Reading travel blogs and seeing travel Instagram accounts, it would seem that travel is always an amazing, fun, and carefree experience. But what you don’t often see is the negative side of travel. Of course, just like in everyday life, there are lots of things that can go wrong when you travel.
For the most part, my travels have always gone pretty perfectly with the exception of some delayed flights, but nothing that had a major impact…until my recent trip to New Zealand. It was here that I learned that things can go wrong abroad, and sooner or later they will.
Flying out of Sydney to Auckland, the flight my friends and I were on was about an hour delayed—not a big deal at all. We had a nice night exploring Auckland, and the next day we rented a car and went all over the Coromandel Peninsula. Then on our third day of New Zealand adventures, we were on our way down to Rotorua when the completely unexpected happened—we got into a serious car accident. I had never been in a car accident and it was definitely a scary experience. My friends and I, along with the driver of the other car, were taken to the hospital and our plans for skydiving, kayaking, and hiking around New Zealand turned into several days of xrays, scans, and overnight stays at the hospital. I was really lucky and just ended up with lots of bruising and swelling. One of my friends and the other driver had more serious injuries, but fortunately no one suffered any permanent damage.
From this experience I learned a few things. First, never travel without travel insurance! I have never bought travel insurance in the past, but this time I took a yearlong plan in preparation for my time in Australia. Whether you’re being reckless or not, unexpected things can happen so easily, so it’s best to be protected just in case. I also learned to try and make the best of a bad situation. Obviously being stuck in a small New Zealand town for a week wasn’t ideal. But I tried to stay positive and make the most of my time there. While there’s not much to do in Hamilton without renting a car (something I wasn’t ready to do anytime soon!), I finally ventured out of the hospital and discovered the amazing Hamilton Gardens. And I’m so lucky to be spending the next year in Australia because I know I’ll have more opportunities to see the rest of New Zealand.
My time in New Zealand definitely didn’t go as planned, but it was a learning experience — it taught me that travel isn’t always as perfect as it may seem. We were all so lucky the accident wasn’t more serious than it was, and it’s definitely not an experience I’ll be forgetting any time soon.
Have you ever had any bad experiences while travelling? Tell me about it in a comment below!
Hi I’m Christie, a 28-year-old girl originally from Boston who has spent time living in New York City, North Carolina, France, Australia, and New Zealand. I love moving to new places and exploring them as a local, and I can’t see my nomadic expat life stopping any time soon! I have no greater passion than travel, and when I’m not exploring I spend my free time reminiscing on past trips and daydreaming about future travel.