest of the family got a big taxi from the airport to the villa. I hired a car for the week so that we could do little day trips. My friend and I stopped off on the way from the airport to the villa to pick up some groceries. Turns out we were followed from the airport and they broke into the car and stole all of mine and my friend’s luggage from the trunk (including my passport).

Thankfully, it was caught on the supermarket’s CCTV, so getting the travel insurance claim was fairly straightforward. But we spent days buying new clothes, getting emergency passports, trying to file a police report (needing an interpreter). The lesson of the holiday: don’t assume that anything locked in the trunk of a car is safe from thieves!


22. Keep Getting Sick On Vacation


I was on a vacation with my wife and daughter. I came down with a horrid virus the next day and ended up at some random urgent care surrounded by other sick travelers, in complete misery, watching frigging Gypsy Weddings on TLC, barely able to breathe. I looked at my wife and said “This is the exact opposite of everything I want to be happening right now!!”

I spent the entire next day down sick in bed but forced myself to get up that night and go to Canada at Epcot for dinner. I tried to make it up to them two years later with a trip to Hawaii, but I also got sick two days (worse than the first vacation actually). Yeah, I don’t travel well.


21. First Blood


I was on vacation with my dad and brother in San Diego when I was in 6th grade. I got my period for the first time and freaked out since I didn’t think of it being my period and thought I was dying. So I stayed in the room the whole time, worrying about what would happen to me while my dad and brother were having a great time enjoying the beauty of San Diego.

My mom never warned me about it, like “If you start bleeding down there, don’t panic.” I didn’t tell my dad and waited until I got home and sobbed to my mom about how I was dying. She had a great laugh.


20. Sunkissed. Sunburned.


I was about 13 and my parents took my sister and I to Mexico. The first day of the vacation I go out and swim in the ocean because I’d never seen it and thought it was awesome; they went to a little welcome seminar. I stayed and played in the ocean all day! By the time I got back to the room, I was all wore out and they were telling my sister and me what they learned at the seminar. Their best advice was not to get sunburnt on the first day.

When I look in the mirror, I was as red as a pepper! I put some lotion on and went to bed. In the morning, I woke up and had blisters all over my body. Turns out I got 2nd-degree burns ALL OVER! Including my face. I felt disfigured and horrible for most of the vacation. I only went out at night with a big hat on. I certainly learned my lesson.


19. Wedding-Death Anniversary


My parents, my siblings, and I went to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. After a 16-hour plane ride, we finally arrived at our hotel destination. We are all tired and decided to sleep all night.

The next day, my mom received a call from her sister (my aunt) saying that my grandpa unexpectedly died back home. He was my first grandparent to pass away. It was horrible for my entire family. We lost our grandpa while celebrating my parents’ anniversary and couldn’t get everything refunded for our vacation.


18. Crazy Parents


It started off with my dad and stepmom yelling at an attendant at the airport. We fly out to New Orleans, spend a few days there, take a cruise through the Caribbean, randomly drive up through Alabama and back for a couple more days in New Orleans. At this point, they’re issuing another hurricane warning and my stepmom drinks an entire 2/6 of vodka and tells me what a jerk I am for an hour (I was 16.) My dad wants to stay in New Orleans and rescue animals, which means HE WANTS TO STAY IN THE HURRICANE.

Thankfully, our hotel kicks us out and we’re forced to evacuate. My dad has a diabetic episode and swerves off the road. My stepbrother pees in a can and chucks it out the window, and takes the wheel while my dad and stepmom pass out for the rest of the trip.


17. Drunk and Got Robbed


We went to Germany with my family. Our first night there, I went out with my brother, hitting a few small bars after dinner. I had a few beers but was pretty sober, and I was taking care of my brother who was pretty drunk. At the last bar, we each ordered a beer, and halfway through it I suddenly felt drunk. From sober to drunk in half a beer. I let my brother walk off back to the hotel by himself when he told me he wanted to leave. In any ordinary situation, I would’ve gladly gone back with him then. The next thing I know, I’m waking up on the sidewalk outside somewhere, with my wallet (over $150 in it) and cell phone gone.

Pieces of what happened started coming back to me, and I see flashes of being held down on the ground by three or four people while they were taking money. I am pretty certain that the bartender(s) are responsible for drugging and robbing me. Afterward, I remember finding a police station and trying to explain to them what happened, but they treated me like a drunken jerk, and literally pushed me out of the police station. I finally stumbled my way back to hotel, and I was in a very paranoid state the whole time. I eventually hit my bed and passed out for about 20 hours.


16. Horrible Car Crash


I went camping with family when I was about 11. My mom decided to let my sister (16) drive in an area we were completely unfamiliar with. Let me also mention she was never taught anything about driving.

So naturally, within 15 minutes, we get T-boned by a big semi (we had a small sedan) and a horrible crash happens hours from home. My sister has no license and we had to get the car back to our campsite while it smokes and makes horrible sounds. My grandparents had to drive the next day to get us, it was horrible.


15. All Because of Sand


Here’s how this year’s family beach vacation went: A 10-year-old threw sand at my brother-in-law (who is almost 30 and is quite frankly a giant brat). Brother-in-law threw a giant fit and made a big deal about it to her mom and grandma. The 10-year-old was sobbing and was in a lot of trouble and was going to get spanked and grounded for the rest of the summer.

I panicked and told the family that I told her to throw the sand to take some heat off of her. Commence brother-in-law shunning 10-year-old girl until he left, my entire family shunning me, and scary grandma yelling at me until I cried. It wasn’t a big deal that she threw sand, but it ruined the entire trip.


14. Never Again!


It was a trip with my family when I was about 14 up in the mountains to a place called Big Bear. It was supposed to be a 3-day weekend of sledding and fun in the snow, but my parents fought the entire time we were there and actually got the cops called out to the place we were staying because they were screaming so loudly.

My sister and I still had a little bit of fun on our own but overall, it was miserable. We never went on another vacation again, partly because of money issues and partly because we knew what happened when we were all stuck in a cabin together for three days.


13. Shelter Vacation


I went to Florida with my family. It should have been one of the best holidays of my life, but then someone broke in our car and stole my parent’s money, drivers licenses, and everything. 

We ended up in something like a homeless shelter for the rest of the vacation, which was two days; we also had to wait for my grandma to wire my mom money to get the car since it got towed, fixed any external damage, food and water for us and gas. It was horrible.


12. Bloody Trip


I went to Myrtle Beach with my family. We stayed at a nice house that was on stilts. My dad decided on day two of a seven-day trip to fall down the steps.

On the way to visit him in the hospital, my little cousin who was three at the time unbuckles himself in one of those conversion vans. My uncle slams on the brakes to keep from hitting a homeless man and my cousin goes flying head first into the wood trimmed TV. There was blood everywhere and the trip was horrifying.


11. Whole Vacation Playing Cards


We were in Gran Canaria in the 1980s. We stayed for a week just before the main season started and the islands were hit by a freaking storm that lasted the whole time we were there. Nothing was open, the roads were all flooded and the beach was inaccessible due to the steps being a waterfall.

So, we spent the whole week in the hotel room playing cards. The only highlight was when the child me accidentally locked some toilet rolls in the safety deposit box when playing with it and had to get the receptionist to come release them.


10. Disney Isn’t Always Fun


We went to Disney World one year with a couple of other families. My parents fought over something when we got back to the room; my dad got all pissed off and left with a large bottle of vodka and ibuprofen subtly implying he was going to go overdose himself and also made a scene with his friend from one of the families. He came back after just drinking some of the vodka and maybe taking a couple of the pills and went to bed.

Then there was another year we went to Disney World and my mom came across a “love” letter from the girl my dad had been screwing around with. That said, we have had equally horrible experiences at Disney World.


9. Tragic Accident


I was driving up a mountain with my family and the width and height of the road made it quite a precarious journey. My parents wanted to turn around and head back down because there was no railing on the cliff side; the speed limit on the mountain was oddly high, and the drop would certainly kill anyone. It was both terrifying and exciting. I convinced them to continue on because it was my idea to go and I wanted to see the peak of the mountain.

Two minutes after convincing them, ahead on the road we encountered some traffic and a man coming up to every car asking if someone was a doctor. A motorcyclist had slipped on the road and hit a rock jutting out from the cliff side. A couple of feet further to the right or left and he would have surely fallen off the mountain, but he was dying. We drove past and watched a bystander attempt to perform CPR on what seemed like a lifeless body. We reached the peak about 10 minutes later in complete silence. The view at the top was breathtaking and beautiful, but what we had just seen left us feeling mournful. None of us had ever seen someone pass, especially not in that manner.


8. Spent Money to Get Sick and Get Robbed


I went to Spain with my wife. In Madrid, I got food poisoning so I spent a day and a half in the bathroom. We tried to take a train to see another town close by and the automatic ticket machine wouldn’t take any of our credit cards (it was all chip and pin). So we had to wait in a 2-hour line to get an agent to help, at which point we missed our train.

On the way out of Madrid, I got pick-pocketed going into the metro. My wife saw it happen so I got my stuff back. So basically, we spent a lot of money for me to get sick, stand in line, and then get robbed. It was a totally bad experience.


7. Come on, Melina!


My uncle got put in handcuffs and was nearly arrested by Vermont police because of an illegal fireworks show in the woods. The only reason they let him off was because, fun fact, my uncle is also a cop and he had his badge on him.

The cops then searched our vacation house for any more fireworks and were satisfied that no more were left. In truth, my uncle’s then-14-year-old daughter had hidden them all in her pockets. Also, one of my aunts asked, out loud, “How did they know what we were doing?” to which my mother replied with the classic line: “We were shooting explosions into the sky, Melina.”


6. What the Puke!


I went to Florida with mom, stepdad, my son, my grandmother and my 14-year-old cousin. My stepdad picked on me all the way from Tennessee to Florida. I can’t stand being picked at and he did it just for spite. My grandmother kept trying to get me to go bar hopping with her’  I have never been so desperate that I had to party with my grandmother.

Then we went on a dolphin cruise and my mom gets seasick and pukes off the top deck where the wind catches it and blows it back onto the passengers on the lower deck. People are screaming and sliding in the puke. Best vacation ever!


5. Beach Please?


I was forced to go along with my family on a multi-day trip to Panama City Beach. This was during spring break season, and apparently, my family didn’t do their research before going there. Being the overly protective parents they are, they were curious about how big the party was, and we spent the overwhelming majority of the day in a hot, dark hotel room.

The worst part was despite having an oceanfront room, we never had a chance to set foot on the beach because my parents were afraid we might see someone wearing a bikini. Like hello, should they wear a long gown?


4. Cut on Face and The Lost Shredded Bag


My family went on vacation to Disney World. We arrived very late, very tired and just wanted to get into our hotel. My mom goes inside to talk to the hotel staff about our room/parking and comes out an hour later; we’re all frustrated and tired and start arguing. She whips open the car door and cuts open her face right under her eye and we spent the night searching for a hospital and then waiting for her to get stitches.

Fast forward to when we’re going home. We realized my bag was missing and went back to the airport and it wasn’t there. After days of horribly translated and fractured English phone calls, they told us it’s lost. Insurance pays out but we’re on an extremely remote island so replacing clothes was very difficult. Bag eventually shows up and I’m ecstatic. I open it up and everything is torn to shreds. We found out that the bag got pulled into some machinery, effectively shredding/grinding up the contents.


3. Vacation Intruders


A family we used to be friends with decided to join without being invited or even asking us, then spent all day complaining about the hotel and how anyone would voluntarily go on a vacation like that. (It was the best we could afford at the time.)

They proceeded to get into a huge fight and broke up in front of us. Kinda killed the mood at dinner.  They were probably used to a higher standard, but nobody asked them to join us in the first place.


2. Bad Camping Experience


I went camping with my brother and dad in Colorado. I was nearly offed when I choked on a massive fishbone, while my dear old dad developed altitude sickness. He had symptoms (not actually altitude sickness, but actually a panic attack because he misses his wife) so he went to the hospital, while my brother and I slept outside in the truck.

Then due to dad’s illness, we decide to stop camping and go to a hotel instead. In the hotel, the shower didn’t work so we got a new room. The hotel had a system where they could wake us up at a certain time but they did it later than we asked and we got home much later than we wished (all-day drive).


1. Huge Storm. Lost Power. Sleep on Mattress.


Lake George NY: It was late summer and blazing hot and the house we rented didn’t have air-con. It felt like I was breathing soup for a week. There were huge storms most of the time we were there and we lost power the first night. It was a family vacation and my newborn niece was with us and kept screaming/crying. I don’t blame the baby; it was hot, she was hot, and we were in an unfamiliar place with strangers. The baby was gonna cry.

My boyfriend came up for the last couple of days and drove five hours to get there. He didn’t even get a bed; there are six people and the house sleeps seven, but neither my mom nor my cousin wanted to give up their full-size beds. My boyfriend ended up sleeping on an air mattress in the outdoor deck, with me sleeping alongside him on a couch. There was plenty of bed space but nobody wanted to sacrifice. Made me embarrassed as hell.

Kat Begonja

Kat Begonja

Lover of animals, writing and all things Croatian!

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