A U.S. travel insurance company is about to end its search for the "World's Unluckiest Traveler."
Travel Guard North America began the competition in January with monthly winners chosen from online submissions. Once the yearlong contest ends, the top winner will be compensated for previous bad luck with a $10,000 vacation.
The contenders from among more than 800 submissions include a doctor who shattered his leg in a cliff fall on the third day of a medical mission to Vietnam, spending most of the trip as a patient, a couple on a "floating university" that hit a sandbar entering Alexandria in 1963 and was close to sinking by the time it reached the dock and the travelers who had to form a bucket brigade to save their camp from a forest fire in Bolivia.
Others tell of animal encounters like the woman whose purse was stolen by a baboon at Tree Tops resort in Kenya, its contents dumped around a watering hole, and a Canadian woman who discovered snakes in her Costa Rican pottery that went undetected through airport security.
Children can also be a hazard. One 4-year-old hid his miniature cars in his pockets after his mother packed them away and set off the metal detector at the airport before scattering the toys. He then courteously offered the security agent some peanuts from a can that turned out to contain a joke snake.