Wanderlust readers' tales: Worst travel companions

From tight pockets to broken hearts, our Wanderlust readers reveal their holidays from hell after choosing the wrong travel buddies...

5 mins

Fall outs with friends

Friends lost while travelling (Shutterstock)

Friends lost while travelling (Shutterstock)

I planned my first Interrail trip in 1990 with a school friend. We always seemed to get on well and had very similar tastes in music and sports so thought that he'd be an ideal companion for a month long trip. How wrong I was. After only a few days I discovered that he didn't want to visit the cities that I wanted to visit but really just wanted a long beach holiday. So, after one week of bickering we set off in different directions, thankfully.

After this trip I travelled solo all over the world for the next 15 years until I planned a trip through the Baltics and into Poland to meet up with a Polish colleague in Gdansk. She was fine and I had a wonderful time seeing the sights of Poland thanks to my personal Polish guide. Unfortunately, a French colleague had learned about my plans and invited himself along (I couldn't say no as he was also friends with my Polish colleague). He sulked and moaned his way around northern Europe & offered no ideas about where to go or what to see. Our relationship got more and more strained until I finally jettisoned him in Prague.

Robin Foster, Lichfield, Staffordshire

Planned a trip through Belgium, Germany and France for myself and my family, some with friends or partners tagging along. Eight people all together, half flew all the way from South Africa to the UK from where we set off. It started pleasantly enough, although one person was constantly mentioning the prices of everything, everywhere we went. I had spent weeks planning the trip in details and choosing the best restaurants to ensure we got good view, ambiance and/or a taste of local culture, and I looked specifically for affordable places. Eventually we had this one person complain about the prices of every single thing on the menu, to the point where he'd take out his phone and compare it to other cities around the world. And then we hit a market and we half expected him to complain there too, but he promptly spent a small fortune on T-shirts with cartoons on them, that you could find anywhere on earth! We continued the rest of the tip telling him to stay quiet or stay in the hotel.

Wilmarie Groenewald, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

My friend came to Japan with me. He had a few tummy problems that delayed us again and again. We ended up spending an awful few hours walking around pharmacies with him trying to get haemorrhoid cream. Between Google translate and his band gestures to describe what he was looking for in the various pharmacies is something I would never want to go through again!

David Harrington, Alton, Staffordshire

My worst travel companion was a friend who turned out not to be a friend at all who left me stranded in Bali taking all of our travel money.

Adam Bradbury, Horley, Surrey

In the early 90s I travelled through Thailand with a friend from uni who was obsessed with travelling as cheaply as possible. He took this to the extremes wanting to eat just plain rice and hitch lifts rather than using local transport. Needless to say, he wasn't a lot of fun and we went our separate ways in Sumatra after he refused to spend money on a trip over to the Mentawi Islands. I felt sad for him because he was missing out on some incredible food and experiences by being so ridiculously tight.

Eden Goddard, Stamford, Lincolnshire

Rocky relationships

Unhappy couple on travels (Shutterstock)

Unhappy couple on travels (Shutterstock)

An ex-girlfriend decided that our relationship needed to end. Unfortunately, this was around day three of a 14-day holiday to Austria and Italy! Pity that it was not before, as we could have saved a lot of money. Suffice to say that the 'split' duly took place on our return to the UK.

Colin Fielding, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

My husband always seems to be picked out for ticket inspection or for checking luggage when traveling. Really don't know why, just an ordinary, regular guy. When he first got his bus pass and travelled by bus, a ticket inspector boarded the bus and went straight to my hubby. Strange that I hadn't seen a bus inspector for years.

Patricia Bowley, Hockley, Essex

On my first holiday abroad with my husband he kept getting up really early and going for a swim. Not a problem it didn't affect me. Then one day he announced I had to get up with him the following morning to see the most amazing sunrise. I thought watching the sunrise near the pool or beach but no - I got up and dressed that morning expecting at most a five-minute stroll, in reality it was a hike up what seemed like a mountain to watch from a high vantage point.

We are still married 37 years on but he knows now not to expect me to get up when he does.

P Wendy Clayton, London

I bought a van to follow the surf tour down through France and into Spain one summer and was going with the girl I had wanted to woo for a long time. Then her best mate invited herself asking simply for a lift to France but ended up staying the whole two months with us crammed into my van, contributing nothing and making any attempt at romance completely useless. I haven't quite forgiven her and that was quite a while ago now, however the girl and I did finally get together and got married this summer!

Layla Astley, Helston, Cornwall


Family feuds

Family walking through airport (Shutterstock)

Family walking through airport (Shutterstock)

My worst travel companion was my mum and stepdad. We went on the road trip in Italy, they just arguing all the time. That was not a happy trip. I thought I rather travel alone in the future without them. That would be peaceful for me!



My dad, a self-proclaimed knower of all things worth knowing, insisted on the location of the tent needing to be situated just-so for optimal enjoyment. Said location turned out to be the exact spot where the river of water came to fruition during the rainstorm that night. We awoke swimming out of our dreams and into our drenched sleeping sacks.

Diana Connor, London

My sister! We got on so well as kids but the older we got we realised we had a lot of different things in common. She likes to stay in bed until 2pm most days when I like to get up early and explore! Safe to say I spent a lot of time on our first holiday together on my own.

Sarah Kenny, Edinburgh

Not so perfect strangers

Two girls sitting apart by the sea (Shutterstock)

Two girls sitting apart by the sea (Shutterstock)

Travelling alone in Poland, I met a Polish woman in a hostel in Warsaw who was also heading to Krakow, so we agreed to take the train together. That journey was fine, we spent a couple of days together in the area and then somehow the conversation got onto World War II and the German occupation of the country. It was at this point that she started telling me about how Hitler wasn't all bad really and did a lot of good things for Poland. Cue me suddenly remembering I needed to catch another train as I was heading for the mountains further south and what a shame it was that she couldn't come with me! Yikes.

Paula Sullivan, Derby, Derbyshire

I had to travel for three weeks camping across Colorado after working summer camp with an auntie clumber I met on camp America. He never washed, changed his clothes or had any hygiene measures of any kind, I promised him that I'd stay with him until we got to San Francisco and once there I sneaked off and bought my own tent and equipment and bought an Amtrak pass to take me on my way across native Indian lands alone without the stench. Oh yes I did tell him that he needed better hygiene after first few days but the worst was he never brushed his teeth. Urhhhh!

Nicola Walker, Worrall, South Yorkshire

Own worst enemy

Man missing his passport (Shutterstock)

Man missing his passport (Shutterstock)

Myself. On a trip to St Anton in Austria which involve changes in trains from Munich, I managed to leave a folder which not only contained details of our accommodation, but return air tickets and my passport. Thanks to the magnificent service from an Austrian railways ticket inspector who managed to contact the guard on the train I had left them on, I was reunited with the folder within 3 hours!

Ian Hewitt, Scotland

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