Every year millions of travellers embark on journeys throughout the world, most of which go off without a hitch. But sometimes, things do go wrong.
While missed flights and lost luggage won’t make the headlines, some stories are a little more entertaining. From badly photoshopped holiday snaps to 47-year-long layovers, these are the silly travel stories that we’ll be giggling over long into 2017.
1. The man who x-rayed himself
Ah, border crossings. A bit boring once you’ve done enough of them, but bewildering the first time you try.
Spare a thought, then, for this man attempting to cross the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although he’s asked to put his bag through the x-ray machine, he seems to misunderstand and ends up putting his whole body through the scanner – much to the surprise of security staff on the other side.
2. The woman who photoshopped herself to China
Kenyan travel fan Sevelyn Gat became an internet sensation back in March 2016 when badly photoshopped images of her "travelling" began attracting thousands of likes on Facebook. Unable to afford a trip to Asia, she’d superimposed herself onto images of famous Chinese sights like the Great Wall – with hilarious consequences.
Sevelyn had the last laugh, though; a sympathetic Kenyan businessman later decided to fund her real-life trip to China.
He was shocked when the site suggested a layover of more than 413,000 hours (47 years) in Bangkok. He contacted Skyscanner to ask what they thought he should do during this extremely long wait, only for their cool-as social media team to reply with a whole bunch of suggestions for things to do, including taking “a cruise on the Chao Phraya river” and becoming “a Tai Chi expert in Lumpini Park”.
4. The tourist who accidentally applied for asylum
On a more serious note: losing your wallet is one thing, but accidentally applying for asylum and ending up trapped in Germany is quite another.
According to The Guardian, that’s exactly happened to a Chinese tourist who was robbed in Stuttgart and then tried to file a police report – only to unwittingly sign an asylum application and spend 12 days stuck at a refugee centre. His ordeal apparently came to an end when desperate authorities – unable to understand the tourist’s native Mandarin – turned to a local Chinese restaurant for help.
Parents worry, especially when their kids are away from home, exploring the big wide world.
To ease any anxiety, Belgian traveller Jonathan Quiñonez decided to start taking pictures with a special message. The black-and-white sign, which reads “Mom, I’m fine” has popped up everywhere from Cuba to Morocco, and from the bottom of the sea to the top of Bolivian mountains. Unsurprisingly, Jonathan’s sign-unfurling antics have been a big hit online – and his captivating Instagram account now has more than 189,000 followers.
6. The tourism tweet you needed a dictionary to decipher
The Indian region of Uttar Pradesh is most famous as the home of the Taj Mahal, but it’s also getting a reputation for its unusual posts on social media. Take this (now deleted) tweet from the region’s tourist board, which most would-be visitors would need a very large dictionary to decipher. Seizure the quietude, folks!
8. The tourist who became a celebrity in Iceland
Want to know a quick way to become famous in Iceland? Just mix up two very similar place names and follow your sat nav for six hours in the wrong direction.
That’s what happened to Noel Santillan from New Jersey, USA, when he punched “Laugarvegur” into his GPS. He was aiming for Laugavegur (a road in Reykjavik with one less ‘r’) but instead he ended up in a tiny fishing village on the island’s north coast. Feeling tired and wanting to get his head down after a long flight, he pushed on through the bad weather, only for locals to break the news that he’d travelled hundreds of miles out of his way and was now something of a celebrity.
“I did enjoy the scenery on the way,” he told local paper Visir, seeing the bright side of it all. “I've never seen anything quite like it.”