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3 things I have learnt from screwing up holidays

paris airport lounge

I am quite good at dramatic holiday endings. Recently journalist, Jen from Jenography, told me three makes a story, which I think means it is time to share three ways to ruin a holiday, and what each of these dramatic incidents has taught me.

Faint on the plane

All was well on our flight back from Orlando, we ate, watched a movie and settled down to sleep.  I woke half way through the flight, in the dark, in complete panic, with no idea where I was, but aware I was spinning and losing consciousness. I grabbed at Mr A in the seat next to me. My family said  I was was moaning and thrashing about, my eyes were rolling, my daughter said I looked like a zombie.

I felt like one.

Normally when you faint – as I have done a handful of times in life – you fall to the floor, your body’s way of getting blood back to your head, but sandwiched between my family and seat belted at 40,000ft there was no way to do that.

It took a while to get me horizontal and by that time I was so exhausted they had to stick an oxygen mask on me. My daughter ended up sat with someone else and Mr A ended up with my feet on top of him and my son leaning on his other side – somehow my youngest managed to sleep through the whole thing.

After a while I realised how much I had worried everyone, and tried to pull myself together and tell the air hostess to reassure my 10yo I wasn’t dying. Although I felt like I was. I ended up horizontal on oxygen right up until landing. Virgin staff really were outstanding in their care and reassured me fainting on a plane is fairly common (not so reassuring if you are reading this sorry).

There was a silver lining, we all got fast tracked though passport control on a golf buggy.

Moral of the story: I’m not a fan of processed salty food and try to avoid it, but in Orlando that’s tricky. We spent the last day in the sunshine by the pool. I imagine I was more dehydrated than I realised when I boarded. So now, especially on long flights, I make a big effort to stay hydrated, be well rested, well exercised and to eat well before I fly, avoiding carbs, salty food and alcohol.

Lose your purse

It is the strangest feeling ever standing in an airport of a foreign country with no money whatsoever, no cards, and no phone battery left.

Our last stop on a press trip to Menorca was the pretty village of Binibeca, and after getting the photos we needed,  I was left with 10 minutes to buy presents for my family. I put my purse down on the counter because I had my hands full, and I distinctly remember thinking, pick this up and don’t lose this.

So I was totally thrown when the purse I had so carefully guarded wasn’t in my bag when I arrived at the airport.

Luckily I was travelling with friends who bailed my out, and I had just enough time to cancel my cards before boarding. But I did shed a tear as I walked through security, part annoyance with myself, part feeling distinctly helpless without any money.

A week later I went to my bag to get my camera to edit my photos. Low and behold there was the purse, under my camera tucked inside it’s camera bag. I was 50 Euros and my driving licence better off, but utterly frustrated with myself.

Moral of the story – don’t carry all your cards together in one place while travelling. Take the time to really check your bag if you lose something, or better still get a fresh pair of eyes to help you. I thought I had looked everywhere.

Mosquito bites

After a night flight home from Corfu where Mr A and I spent our first proper holiday abroad together, I awoke to find a golf ball like swelling behind my knee. As the night wore on I convinced myself it was DVT and lost several hours of sleep before waking Mr A and making him call NHS Direct convinced I was dying. It turned out to be an insect bite. So embarrassing.

Mosquitoes love me and my body hates bites. It makes no sense as I am the blood group least likely to attract them, I don’t have any other allergies, but mosquito bites seem to really flare up.

Moral of the story – since then I am super vigilant, I always take insect repellent, bite cream and anti histamines. Plasters are also a good way to stop scratching which can lead to bites getting infected and scarring. A hot teaspoon applied to a bite also helps relieve itching, sounds crazy but it really works.

Have you managed to ruin a holiday? Have you learnt from holiday disasters?



  1. 11/07/2017 / 10:17 pm

    Yeah I’ve had some epic fails too… missing a flight to South Africa because I was buying sunglasses is top of the list….. ending up in hospital with gastroenteritis is another…. forgetting my make up bag.. now that was stressful!:) 🙂 🙂

  2. 12/07/2017 / 8:21 am

    I fainted on a plane back from the US as well – the only time (so far) that I have done that. Thankfully no oxygen needed and my husband was with me for once so didn’t need to worry about my daughter.

  3. Don’t . Get. Me. Started. You’ve totally inspired me to write my own holiday disaster post – shall I start with the time I dislocated my shoulder mid-sky dive, or the time a friend accidentally body slammed me in Mykonos, and split my kneecap almost in half..? Hmmm… so many choices… xx

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