Here Are Your Fourth of July Travel Horror Stories

Here Are Your Fourth of July Travel Horror Stories

Whether it's terrible traffic or sinking ships, these are your Fourth of July travel horror stories.

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A long exposure photo of car tail lights snaking along a highway.
What terrible traffic have you faced this Fourth of July?
Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP (Getty Images)

Happy fifth of July, did you have a nice holiday weekend? Whatever you had planned to celebrate America’s birthday, I hope it went off without a hitch. But, if you were traveling over the weekend, then chances are that might not have been the case.

With thousands of Americans taking to the highway to see friends, family or just get away from it all, the long weekend can be a tough time to travel. So we set out to find some of the worst travel tales you have from this most joyous of occasions.

To do this, we asked you for your worst Fourth of July travel horror stories. Here are some of the best responses we received back.

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The Texan Terror

The Texan Terror

A photo of a brown Volvo V70 XC station wagon.
Photo: Volvo

“2011 July 4th weekend. Wife, young daughter, brand new son, me, and my 1998 Volvo V70 XC.

“We took off to visit my homeboy and his wife a short 3 1/2 hour drive away. Fort Worth, TX, to Montgomery, TX; I-45 most of the way. Within 30 minutes the Volvo feels like it’s falling apart. I limped it to the only place open; a Firestone Auto Care center. Fortunately for me, a genuinely honest man was running the shop. They put the car on the lift and then promptly came to get me so I can look at what’s wrong: Failing steering rack, failing angle gear, among other components I can’t remember.

“The manager looked at me with a sad, knowing face and said ‘We can’t do nothing for you. You can try to drive it home. Just go as slow as possible.’

“That’s what I did. We then transferred a weekend’s worth of stuff from the Volvo to my wife’s POS ‘99 1/2 Pathfinder. Besides the crappy ride quality because of no A/C, a bad alignment, throttle body issues, and again, other stuff I can’t remember, we got three quarters of the way there with only 5 stops for food, diaper changes, and random stuff that only a SAHW and two small kids would want to stop for.

“Then, once we hit Montgomery County, I-45 turned into a parking lot. It took us 2 1/2 hours and two more pit stops to drive approximately 20 miles. I was livid at everything. Once we got to my buddy’s property, they met us at the gate in a golf cart with a case of beer. I downed two bottles in the hundred yard drive to their house.

“Once we got there, everything was gravy but man, that drive almost broke my spirit.”

This sounds like an absolutely horrible journey. Those two beers were well-earned by the time you reached your destination!

Suggested by: cayton

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An Unpatriotic Neon

An Unpatriotic Neon

A photo of a white Dodge Neon sedan in front of a sunset.
Photo: Dodge

“Not so much a travel story, as my old Neon always had a habit of breaking down right before Fourth of July weekend.

“I think it was 2004, I’d only had my Neon a year and was still fairly green when it came to doing my own car repairs. I was supposed to drive to Cincy that weekend to visit my friend, get under-age drunk and watch fireworks from my friend’s friend’s sweet condo on Mt. Adams.

“My rear brakes had been making noise and vibrating, so they needed changing before the 2.5 hour drive. I’d bought a drum brake kit but hadn’t got one with the extra hardware (because I was young and poor). So of course, I snapped a spring while trying to remove the drum shoes. None of the local parts stores had them in stock, and no one would let me drive their car or take me to one that did, so I had to cancel my trip and wait for parts to arrive after the holiday weekend. Huge bummer.

“The year after, I was driving home in late May and heard a weird tapping noise. Then, suddenly, the car lurched and died. Turns out the noise was my lose timing belt due to a failed tensioner. Bent eight valves and started trying to fix it myself. To get around, I bought a beater Dodge Dynasty for $150. Things went slowly on the fixing, and also because I decided since I had the motor apart, why not upgrade everything?

“By the week before the 4th, my Neon was still in pieces, and I’d blown up the transmission in the Dynasty (literally broke in half and caught fire), so I was without wheels and had made plans. So I towed the car a garage with several boxes of parts, but since I had meticulously labeled everything, they had it back together in a day. Got it back just in time to cruise through our town’s 4th of July festivities, with my new-and-improved Neon, with many more horsepower and the ability to do 2nd gear wheel spin even with the crappy three-speed auto.

“Oh, to be young and dumb again.”

We like your ambition here, but this does sound like a nightmare Fourth of July tradition you might not want to repeat in a hurry.

Suggested by: dbeach84

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NY to RI

NY to RI

A photo of a yellow Honda CRX sports car.
Photo: Honda

“Late 1990 something and bunch of buddies are going to rent a place for the 4th of July weekend in Newport RI.

“So me and another buddy can’t leave as early as everyone else but we figure from Queens NY to RI should be 4 ish hours. We jump in his Teal CRX around 4pm.

“We do good for the first half hour.....then its a bumper to bumper slog all the way up until we arrive at around 11pm... Thankfully his AC worked fine, but his left leg was shot from the stop and go. Much drinking ensued. The ride home was memorable for being unmemorable.”

That New York to Rhode Island traffic can be killer! A seven-hour trek along the coast in a new, automatic BMW was enough for me so I can’t imagine how this drive felt for you!

Suggested by: ajr666

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I’m on a Boat

I’m on a Boat

A photo of sailing boats floating in a harbor.
Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP (Getty Images)

“Bought a boat, first time on the water at Mission Bay, San Diego. After 45 wonderful minutes, on July 4th, the outdrive snapped. Spent the rest of the day watching it rock on a sandy beach. Should’ve bought a dune buggy!”

What’s that old saying? “A friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.”

Suggested by: Kurt Radelow (Facebook)

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Lexus Woes

Lexus Woes

A photo of a silver Lexus LS 400 sedan.
Photo: Lexus

“In the mid-late ‘90s I was driving my 1990 LS400 from Orange County to Flagstaff. In Phoenix, on July 3, I hit the AC button and heard a loud bang. Per Bell Lexus the compressor sent aluminum throughout the system.

“$4K. At least I got an ES300 as a loaner to finish my trip to Flagstaff.”

Ah that does not sound like a fun repair bill to be faced with! At least the rest of your trip would have been fun, right?

Suggested by: lapsrus1

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We Said Woes!

We Said Woes!

A photo of a white private jet taking off from an airport.
Photo: Benoit Tessier / AFP (Getty Images)

“My wife and I flew to the Bahamas for our honeymoon. Our luggage was three days behind us. The owner of the resort where we were staying wound up flying his personal plane to Miami to pick it up for us.”

Erm, this doesn’t sound like a travel horror story?

Suggested by: midlifemiata

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Never Ending Nebraska

Never Ending Nebraska

A photo of road signs in Nebraska pointing to different highways.
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

“Nebraska. All of it. Family roadtrip back when I was 11, San Diego to Akron and back again.

“Day 3 of our adventure was Cheyenne to Council Bluffs on July 4th, I-80 all the way in mom’s Chevy Citation. Nothing went wrong; Nebraska rest stops actually had free food and drinks to celebrate the 4th.

“But the day was interminable – I swear it was the longest day of my life. Road and corn and nothing else.”

Those never-ending drives, such as this one, can be soul destroying! Especially for a bored 11-year-old on the back seat.

Suggested by: chubossa

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Family Feud

Family Feud

A photo of traffic on an American highway.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

“Anywhere I had to be in the same car as my parents. YMMV. Anytime.”

Any journey, no matter how short, can feel like a lifetime once the family fallouts start.

Suggested by: darksideofmynutsack

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I Guess we’ll Allow it

I Guess we’ll Allow it

A photo of a red GMC van driving on a highway.
Photo: GMC

“Canadaday. Same shit.

“Stuck in an old GMC van that someone decided to take a massive dump in the portable toilet. Fuel pump fucked off on side of 401 in 90⁰ weather. Feel bad for the shop that had to work in it.”

Huh, it turns out they still have travel nightmares in Canada. I thought that was just an American thing? Anyway, this actually does sound like the worst of the bunch.

Suggested by: Jonny Appleseed (Facebook)

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Maine Madness

Maine Madness

A photo of a vintage car parked by the side of a river in Maine.
Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP (Getty Images)

“To paraphrase Mark Twain, the coldest winter I ever spent was 4th of July weekend in Maine – After a 12-hour drive, which I was assured would only take six.”

Doubling your journey time is pretty bad. Doubling a six-hour journey time sounds like the 10th circle of hell!

Suggested by: earthbound-misfit-i

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It’s the Little Things

It’s the Little Things

A photo of the Minneapolis skyline and river.
Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP (Getty Images)

“There’s a lot of closed roads here in the Twin Cites thanks to our annual road construction apocalypse, so it might take me 20 minutes instead of the normal 15 to get to the lake this weekend.

“T’s and P’s appreciated.”

Thoughts and prayers are firmly with you, on this weekend of minor inconvenience.

Suggested by: wasgtithengtothennovathengtinowa4

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That Damn I-95

That Damn I-95

A photo of slow moving traffic on the I-95 highway.
Photo: Anna Moneymaker (Getty Images)

“I-95 through Virginia and North Carolina. DC to Fredericksburg is a slog. ~40 miles in 2.5 to three hours heading southbound, especially in the afternoon on Friday and Sat morning. It took me an hour to go just a few miles one time and I turned around and went home.

“Once you get around that, then you are in for phantom back-up where you are driving at speed and then it all slows down. No accident, no police with someone pulled over, no naked ladies.... NC used to be OK but the backups hit there too now.

“Only real respite from it is 295 around Richmond, especially south of I-64 interchange going to Va. Beach. Really, getting out of DC for the holiday or any other summer weekend sucks unless you leave early or late.”

Phantom backup is such a bizarre phenomenon. If anyone can explain it to me, please get in touch.

Suggested by: pontiacssv

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Why Didn’t I try that?

Why Didn’t I try that?

A photo of a car driving off into the California sunset.
Photo: Frederic J Brown/AFP (Getty Images)

“I don’t have any. I know better lol.”

Man, if only we just all knew better. The world would be a happier place!

Suggested by: Shaneice McNabney (Facebook)

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