TRUE STORIES

Breaking Up Isn't Hard to Do After All

Ten travelers win DVDs of the movie "2 Days In Paris" for their anecdotes of breakups—and near breakups—on the road. (Note: To protect people's privacy, we've only published first names.)

By Readers of Budget Travel, Monday, Feb 11, 2008, 5:36 AM

It's like a scene from 2 Days in Paris!
My girlfriend and I had been dating for four months when we went on vacation to Paris. She is a French teacher, and I do not speak French. One day, my girlfriend decided to take a picture of a police car that was parked near our hotel. She was lining up the shot when an undercover police officer approached her. He was trying to tell her something, and she was refusing to listen to him. The conversation became heated, with both of them yelling loudly in French and using a lot of arm gestures. I had no clue what they were saying, but I knew it was not good. I tried to tell my girlfriend to just leave, but she kept arguing with the police officer. This went on for a while. Finally, the officer reached for his handcuffs and motioned for my girlfriend to turn around. At this point, I panicked, thinking that my girlfriend is going to jail, and I will have no way of knowing how to get her out. Selfishly, I also thought, "How am I going to get back to the airport if my girlfriend is in a French prison for breaking some weird law?" Luckily, I'm also a police officer and I had my I.D. with me. I showed the officer my police I.D. card. He turns to me and says in perfect English, "This crazy lady wants to take a picture of a police car and I keep trying to tell her that it is illegal." I told him that the crazy lady was my girlfriend and that she would not take a picture of the police car if we could just go on our way. He started laughing and we started talking about police work. He ended up giving us a tour of the police station. My girlfriend never did get the opportunity to photograph the police car. Yet we survived the remainder of the trip, and we've been happily married for the past six years. Jack

One trip, but two breakups (...if you don't count the other breakup)
My then-boyfriend and I booked a week in Belize several months in advance. Then we broke up, and I was stuck with non-refundable reservations. I asked a well-traveled, VERY platonic male friend to go with me and split the cost. Two months before the trip, I started dating another man, who became highly jealous of my planned trip with my friend. To alleviate any fears, I introduced them. Once in Belize, my friend turned out not to be interested in visiting any of the nightclubs or happy hours. Although he was a certified diver and brought his equipment, he refused to go dive with me on the one clear day we had. Meanwhile, when I called my boyfriend back home, he continually accused me of "getting with" my platonic friend. Whatever! The trip soon became the longest week of my life. I came home sunburned, mosquito-bitten, and tired of my "friend." My new guy picked me up at the airport and, when I showed him a digital photo of a message I'd written in the sand that said "I miss you," he accused me of having written it for someone else! We didn't last long after that, and I have never traveled with my friend since. Kelly

He's the ultimate passive-aggressive
The guy I was going out with for almost two years and my two sons (ages 19 and 23) took a multi-city road trip. The first night I asked him where his C-PAP machine was. (He needs it to treat his apnea, a sleeping disorder.) Ohh...he had forgot it. We were all sleeping in one room. The snoring was soooo bad that the boys went out in the car at 2 a.m. in Baltimore, Md., to get some sleep. I slept on the bathroom floor. In D.C., he got his own room for one night. We couldn't sleep in Philly or New York City either, and he was too cheap to buy us a separate room. We broke up soon after I got back. But I'd like to visit those cities again with a nicer more considerate guy!! Sue

Rage against the machine
Ten months ago, my boyfriend and I took a spring break trip to Las Vegas. One evening after dinner, we decided to go fill up our gas tank and take in the lights on the Strip. Like most men, my boyfriend is very much into the electronic gadgets. So, to find a gas station, he needs to turn on his navigation system to look for one. In this case, it was absurd, because the station we were heading to was one we had already used and knew where it was. But for some reason that evening, his gadget couldn't find the station we wanted to go to. It kept telling him to make a U-turn that took us away from the station. He knew "she" (the female voice of the GPS device) was wrong, but wouldn't admit it. When I started telling him to just drive down the street, and "in about a mile, we will be there", he said, "I don't know of any gas station down that way!" He got upset. I got upset. We argued over why he prefers to listen to that "automated female voice" instead of listening to me. And to tell you the truth, at other times on our trips, I just wanted "that woman" to shut up. When we finally got to the gas station, I got out of the car and started to walk back to the hotel, which was about a couple miles away. It was in the middle of the night, and it took me about an hour and a half. We never said another word to each other except for "I am ready to go home." And that was the last time we talked to each other. Huong

The lost scene from National Lampoon's European Vacation
My boyfriend Chris, and I flew to Spain for his spring break one year. We thought we would spend 10 days living it up on a romantic road trip. During the first six hours, I collected a parking ticket and nearly lost our passenger side mirror after driving down a path I still swear was marked as a road. A long night had just begun. You see, the week we chose just happened to be Semana Santa (Holy Week). That translates to lots of people making their annual pilgrimage to Madrid, and several of the other large cities in Spain, to participate in the rituals and traditions surrounding this holiday. This, in turn, wreaked havoc on our maps we had printed from a website because the majority of the roads were closed for processionals, and all the other roads were now crammed with the overflow of traffic. Trying to figure out the detours led us to several roundabouts (a.k.a., traffic circles) with no definitive lanes and cars driving five deep. Chris would panic each time and take whatever first exit he could squeeze out of without knowing where he was going. Several times we found ourselves on toll roads leading out of the city. We kept driving in circles getting trapped in roundabouts only to maneuver out onto yet another toll road. By now, not only were we running low on gas, but we were also in need of an ATM since we were running low on euros. At the gas station, I was lucky to find a customer who spoke great English. He gave us some modified directions. We got back on the road, and circled around the same roundabouts again. At this point I was in tears and seconds away from strangling someone. I kept asking if we could just pull into the first hotel/hostel we see and get a room for any price. Chris wouldn't hear of it. He was determined to stay at the hostel he had booked, convinced that an affordable alternative would be hard to find. Eventually, we reached the hostel. We swore we would never have anything to do with each other once we were back in the U.S.A. It took a couple of days in Madrid for us to cool off. By the time we began the drive south to Grenada (at this point, we knew exactly how to get out of Madrid far too well), the beautiful smell of springtime flowers and oranges in the countryside melted our hearts. Thankfully, we were able to salvage things, and we married each other a year ago. Marissa

The anti-honeymoon
Years ago, me and my wife had celebrated our honeymoon with a 12-day trip to Mexico. I should have known we were in for a rough ride when I took us to the wrong airport (San Fransisco). We then got in a cab, doing over 100 miles per hour to get to the correct airport (Oakland). We made the plane with a minute to spare. Good, right? Wrong! I had left my wife's luggage at the other airport. Imagine the fight we had after we landed. No make-up, no clothes. Ouch! From there, we were in our hotel, and I was informed that our travel agent had booked the wrong days. We argued with them for two days, and they eventually said the hotel had made a mistake and that our reservation was fine. The last straw was we were getting ready to leave and I thought I could get money from an ATM. But there weren't any ATMs at the resort. I had to make friends with another traveler, who let me borrow money to get a cab ride to the airport. I have never been so happy to be home. As my wife said, "After that start to our marriage, it only can get better." True to her word, 15 years later we are happily married. Matt

"But, honey, we've only been to four museums today"
I fell in love while on vacation in the Caribbean. He was an Australian sailor (LOVE the accent), and the first mate on my Windjammer cruise. For several months, we met up in various ports. Eventually, we planned to meet in Amsterdam for a trip. At first, everything was great. He met me at the train station. He took me to a hotel room so we could have some "alone time" before heading back to his friend's boat. But slowly, everything turned into a fight. I'm an improviser, Dan's a planner. He kept asking me, where did I want to go, what did I want to see, when/where/what should we eat. I was like, whoa, slow down! When I travel, I like just BEING someplace and experiencing that place. Sure, I would love to go to the Van Gogh Museum, but I don't have a checklist of things to do! I just want to hang out and experience the Netherlands!! For ten days, we went back and forth, with him needing a plan for each day, while I just wanted to relax. Finally, he said, "Maybe you should have used the money you spent on your ticket here for counseling instead." I was like, EXCUSE ME?! The icing on the cake was that he found no problem attempting to be intimate after making such a proclamation. We broke up. Lesson learned: Make sure you have similar expectations when you're traveling with someone else before you commit. (I guess the same theory applies to relationships as well). I'm off to Costa Rica next month for a solo surfing adventure and I can't wait! Erin

Dumpsville, Germany
It was 1995, and my first trip to Europe. My boyfriend had lived in West Germany for four years, and we were returning to visit his friends and do some sightseeing (or so I thought). I knew some very basic German phrases but had been reassured that most Germans knew English. On our first night there, we went to a birthday party for one of his friends. He was the only person I knew and kept abandoning me and very few people there spoke English (or at least, would acknowledge that they knew English). The rest of the trip involved long nights inside pubs, and Keith enjoying tales from past escapades with these friends (all the while speaking German). One night, Keith's friend suggested that just the guys go out, leaving me at home with his wife, who excused herself to her room to read all evening and then retired at 9 p.m. The boys arrived back very early the next morning. They then went to a country pub down the road where they continued drinking grappe until they passed out. I saw very little of Germany, visited one castle. Never saw any art work, museum, etc...We did not break up right after that trip, but I never returned to Europe with him. Sarah

"It's not you, it's me... I mean, really, it's me."
One summer, my boyfriend suggested that we take a road trip from our hometown in Wisconsin to the East Coast and then loop back again. We had a few weeks off, so the trip planned was to be one of leisure, with no rushing. Prior to leaving, we had discussed certain sites we wanted to see. While on our way and entering Washington, D.C., my boyfriend became agitated because he had taken the wrong turn(s) and we had become lost. He refused to pull over and look at a map or stop at a gas station. By the time we were in the heart of the city, he was so frustrated and angry—as if getting lost were somehow my fault. He expressed that this was the worst trip he had ever been on and that I could get out of the car. I did get out of the car, and he promptly took out my suitcase and duffel bag and drove away leaving me in downtown D.C.! I was certain that he was coming back, probably just going around the block to cool off. I waited there for a little while. But he didn't come back. I had never been to D.C. before and was disoriented. I couldn't believe that someone would leave their girlfriend of three years on the street in another state. I went inside the nearest hotel (fortunately for me it was right behind me, the Hotel Washington). The hotel personnel were very nice. One of the doormen came to my aid, carrying my bags into the lobby. When I asked him if there was a free shuttle to the airport, he said there wouldn't be one until the next morning. I told him what had happened and began to cry, just sobbing and sobbing (very embarrassing, to say the least). He was so kind to me. He suggested I spend the night, have supper on the top floor of the hotel so that I could see the sky line at night and head to the airport the next morning. I took his advice. As I was heading toward the elevator with my suitcase and my "Packer" duffel bag, a man held the elevator door for me and said "Anyone who is a Packer fan is a friend of mine," (corny I know, but this really happened!) It made me feel slightly better. So I went to my room and later went to dinner in the hotel's dining room. The bellman was right, the skyline was really beautiful. And the next day, since my flight wasn't leaving until later in the afternoon, I ended up walking over to the Smithsonian, which needless to say was a treat in itself. The relationship, well that was certainly over with. I count myself lucky. Lucky that I didn't invest any more of my time with someone who would do something like that to another person. Lucky that I got to turn adversity into an adventure, and, most of all I guess, thankful for the people along the way who were total strangers yet were so kind to me. Stacie

Maybe the French aren't so bad after all
In the late 1980s, my boyfriend at the time traveled with me to France for our first international trip together. We had a wonderful week in Paris. Then we went to the Loire Valley. We were on our way to Beaune from there, traveling over the mountains in France, with me navigating. Well, things didn't go well with the navigating and the driving, and by the time we got to our destination, we were no longer talking. We had booked a stay in a fabulous hotel in Beaune called Le Cep. They were known for the great service at their restaurant. So, here we are, sitting in the restaurant. Four waiters arrive with all of our dishes, and holding the covers over the dishes, and they all raise them at the same time. Voila!! It was fabulous!! It is just too bad we still weren't talking too each other. What a waste! I swore that I would never see him again once we got home. But then I married him, and there you go! We have been to Europe many times since! Joan