People are always talking about how amazing travel is and how life-changing it can be. We post perfect photos on Instagram of our sun-kissed bodies on some idyllic beach, with its bright blue waters and exceptional weather. We use hashtags like #blessed and check-in at swanky hotels, flaunting our envy-worthy vacay. I know, I do it too! It’s part of my dang job description to do it.
But, with all our perfect posts, I feel like we’re missing out on a really good opportunity to vent our travel frustration, you guys. There are SO MANY things about travel that piss us all off, I think it’s time we stop choosing filters for our photos and start sharing all the things about travel that really piss us off. It’s not a whinge, it’s therapy, and this is a safe space for you to get your travel frustrations off your chest.
I thought I’d kick things off by listing a few of the things about travel that really suck or just generally tick me off. I’d love to know how many of mine you agree with and hear your travel gripes, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Where are we on teleportation? Apple? NASA? KFC? Surely someone must be getting close because those long-haul flights are sucking the life out of us. Our bodies were not meant to be that high up in the air or moving that fast for that long. Teleportation, however, totally normal. Exactly what we were designed for. Until the day I’m rich enough to fly first-class everywhere, I shall forever complain about the discomfort of long-haul flights.
Luggage limit roulette
Here’s the thing… I’m too broke to fly Emirates everywhere, so there are times I’ve got to go budget. What I really want is to pay $89 for a flight from Brisbane to Queenstown and be allowed to take as much luggage as I want, let’s say 20kg. Instead, I buy the cheapest airfare they have and am restricted to 7kg carry-on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for the challenge and have conquered the 7kg limit to NZ in the past, BUT I hate that feeling of fronting up to the airport wondering if the check-in person is going to tell me my bag is overweight and needs to lose a few kegs. The worst.
Hostel dorm rooms
I’m 28 years old, man. Enough is enough. I don’t need to be wearing flip-flops in the shower at my age.
Hotels that lie
How about when you spend ages trying to find a good hotel and you finally do, after hours/days of research, so you book it cheerfully. You arrive and, WTF, the hotel looks absolutely nothing like it did online. They photographed the one decent room they had, used photos from 20 years ago or left out key details like, ‘Every room around you is used as a business office so you can expect to hear children screaming in the hallways and people packaging up clothing for shipment at 3am’.
Hotel rooms can cost you hundreds per night, easily! It is beyond annoying when you wake up in the morning, skip down to the breakfast and are greeted with some stale bread and pastries, soggy fruit and a few bowls of sludgy beans. If you’re shelling out hundreds for a hotel room, that breakfast better look like it was prepared by a celebrity chef.
I really don’t like feeling clumsy and combining that with feeling tired is a real recipe for disaster for me. You know, that feeling when you get off a super long haul flight but you have to catch the train to your hotel cos it’s a five trillion dollar cab ride away, so you lug your very heavy suitcase plus all your carry-on with you across this city you’ve never been to before. Of course, it starts raining and you desperately have to pee and you’re dropping stuff everywhere and it’s peak hour and… and… and… ARGH! So angry. So fast.
The waiting game
When you travel, half your time is usually spent standing in a queue. You’re waiting to be security screened, waiting for your bags to come out, waiting at passport control, waiting for your partner to get through passport control, waiting to be security screened again, waiting to get on the plan, waiting to get there and then waiting to get off. You’re waiting to catch a cab, waiting to get to the hotel then waiting to check-in. Look, I’m all for living in the moment… but I’m pretty sure whoever came up with that wasn’t imagining ‘the moment’ to be a 20-minute wait for the ladies toilets at a tiny Thailand airport.
Missing the sale
How about when you see some amazing sale flights come up to a place you’ve always wanted to visit, so you call your partner or your bestie and they say they’re keen. You’re stoked. You run home and whip out your credit card, ready to charge that sucker up, only to realise you missed ALL the sale fares. This one’s bad because it was right there, in your grasp, but you missed it. So sad.
When I’m on holidays, I’m eating whatever I want, whenever I want. This is my time to really enjoy each and every meal, especially if it’s somewhere I’ve never been before. Therefore, I have no time for a bad meal. If I show up to your restaurant and your menu boasts that you make the ‘best, authentic pad thai in Chiang Mai’ and you serve me up a bowl of weak-ass, flavourless noodles with some crushed peanuts on top… you’ve just ruined a holiday meal for me and we can’t be friends anymore. Ever.
How about when you get sick the day before you have to fly, so you spend the whole flight trying not to cough and have everyone else stare at you like you’ve got bird-flu. Then you spend most of your holiday feeling tired, exhausted and needing to rest. That’s a real kick in the teeth. But, at least you aren’t at work. This category also extends to include food poisoning.
I don’t like to go camping. I used to try and be the ‘cool girlfriend’ for Matt and go camping, but those days are long gone. I hate it. I hate the tent, I hate the fact a murderer or bear could slash right through the tent, I hate feeling dirty constantly and I hate the eco-toilets. Call me precious if you like, I don’t care because you must like camping and that means we have nothing in common. No friendship can come of this.
True Story: We travelled West Coast USA on a shoestring, doing a lot of camping on a TrekAmerica trip. Every day we camped, my rage grew. It all came to a head at Lake Havasu where I spent the night sleeping outside the tent, in my bikini, in the dirt and rocks. Why? Because it was SO hot that the inside of the tent felt like an oven and it was slightly cooler outside. As I slept, my sweat mixed with the dirt and I woke up covered in sweat-mud with rock imprints all over my body. I lost it. I went nuclear that morning and vowed to never, ever go camping again…. and I never have. The only exception is glamping.
There are some really shitty aspects of travel. It can be exhausting, challenging, frustrating, sunburn-inducing and, at times, impossible. Despite all of these things we still do it. I do it for a living! Why? Because the awesome things you get from travel far outweigh any of the bad stuff, even long-haul flights.
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Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.