My worst vacation nightmares actually occurred when I returned home. I'm a single mother of two daughters in Fairbanks, Alaska. We travel outside during spring break as often as possible. On two of my trips, I returned home to sewage backing up in my house. The first occurrence was a freeze in my home's private line, so although it was unpleasant, we only had to deal with our own family's waste.
Three days after returning from a second vacation, the main public line on our street faulted. When the utility thawed and forced the clog through, the resulting pressure caused the main-line waste to back up into my private line. We had a fountain of our neighbors' waste in our front yard. We chose to have it flow down into our daylight basement via an exterior entrance because there was no other alternative. Unfortunately, in both of these situations, the cleanup, demolition and restoration fell solely upon me. So five years later, we're still living in half of a house (the daylight basement apartment has one gutted bathroom, and the floors throughout have been reduced to concrete). I estimate these two events added approximately $10,000 to the cost of our vacations.
-- Linda from Alaska
Make sure this doesn't happen to you: Make sure your home is in great shape before you leave, and have someone look over your house in case they have to contact you in an emergency.