Pet peeves of a travel junkie

Pet peeves of a travel junkie

by Nano Betts
When we think of a perfect vacation, we always imagine sweeping ocean views, sand in our toes and a cocktail in our hand. But not all travels are created equally idyllic and go as smoothly as initially planned. In fact, there are more than one thing that can go wrong or can mess up your blissful getaway. Here’s the list of my biggest travel pet peeves and fears:
I hate selfie sticks with passion. Yup, you heard me right. And yes, I mean it. The New York Times named it as “the most controversial gift of 2014”, while TIME magazine proclaimed it to be “the greatest invention of 2014”. Not sure which camp you belong to, but I find it a bit annoying and distracting to see hordes of people walking around with long sticks. I almost had a selfie-stick phobia attack in the Forbidden City in Beijing. SO.MANY.STICKS. And while I do appreciate the practicality of it, I’d rather ask someone else to take my photo. Of course, to each their own. But if you choose to own a selfie stick, make sure you don’t violate someone else’s space with it, or hit somebody with it because you were too distracted to notice or care.
I’ve talked about it before while discussing my travel essentials for a long-haul flight. When you are confounded to a limited space, suspended thousands of feet above the ground, you might as well have some positive attitude. Sitting too close to the toilet? Not enough leg room? The chicken is under-seasoned and bland? Your favorite movie is not on? Well, guess what? We are all in this together, and as long as the crew is polite and welcoming, the service is good and the pilot knows what he is doing – I really don’t care. And in situations when I do care, there is always a diplomatic way of trying to express your displeasure without making a scene.
I think this might be a universal issue. We all have flown with at least one of those passengers who steal your armrest, violate your space, or kick your seat non-stop. I even had a few cases back in the day, when someone tried to claim my window seat! Not cool!
I also came across this article – a horror story, really – telling how a woman put her feet on the armrest of the traveler in front of her. This is messed up on so many levels. I’m really curious, what would you have done in a situation like this?
Nothing can be as disappointing as arriving to a destination only to find out that it looks nothing like the advertised pictures. It is true of the vacation spots, as well as the resorts or hotel rooms. Thankfully, we now live in an era of Instagram. I like looking up the geo-tags, hashtags and stories of the places where I’m headed to have a realistic expectation. Out of 10 filter-perfect photos there will always be a one to reveal the true face of the place if it has some flaws.
This is a really big travel pet peeve of mine, and that’s why I try to avoid organized tours unless they are private and fully customized. It might be just me, but more often than not, I feel rushed during the group tours. There never seem to be enough time to enjoy the place at your own leisure. In addition, there is always someone who is slower/faster and everyone needs to keep up or stay behind, thus loosing precious time. Being an alpha traveler doesn’t help me either, I tend to want to adjust the flow of the tour, spend less time here and more time there and the lack of flexibility is pretty annoying. Naturally, it’s not true of every tour, as attested by the amazing food tour we enjoyed tremendously in San Juan.
I think every traveler has to go through this at least once during his/her travels. It is nothing but a huge nuisance, that’s why I always make sure to pack a few travel essentials in my carry-on just in case. In my Top 9 Travel Tips & Lessons Learned I told you about an incident where my luggage was opened by the airport personnel and a few items were stolen from it. So, so sad.
I think we can all agree that you can survive in a foreign country without your luggage, as long as you’ve got your wallet! Same goes for passport. Thankfully, it has not happened to me (insert a very loud knock on the wood here), but these are the two items I hold particularly tight during my travels (plus my camera, see the next paragraph).
If you are a blogger you’d understand me oh so well. But even prior to my blogging life, creating visual tokens of my travels was of paramount importance to me. I love documenting the beauty I’m seeing and having something happen to my camera during a trip would be incredibly frustrating and upsetting.
I was once flying to Florida via Charlotte when the blizzard hit the city, and all flights were either delayed or canceled. The stress of figuring out how to fly out of there, and the relief of finally getting on a plane was unforgettable, in the most negative way. On our recent trip in China we had to sit in a plane on a tarmac for almost three hours before we took off. While we, the travelers, cannot help these things from happening, they do take their toll on our travel plans.
I know, I know, I might sound like a spoiled brat, but I think it is fair to expect to get a free WIFI at the airports in the 21st century. I absolutely loved Toronto Airport. Not only did they provide free WIFI, but also gave out iPads to the travelers for free use during layover! Now that’s a superb customer service!

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