When you book a holiday, you imagine spending a week or two soaking up the sun, swimming in the sea and taking advantage of the expansive cocktail menu at the hotel. You don’t imagine having your room robbed, your friend’s drink being spiked or someone offering to buy you in exchange for some drugs. Welcome to holiday hell.
I went to Pontins when I was about seven with my mum and her friend. Prior to arriving, I was so excited. I mean, it was one of my first ‘holidays’ –the term holiday being used very loosely – and I was looking forward to venturing somewhere further than my hometown of Letchworth. When we arrived, my excitement had diminished almost immediately. I can only describe it as a dingy version of Disneyland.
The apartment was pretty small (reasonable, considering it would house 3 people) and the lighting was dim and made the whole place look a bit miserable. Almost as miserable as I was. In one of the bedrooms there was a lonely looking bunk bed with a mattress that looked like it hadn’t seen a good dose of Persil in a while. I completely understand why my mum brought my duvet cover from home.
I remember on the first night I begged my mum to buy me a massive slice of pizza from a little stall I’d seen. My foolish seven-year-old self thought that it looked like the most appealing thing ever, despite my mum being hell-bent on convincing me that I didn’t need it. In the end she caved and I was the happiest I’d ever been. Fast forward a few hours later, I was sick in my bed, much to my mum’s disgust, and she had to strip my bed, letting me sleep in hers. The moral of that story? Mother’s truly do know best.
I thought my bad holiday experiences were over until I went to Lanzarote in 2015. Don’t get me wrong, Lanzarote is a beautiful place and I enjoyed exploring it, but the hotel left something to be desired. Maybe I’m just destined to stay in sub-standard hotels for the rest of my life?
The food was terrible. I was faced with unidentifiable meat swimming in a dodgy looking sauce, mushy vegetables and unappetising salads (granted, nothing can make a salad look good). I was forced to eat chips every evening for dinner and pancakes for breakfast every morning. I honestly felt like I was still in England. On the first day of the holiday I woke up at about 6 in the morning to see a huge cockroach on the wall next to where I was sleeping. I jumped up and made my mum sort the creature out (believe me when I say you should never wake a woman from her slumber). She grabbed the nearest shoe and smacked the cockroach, killing it instantly. I was just sad that I never got to see that shoe again.
Here are some other hellish holiday experiences from some of my unsatisfied friends:
“I went on my first girls’ holiday to Turkey last summer. On the first night we went out on the strip and tried out loads of different bars. Alcohol wasn’t that cheap but none of us really cared. I remember we were in this one bar, and we all had drinks and were dancing around the table. At one point during the night all 5 of us were dancing on the bar but we were still watching our table as the bar was next to it. A couple of drinks later, one of my friends was extremely drunk, paralytic in fact. We got her back to the hotel but she was unresponsive so we had to call an ambulance. She stayed at the hospital overnight and it turns out her drink had been spiked. She couldn’t afford to pay the hospital bill so her mum had to transfer her some money so they’d let her go home.”
Chloe Fitzpatrick, 19, Letchworth
“My dad and I were on holiday in Spain. I was 17 at the time. We went to a place called ’24 hour corner’ and some weird man literally tried to buy me. He said he’d give my dad a bag of cocaine so that he could take me home. Obviously my dad didn’t do it, despite the fact that both of us were really drunk that night.
Libby Mellor, 20, Uxbridge
“I went to Ibiza with my family back in 2013. We were having a great time and one evening we went out for ice cream. We went back to the hotel to discover that our room had been burgled. The locks on the door had been tampered with and the safe in the wall had been ripped out. Our money, passports and cameras had been stolen. They’d rifled through our draws too. All of the other rooms on the same side of the hall had their locks tampered with too. We saw them trying to get into another persons’ room but they ran off when we saw them. The police were absolutely useless.”
Hannah Kissock, 24, Leicester
“When I was 11 we went on a family trip to the Isle of Wight. I’m not going to say it was a holiday. My idea of a holiday is going somewhere hot and it was freezing there. We stayed at my Dad’s, ex colleague’s villa. It was a nice place. We didn’t know that this woman owned a dog and when we went inside we became well aware. There was hair everywhere; in the kitchen, on the beds and all over the floor. All of the hair was like an extra layer of carpet. It’s safe to say I was wary about eating food in there.”
Riya Alam, 20, Hitchin