From our November issue: a bull in a (china?) shop in India, a cheesy friendship develops in the Czech Republic, a persuasive snake charmer in Marrakech, and more.
Dream Trip Gone Wrong?
For our March Dream Trips issue, we're looking for True Stories about once-in-a-lifetime trips that didn't go quite to plan. Whether it's thinking there's a snake in your bed while you're on safari in Kenya or trying to wash your hands with a condom during Carnaval in Rio (don't ask, but these are actually from the magazine!), we want to hear your tale of woe. E-mail TrueStories@BudgetTravel.com, and include any photos.
Cruise For Two The best tale of a dream trip gone wrong that we receive between Nov. 2, 2009, and Nov. 30, 2009, wins a seven-day cruise for two in an ocean-view stateroom on Princess Cruises, departing from Fort Lauderdale or L.A., courtesy of American Discount Cruises & Travel. Valid for sailings in 2010; winner must select cruise within a month of notification. For more info: 866/214-7447, americandiscountcruises.com.
Trip Winner: Attack of the tent temptress
November's winner is Angela Hullinger of Olathe, Kans. She won a seven-night trip for two in Vietnam, courtesy of Vietnam Vespa Adventures. Her story: My boyfriend and I were camping in Banff when we were awakened at 3 a.m. by loud music. I went to the office in the dark to complain. When I returned, I crawled into my tent, snuggled up to my boyfriend, and said, "Now we can get some sleep." An unfamiliar voice said, "You're in the wrong tent." I was in bed with a complete stranger—and his wife and baby were lying next to him sleeping! Worse, I saw in the morning that his tent didn't look like mine at all.
If only this was a china shop
In the U.S., it's not unusual for a store owner to bring his or her dog to work for companionship. But on a recent trip to Varanasi, India, my boyfriend and I came across a bull that a man had brought into his store—that was a new one for us. Alexandra Watkins, San Francisco, Calif.
We're just glad you're one of the good guys
While I was on leave from Iraq last year, my girlfriend and I planned a Mexican getaway. I used my Army-issued assault pack since it fits well in overhead bins and has a lot of pockets. When my bag went through the airport X-ray, the TSA inspectors told me they needed to scan it one more time. The second time it passed through, they called another inspector over, dug into my bag, and pulled out...my military knife. It was still buried in the bag from a training exercise; I'd forgotten it was there. The Massachusetts State Police were called, and they stormed me by force! The officers did an extensive search and interrogation, but eventually I was able to convince them that it was a huge mistake, and they let me go (minus the knife, of course). The only thing that kept me from being arrested was the fact that I was in the Army and on leave from Iraq. Incredible to think that I almost spent my precious time sitting in jail rather than on the beach. Chief Warrant Officer Kent Shepherd, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Last April, my husband and I and our 3-year-old son, Julian, went to San Francisco. Julian carried a backpack with his things. We loved our walk through Chinatown, but after lunch we discovered that Julian's backpack was nowhere to be found. He insisted that he had left it with Bubba, our beagle—who was back home in Kansas. After dismissing that idea and walking around for over an hour trying to find it, we gave in to Julian and followed him. He led us straight to the store where he had left the backpack. He'd taken a small statue of a beagle from a shelf in the store and laid it down on his bag on the floor to give it a nap. Jessie Smith, Goddard, Kans.
You're supposed to wait for the fat lady to sing
On a recent trip to Budapest, I surprised my girlfriend with tickets to the Hungarian State Opera. The only tickets I could get were for the very night we arrived, after four connecting flights and more than 30 hours of travel from southern California. We were extremely jet-lagged, and even though the production was fantastic and the opera house itself is a masterpiece, I was nodding off in my seat. An hour and a half into the performance, the curtain fell and everyone grabbed their things and started walking outside. As much as I had enjoyed it, I had to admit I was relieved the opera was over. But we got a second wind and made our way next door to a restaurant for a nightcap. About 15 minutes in, we couldn't believe this convenient after-theater spot was virtually empty. An hour later, though, the place completely filled up—and we realized that we had left the opera during intermission. Ralph Velasco, Corona del Mar, Calif.
Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com
Budget Travel Real Deals