We all tend to glamorize travel, at least in terms of our hopes and expectations. We dream about the food, the culture, the once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Social media has only heightened the love fest, with friends plastering their special moments online for all to enjoy and envy.
But there’s a lot about travel that really sucks and always has, meaning there’s a lot to hate about traveling.
What do people dislike most about travel? The airlines, for starters. According to the most recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index, airlines ranked poorly as an industry, scoring 69 out of a 100-point scale—the same score as last year and on par with the IRS. Airline seats and in-flight service were two of the biggest issues among consumers, scoring 63 and 67, respectively.
Hotel satisfaction dropped slightly, down 3 percent to 75 out of 100. The biggest complaints came from the quality of food, in-room entertainment, and amenities.
But there’s a lot more to travel than just airplanes and hotels. There’s a whole culture and environment that surrounds the travel process from beginning to end, otherwise known as the experience.
Here at Peter Greenberg Worldwide, we travel….a lot. Of course, there’s a lot we love about it, but we’ve got our pet peeves as well. They may be the same as yours and we want to hear from you: What do you hate about traveling? Here’s what bugs us:
I genuinely like the physical movement of travel. I love to fly, especially across an ocean. I even like going to the airport. As the daughter of an airline pilot, I’ve had a lifetime of standby travel, making me very patient on the road. I know it’s not the ticket agent’s fault that the plane had a mechanical problem or that your bag is lost. I know it’s not the pilot’s fault when your gate is unavailable and you can’t taxi in for 20 minutes.
Just about the only thing I really hate about travel is other people. Other passengers. Not all of them, just the really dumb ones. I can’t stand the guy who takes eight years to take off his shoes at TSA. Learn how to move. Or women who wear velour tracksuits. I hate these anywhere, but especially airports. You’re flying from Minneapolis to Chicago…why is it necessary to wear anything but normal clothes for a one-hour flight? I can’t stand the people who take up half of my seat. You have a bubble, stay in it. Or exceptionally rude passengers. I know you picked that seat online, but trading for the same window two rows up so little Suzie can sit with her mom is THE LEAST you can do.
As a disclaimer, I also slightly-strongly hate:
-Airports that don’t allow my camera gear in a carry-on bag
-TSA agents who steal my stuff
-Pretty much anything and everything about MIA (stolen passport, bad memories)
-Seats that don’t recline, even just a little
-Long-haul flights with Wi-Fi
-Planes with duct tape on the sides
-Airports without free carts. Carts are game changers, especially inside security
Editor, traveled to 30 countries in 5 continents
In 24 years of traveling, I have developed a love-hate relationship with travel. I love travel, travel hates me. I’m happy going through procedures at the airport. If I have to go through a few standard practices to convince everyone that I’m not some crazy extremist, then I’m all for it.
But sometimes I’m tired from waking up at crazy hours in the morning to get seats on the cheapest bus to catch the cheapest flight, and I’m agitated because I’ve been waiting patiently behind an overwhelming number of people in an endless amount of queues to get to our gate. I’m starving because the insanely small portions of food and beverages offered in flight were ridiculously more than I can afford. I also may be anxious because I have had to hold my bladder for 2 hours because the neighboring passenger on the aisle seat is asleep.
Surely, the least that an immigration officer can do is not treat me like a crazy extremist when I finally arrive!
I always end up on the lane with that one officer who is having the worst day of his life. No matter how truthfully I answer the questions, I always get snapped at or scolded for nothing, or I get sent to secondary checks where I have to wait hours before another immigration officer asks me the same questions. So, exhausted, annoyed, starving, and slightly convinced that I could be a crazy extremist, I am released into a foreign country to begin my holiday.
I like my routines and travel disrupts the hell out of them. Every time I go on the road, I find myself trying to figure out how to get home faster. Then I get to my couch, swear I’m never traveling again, and get the itch about four weeks later.
At first, being in a new place energizes me. I like to explore and talk to new people and eat…a lot. Eating is basically my favorite thing about travel, more than any museum or historic sites. So, by day three, I’m a lethargic, constipated mess. Maybe it’s a combination of sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, too much rich food, and dehydration, but I haven’t yet found the magic trick to feeling balanced in an unfamiliar environment.
As a working mother, traveling without my family is a double-edged sword: There’s a certain blissful freedom that comes with being on the road alone, without strollers and diapers. But that’s balanced with a fair amount of guilt every time I have a good meal or lie in my hotel room bed a few extra minutes just because I can. So I race back home, and then wonder what’s next.
To misquote Dorothy Parker, I hate traveling…I love having traveled.
When traveling for productions, there are all kinds of circles of hell that normal travelers never experience; Like the pain of getting 300 pounds of equipment checked-in and paid for (tipping and cleavage work wonders) or bringing a piece of equipment that looks like a bomb through security (welcome groping!). With all the extra travel indignities (and fees) that are heaped onto travel productions, I’ve become pretty easygoing about most horrible travel situations.
There is one thing, however, that fills me with rage, and that is being forced to watch commercials during long cross-country flights. One of the legacy carriers (name rhymes with smited) figured out that not only could they charge for DirecTV, but they could also make revenue by playing non-stop commercials to the passengers who opted out. They play these commercials in a loop for 5 hours. I’m pretty sure they do something similar in Guantanamo.
The thing I hate most about traveling is the flying. Traveling to India is about a 30-hour trip, and you look like hell by the time it’s over. I have curly hair, which looks limp, frizzy, and terrible by the time I land. On the plane it gets hot, then cold, then hot again, and my feet swell up. Since there isn’t much room, my legs cramp up, I get gassy, and the small of my back gets really hot.
But turbulence has been the worst. Once, on a flight to Europe in December, the plane shook vigorously as we flew over Greenland, and the tailwinds were 315 miles per hour. On another trip, after going on safari in Kenya, my group was flown on a small plane back to Nairobi. Not long after takeoff, we hit a rough spot of turbulence and at one point the plane dropped…and kept dropping. I could see the look of sheer horror on other people’s face and heard them groaning until the plane righted itself. Once, while flying over the Rockies on the way to Wyoming, I watched a flight attendant ditch her food cart, lie down on the ground, and brace herself on the rack beneath a man’s chair.
Producer, travels at least 5 days a month
The flight, whether it’s 60 minutes or 11 hours, leaves me feeling achy all over. Many people can sleep on a plane at a moment’s notice; I find myself fidgeting the entire flight. I’m naturally a person who likes to move around a lot, so sitting still for that long makes it impossible for me to get comfortable. I end up getting off the plane in pain and cranky. Whenever I return from a trip, I feel like I need a massage and a day off to just recover from the flight!
My other big frustration is needing a boarding pass to go through security. It is understandable and, from a security standpoint, makes sense. But I remember when I was a kid, we used to be able to take loved ones to their gate, or meet someone for a layover with relative ease. It’s frustrating having a layover in a city where I have family or friends and being so close—and yet so far—from seeing them. It’s even worse being home and wanting just a few more minutes with my family but needing to leave them behind at security to then wait for an hour to board by myself.
Want more travel horror stories? Check out:
- The 10 worst people at the airport
- Don’t be that guy! The 10 worst people traveling today
- Readers’ picks for the 5 worst people to sit next to on a plane
By the Peter Greenberg Worldwide staff for PeterGreenberg.com