≡ Menu

Travel Health Disasters Part I

travel health disasters
Pin It

The following is the first part in a series of posts titled Travel Health Disasters. Featured are the tales of other travelers and travel bloggers who have experienced some difficult moments on the road. Some of them are funny. Some of them are scary. Some of them are downright miserable. All of them are related to travel health in one way or another.

Mike from Fevered Mutterings:


Sometimes headaches are bearable, fight-your-way-throughable. Then there’s the other kind. Cymbal-kneed elephants stomp around inside your head, throwing grenades and playing Slipknot at 300dB. The mother of all those hit me while waiting 4 hours for a bus in Greece. No migraine pills, pharmacies were shut (they close around 11am, open again 4pm), nothing to do but lay face-down over my pack, writhing in agony, for hours. Through the pain I heard people say “methismenos” – I later learned this was Greek for “drunk”. I’m proud I managed to reinforce an English stereotype for them.

Earl from Wandering Earl:


While backpacking around Kashmir in northern India, I was stricken with a violent stomach illness an hour after arriving in a 100 person village. The guesthouse owner took me to the village doctor who simply touched my stomach with his index finger, made his diagnosis and sent me off for some medication. The meds didn’t work and I ended up stuck in this village for 7 days, confined to my bed while using a plastic bag as a toilet because I was unable to walk down the flight of stairs to reach the restroom.

Matt from 1 Year Sabbatical:

It started out as a strange queasy feeling that quickly progressed into chills, shakes and sweats and erupting into a full blown two day 106 degree hallucinating fever complete with violent spells of projectile vomiting. My arms would go numb and my hands clench up to the point where it took great will power to open them. I was sure I was going to die in this country. The doctor was more concerned about whether I was German or British. Unfortunately I was neither.

Jill from Jack and Jill Travel:


When we were in Alaska, Jack got a bad case of the flu which rendered him weak and feverish. Which would not have been too bad except for the fact that we were out backpacking in Denali wilderness. It was springtime in Alaska, which means snow on the ground, wet and cold weather. It was so cold that our gas stove and SteriPen (water purifier) wouldn’t work. Poor sick Jack would do anything for a bowl of hot soup but he had to be content eating granolas and trail mix for 2 days (and the irony was we brought tons of soup mix, but we just couldn’t make them without a stove).

Scott from Ordinary Traveler:

I fell victim to Montezuma’s Revenge (a.k.a. travelers diarrhea) during a bus trip in Peru. In the middle of the 12-hour bus ride to Mancora, I rushed down the stairs to use the bathroom only to find that it was out of order. I had no Antibiotics or Imodium. When we arrived in Mancora, I checked into a hotel just so that I could use the facilities and checked out immediately afterwards telling the hotel reception we decided not to stay.

Keith from Traveling Savage:

When you come down with a cold the night before your first international flight in January, this is what you shouldn’t do: pound Guinness on Aer Lingus en route to Dublin, sleep in a 20-person dorm with a man who sounds like he’s trying to shred his esophagus by snoring, endure frigid showers, guzzle ten pints of Harp lager, and then fly to Scotland for more binge drinking while the cold turns into a sinus infection. My first international trip in a nutshell.

All of these submissions were excellent, but I think I have to give the game ball to Earl on this one. Using a plastic bag as a toilet because I was unable to walk down the flight of stairs to reach the restroom. Yikes.

If you would like to contribute to the next round-up of travel health disasters, send us a message on the contact page with your story and a link to your website (if you have one).

Pin It

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Leslie (Downtown Traveler) February 14, 2011, 8:13 pm

    Yikes! Hope I don’t experience these horror stories of sickness on the road 😉

  • Rease February 14, 2011, 8:20 pm

    I agree, Earl’s is the most horrifying! Though I am also impressed that Scott could hold it that long and Matt lived to tell his tale.

  • Matt February 15, 2011, 4:09 am

    Note to self…carry plenty of plastic bags.

Leave a Comment