25 Tourists Discuss The Most Frightening Moments On Their Trips

Published 1 week ago

Vacations are usually filled with joy, relaxation, and adventure. However, for some Reddit users, vacations turned into harrowing experiences that they’ll never forget. When someone asked on Reddit, “What was the scariest moment you’ve had on vacation?”, the community responded with a mix of terrifying and thrilling stories.

Here are some of the most gripping tales that emerged from that thread.

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Image source: alizabs91, wikipedia.org

My uncle decided to f**k around on a trail in Yellowstone near some hot pools. He was walking backwards on the trail and f*****g FELL OFF right onto the crust near the hot pools. By sheer luck, he didn’t fall through. It was horrifying. I thought we were witnessing a man die.


Image source: SweetCosmicPope, Miles Hardacre

I shared this on here recently because it happened recently:

Was snorkeling with my wife and son. My wife was actually free-swimming so she went ahead of us, while my son and I took our time gently paddling over to the main snorkeling area. So she was probably about 50 yards away, everyone else in the area was probably about 30 yards away. So I’m swimming and suddenly I feel something start pushing me down into the water. I recover and realize my son, who is 17 and bigger than I am, is holding onto me. He took water into his snorkel and started panicking, so he grabbed onto me. Well, I’m trying to tread water and hold up another full grown man and figure out how I’m supposed to get somewhere safe where we can stand or get to shore and I can’t manage two people. I start dipping in and out of the water because my arms and legs start getting tired and I’m treading for my son’s life (if I’m not trying to hold him up I can just dead-man’s float until I can catch my breath). Finally, I get the other snorkeler’s attention and call for help and a group of them come over. Someone with a paddleboard gets my son, and then I float and paddle as much as I can while a dude who’s there pulls me toward a boat.

By the time I got on the little boat I just about passed out from exhaustion. I legit thought both my son and I were goners. The crazy thing is we’re both good swimmers. If he wasn’t panicking he could have just swam to shore, which wasn’t that far away, or just blew the water from his snorkel and continued swimming. And since he was pulling me down, I’m now panicking and not thinking straight to tell him what to do. One of the scariest experiences of my life.


Image source: MajesticallyMila

Struck up a convo with a man at the pool bar of the hotel I was staying at and accidentally told him I was traveling alone….later that night I woke up to knocks and the door knob shaking….I never got out of bed to check the peep hole I just called the front desk but I’m pretty sure it was him.


Image source: H1king33k, engin akyurt

First day of my first international trip, traveling alone. Went to a pub in London, had a few pints. Walked out the door to go back to my hotel and was attacked by a young man with a razor blade. He cut open my face down to the bone and then slashed me on the temple. Spent the next three days in the hospital bandaged up like the invisible man, not knowing what my face looked like underneath. When I finally left the hospital I had to borrow clothes, including underwear since mine had all gotten saturated with blood.


Image source: Canyon_and_Co, Ray Bilcliff

I slipped hiking in the Grand Canyon and ended up dangling chest down over a huge drop-off. I was 8.


Image source: Rosanna44, Romina Ordóñez

Lost my baby brother at seaside boardwalk. My family went crazy for about an hour. Finally found him sitting on the bar at outside saloon surrounded by bikers & their chicks. Bowl of popcorn and a tall soda. They were all facing the boardwalk & walking people go by waiting to see if he recognized anyone looking for him.


Image source: Dependent_Airport_83, Umar Andrabi

I was with my family in Jamaica when I was 16. I was swimming in the ocean with my younger brother when a local man literally grabbed me and started swimming me out to sea towards a boat with other men on it. He kept saying I was going to be his “American girl.” He got pretty far out before my brother was able to get help from other adults. It was terrifying.


Image source: motormouth08, William Oris

In 1995 I was in Europe for the summer. The last week was for travel, and I was by myself, a 21 year old female. As a broke college student, I took advantage of as many freebies as possible, and with my Eurorail pass, I got a free cruise on Lake Geneva. It ended up being much longer than I thought it would be, and it was a really hot day. Because of this, I switched from being on the sunny deck to going inside several times.

After I had made the switch a few times, I noticed that a couple was mirroring my movements, but they weren’t sitting together. I thought I was being paranoid, so I started moving even more frequently, but the couple followed my every move. Assuming they just wanted to take advantage of a young girl alone (maybe to get my passport or plane ticket??) I decided that I would just let them disembark first. At the end, we were the only 3 people on the boat.

At this point, I was actually starting to get scared. It was a Sunday, and all my parents knew was that they needed to pick me up at the airport on Friday. If something happened to me, there was no way to track my movements, and there would be a delay of nearly a week.

Finally, I noticed that there was a police officer near the end of the ramp. I got off the boat and stood by him. The couple actually hung around for a bit but finally must have figured out that I wasn’t going anywhere by myself.

I still had about 6 hours until my train was going to leave and had planned to do a bit of sightseeing in the town we were in, but decided to play it safe and just stay in the train station where there were other people around

I have no clue what they wanted, but I still have no doubt that they were up to something.


On our way to the New Orleans airport at like 4am, the vehicle next to us on the highway shot at us for no reason. The bullet went through the windshield and rearview mirror, lodging in the roof right between my wife’s and my heads.

Image source: Guerilla555


Image source: FluffyMuffin21x, WoodysMedia

When I was 21 my friend and I backpacked through Belize. Started a conversation with a local who eventually told us he was part of the crips and proceeded to show me all of his abdominal stab wound scars. He told us his gang likes to kill people for fun and then asked us if we wanted to go with him on a boat ride. I had to act like I was considering it for a second before I turned him down. Didn’t want to make him too mad.


I was seven and on my first family vacation to Disney World. In the Orlando airport, we were waiting for the tram to take us to the other side of the airport (I’m assuming from our arrival gate to baggage claim, but I’m not sure because I was seven).

A tram came and my mom said, “Let’s get on this one,” so I remember literally hopping on. The doors closed behind me and my family wasn’t on the tram. I began sobbing uncontrollably and this woman pulled me close to her family; she held me close on the tram and at the next station until my family arrived on the next tram.

I never got her name, but if she reads this by chance, please DM me so I can thank you thirty years later.

Image source: ScottyToo9985


Image source: mileyisadog, Arun Kr

Not me, but in high school my friend was on vacation with his family in Costa Rica. He went out surfing pretty far before he noticed someone even farther out waving to him for help. As he got closer, he realized the guy had kids with him. The man asked my friend to bring his kids to shore and then come back to help him. My friend got the kids in safely but by the time he got back to the man, he had drowned from exhaustion. My friend had to paddle this guys body back to shore where his family was waiting. My friend was never really the same.


My appendix ruptured while on vacation in England. Full perforation. I was on a school trip and my classmates had to continue their trip, so I got left behind. Day 2 in England and I spent 13 days alone in hospital before getting out and I had 2 days left and flew home. I was puking my guts out, s******g my brains out. Tubes down my throat, oxygen in my nose, catheter down my pipe. I was 15 and my parents didn’t have passports so I just had to handle it all myself. Had one amazing nurse who we are still friends with to this day (19 years later) and that alone made the whole ordeal worth while.

Image source: PigeonFace


Image source: DoorstepCult, Timur Weber

Went vacationing in Mexico with my family when I was 9. Lost my parents in a marketplace in Cancun and tried to tell a guy I was trying to find my family. He told me he’d find me a new one, moments before my father arrived.


Image source: liabt, Ceren T

On an overnight bus from Delhi to Dharmsala. (I am female and was 26 at the time.) We stopped at a gas station in the night so we could use a restroom. I was the last in line, and when I came out, the bus was taking off and headed back onto the highway. I sprinted after it screaming “No!” over and over at the top of my lungs. Someone must of heard or seen me and the bus stopped. I truly do not know what I would have done had I really been left behind.


Image source: Psych_Riot, Pixabay

Woman next door to me in a hotel was murdered.

I heard her screaming “Get out of here” a lot. Called the cops first and then the front help desk to tell them the situation. Cops show up and start questioning me, asking if I knew her, was in the room, or if I saw anyone else. I didn’t know her, never left my room except to answer the door for the police, and never saw anyone else.

Turns out she was running from her (ex) boyfriend as he was a known abuser and he finally tracked her down. I didn’t learn any of this until I saw a news article about the hotel about a week later. F*****g crazy.


Image source: Gazzerbatron, Harry Cooke

I was at wedding in Mexico and the groom leaned on a railing and it broke. He fell 30+ feet and survived with a traumatic brain injury. It was so awful. He is an entirely different person now. Don’t ever trust a railing! Ever. .


I don’t usually post , just lurk, but I feel like this question was made for me. On a 3 week tour of Thailand with my Muay Thai instructors, we happened to be in Krabi in Dec. 2004. We took an early boat ride about 2 hours out to a little uninhabited island called Bamboo island for snorkeling and hanging on the beach. We had been noticing a weird feeling in the water like something stinging and got out for awhile, and then noticed, “wow that is a really weird loud wave coming in.” Next thought was “wow that big wave just keeps coming, wonder if that’s related to how all the water receeded a few minutes ago making the shoreline like a thousand feet wider?” Then we climbed the highest point on the island and sat there for about 12 hours watching the next two tsunami waves come in and leave, while wondering if the highest point was actually going to be high enough to not be in the wild a*s waters of the ocean. The pre-smart phone days were kinda rough, we had no idea what was happening. After being rescued by the Thai coast guard and getting back to the mainland 12-15 hours later, finding out that 400000ish people died was a shock. Overall not just the scariest vacation moment but the scariest day of my life.

Image source: Azagsloth


Image source: 27_crooked_caribou, Tanya Gorelova

Be me. Five year old on a beach vacation w family. In a typical gift shop in a tourist trap beach town. Was looking at the novelty license plates w kids names. See mine, and for once, it’s spelled the way I spell it!!!! Freak out. Ask mom for it. She agrees (I think). The novelty wears off, and I get bored as they look at the stuff and I ask if I can wait outside. On the steps this old guy comes up and using my name said, “hey, X. Your parents said to come w me and we’re going to meet them later. Come on X. Let’s go”. I’m super confused. Cousin comes out seconds later, and the old guy disappears as I am distracted talking to a cousin. I realized later that he had gotten my name off the license plate display exchange—this close.


Was backpacking on Catalina island with a girls group. Set up camp for the night, then huddled in a tent while a herd of buffalo stampeded right to our spot, ran around the tent, then settled for the night. Just about pooped my pants.

Apparently the males are kind of aggressive as they are on birth control for population control on the island. Poor horny souls.

Image source: Immediate-Prize-1870


Image source: NullainmundoPax1, Helena Lopes

My family took a Christmas vacation to Honduras. It was 1994, and my sister was serving in the Peace Corps at the time.

New Year’s Eve, our last night there, we went out to eat in San Pedro Sula.

No more than 10 minutes after we sat down, our restaurant was held up by three gunmen.

We were ordered to get under the table and place cash and valuables on top.

They took cash, booze, and knocked the phone off the wall before departing.

I was 11.


My first year abroad in China, 2002 – 19F at the time. I’m in the northeast in the dead of winter, not too far from Siberia. I didn’t speak a word of Mandarin then. Myself and some other foreign kids decided to take a 3-hour night train to a nearby city to check it out one weekend. The trains at that time were like cattle cars – people packed in wall-to-wall, lots of loud yelling. There was no sign that indicated when you reached your stop, instead, a train employee would come into the car and scream the name of the next stop over the noise. Well, none of us heard it when the name of our stop was called. We only realized we might have missed our destination when we realized we’d been on the train for an hour longer than the trip was supposed to take.

We approach the train staff member and try to explain ourselves with hand gestures, repeating the name of the place we were going over and over. He points back the way we came, indicating we were indeed supposed to get off the train earlier. Then he gestures at us to wait, and when we reach the next stop, he calls over some other guy – we have no idea who this guy is – and motions for us to go with him. The guy leads us off the train, and we emerge into an empty, silent, snowy train yard. The guy starts walking up and down the trains, we presume trying to find the one that is going back the way we came, and we’re all trudging along behind him.

All of a sudden, the door of a building near the train station bursts open, and two military-uniformed guards bolt out, run over to us screaming, grab our guy and hit him in the mouth. He’s cowering and apologizing and talking a mile a minute. We have no idea what’s going on but this seems very bad. It dawns on us that absolutely no one has any idea where we are – we don’t even know where we are. There are no cell phones. If we disappeared, or something happened out there, no one would ever find us. Our parents and our school would look for us in the city we were supposed to be in, not way out in the middle of nowhere.

The guards take us into a full-on interrogation room. One bare light bulb hangs on a string from the ceiling, cement walls, barred windows, metal desk. They start yelling at us, we don’t know what they’re saying. They start yelling at this guy, he’s obviously scared and trying to explain something. This goes on for an hour. They point at us at yell, they point at him and yell, they bang the desk. They make us dump out our bags, go through our stuff. We think we’re about to get tossed in a gulag, never to be heard from again, because maybe they think we’re spies?

Turns out they just thought we were sneaking around in the train yard because we were trying to dodge paying the return train fare, which was a whopping 8 RMB, which is around 1 US dollar. I stayed in China for many years after that and rode many trains, and understood later that we were supposed to go into the train station, buy another ticket and go back through the check-in (in retrospect, duh), but we were just dumb kids following some random guy around. Wasn’t his fault either, my guess is that the train employee probably told him to just find us a return train. And I understand why the guards were so mad, that was a restricted non-passenger area and we weren’t supposed to be out there, though a punch in the mouth was overkill.

Still: All of that over a dollar. We couldn’t get our wallets out fast enough. As soon as we paid, they immediately chilled out. They didn’t even try to extort any more cash out of us except the cost of the train fare (which often happened back then). Then they helped put us back on the right train with a smile.

Edited to add context that someone asked for in DMs.

Image source: Ides_of_Meh


Image source: invisible-bug, wikipedia.org

Me and my mom were driving cross country, 3k miles. We stopped off at a motel that backed up into a forest and got a room.

Now I’m a compulsive people pleaser. I don’t like to make a fuss. But I only got a few feet into the door before turning around and telling my mom we needed to go somewhere else.

What did I see, you ask? SPIDERS. EVERYWHERE. It was like a scene from a f*****g horror movie. And they weren’t the good kind of spiders, either. Black widows.

The room was clean so I assume that it had simply been left for a while.


Image source: its_just_flesh, Janko Ferlic

Sitting around the fire pit in camp before sunset, I scooted my lawn chair back and heard a noise. I said what was that to my mom. I turned around and there was a bear about 10ft. behind me on the other side of a picnic table. We grabbed some pans and started clanking them and it took off.


Fell asleep on a pedal boat, woke up a few hours later in the middle of nowhere, completely dehydrated with no water with me.

Luckily enough i was wearing a watch so i was able to figure out where north was, and there was a sticker on the pedal boat with some sort of map of the area, so i managed to figure out how to get back to land, and i got back to the resort at sunset after pedaling for a little over an hour.

First thing i did was break into the restaurant where the personnel was getting things ready for dinner, only wearing my swimsuit, and yelled (not really cus i was exhausted and dehydrated) “WATER!!!!!!! I WANT WATER!!!!!”.

Absolutely loved the fact that nobody asked questions or came up with “sir you can’t be here now” and the receptionist/manager immediately realized something was wrong and she ran to the fridge and brought me some Gatorade equivalent.

There were a couple times that i was pretty sure i was going to die, i kept thinking “dude i can’t believe i’m going to die like a f*****g a*****e”. It started getting scary towards the end because it was getting dark and there were no lights on the beach, and i was pedaling so slowly, so i was afraid i would lose track of where i was going.

Image source: tabascobukkake

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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Backpackers, disturbing stories, scary vacation stories, travel, traveling, vacation
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