By Chloe Mulliner, on December 12, 2014

Stories of holiday travel gone wrong

Sometimes it feels like Murphy’s Law has something to prove during the holiday traveling season. From flight delays to flat tires, some people believe anything that can wrong will go wrong. When things do go wrong, the bad news is that it can seem like everything in the world is keeping you from that eggnog, while the good news is that it always makes for a hilarious story in the end.

Despite all the obstacles we face during our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and winter travels, getting there is half the adventure. In an attempt to get some epic stories of holiday travel gone wrong, we turned to our friends over at We knew their team could deliver some kooky traveling stories to remind us to enjoy the ride. Because no matter what happens, you always eventually arrive at your holiday destination.

“We drove to Florida for Thanksgiving and arrived very late Thanksgiving eve. When we got there, we discovered our minivan had a slow leak in one of the tires. I tried in vain to patch it, but watched it slowly start to go flat after each attempt. I was deflated. We knew the store where we bought the tire, along with all the other auto stores, were closed and would be closed on Thanksgiving Day. So our Thanksgiving Day was filled with turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, and trips to the local gas station every four hours to fill that damn tire up with air, so that it wouldn’t deflate and leave us stranded. My wife and I took shifts through the night on “Flat Tire Watch.” We did this so we could drive the minivan on the day after Thanksgiving to get the tire replaced and avoid a tow. In hindsight I probably spent the same amount in quarters filling the tire as we could have spent on getting a tow.”
-Dave Doster, contributor at

“I got stuck at a little airport in Peru with my sister. There was a teacher’s strike and they started throwing Molotov cocktails over the wall to catch the grass on the landing strips on fire. One by one, all the flights were cancelled until they shut the entire airport down. We were in our early 20s and had to call our dad collect to let him know what was happening. All the cheap hotels in the town were full, so we somehow wound up staying in the attic of our taxi driver’s aunt for the night. We had a couple of strong Pisco Sours and got the first flight out the next morning. I don’t think my dad told my mom what really happened until months later.”
-Luisa Mancera, writer at



“I went to college about eight hours away from home, and the first time I came home for Thanksgiving I decided to give the bus a try. It was a 13-hour trip, and having never taken one, it was a little scary. As I was on the final leg of the journey, less than an hour away from home, a drunk lady got up and started walking up and down the aisles, talking about how everyone on board wanted to kill her and how she needed to get off the bus for a smoke break. We made it to the station before things got too out of hand, but needless to say, I stopped taking the bus after that.”
-Anna Hider, writer at

“I was traveling from Gainesville, Florida, to Austin, Texas, and had a 6 a.m. flight. Instead of getting a hotel for the night, I just went to the airport and planned on napping until my flight in the morning. Midnight rolls around and a custodian informs me the airport is closing for the night. So I gathered my things and sat outside. After a few hours I decided to take a walk to a gas station a mile away to kill some time. On the way, I realized I’d inadvertently wandered onto the grounds of a minimum security prison. Not the most pleasant thing to walk past alone in the middle of the night on a dark road.”
-Derek Neuland, staff at

This year, don’t let potential roadblocks steal your holiday cheer. Instead, in the event of delays or unforeseen circumstances, just think about how many great stories you’ll have to share during holiday dinner.

For more advice on surviving your winter travels, check out our airplane etiquette guide.

What is your funniest holiday travel story?