From vanishing passports to tantruming toddlers! SA celebs reveal their most awkward travel moments

By Shanaaz Prince
12 April 2018
PHOTO: Supplied

PHOTO: Supplied

Even these seasoned travellers have experienced some misadventures along the way – but it’s all part of the journey, isn’t it?

Sure, they may be the ultimate jetsetters, flitting from one corner of the world to the next for everything from uber-glam events to lavish island holidays. But even these seasoned travellers have experienced some misadventures along the way – but it’s all part of the journey, isn’t it?

Bailey Schneider

In 2010, Bailey and her girlfriends were over the moon to be setting off on a trip to Croatia together.

“We rented this tiny little car for 6 of us (and all our luggage) and I still to this day, don't know how we fitted everything in!” the radio personality reveals. 

“We needed to fill up with petrol, so we drove into the petrol station and sat waiting for someone to assist us. After a while, it dawned on us that unlike South Africa, Europe doesn't have petrol attendants,” she says. 

“We were all in hysterics trying to figure out how to pump petrol into the car and quite embarrassed by the fact that we didn't know how to.

Luckily for the giggling gal pals, some Croatian men came over to see if we needed help.

“They were very helpful, but we can only imagine what they must have thought seeing a group of girls completely naive to something that is such a simple daily act for them.”

Lindy Hibbard

In June last year, radio presenter Lindy and her fiancé Peter set off on 5-day catamaran adventure tour of the islands around Dubrovnik, Croatia.

“On day three we went kayaking, hiking and SUP boarding during the day on the island of Mljet, so that evening we had a quiet dinner and spent the evening relaxing on the catamaran which was moored in the harbour,” Lindy explains.

At about 11pm, the couple heard a commotion near one of the other boats and went to see what was going on.

“We couldn’t believe what we were seeing!” the Smile 90.4FM host says. “A group of local men all dressed in black were lowering a sheep head into the water with a rope.”

“We pointed our cell phone torches in their direction to try see what they were doing but they gestured at us very intimidatingly and we knew it was in our best interest to go back to our game of 30 Seconds and not ‘rock the boat’,” she says of the bizarre incident.

“We never figured out what they were up to, but we often have a good laugh about it imagining that they were preparing to make a Smiley, Gugulethu style!”

Elle Franco

“In 2012, my mother and I went on a girls holiday to Turkey, the UK and Dubai,” Home Made Easy host Elle reveals.

“We were in Istanbul looking like real tourists, taking pictures and whilst we were crossing the street and I noticed this tall gentleman staring at us intently, and he followed us as we walked around.

Eventually Elle realised the stranger was following them.

“I whispered to my mom that I thought someone was following us, and we had to somewhat scheme to get away.”

She grabbed her mom’s hand and they bolted, running down an alley and jumped in and out of various shops to lose track of him.

“Eventually the public noticed what we were doing and helped us out!"

Barron Hufkie

KFM presenter Baron’s most embarrassing travel moment happened on a flight from Cape Town to Joburg last year.

“It was a one-day business trip so I didn't have any luggage,” he says.

Unfortunately for Baron, the only outfit he had was the one her was wearing – and then the ride got a little rocky!

“We experienced some bad turbulence and I spilled half a cup of coffee on my crisp white shirt! Of course I didn't have an extra shirt, so I had to go into the meeting looking like an idiot.

“I just told them that coffee stain-prints are in this season. Lesson learned: Always pack a light travel bag with one extra shirt for those quick business trips.”

Liezel Van Der Westhuizen

"It’s funny now but at the time, it wasn't,” radio and TV host Liezel says of her unpleasant experience.

“Leaving Venice on way back to airport on a water taxi, when I realised our passports weren't in the travel wallet. I unpacked my handbag and my entire luggage on the water taxi. I called the hotel to find out if I hadn't left it there.

“I was breaking out in a cold sweat. Eventually my boyfriend pipped up and said he found it in the pocket of his pants in his luggage.”

Kia Johnson                

“I think the craziest travelling experience for me had to be travelling with a toddler whilst pregnant, and being on a 19-hour long flight,” radio and TV personality Kia says.

But that’s not Kia’s only awkward travel moment.

“I also felt so embarrassed when I wore a dress which showed my heaving pregnant bosoms while at a Buddhist temple in New Zealand.

“As I was walking on the grounds I needed the bathroom, so I asked one of the ladies in passing. She gave me one disapproving look and commented that I needed to cover up. I tried explaining to her that I’m pregnant and didn’t really have anything else on me to do so but she wouldn’t hear of it.”

Angel Campey

When stand-up comedian Angel was in Sri Lanka, she splashed out to charter a boat to go snorkelling with the blue whale colony that lives off the coast of Mirissa.

Unfortunately for Angel the experience was a bit more than what she bargained for!

“Once we got out there, I finally jumped into the crystal clear water that was so deep – I got so afraid of how deep and dark it was down there, that I was too scared to actually jump in next to the whales!

“I stayed on the boat and watched them from the deck. It was still worth it though – truly magnificent, and their size – it’s like watching a sky-scraper building splash around! But man, the fear gripped me!”

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