Traveling around the world is great for a variety of reason; people get to try new things, meet new people, broaden their version and become a well-rounded individual. Every adventure someone goes on is unforgettable, and that can be a good or bad thing. Just ask these Quora readers.
People on Quora share their unforgettable travel experiences. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My friends and I had planned a trip to Coorg three months in advance. The trip was planned in January, and the trip was supposed to happen from April 13–16th, 2018. Twelve people were initially coming for the trip. By April 1st week, only six of us were going for the trip. We had booked our stay in Coorg as well. Everybody was from different parts of India, so everybody was going to meet at Bangalore as that was the nearest airport and I was directly going to reach Coorg.
I was leaving two days earlier, as I was going to Shimoga and then from there I was going to reach Coorg. When I was in the train on my way to Bangalore, I got a call from one guy saying he won't be able to join because he got some last minute work. He and his girlfriend were supposed to come. Since he wasn't coming, his girlfriend obviously wouldn't come.
An hour later, another girl calls me and tells that she won't be able to join as well. So, the only people going would now would be: me, one other guy, let's call him 'D' and his wife. From six people, the number reduced to three in an hour, just two days before the trip. D calls me up and tells me since the other people aren't coming, he will book another room in some other hotel for himself and his wife. So, only I was going to be there in the hotel now.
I reached Shimoga on the 11th, and from there went to Mattur (it is a small town in Karnataka). Spent two days in Mattur and left from there on 12th night to travel to Coorg. D texted me and confirmed if I was coming to Coorg and wasn't backing out like the others. I told him I was coming. We agreed to meet on 13th morning. D had reached Bangalore, so he told he would also reach Coorg by 13th morning.
I reached Coorg at 6 am, went to my hotel where the rooms were already booked, had my breakfast, got fresh and called D to meet. D didn't answer my call.
Great. So I was left on my own. I decided to not sit in the hotel, but rather explore Coorg until D calls back. I headed out and went for sight seeing, but was hoping for D to call me soon. D finally calls back by 2.30 pm and informed me he isn't coming to Coorg since the others didn't turn up.
From a trip with friends, I now landed up on a solo trip. I was furious and disheartened.
There started my three day journey on my own. First day was spent being angry for the first half. Then, I decided there wasn't any point on being angry or irritated. Now that I was here, I had to enjoy this place and since solo travelling has always been glorified, I wanted to give it a try. All three days, I went to places on my own. Went sightseeing. Listening to music all the while. Speaking to people whenever I could. Eating alone and just wandering.
I admit, I had some amazing moments. But sometimes, I wished for someone - to share wonderful sights, to talk and share opinions, to click pictures and to just be there with me. At some point I got tired of listening to songs. I got jealous seeing people on a trip with their friends. I wanted to laugh with someone. I wanted someone to click a beautiful picture of me, but who could I ask? A stranger would only click one or two pictures and I couldn't ask them to take a few more pictures if I wasn't satisfied. I just wanted to talk to some known person.
In the nights when it got dark and when I was returning to my hotel, I was constantly worried about my safety. We tend to think of worst case scenarios. But reality is most times different. I was safe but still scared. In fact when people knew that I was travelling, a lot of them went out of their way to help me. They were polite and ensured I was safe. Because I didn't have a group, I relied a lot on public transport. I wouldn't have otherwise done it. I got to see a lot more places due to that and did things the localite way instead of being a tourist. It was a different and refreshing experience.
The hotel I was staying in had a private plantation estate behind it owned by the owner of the hotel. So the hotel staff took me on a trek to the plantation, which was breathtaking. This wouldn't have been possible if I was with a group. Since I was alone, during breakfasts and after dinners, I spent a lot of time talking to the hotel staff. As a gesture of kindness, they took me on a trek in the morning, on the last day on my stay. Additionally, they made great food and went out of their way many times to make me feel good. All because I was alone.
This trip taught me that most people are good. It taught me to take care of myself on my own. To carry on the journey and enjoy life as it comes even when you aren't surrounded by anyone else. And mostly, it gave me the confidence that even if people ditched me last minute, I would still make a killer journey/ trip on my own. I learnt to be my own superhero.
This so far, is the most unforgettable trip. Not because it was the best, not because it was bad, but simply because it was one of a kind."
"My senior year of college, I spent my fall semester abroad in the United Kingdom. We had a 10 day break in late October, so a friend and I got cheap £99 (about $185 at the time) round-trip tickets to Portugal, and headed there on a shoestring budget.
And I’m not kidding about the shoestring. We probably spent barely $12–15/day there on average, and that was including transportation and lodging. Mind you, this was 1991, so I don’t think you can get by so cheap in Portugal now! So here we are, a pair of tall, reasonably attractive/athletic, blonde 21-year-olds, going off to spend 10 days in a country where neither of us spoke the language — and at the time, it didn’t seem like many Portuguese spoke English.
We spent our first full day in Lisbon exploring the old part of the city, I wanted to go see the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (the Monument of the Explorers) and perhaps some of the sites around it. It was too far for us to walk, so we finally found somebody who explained to us we could get a trolley/train from the Cais do Sodré to the monument.
When we arrived, there were several merchants set up in the area. We weren’t sure if it was a farmer’s market or what, exactly, but we wandered around as we waited for our departure time.
At one point, I turned around and came face to face with a grizzly, nearly toothless old man. He waved a balloon on a leash at my face, startling me, and before I could recover, he reached up, pulled my face close to his, and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek. He jumped away, laughing, and an older lady that I assume was his wife started yelling at him. My travel mate was dying laughing and I was just stunned.
There’s lots I still remember from that trip, but that moment was unforgettable."
"Being a solo traveler, I was specifically asked not to travel Egypt solo. But I wanted to go Egypt, it was on my list for so long.
So I chose the second best option, women travel group. Solo women come together to travel. A travel agency called WOW (Women on Wonderlust) brings female travelers together, and plans trips for them.
We reached Egypt on November 18th, and my birthday falls on November 20th. As per the itinerary, visiting the pyramids was on my birthday, followed by shopping in their famous el khalili market, ends up with dinner at cruise on the River Nile.
Due to Mohammed Prophet Birthday that day, the market was cancelled as our local guide felt it won't be safe for bunch of ladies to go out in that large of a crowd.
We ended up at 4 seasons Terrence restaurant, and had a fun time. That afternoon gave us such fun memories, all 15 of us ended up becoming great friends.
After a fun filled afternoon, we ended up for dinner on this beautiful cruise, just like the one they show in movies. The cruise starts moving, while we were enjoying the live band. I was taking a video of the riverbank as the lights were so beautiful, while I hear the band sing 'Happy Birthday.' When I turned around, I saw a cake.
Each and every guest started singing 'Happy Birthday.' The table next to us took our pictures, while someone from group had shot the video for the whole event.
The dinner ended in two hours with live music, belly and few other local dances.
Most unforgettable evening of my trip."
"Earlier this year, I finally fulfilled a life’s dream and visited Rome. One of the experiences I was looking forward to the most was visiting Galleria Borghese, to view the work of the best sculptor in history - Bernini.
The gallery has strict rules, which we followed. We reserved a two hour window, and pre bought our tickets. We left our home an hour early, and walked to the main street to catch one of the hundreds of yellow cabs which seemed to be everywhere.
The first cab seemed to ignore us. So did the second and the third. We kept walking to more streets and intersections and even found an official taxi stop but no one would agree to give us a ride.
What the heck?
Finally, we were told that the entire taxi force of Rome was on an indefinite strike to protest the arrival of Uber. We went to investigate the bus options. It turned out, you can only buy bus tickets in these tiny narcotics shops! All of the ones we came across were out of tickets.
I was so sad, and we were already running almost one hour late (which is half of our reserved window!). Finally, we managed to find some small newspaper stand and he was able to sell us some tickets.
We came to the gallery and fortunately were still let in. But they said we will have to leave in one hour when it closes. We did a quick tour of highlights and towards the end the halls started to empty. I decided to revisit the main works which were astonishing.
The first warning was announced and people started to leave. But I decided to stay until the last possible second. What's the worst that can happen? Am I going to be arrested by police and walked out handcuffed? For some brief moment of time, all people were gone, including the curators. My family was waiting outside. And I could stand alone and look at this mind-boggling beauty."
"My most memorable trip was a week I spent in 2000 with five others in a tiny mountain village a few hours’ travel from Mexico City, Mexico. We were there to physically upgrade a medical clinic in a small United Methodist mission.
Unfortunately the two teams before us didn’t accomplish their stages of the work, so we weren’t able to do what we had planned. We did quite a bit to get the project back on track. And otherwise, we were able to spend our time exploring the local cultures closely with 'feet on the ground' in the care of our guide/ interpreter.
While other Quorans are praising the tourist sights and sounds, we were meeting people like the self-employed businessman who chopped brush on a mountainside and built a kiln in the clearing to make it charcoal. He carried it back down the mountain to sell it for a couple of pesos per handful for people to cook their meals over. While beautiful cathedrals drew crowds, we learned why all of the residences were built of concrete with rusty rebars sticking up from the walls. We saw men standing on street corners at dawn for far different reasons than dealing on the corners of American streets. We saw dusty cartons of good, edible milk sitting unrefrigerated on open shelves and learned how and why. And when we went to the city, we learned which were policias, federales, securitads y otras by their weaponry. In short, we saw what life was like on an economic, cultural, and political scale far different from our own.
We came back with whole different appreciation and opinions of how we live in the USA. We understand why people from other countries are willing to go through 'the valley of the shadow of death' just to get here, welcomed or not. And we have a gratitude for what we have here that is far, far above what others have who have never seen what we saw. Such an amazing experience."
"My first PhD research paper got accepted at a conference that was to be held in Paris in late August. I was so excited that my advisor was sending me on an all-expense paid trip for eight days to what they call the most romantic city in the world. For work, of course.
The first four days, I attended the conference, presented my work, shook some hands and did what needed to be done. I had to move to a new place since my office wasn’t paying for my hotel anymore. As a grad student, my budget is always on the low end. I chose a hotel room about 30 square feet at $30 a day in the artsy district of Montmartre in Paris’ 18th arrondissement. It’s a busy, hip area full of shops, restaurants, cafes, boulangeries, and patisseries.
For the next four days, I woke up every morning at around 10 am, got an espresso at a nearby cafe, had a huge salad and a drink for lunch, walked around, took the subway to all the cool spots in town, wandered the streets and got back to my hotel around midnight.
I had a tentative list of places I wanted to see, but no set plans. I ran into a friend I met at the conference and we explored together on the last day. My favorite memory from that trip was going into a supermarket and buying a French baguette and yummy smelly cheese and eating it by myself on the top of a hill with the beautiful view of Paris.
Paris will always be special to me!"
"Back around 1987 when my then wife and I happened to both get a little over two weeks off and at the same time. We were in Rochester, New York at the time and for whatever reason, we decided 'Let’s go to Toronto.'
Then I thought, Let’s go to Montreal. I’d been up there a couple times a decade before and she never had.
Then we decided, let’s drive and see any and everything we can. We free-formed it all the way over to Montreal. Had a great couple of days there and then back to Toronto. From classic old world to modern high tech all in one trip. The two cities are great and offer a wonderful contrast. (Also, Canadians are very hospitable people.)
But the big deal was that it was all unscripted. We didn’t make and check reservations 12 times, had no schedule to keep, including that of some airline or other mode of transportation. Things that might annoy on a carefully planned trip were all part of the adventure this time.
The only one close was another trip we took, this time unfortunately only four days, but again no plan. Just get in car, decide on a destination and wing it from there. Yep, everything can and will go wrong but you don’t care because you’re not following any pre-ordained plan of what should happen.
I think everyone should once in their life do a no plan trip. Yes, you can apply a little reason. After all, we were in Canada, not some far off land where we knew nothing of the language or customs. And if an upscale hotel was full, we could survive a night in a roadside motel that seemed to be more used for locals for that after-the-bar adventure. That’s not the same as finding yourself in the middle of a jungle or the desert with no food, water or protection."
"Thanks to my parents’ penchant for travelling, I have travelled extensively across India. This made it possible for me to have varied experiences: some great, some not so great and some which still send shivers down my spine. My father is an ardent wildlife photographer. He would primarily choose destinations where we could observe nature in all her resplendence and my mother shared his love for nature.
I had just completed my graduation and I was confused about what I wanted to do. I had fared miserably in MBA entrance examinations, and was contemplating taking a break for a year. An escapade was much needed.
We travelled to the picturesque state of Meghalaya in early June in 2012. We stayed in Shillong for a few days, and visited every tourist spot in the vicinity of the city. The next stop was Cherrapunji. The biggest attraction for me was the rainfall. I had heard tales about how rains in Cherrapunji were unlike the rains one would have witnessed in any other part of the country.
In 2012, Cherrapunji was still a quiet hamlet with scant tourist amenities. We stayed in a resort, that was primarily a pre-independence era villa that had been transformed into a resort. The people who worked in there lived in a village that was less than a mile from the resort.
One of them volunteered to take us hiking. He said one of the major attractions of Cherrapunji - the living root bridge- was a seven mile hike from the resort. We packed a small bag with some food, umbrellas, and a first aid kit and left.
The hiking trail passed through dense forests. The trees barricaded the sunlight and the early showers of June made the ground sink beneath our feet. The crickets and the frogs sang in unison, and their chorus was a welcome relief from the sounds that city dwellers like us were used to. The leeches, though were a dampener. They perforated our feet, despite the seemingly impenetrable material of our trekking shoes.
Despite the plethora of sights and sounds that made us marvel at the expanse of nature, the hike was exhausting. Our limbs felt sore and the air, heavy with humidity, offered no respite. Our guide tried to keep us motivated by assuring us that in a short while, we will reach a spot that will make us forget our aches and pains. We trudged on and before long we saw something that made us overjoyed.
In the middle of the forest, was a clearing and there gurgled a spring from an elevated pile of rocks cascading down into a small pond. The water was too inviting and within minutes I was frolicking in that natural pool along with my mother. My father’s camera equipment can be a liability at times. As our guide had promised, we forgot all our aches and pains were rejuvenated thoroughly. It felt effortless to cover the remaining distance.
In all my extensive travels, I had never gotten a chance to jump into a pool of sparkling clean and cold water, that too in the middle of a hiking tour. Meghalaya is an underrated paradise."
"It was June 2011, just after my senior finals ended. I was travelling with my family and my family friends. We' were vacation for 20 days, and planned to cover all major pilgrimage from Shirdi to Kanyakumari.
While travelling from Shirdi to Chennai, we had to change our train at Pune station. Our next train was delayed by four hours so we had to wait in the waiting room. One hour before the train arrived, we decided to go to the last platform where the train was about to come as we have much luggage. It was around 3 am we did not hear any announcements, so my friend and I went to the enquiry counter to check the status.
While coming back, my friend saw a thief trying to snatch his mother's purse. He couldn't control himself, and ran from the stairs directly towards him. My friend tried to stop him but he started beating him, they both started fighting. My family and his family tried to get them off but the thief was not alone, another one came in between.
I grabbed him from behind, and I was trying to calm him down. I was hoping someone would call police, or the station police would come, but people were just looking at us from other platforms. No one came to help.
That thief pulled a sharp weapon from his pocket, and tried to stab me in the face. I managed to mostly avoid it, but the blade grazed my shoulder. We all were scared, and watched as the thieves ran off. Soon our train arrived at the station, and we boarded.
I still remember that day. I have not had an experience like that since, and I hope I don't ever again."
"I left Los Angeles and travelled back to San Francisco to take a plane to New York. The bus left at 4 pm and was scheduled to arrive San Francisco at 12 am. My flight was scheduled at 8am and I had plenty of time. If you do the math, I have 8 hours to get to the airport, plenty of time. But that was not what happened. I almost missed the flight! Here's why.
Firstly, the air conditioning in the bus stopped working after about an hour from our departure time. The bus had to return to the station and all of us had to switch buses. That added 2 hours to our journey time. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end.
The windshield wiper of the bus got detached due to strong winds and this happened at the halfway mark. At this point, many of the passengers were unhappy, a passenger shouted 'Strike Two!' and I got a little worried as I had a flight to catch.
The bus driver told us the maintenance company would be coming to fix the problem. She further gave the assurance another bus would take us if the problem couldn't be fixed. Well it didn't work, so we had to wait for another two hours for the bus to arrive. I felt the best thing was to call for the bus at the start to reduce the waiting time.
So I was stranded at some gas station in the middle of nowhere waiting for the bus. I'm glad I had data to keep me occupied, and I took the time to find out the train schedules to the airport. I kept track of my location on the map to see how far I was. I alighted at Oakland, which was about an hour from my original destination. It was running late and i found out there was a train station nearby which could take me to the airport quicker. This was not part of the planned route but I took the risk.
I managed to check in online and got my electronic boarding pass before arriving at the airport. I made it just when the boarding gate opened. What a relief!
Later I found out that two items from my bag, including my flash drive went missing. I am pretty sure that it was due to the switching of the buses.
That was quite an adventure that I wouldn’t forget."