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December 30, 2021

The weirdest travel tales of 2010

Catching up on last year's Christmas presents, I finally got a chance to look at Thomas Kohnstamm's Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? last week.

Travel It's a tell-all memoir that tracks his dubious research practices and mildly self-destructive habits as a Lonely Planet guidebook writer.

I didn't finish it, largely because I don't much like travel books -- or, in this case, books about travel writing. But I am willing to lend a sympathetic ear to tales of just what can go wrong when you get off the couch.

Which is why I got a kick out of Douglas McArthur's 2010 Travel Hall of Infamy Awards in today's Globe and Mail. It's a "whew" compendium of some of the worst travel experiences of the past year. 

Like the vacation planner with the Royal Caribbean cruise line who lifted clients’ addresses from her work database so that her husband could rifle their homes while they were cruising.

Or the chilly guests at British Holiday Inns who paid an extra fee could have a staff member in a one-piece sleeper suit crawl between their sheets to preheat the bed. 

My favourite ... "The Bag of Tricks Award to a Transportation Security Administration worker at Philadelphia airport for his warped sense of humour.

After college student Rebecca Solomon had passed through a metal detector, the man pulled a plastic bag filled with white powder from her carry-on. “Where did you get it?” he asked. Turns out the substance was creatine powder, not cocaine, and had been placed by the worker as a prank. He said she would have to admit it was funny. She filed a complaint. The worker is no longer with the TSA."

Been on the road this year? Whether it cost you time or money, what's the worst thing that happened to you on your travels?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...