My travel bitch

I know the following statement is not earth shattering, but: I love to travel!  I hope you weren’t too terribly shocked.  Hopefully you were already sitting down, or were able to quickly move to a safe place.  No head injuries allowed.  As much as I love to travel, there are just some things that really get old.  After the latest irritant, I just needed to do a travel bitch. Please feel free to share yours! Philippines, ornament

Air Travel

I generally enjoy flying, aside from unplanned long airport waits and “modern” airport terminals that don’t have outlets for charging your electronics. Minor things. What really gets me going, though, is when I find a total kick ass fare just to see it get doubled or tripled by the time they finish adding on all the taxes and extras.  I’m flying internationally.  There’s a good chance I’ll have baggage. Stop charging me extra and just roll it into the freakin fare!  And charging for a boarding pass. Really? It would be different if that was optional, but since every airport I’ve ever been to requires it to get past security . . .

Bus Travel

No bathrooms. Look, if it’s an hour or so ride, fine.  But if it’s a 4-hour or more trip, chances are someone’s going to need to pee.  I hate having to dehydrate myself just to survive the trip without wetting my pants.  Especially since lack of fluid intake drastically increases the likelihood I’ll get to deal with kidney stones yet again.  The buses in Mexico and Colombia (WiFi and a personal entertainment system!), though, get a major tip of my hat.  As does the long-range bus we took to go from Guayaquil to Lima!  While we’re on it, though, TURN DOWN THE VOLUME! on the overhead music and/or movie.  Yikes! travel bitch, friendly vendor, philippines

Food

Umm, okay I can’t complain here.  Although, right now I could really go for some bacon and good cheese.

Lodging

One thing I appreciate about traveling in the States is that when you pay for a room in a hotel you pay by the room, not the number of people.  Charging me for 2 adults when I’m sharing a bed with my small child is a bit over the top.  Can’t you just charge, maybe, a couple of extra dollars or something?  You’ll have to wash the sheets anyway.  At least I hope you will.  (Yes, I’ve had my share of unwashed sheets while traveling.) And since you don’t serve breakfast, it isn’t like you’re losing too much on the extra mini me. colorado, kid vendor, silly kid

The Absolutely Most Irritating

Touts, you suck!  I get this is your living.  I can appreciate that.  When I’m walking through a market, I understand that you want to call out to me to get my attention in the hopes that I’ll buy something.  But, dude, when I say “no thank you” in the local language, could you please just accept that?  Following me and continuing your pitch will not earn you a sale. Guaranteed.  And FYI, we don’t like being grabbed.

Locals, I understand that in many countries we visit we are almost rich by comparison.  I understand that what I just paid for breakfast may equal 2 days’ wages for you.  I’m aware of that and respect it.  It’s why I will almost always try to buy my groceries, etc., from you rather than a big chain store or large super market.  It’s one of the reasons I almost always choose small food stalls rather than the more safe-appearing restaurants and why I prefer renting a place rather than getting a room in a hotel.  I’m trying to put money directly into your pocket whenever I can, but please give me some respect, too.

Please don’t stop me when we’re walking the dog around the neighborhood to try to get me to visit the local museum (in the hopes that I’ll buy you some tea), especially when I’ve told you no at least five different times in the last month. No, I’m not going to buy you cigarettes.

And please tell your darling little children that coming to greet me and shake my hand followed by asking me for money or candies is actually turning me into a grumpy visitor.  I realize that some of my fellow travelers have created this problem, but I’m more inclined to buy your friendly little ones bonbons when they’re being friendly to my son and being kind to the dog.  When your cute kid with the big smile starts yelling “F**k you!” after I’ve smiled and kindly informed them I won’t be giving them coins or sweets, they aren’t increasing their chances the next time they see me.  I’m starting to see why that’s the only English they know, though.

We like to stay in local neighborhoods to get a feel for what life is like, to see the joys as well as the challenges of a place.  I have learned so much from you and have changed to become a better person because of those experiences.  I don’t want the sterile, made-for-tourist experience, but you gotta stop treating me like I’m a walking [insert local currency] symbol, especially when I’m not in a commercial area.  I don’t like dreading every time I see you walking in my direction, especially after 4 weeks in the same location.

Let’s just be neighbors, okay? Heck, I might even invite you in for some tea or offer to pay you to teach me how to prepare the local cuisine.  I’d much rather buy fassa from you than go all the way into town.  Respect swings both ways.  I’m doing my best to hold up my end.  How about you throw some of that in my direction now.

What are your travel annoyances?

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41 Comments

  1. Great points here! Sometimes I think it might be better to simply go to Disney World. I don’t think Goofy will come up to me, saying “my friend”, and telling me he has a special price just for me. But, alas, I suppose these are all minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things.
    Cate Smith-Brubaker recently posted..UnrestMy Profile

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    • Yes, they are. Just every so often they compile up over 1-1/2 years of travel to a point where I have to let off some steam. LOL But yeah, when I hear “my friend” in any language now, I have to resist not being mean at this point. LOL

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    • Oy! In Latin Ameica they blast the music and movies. Just crazy!

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    • One nice thing about traveling with a kid is I can have him tell everyone no thank you. They’re not quite sure what to do when it comes from him. LOL

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  2. Sadly, the most annoying thing I encounter while traveling in Italy… Other Americans. I get incensed when I see people from my own country traveling with this sense of entitlement, treating the locals poorly and just being rude. The worst of all of them, college students studying abroad on their parents dime. They are there for months at a time and don’t bother to learn a word of the language. Then they fill up the streets at night with their drunk, obnoxious and very loud behavior. It’s so embarrassing.

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    • Oh yes indeed! So many American travelers make me so embarrassed. Although for me the older adults have been much worse than the college-aged kids. Then again, I haven’t been in areas with kids who are there as students yet.

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    • Thank you! Sometimes you just gotta left off a little pressure. :D

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  3. You’re in luck. We’ve got excellent bacon and cheese here in NZ. Prepare to get chunky!!!!

    I’m with you on the tout thing. Especially if I look like I know where I’m going, I see you outside my hotel everyday, I answer no everytime you ask me…. take a hint buddy!

    My other pet peeve…. taxi drivers who won’t turn on the meters!!!! And hotels without free wifi or who only give it for limited time or one device.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..The House ConundrumMy Profile

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    • YES! Wifi! My last trip, I paid for 20 hours of wifi and I couldn’t get it to work for more than two mins at a time. Also, I do not want to sit in the lobby in order for it to work. One day we are going to look back and say, “Remember when we had to search and pay for wifi everywhere we went?!” ;)

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      • Oh how frustrating! I’m with you about the lobby thing, too. The resort we’re in right now is like that. No WiFi available in the rooms or elsewhere on the property, only in the lobby.

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  4. Yup, yup, and yup!! Wait till you get on the buses in Cambodia…crazy variety shows in s creeching Khmer PLUS no toilets and only stops at the bugs for eating vendors…YIKES!! But a hell of a lot to write about and laugh about later at least:)
    Mary recently posted..Yi Peng Lantern Festival – Chiang Mai, ThailandMy Profile

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  5. Good post and I can definitely relate to what your saying, the most irritating thing is being treated like a bank. I’d actually like to interact with locals without everything leading into a sales ploy or request for cash. I also get annoyed in markets when I’d like to look at something without getting harrassed into buying it – maybe if you let me look without pestering me then I’ll buy!
    Jennifer recently posted..Ko Long Cave, LaosMy Profile

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    • Precisely. It gets to a point where I find myself avoiding them more because I’m tired of being treated like a dollar sign. I feel I could learn so much from them if given the chance to get to chat without being sold something or asked for money.

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  6. Mine is people not understanding what vegetarian means and asking me if I eat fish etc. Or, labeling things as “vegan” but cooking it on a grill covered in meat juices. I agree with you on the touts. A third travel bitch is that since I travel with my same sex partner, I often get hit on in front of my partner (because people don’t register we’re a couple) and that’s horrible. Although, I am getting hit on less these days now I’m in my 30s!
    Kate @ 30Traveler recently posted..Top 10 Ways to Save Money in New Zealand: Travel TipsMy Profile

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    • That was so much “fun” when I was vegan. “If it comes from an animal, I don’t eat it.” How about fish? “That is an animal.” Cheese? “That comes from an animal.” Oh, I know! Chicken! “That is an animal.” LOL

      I bet that can get irritating being picked up on like that. For me, though, I’d be thrilled to death anyone was even mildly interested at this point. :D

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    • Kate, I have to second the frustration with being a vegetarian on the road. The concept of vegetarian really just doesn’t seem to exist in some parts of the world. I usually end up learning to say, “vegetarian, no meat, no pork, no chicken, no fish, just vegetables” in the local language. Of course, that generally means I’ll get a steaming plate of nothing but unseasoned bok choy, but it’s a start :).
      Micki recently posted..I Want to Go with Oh to BarcelonaMy Profile

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  7. I’m not a vegetarian, and I’ve never traveled for months at a time so I’ve never actually missed cheese (although it’s been about 24 hours since I had some, and now I kinda miss cheese…) but I appreciate what you’re saying. Now that my older daughter is 13, though, I have a new gripe — the leering looks, absolutely disgusting hand movements and physical closeness to young ladies that is acceptable in some other cultures. I do have an issue with cultures that treat young women as property and the next time some adult man approaches my teenager that way, I might clock him.

    Not politically correct I know, but all of you with younger daughters, just wait.
    Jennifer recently posted..Family-Friendly Activities on Hawaii, the Big IslandMy Profile

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    • I’m not a vegetarian either, but I LOVE cheese. It isn’t bad when it’s a week or so, but when it goes beyond that it’s kind of tough. LOL Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.

      I have heard so many instances of similar things from moms with daughters. I think I might end up in jail if I had a daughter and was traveling. LOL

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  8. I love this because it’s real! Thanks for sharing. Now we can all feel better about our own bitching, public and private. LOL Love your posts.
    Penny recently posted..Postcard: Chihuly GlassMy Profile

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  9. I also love travelling Taylon and I have been on the road for 18 months. Now I’m visiting European countries where people kinda try to discourage me to travel, but I will never ever give up! Love flying, love the adrenaline, meeting new people and whatever adventure brings me!
    Agness recently posted..Vang Vieng in PicturesMy Profile

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    • People try to discourage you from traveling, or just they try to discourage you from traveling to Europe? I really like Europe, even if it is expensive. And I don’t have to deal with touts which is even better. LOL

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  10. Here, frickin, here! So well said Talon, especially about the touts! You wrote exactly what every traveller feels at least some point in their travels! Great post!

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  11. I wish people would stop bringing up cheese in their posts, my tongue can’t take it any longer.

    The things I’d do for some Strong Mature Cheddar right now.

    Always good to have a good ole’ rant though.
    ANGLO/Dale recently posted..Merry Christmas from ANGLOITALIANMy Profile

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    • So hard to not talk about cheese. And bacon. Especially right now.

      And yes, sometimes you just gotta have a nice vent! :)

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  12. Talon – I’m so enjoying catching up on your blog. When you mentioned the other day that you were in Morocco, I just had to find time to get to it. Of all things for me to comment on, because I’m actually loving all of it – especially the descriptions of the foods – I’m wondering about you walking your dog. You have a dog? Happy travels.

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    • LOL! Glad you’re getting caught up. We don’t have a dog, but we’re doing a housesit that involves taking care of a dog. We would love to have one, but as you can probably imagine traveling as we do with a dog would be quite difficult.

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