Top 13 Best and Worst Travel Stories of 2013 Winners

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Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a safe and fun celebration to bring in 2014.  I was safely passed out in my bed at home after enjoying a couple of days skiing in Colorado (more on that this week), but I look forward to lots of travel adventures in 2014!


View from a run at Snowmass in Colorado

A couple days ago, I shared some of my best and worst travel and deals moments of 2013.  I also asked for you to do the same in the comments section of both posts.  You guys had some amazing adventures and some not-so-great moments.  They made for very interesting reading, so thanks for sharing!

I really loved all of the stories, but we picked 13 of the best and worst travel stories of 2013 from Mommy Points readers to share here and hand out some some prizes.  You will have your choice of a super comfortable Mommy Points t-shirt, a GoGo in-flight internet pass valid on any domestic equipped flight on GoGo’s partner airlines (expires 6/30/14), or a $10 Starbucks e-gift card.

Hope these stories inspire you to travel more using miles, points, and deals in 2014, and try to protect yourself from some of the things that could go wrong.

Top Worst of 2013 Travel Stories:

Many of the stories that jumped out at me at being the worst are related to getting sick or hurt during travels as I’m not sure there is much worse than that…unless of course it is your kid who is sick or injured.  Though devaluations, sleeping in airports, getting thrown-up on, and more are also really bad!

#24 Jennifer C who wrote:

My son and I flew to a small town in Manitoba to catch a 16 hour overnight train for Churchill. Arrived at the train station to find out our train was stuck behind another train that had derailed and they had no idea when it would arrive. We had to find a hotel for the night. The train delay ended up being a good thing because during the night my son became very ill and we had to make a trip to the local ER. We spent another night in the hotel and ended up paying for a very expensive flight on the only airline that flies from that town to Churchill. Once my son was better and we made it to Churchill, the trip was amazing. And thank goodness for your travel blog and others where I learned about medical insurance for international travel.

#27 Grover’s Bathtub who said:
Our family’s worst was this past weekend. Our three year old daughter woke up the night before travel with a fever, and we all had to get to the airport by 6am the next day (or so we thought). The plane wound up pulling out at 12:45pm instead of the scheduled 7:30am, mostly due to a need to fix a faulty bracket for the in-cabin megaphone on our plane. Our five month old son registered his disapproval by pooping through two pajamas. After making it to ATL, our second flight was also late. Got off the plane a little after 10pm to find that the car wouldn’t start. A guy came out to jump-start the car, and we were on the road a bit after midnight. The drive home was more exciting than I would have liked, with an obviously drunk person swerving all over the road in front of us; we finally made it home at 1:30am. Daughter, son, and wife now all have the flu.#26 Jeff who said:

My worst of this year was hitting the 2K minimum on my southwest business card because a vendor accidentally charged me twice for an order.  I had applied and received the southwest business and personal cards in Nov/Dec and was excited in getting 100K of the 110K miles for the companion pass for 2014/2015. I started spending a little on the business card to make it easier to hit the minimum spending in 2014. Unfortunately, due to a vendor’s error, i spent 2029! and received the $50K bonus in 2013. By this time, it was too late to hit the 2K spending on my personal card. Now i have 50K from 2013, and will have 50K in 2014.

#32 Diana who said:

After visiting my family in Canada this summer, my 2yr old and I flew home YYZ-SEA. My husband had left several days earlier to get back to work. About an hour into a 5+hr flight, my daughter threw up all over herself and her car seat. I’m not sure what the cause was, but the sight and smell of a ton of cheddar bunny crackers coming back up was unpleasant to say the least. The line for the lav was at least 5 people deep, so I ended up changing her outfit at our seats. I’m thankful I had a nice big package of baby wipes in my carry-on and was able to clean up most of the mess, but the smell definitely lingered the rest of the flight. And did I mention that I was newly pregnant at the time?
#35 Cheesemanager who said:

Breaking my collarbone today at Alta ski resort. (Although the doctors and staff at the Alta medical clinic were wonderful!!) Flying home tomorrow 6 hours of flights with a Phoenix layover in the middle will be fun!! But that will be a 2014 lowlight I guess;) HNY MP!

#38 Elaine who said:

Breaking my leg while trying to get a photo of the pitcher plant, which is the provincial flower of Newfoundland!  I was able to hike out of Gros Morne National Park, so we all thought it was just a bad sprain. After all, I could put weight on it. So rather than cancel the rest of the trip, I hobbled around Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for 2 more weeks!

On my return home, I decided to have it x-rayed just in case and realized it was broken. Since I had broken the fibula (a thin bone) not the tibia (a bigger bone that supports most of the weight) I had been able to hobble around. I then spent the next three months in a cast!

That’s the last time I’ll wander off the trail on a rainy day, just to get a photo!

Top Best of 2013 Stories:

The stories that jump out at me the most are those that involve using miles and points to show your friends and family the world, and have experiences that simply wouldn’t be possible without points!
#6 Brian who said:
Best part of 2013 travel wise? Being able to take a fairly last minute trip to Ireland to watch my friends become the first Non-Irish Team to win a Hurling Tournament in Ireland and then taking my son to see the Church and Well of his namesake. While we did pay for the flights (they were pretty cheap) we did take advantage of that awesome Club Carlson credit card and the points from the Big Night out promos from the last couple of years.
#16 Brian who said:
Took a two week father-son trip with my Dad. Flew BA first using AA miles, 7 nights in London (Marriott County Hall) and 7 nights in Paris (Park Hyatt Vendome), all on points. Flew back on US Airways Envoy using United miles. Trip would have cost a fortune without points, and simply wouldn’t have been possible without them.
#41 Heather who said:
My favorite travel experience was being able to take my parents on a first class first rate trip to Italy on points and miles for my Dad’s birthday. My favorite mistake fare was the Wideroe error. Headed to Madrid in March for about $300 pp. Not as great as $150 to Milan but I will take it!
#61 Matt who said:
My highlight would have to be my wife getting involved with miles and points. She now reads Mommy Points regularly after meeting you at Chicago Seminars and picking up the $400 MSP-HNL flights. She is itching for another mistake fare after we booked wideroe $132 RT to Milan. Next year she can’t wait to get the companion pass after mine runs out next December!
#66 Amy who said:
The best for us was seeing our kids on Wrigley field with the SPG moments. Amazing experience!
#67 Eric who said:
The best redemption I had was 6 nights in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, kitchen and a balcony (more like a deck) in San Diego for 60k Choice points during spring break for my family of 6!
#72 Lori who said:
My favorite moment was hearing my 4 year old daughter exclaim, “Anything is possible on the stage” at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. We got super close seats thanks to a Chase Visa Signature promo. The trip was made possible by Southwest points, companion pass, and Hyatt points. My mom, brother in law, sister in law, and niece also joined us on their own points redemptions, allowing us to make new Christmas memories that will last a lifetime!
To all the “winners”, please send an email to with your selection of a Mommy Points t-shirt, a GoGo in-flight internet pass valid on any domestic equipped flight on GoGo’s partner airlines (expires 6/30/14), or a $10 Starbucks e-gift card.  If you would like a shirt, we will need a mailing address, otherwise we can send the rest to your email address of choice.

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