10 things I hate about traveling

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“Most of travel is the best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage” – Regina Nadelson

I love to travel, I really do. But (isn’t there always a but?) there are a few minor irritants, which I could live without. Here they are (in chronological order of affliction):

1. Visas: For an Indian passport holder, pretty much all dreams of spontaneous vacations are killed.  We’d prefer to hold on to our deficit, rather than have your tourist $$, some countries seem to say. And then, the documentation requirements – bank statements, income tax returns, credit card copies, finger prints, family history, etc, etc.

Some consulates must be running an identity theft racket, right?

2. People who cut the queues: You know the kind I’m talking about. Those who sneak into the queue, hoping everyone else will just register ‘silent protests’… or those over-smart ones who confidently step ahead of you pretending they didn’t notice the snaking queue.

Oops, did I just ram you in the ankles with my luggage trolley? Didn’t see you! Now go back to the end of the line, buster.

3. Flight delays: Yes, yes – long hours at the airport, missed connections, wasted precious vacation time and all that. But what I really hate is having boarded a flight and then waiting on the tarmac. Let’s keep everyone hanging with the promise of taking off in twelve minutes and have them shut off their phones and all electronic devices. No food, no drinks, no entertainment… and chances are, no proper air conditioning either.

Let me try to sleep before my stomach starts growling. Next thing I know – it’s four hours later, we’re still on the freaking tarmac, and I’m getting strange looks from the guy sitting next to me.

4. The baby in the row ahead: No, I don’t have anything against babies. Except the tendency of those in the row ahead of me, to bawl throughout the night. And, if by some miracle, they start off well behaved, then a tiny one across the aisle will start wailing. Convincing all the other infants in the cabin that something is wrong, leading to a cacophonic orchestra. As if the odds aren’t already stacked up against you in trying to get a modicum of rest, squished in a narrow seat in a near-vertical position.

So yeah, I don’t like babies on planes. But then they become all bright and chirpy a few hours later and start gurgling and playing peek-a-boo with me. Then, I just hate myself.

5. 3pm check-ins: Isn’t the travel industry old enough for airlines and hotels to have synchronized their s**t by now? I mean, why do hotels stick to a mid-afternoon check-in time, when most overseas flights (to be read, travelers who need the most rest) land early in the morning? Let’s just send those zombies out on the streets for hours, without having showered, changed or even brushed their teeth.

Guess what? I’m heading straight to a bar for breakfast.

6. Jetlag: There used to be a time in my early twenties when “jetlag” was just a phrase for a mild case of stiff limbs experienced after a long haul flight. In my late twenties, I finally discovered the meaning of the term.

Now, in my thirties, as I sleep while I should be out in the streets of San Fran, or lie awake in the middle of the night craving lunch (several days after reaching back home)…jetlag is just a BIATCH.

7. Tourists with rental cars:  You know – the ones who don’t know the local traffic rules, don’t understand the road signs, can’t follow their GPS and get chased by an angry (and cussing) Scottish driver, for not having given her the right of the way at the perplexing round-about?

Wait, that’s us! Please ignore.

8. Local alcohol: Okay, not really the alcohol. It is the love for discovering and tasting all the different local beers, wines and unique liquors. Invariably, it will lead to over-indulgence… you’re on vacation after all!

Ever tried going on a boat tour while harboring a hangover from a mix of Mythos, Crazy Donkey, Vinsanto, Mavrodaphne and Ouzo?

9. People with fancy-ass cameras who can’t take decent photos: You find a fellow-tourist, with a big DSLR slung around their neck, whom you think might know a thing or two about taking pictures. So you patiently wait for them to finish taking all their professional shots of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then politely request them to take a photo of you.

Turns out, your point-and-shoot is too primitive for them to even get it to focus properly. So…we just end up with lots of couple self-pics, with squinted eyes and weirdly fat arms.

10. Unpacking: Ladies, put your hands up and say “Aye” – you know you’re with me on this! Everything you packed with so much care on the way in, returns in a crumpled mess. And 80% of the crumpled mess is clothes that you didn’t even end up wearing, but will now have to iron all over again.

But wait, remember that little Spartan helmet Hubby bought as a souvenir? Turns out it had a bit of a clash with the bottle of olive oil that I lovingly purchased, to exhibit my culinary skills…Aaargh, never mind the ironing! (Never mind the cooking either. The helmet of course is totally fine.)

That’s my list. Now tell me what aspects of traveling do you hate?