Have you ever had a summer vacation fail?
Summer vacation with the family is always a mixed bag. Making memories to last a lifetime comes with its fair share of cost -- most of which involves whining, putting up with annoying siblings, and some degree of hauling ridiculous amounts of luggage. A small price to pay, right?
And those are the good vacations.
Of course, small, petty annoyances are one thing. For some, vacations end up being much worse. In fact, some trips turn out to be an absolute debacle. The irony is: it's sometimes those messy vacations -- the ones with stories that last a lifetime -- that create our most enduring memories. We polled parents across the country to share some of their biggest vacation snafus with us. We got some doozies. Here are 10 memorable, hilarious vacation fails that somehow became classic family tales:
1.) When I was 5, my family took me on a camping trip to Denali National Park. Midway through dinner, a moose came into the camp. We quickly realized we were standing between her and her baby and she was MAD. My mother ran to the outhouse with me where we stayed for an hour peering out the little window, watching the moose roam the grounds while my dad stood guard. Nothing happened, but we still laugh about it to this day.
2.) My sister-in-law and her family were on a road trip from California with their cat, when they realized the cat had died. They pulled over and everyone was crying and trying to figure out what to do with the cat. Suddenly the cat jumped up and howled, scaring everyone. We still laugh about this even though it happened over 10 years ago.
3.) While standing around the campfire telling a story, hubby's pants suddenly fell around his ankles. We swear to this day he was pantsed by a ghost.
4.) While camping in our VW pop-top van, circa 1975, my dad woke up to moisture dripping on his head. We all woke up when he sleepily yelled at our dog Ralph, assuming Ralph was having some sort of insane peeing accident on him. But then my dad realized the real source of the dripping. His lovely 5-year-old daughter (yours truly!) had peed her sleeping bag in the sleeper bunk overhead. Whoops. We laugh about this story ALL the time.
5.) My parents took us to Florida one year to visit my great aunt and uncle not far from Cape Canaveral. Driving past a highway pullover titled "Mosquito Lagoon," my dad decided to pull over. Not so wise. Mosquito Lagoon was given that name for a reason. Five minutes into the boardwalk through the swamp, my sister and I were so bit up, we ran back to the car screaming. When we finally made it into the car, we had to kill all the mosquitoes that had followed us inside. Summer vacation fail.
6.) For our first wedding anniversary, my husband and I went camping in Vermont, thinking at the end of July, it would be plenty warm to do that. It was 40 degrees and raining monsoon-like for the first two days. We decided screw it, packed everything up wet, stowed it at my in-laws' place, and flew to Florida. We figured if it was going to be raining the whole week of vacation, it might as well be 80 degrees and raining and we'd be at Disney.
7.) Two years ago I was alone with the kids on Cape Cod where we parked to watch the fireworks. After they were over, I opened the car and threw my purse in and then quickly shut the door to let a car go by (kids were on the other side of the car). When the door shut, the car locked. Dark road, 10 p.m., no purse. Thank God my cell was in my pocket. Called my husband (who was two hours away back home) and then the police who came about 1.5 hours later (it was 4th of July on the Cape). When the policewoman arrived, she was nice enough to let the kids sit in her car instead of getting eaten by mosquitoes, but she could not help as they no longer carry the equipment to open locked doors. Thankfully, my husband called AAA, and a bit later, the tow truck found us and unlocked the car. My kids were 7 and 2.5 but they still talk about that night!
8.) A few years ago, we were coming home from South Carolina. Somehow we got to the airport late and missed our plane. That was a Sunday. The next flight out was on a Wednesday. While my wife was sobbing and begging and pleading and making arrangements for another flight out, one of the boys blew out his diaper. I had to go to the small bathroom with both of the boys and put one on the counter that was open. I didn't have wipes, so I used a lot of paper towels. When I got back to the ticket counter, I learned the only flight was leaving three hours away in another state the next morning. $1,200 on new tickets for the four of us. Fine. Now we had to rent a car. Went to the rental counter and couldn't rent a car. Neither of us had a credit card, and even though we had JUST dropped off a rental, none of the rental cars would let us rent again. Turns out, you can rent it online just fine, but not in person. So, we had to get to North Carolina with no car, no buses, and two toddlers. Only other transportation? A cab. OK, fine. A $300 cab ride to another state. Rented a hotel room ahead of our arrival and got a cab to be there at 5 a.m. to drive us to the airport. I needed to charge my cellphone but couldn't find my charger. Went to the front desk to see if they had anything, nope. Then I slipped and fell. In the lobby. Hard. On my back. The hostess called our room a few minutes later to see if I was OK, because as she said, "he fell REALLY hard!" My wife was confused (and scared). I hadn't come back yet. Where was I? A few floors up, borrowing a cell charger from some guest staying at the hotel (I had to return it that night). After a layover in NY, we made it home. We learned a few things from this ... NEVER be late for a flight, ALWAYS have a credit card, and life could be worse! We definitely laugh about it now. Great trip, we still do it every year ... Just skip a few of the steps.
9.) Our car broke down in the middle of Kansas on our way back to Canada from Colorado. My parents had to purchase a new vehicle, it was so bad. When we got to the border, my dad was so tired from the drive that he FORGOT the kids' names -- all five of us. Border patrol wasn't buying his story, so they took him in. Fifteen hours later, my dad was released. They accused him of kidnapping and stealing a vehicle. While at the time, it wasn't very funny, it's still my most favorite story to tell!
10.) My whole family used to go on these trips to Lake Tahoe. We had these HUGE parties. The morning after one of our 'epic' parties, we heard a scream from the front patio. It was our aunt, who had remembered she left a cooler out overnight and had gone to retrieve it. We ran outside to see what happened. It looked like a Smurf village mass murder scene; there was liquid blue ice everywhere ... and blue paw-prints. Thankfully, the coolers were empty of food, so the bears hadn't stayed for long. My aunt earned the nickname Ranger Smith that year.
Have you ever had a summer vacation fail?