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What do you like least about traveling?

Traveling can be fun, but it also has its challenges. Besides the financial cost of a trip, what do you dread most about traveling? Is it the jet lag, dealing with other loud hotel guests, not being in your own bed? I'm just curious what others dread about traveling.

Posted by
650 posts

The discomfort of transcontinental plane flights. I don't enjoy commercial flights generally, but I really hate any flight longer than four hours.

Not a great fan of long lines either, but I don't dread them. Long flights I actually dread.

Posted by
2474 posts

For me, it's not the trip itself so much as the return - going through security, and needing at least a week to get over jet lag. Worth it, though!

Posted by
343 posts

Everything to do with flying...hate it! From getting to the airport to the waiting, to the flight itself with the horrible toilets. The jet lag I can deal with.

Posted by
2487 posts

The lousy hotel, the wrong restaurant, the overpriced taxi and the closed museum are nuisances, but I'm totally with jen about flying. Years ago I liked it, even when it was eight hours to somewhere in Asia or America, but it's getting more hateful every year. I promised myself and the most beloved one to stick to trains, even when it takes an extra day.

Posted by
534 posts

Oddly, I've come to terms with the long flights. We generally fly out of and back into Vancouver BC, so we're talking 9 or 9.5 hours. My trick is half of a Tylenol 500 and another half in my pocket for backup (I have seriously bad sciatica), my Bose quietcomfort noise cancelling headphones, an extra AAA battery, a fully charged iPad and Dark Side of The Moon.

Can't stand shuffling through passport control at either end, hot airport boarding lounges or the shuttle buses from the Tarmac to the terminal. Seldom had poor accommodation. Dread boarding the flight home cause it means the end of the fun and a return to work. Although the work pays for it all ( a love/hate relationship).

Posted by
553 posts

What I like least is the inefficient way that planes are boarded, and the fact that airlines/gate agents in many, many cases don't enforce their own rules about the size of carryons. This is mostly domestic travel, though; I have seen the sizer box used maybe once in the last 15 years. aarrgghh!

Posted by
14156 posts

I'm with others and dislike the flying/getting there part. I usually have some long layovers flying from small town Idaho so that is a challenge to me. Coming home this time from Paris I had a 9+ hour layover in SLC and wow, that was awful, then had an hour drive home from the airport.

I don't know if this is exactly a dread but as a solo traveler I also know I am sort of shy about going out the first morning. Ridiculous, I know...but I've found it works better if I have a solid plan for the AM, then once I'm on my way I am fine. The last few years I have flown to London first and that is an easy place for me to have an organized day. A couple of years I had reservations for the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace but this last Fall it worked well for me to head over to the Imperial War Museum and work my way back to the hotel via the Tate Gallery. I also had a plan for my arrival afternoon and got some nice sunshine walking from my hotel to the Bomber Command Memorial, back thru Green Park, St James's Park and Birdcage Walk.

Posted by
5697 posts

Worst part -- getting on the plane to leave (unless we have already started making plans for the next trip.) Oh, and going through weeks of mail once we get home.

Posted by
693 posts

Listening to North Americans complain about the long flight to Europe when you live in Australia.

Posted by
420 posts

Having to buy something I have a ton of back home but didn't bring with me.

Posted by
610 posts

For me it is leaving our dogs at home! We have become rather attached to them and always dread leaving them and wondering if they will be happy and safe while we're gone. They have always done well and we are lucky to have family watch them, but I still worry. I also dislike when I get my grumpy day somewhere in the middle of the trip when I think I'm just tired and kind of homesick. I always feel guilty for being in a bad mood when I am so blessed to be doing something so great, and I have to give myself permission to just relax for the evening and recharge.

Posted by
3980 posts

The only thing I dislike is the long uncomfortable flight to and from the west coast!

Posted by
6788 posts

Actually, I love flying - but I've switched to business class for any flight that crosses an ocean. I've also become pretty picky about what airlines to fly, routes, layovers, seats, and other details. Best decision I ever made, it has changed getting there and back into a delight once again. I've decided that life is too short to suffer what the airlines are doing to the passengers back in coach. Now I arrive rested, comfortable, happy, and ready to hit the ground running at 100% with a big smile on my face. Don't hate me!

The thing I like least about traveling are the crowds at popular destinations. Everything else I'm good with.

Posted by
58 posts

I really dread getting on an airplane now and always expect it to be uncomfortable. I can't sleep on the plane and just expect to be miserable and sometimes it's not so bad.

Posted by
14580 posts

I don't especially care about the transatlantic flight either, the cheaper the better, but to compensate that 10 plus hour flight, the more I sleep the better if only to speed up the flight duration. Mentally, I'm impatient , ie just get me there. I fly direct. Jet lag is not a factor since I don't get it upon landing in the morning over there. Normally I don't do connecting flights, did it once, too taxing, and usually I stay the first night in Paris, London or Frankfurt but on the last 2 trips after landing at FRA, I left on the ICE train for another four plus hours to Berlin after a couple of hours at Frankfurt Hbf.

Where to sleep the first night is already reserved, be it at a hostel, or Pension, or a large hotel. No longer do I waste energy (time too) looking for a place once I arrive. Certainly, traveling has its challenges, two things help lessen the effects of challenges...the more time you have the better and how one organises when things go amiss.

Posted by
11613 posts

The flying! Can't justify business class (that's enough $$$ for a second roundtrip ticket!), I don't mind security or passport control, it's the actual flying that gets me. Even in Economy comfort, it's the difference between feeling like a sardine and an anchovy.

And of course, returning from Italy.

Posted by
4637 posts

I can see I am not different from the majority. I hate to stand in long line to check in, then long line through the security, shoes off, this off that off. It reminds me of that shoe bomber many years ago, now everybody has to take shoes off. Then that guy with explosives in his underwear. Shortly after that happened we didn't take any chances and went to San Jose, CA to visit family by train instead of flying as usually.
After security where they take all your drinks from you, you have to stand in another line to board. And then 10 hours in so called economy class. I think much better word for it would be sardine class. I was already thinking about at least business class, too. But for one business class flight I can get at least three sardine class flights. After that everything is exciting and adventurous sometimes too much but I don't mind that comparing what we have to endure before and while flying. Once we went to Europe in winter. We landed in Frankfurt. There was a bad winter storm there. All flights to Prague (and many other destinations) cancelled. Thousands of people stuck there. Between airport hallway and railroad station there is some hallway and it was full of cots. Allegedly one thousand for overnighting passengers. Lines for train tickets and confirmation about delayed flights hundreds of meters (times 3.3 if you want it in feet) long. What now? Well, we boarded first train toward Nuremberg without tickets and bought them from the conductor on train while others were still standing in the line. From Nuremberg we boarded double decker bus run by Deutsche Bahn. First they took those who had reservation which we did not and then 3 more spaces but there were 10 people. We were among those three fortunate. I think mainly because driver helper put already our suitcases in the luggage space and didn't feel like digging them out. Our driver then drove like a devil, we passed every car on Autobahn. Snow was coming down really heavy and other drivers did not have steel nerves like our driver. In three hours we were in Prague. We were really relieved that we made it. The ride was to put it mildly a little bit scary. But we were in Prague - instead of in the morning it was evening. But still I minded this less than all that hassle associated with flying.

Posted by
8201 posts

I can deal with the flights. It's the change of diet that bothers me. While the food in Europe can be great, it's just different. When traveling to Scandinavia 3 months ago, the price of meals was ridiculous. We often will stay in apartments and will cook foods purchased at local supermarkets. We also enjoy our picnics.

Posted by
2768 posts

Flights are OK for me...when they are relatively on time. I dread the chaos of cancellations and long delays - my new flight will often be at a bad time and without the good seat I carefully chose months ahead of time. I'm very particular about flight schedules and seating, which makes flights in coach class tolerable. Throw some cancellations into the mix and suddenly it's much more unpleasant.

Also dislike very crowded sights. Normal crowds are one thing, but extremes bother me - like when you just can't move around in the Vatican museums.

Posted by
630 posts

It's interesting to read the comments. I am surprised most of the replies are about the flight. I too don't enjoy the flight, but I consider it a necessary evil to get to where I need to be. I am OK as long as I get to the airport early enough to deal with security and get to my gate without stress. My husband doesn't like to wait any longer than he has to at an airport, so he tries to plan his arrival with the least amount of wait time as possible for him (which stresses me out!) I do dread missing a connecting flight, especially since my options are limited since we usually use Reward Miles. So far, we haven't had any missed connections to deal with (I know it's only a matter of time).

I mostly dread the hotels. We also use Marriott Reward Points, so I can't complain too much about the free hotel visit. However, our luck always seems to get the heavy walkers overhead, the neighbor who flushes the toilet every hour during the night, or the hard of hearing neighbor who leaves the TV on all night. Ear plugs help except when you get the parents who let their kid run up and down the hallway aisle or jump off the bed a hundred times at the crack of dawn. Ugh!

Posted by
630 posts

Mira, crowds bother me as well. I try to plan our attractions in the early morning to help with the crowds. The difficult part about that is getting the husband out of bed early! I hate waking up earlier than we would during a work day, but those crowds - ugh! The mornings can get stressful trying to get to where we need to be so early. But then we have the afternoons to leisurely walk or bike around and enjoy the area.

Our travel companions complain that I made them get up early to be the first ones in line to visit Westminster Abbey. However, I felt like I had the whole church to myself. I could walk in a room and be the only person in that room and really enjoy it. After our first walk through, I decided to go back and re-visit some rooms. By that time, the rooms were SO crowded, that I couldn't see anything except the guys back in front of me. It was soooooo worth getting in line early.

Posted by
89 posts

Preparations and particularly a moment of leaving with an obsessive thought that something important might be forgotten.
And the last day of the trip when you realize it is almost all over now.

Posted by
715 posts

Coming home.

Checking my passport and tickets 27,000 times to make sure i have them still.

Posted by
15974 posts

Figuring out foreign transport systems. It is the most laborious part of trip-planning for me, and I literally sweat buckets every time I have to do it for a country/city we've not yet been to.

I've been begging my DH to go back to Italy. Besides having fallen desperately in love with the place, I've gotten comfortable enough with (most of) the train system to dispense with that particular ulcer!

Posted by
630 posts

Checking my passport and tickets 27,000 times to make sure i have them
still.

JKC, LOL

Posted by
3941 posts

I have a few already mentioned here (especially leaving my dog, and airport security and packing)...but one thing is trying to get my husband up and going (Pilgrim - I feel your pain...lol) - he is NOT a morning person and we are lucky sometimes to be out by 9am (10am is more his speed and generally when we get going... I'd be out by 8am if I had my way)...so trying to get him up and going I dislike...but if we are somewhere in a big city near some attractions, I'll go out on my own for an hour and get some photos. In 2014, it was bliss when my mom was with us as she is an even earlier riser than me, so she and I would go out at 7am and wander Venice and Rome and Amalfi town before going back to the room to collect hubby (and hubby was happy to sleep in)...

...and ask for checking over and over passports/tickets - I do that...and I have actually a few times had dreams about trying to get to the airport and the car breaking down and/or forgetting the passport at home!

...do they still do the shoe taking off thing? The last half dozen times we flew I kept my shoes on thru security (no metal shanks in them - I always wear Blundstones)...even thru Heathrow, at Halifax, Nice, Montreal, Gatwick... And that was including this year! Maybe they still make you do that in the US?

Posted by
2120 posts

Like the majority of the other posters, its the airline/flying thing. It is now the rare exception when i can find a two-leg flight to any European destination from Nashville. Seems even when I find and book a two-leg journey, closer to departure the airline changes the routing to a three-leg journey. For us that always means super early departures and late-night arrivals on the return.

And, of course, the airline re-routing often messes up the originally selected seats and the resulting long phone calls to the airline(s) to sort it all out.

Can't wait for the "beam me up Scottie" ability to travel to other continents :)

Posted by
4637 posts

Nicole P, you don't have to take your shoes off at most European airports but you have to take them off in the US (unless you are pre-approved). It's funny to see Americans in Europe taking their shoes off like trained Pavlov dogs without being asked and Europeans nonchalantly walking through the security with their shoes on.

Posted by
529 posts

I will chime in with the agreement of hating all aspects of flight travel. All the pleasure of flying has been sucked out leaving surly TSA agents, long lines and long waiting time at the airport, whiny children, whiny passengers, tiny uncomfortable seats, and the list goes on. I, too, worry about my pets. I am not lucky enough to have family to watch them and must board them instead. I hate leaving them, but I guess not enough to stay home. We use a place that will post pictures to FB and answer email inquiries. The guys look happy when we pick them up. Plus, one benefit, they always lose a few pounds; they need to. I usually have a day during the trip when extreme homesickness takes over. Luckily, it passes quickly. I try to count my blessings, being lucky enough to travel when there are others who can't or won't.

Posted by
2487 posts

Reading all these reactions I realised I forgot the paperwork neuroses. I love the trip planning, from choosing destinations and the best route to guessing what hotel might be best and the train connections. But being extremely administratively challenged, I have nightmares I make fundamental mistakes by confusing dates, ending up with days with double booking or no booking at all. (Two or three years ago I got a very surprised reception lady when I wanted to check out. I was one day too early!)

Posted by
48 posts

Flight travel doesn't bother me (minus a bit of boredom); I'm always so excited about going on an adventure that it overrides any flight-related discomfort.

I really hate living out of one suitcase. We always pack light because being so mobile really is best, but not having access to fresh clothes, and a larger variety of them, is a real bummer for me, as is dealing with sink washing or laundromat visits. If I could magically have a bottomless suitcase full of fresh, clean clothes, I feel like traveling would be perfect!

Posted by
3941 posts

Thanks Ilja -I was wondering. We've only flown once in the US (from San Diego to Toronto) but it was 2013, so I can't rem if we had to take off the shoes or not. Most likely we did. A few flights ago from Halifax I asked the security guy if I had to take my shoes off - he's like, only if you know that they will set off the detector but it wasn't necessary.

Posted by
6358 posts

I don't mind the outbound flight so much; once we get to the airport we consciously and deliberately switch to "vacation mode;" shutting our brains down about what we might have forgotten, or what could go wrong at home while we're gone. We've also started splurging on a glass of wine at the airport bar, something we never used to do.

After our last pet died, about 5 or so years ago, we decided "no more" until we quit taking long trips. We always felt bad about leaving them, even with good caretakers.

It's the trip home that's the hardest part. We're tired, the flights always get in late, there's no place open to get something to eat, including at Tulsa's airport...

We did decide to take advantage of a business class bargain for our upcoming (Spring 2016) trip. It was only $300 more than sardine class, so we thought we'd give it a try. Many years ago we were able to fly to Italy first class - someone else was paying - and while it was more comfortable, it still was not pleasant. But as I've said before, we're ever the optimists.

BTW, I love the distinction someone made between sardine class and anchovy class! We always refer to economy as steerage :-)

Posted by
3237 posts

I'm on vacation the moment I lock the door until I'm back home. Very little bothers me. Regarding the flight, I think I'm historically lucky to be flying and making such a short trip across the pond. I think TSA people are just trying to get by like the rest of us so I try to be overly nice to them, particularly as other people seem to look down on them. I am a huge people and systems watcher so I am very easily entertained. The only thing that does bother me, and I'm sorry if I offend anyone, is when a certain type of American is in my space as I don't go to Europe to be surrounded by Americans of any type, but particularly a certain type. Otherwise, my vacation is too valuable to not love it all! If there's something I learn I don't like, I change it. For instance, I don't like two flights from the US to my chosen location to Europe and I hate overnight flights, so I take the day flight to London, enjoy a nice overnight stay at Heathrow hotel (Sofitel), and then fly on the next morning. If I ever go to New Zealand, well, there will be many stops along the way. Jet lag and discomfort lessened. If you don't like flying to Europe, why not consider the repositioning cruises if you can't change your thought process? Wray

Posted by
524 posts

I don't like living out of a suitcase, trying to keep it organized and all the little things you have to take. I guess not having my toiletries and makeup all set up like home makes me go nuts when I'm trying to get ready and share the bathroom. Blowdryers that don't work well.

Posted by
3290 posts

Actually, I love the feeling of anticipation I get as soon as I step into the airport! I acknowledge that this is not normal - but I love to fly! What I hate is getting to our destination early in the morning with "no room at the inn" until mid-afternoon. I will always love Le Citizen Hotel in Paris for having our room ready at 09:30. It set the tone for a wonderful trip.

Posted by
326 posts

My various traveling companions for both international and domestic travel all live in different states than me. My biggest travel stress is hoping all my connections work so that we end up together at the same time. I live in a smaller city with poor and few flight options, so I always end up with more travel time, more flight legs, (higher costs too) , more chances for things to go wrong, and hope that none of my flights are delayed to cause me to miss the meet up.

This past fall I had two flights before the meet up in Toronto for the European flight. I booked the options that gave me the most time between flights but one was delayed. The European flight was already boarding when I got to the gate. Too close for comfort. I also do carryon bag only with correct size and weight but stress that I will have to check it for reasons beyond my control.

While not liking the usual flight discomforts, I can relax when on the final flight leg with my luggage.

Posted by
34 posts

Airports, hands-down. Usually a bunch of surly people with little concept of service, long lines, hot temperatures, and a lot of standing around. I can't stand the customs line, particularly on the way back into the USA, and I usually need a connection somewhere, as Pittsburgh has direct flights to Paris only. The flights themselves, while tedious, are not so bad - I sit back, explore the entertainment, and wait for it to be done. Delta Comfort+ has treated me well.

Other than that, I would say public transit. I know that it is the best way to get around, and particularly in places like Paris, it gets you basically anywhere in the city! But it's where I'm most edgy, on alert for scams and pickpockets, etc.

Posted by
323 posts

Being in our mid 70's we can remember when it was something special to travel by air. But now we might as well be in a cattle car with the little space. And No, we don't blame it on the TSA people, they are annoying sometimes, it's the da## airlines, that try to sell every inch of the airliner to make more money. Next they will be offering space in baggage for a little less money than economy. Who knows what will be EXTRA in the future of air travel.

Posted by
11507 posts

Flying...not just the long flights, all flights (and my trip next spring has four intereuropeon flights)

Scared to death of flying!

Love to travel so I suck it up.

Posted by
15640 posts

Gee, I kind of wish I hadn't started reading this one :-) Now, instead of looking forward to my upcoming 3 weeks in Spain, I'm remembering all the crap - airports and airplanes, of course, and repacking my suitcase all too often and shlepping it to/from train stations, dealing with unfamiliar bathroom fixtures and not having my big, thick, soft towels.

So now, I'm going to try to think about the good stuff. I'm going to 6 cities, only 2 will be new (Valencia and Malaga), so low "orientation anxiety," seeing sights I missed last time and returning to some faves (Mezquita in Cordoba, Alcazar in Sevilla), eating different (great) food, Spanish wines, and celebrating 2 festivals, Las Fallas and Semana Santa. Viva Espana!!

Posted by
9766 posts

I like mph's reminder that our Antipodean friends have a little further to go than us.

As for me, I guess I'm resigned to the inanities and brutalities of flying. I do like someone else mentioned -- I expect the absolute worst, and then if it's better than rock bottom, I'm pleasantly surprised.

TonfromLeiden said it well for me:

The lousy hotel, the wrong restaurant, the overpriced taxi and the closed museum are nuisances

I have a really exaggerated fear of spending my money poorly in any eating establishment. I let it bother me way more than I should.

Jane from Sapulpa-- what time are your flights usually into Tulsa? I usually get in 5 or 6 pm from France . . . and then my folks take me straight to White River Fish Market, which is near the airport and open until 8!! yum yum. Hush puppies and bottomless glasses of iced tea, here I come!

Posted by
6358 posts

Kim, our flights usually don't get in until about 10:00 p.m. By the time we go ransom our car, most places are closed, especially those near the airport. And certainly in my small town! If we've been very good, someone will have left a pot of stew or chili in our kitchen, so all we have to do is heat it up.

Chani, ¡Buen viaje!

Posted by
2527 posts

I don't like having to weigh one pleasure against another, R&R vs. enrichment. Striking the right balance between feeding the id and feeding the soul is a challenge -
getting tipsy at a dance hall can be an enjoyable evening but then it's hard to give the great architecture due attention the next morning; an hour spent lolling in a tub or sauna is an hour not spent at a recital or a memorial.

Who says you can't have it all? Mother Nature and Father Time, that's who. What they say, goes.

I find myself doing a little internal negotiation, agreeing to another gallery this afternoon in exchange for an afternoon in a beach chair two days from now.

Posted by
2528 posts

Listening to North Americans complain about the long flight to Europe when you live in Australia.
Not all in 'merica live near major airports with great non-stop flights to Europe. Pity party for us in the hinterlands being organized.

Posted by
3614 posts

To ilja and Nicole:
Once you reach 75 years old, you don't have to take your shoes off. See, there's something good about getting old. Not much. . . but something.

Seriously, to address the topic, flights from the west coast are pretty brutal. I once calculated that including an hour to get to or from the airport, the pre-flight waiting time, time in the air, and layover time, we had been in transit almost 24 hours. Outbound, the anticipatory excitement mitigates some of the negatives of the journey. The return trip, however, is just pure fatiguing misery. I try to keep my mind off it by starting to plan our next trip.

Posted by
4637 posts

Rosalyn, thank you for optimistic news. Nine more years to wait.

Posted by
1976 posts

I don't like flying in and out of STL. Lambert Airport used to be actually international when TWA was here (my family flew nonstop STL - CGD in 1993, when I was too young to appreciate it!), but now it takes 2 stops to get from here to Europe. As another poster said, it's also usually more expensive than flying from a huge hub like O'Hare or Newark.

Noisy hotels are often my worst nightmare during a trip. I'm very sensitive to noise and sometimes wear earplugs in my own home. My hotel room in Amsterdam this past October shared a wall with 3 noisy travelers who went out every evening and came back drunk at 3:00am. And the person above me must have worn cowboy boots.

Delays while traveling make me nuts. I'm fine when we take off on time and taxi right up to the gate and get off.

I quickly get tired of buying food out all the time. I'm not a foodie and don't care about trying new things, and I miss my food at home. I'd rather spend money on museum admissions, books, and other things.

Language intimidates me. On my past 3 visits to Amsterdam I felt comfortable using English, but on my most recent trip I felt weird about it. I can get by in German and French but my accent is terrible. I always worry that the locals will start talking rapidly in their language and I'll have no idea what they're saying.

Posted by
2616 posts

I travel solo and thus deal with anxiety re "something going wrong" and having only myself to rely on--it could be anything, from missing suitcase, stolen belongings, no money, getting sick or injured, being at the mercy of people who may not speak enough English to be helpful, etc--and while I realize this is a ridiculous train of thought as I am a fairly meticulous planner and exercise all the cautions, I have to work at not letting vague worries bug me.

The flights I can deal with. I do retreat into a zone of acceptance as far as physical miseries and inconveniences go, and expand my capacity for various annoyances--so far that's worked well.

I wear boots to travel and after being asked to take them off enough times I just do it before it's my turn to be screened, would rather be ready than have my carry-on and purse go ahead of me and sit there while I fumble--the TSA is rather unconcerned about the safety of our belongings.

Posted by
15528 posts

American Airlines AAdvantage Customer Service.

Dealing with them is more stressful than anything I've had to face while traveling. I think they teach their reps all about customer service and then tell them to do the opposite.

Posted by
3941 posts

Oh - I have 30+ years...but I don't take my shoes off now (well, unless I'm flying in the US which only happened once) - maybe we'll have Star Trek transporters by then...lol. And that is the wonderful thing about Blundstones - if they have to come off - no laces - the are pull on boots so on and off in about 5 seconds flat!

There has to be an advantage to living in the Maritimes, and I guess I found it with shorter flights to Europe. It's about 6 hours from Halifax to London. But on the down side...if I want to go anywhere other than London and one or two other spots during the busier months, it involves connections - either over in London, or I have to fly 'backwards' to either Montreal (preferred) or Toronto to connect. We generally just fly round trip to London and do connecting flights there - last trip we flew to Mtl then on to Paris...wasn't so bad, but it seems counterintuitive to fly west then fly back over Nova Scotia! And of course only 6 hours or so to the west coast.

And London is great, so I never mind spending a few nights there at the start and/or end of our trip - it's familiar (after 5 visits), easy to get around to our favourite haunts/shops and we get to visit our friends in Chiswick (and have somewhere free to stay!)

Posted by
693 posts

Bruce, you are right that not all North Americans live near airports with non stop flights to Europe but my original point holds true. I live in Hobart, Tasmania. If I add my travel up it goes like this:

Leave home 1.5 hrs before flight, drive to airport and check in.

Flight to Melbourne of 1.25hours

Minimum 2hrs but nearly always 3 hours at Melbourne airport.

Flight to Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Dubai or another Asian or middle eastern port. Lets's say Singapore at 8hrs.

Generally 1.5-2hrs at Asian port to change aircraft.

From Singapore to London around 13hrs.

A total of 29hrs and we are not off the plane at Heathrow yet.

Posted by
67 posts

I'm with Hille on the inefficient boarding and non-enforcement of carry-on rules. Whatever happened to boarding passengers from the rear rows of the plane to the front? And, if you're sitting in the rear, your bag should go with you and not be placed in the first overhead you pass. If carry-on rules are enforced I would think there is enough space for every booked seat.

Posted by
444 posts

Blisters. Every single time I travel, and even though I walk 4-5 miles every day at home, I get terrible blisters when I travel and I have tried every solution proffered with no luck. 2 of my 3 young adult kids are likewise cursed with this problem. It's ridiculous.

Posted by
630 posts

Linda, I get blister as well. Have you tried Blister Block Band-aids? They are expensive, but they help. One will last a few days - even through showers and swimming.

Posted by
19146 posts

"Having to buy something I have a ton of back home but didn't bring with me."

That's what packing lists are for! I've had one for 15 years.

Posted by
2764 posts

TSA- Thousands Standing Around pretending to provide security. Theatre and harrassment don't make you safe.

Posted by
518 posts

When I was younger I use to love flying and everything having to do with flying, including the airports and airplane food (yes, that's right!). The idea of getting on a plane and taking off somewhere was all terribly romantic and adventurous to me. In a way I still feel that way, or at least would like to. But the long and inefficient lines getting on/off planes and in to/out of security, not to mention, the quickly disintegrating humanity that overcomes any long and slow line, has really sapped the soul out of that aspect of travel for me.

That and jet lag and short vacation times. It's always when you've really got your travel momentum going and have learned enough of the local language to survive, or at least order food, that it's time to go home.

Posted by
1250 posts

Long flights would be my pet peeve. Any flight over six hours and i feel antsy and uncomfortable. On our last British Airway flight, i was really put off by the electronics boxes mounted at the bottom of the seats in frontof us which took away the leg room. The great selection of movies and other digital entertainment was a nice but insufficient distraction.

Posted by
7388 posts

I second the comment about the electronic boxes hanging in the small foot space, especially when the support structure for the seats isn't divided equally into three spaces. I seem to end up with the smaller of the three, plus the electronic box during my last work trips when I have a backpack to place under the seat.

Posted by
14580 posts

Traveling solo I find this part a waste of time when I could be sleeping, watching TV at the end of the day, writing postcards, etc than having to wash underclothes and shirt collars in the hotel room sink but if you want clean stuff, get to it. It's also a matter of timing, bringing enough supplies, and getting to the next Pension that does this laundry service or a hostel.

Posted by
6358 posts

Pilgrim, I have a friend who swears by Blister Block Band-Aids. She's rather portly, with bad feet, and says the Blister Blocks have enabled her to keep walking. (Can you say "portly" about a woman?)

Posted by
11613 posts

Jane, I think "portly" is better than "starboardly".

Posted by
630 posts

Pilgrim, I have a friend who swears by Blister Block Band-Aids.

Jane, I swear by Blister Block Band-Aids as well. I never get blisters at home - but I guess I'm not walking around 12 hours a day as I do when traveling. They have a nice gel cushion in them, so it really helps protect that blister area.

Warning: these Band-Aids STICK to your skin. And when I say STICK, I mean that they will not come off your skin until they are ready to come off your skin LOL. If you try to take them off, you will be peeling your skin off too. So just beware that you will have them on your feet for 3 days before they come off. They have saved me MANY times. If my feet aren't happy - I'm not happy. :)

Jane, I think "portly" is better than "starboardly".

Jane, I have never heard of "starboardly." That's a new one to me. LOL

Posted by
1952 posts

Nice word, Zoe! :)

Hey Pilgrim...I will tolerate almost any part of travel if there's a pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow, like Paris, or Rome, or Zurich, or...

Interestingly, our most recent trip abroad had the least comfortable flight to Europe (United, Chicago/Paris) and the most comfortable return (Lufthansa, Munich/Chicago) to date. Both flights we sat in coach--we looked longingly at business class as Xanadu--and it was amazing how cramped we were on the 8-hour flight to CDG on United as opposed to a 10+ hour return on Lufthansa, which had at least 6 inches more space all around, making all the difference in the world. Even with a crying baby next to me, it was better than United's sardine can.

I probably over-research hotel options, and haven't misstepped yet (knock on wood) in two trips, 28 days in all. Room size is nice, but I've found that available hot water & location trump that.

My big problem, however, are the crowds when traveling in high or sometimes even shoulder season. Even in off-season I would say the weekends are not safe from the tourist hordes at many attractions. They're relentless & rude. The selfie sticks. The groups standing in the middle of a narrow sidewalk, looking at a map. The boorishness at restaurants. I could go on, but it's not good for my BP. And I've seen a marked increase in the size of crowds between 2010 and 2015, which stands to reason with the Euro/USD rate going from 1.43 to 1.08.

And it's not just Americans, although I have less tolerance for them than any other. Bottom line is, and how do I say this delicately, that there are people traveling to Europe that have no business doing so. They may have the money, but little else as far as respecting their destinations. People can travel the way they want, laissez-faire and all that, but why wouldn't you want to do a little upfront research rather than just willy-nilly decide to visit your son Junior who's in college but traveling abroad for the semester in Florence, then bitch when Italy doesn't have some of the U.S. creature comforts like peanut butter or traditional bacon & eggs for breakfast? I look at them and silently rage, 'this is why I came here--to get away from the likes of you!'

Should I blame Rick for empowering people? Hah, he empowered me, but I've loved everyplace new I've visited because it's different. And for the most part, the service folks can't do enough for you if treated with respect--learn a few phrases of the language, for crissakes. Goes a long way.

Posted by
630 posts

Hi Jay, It really is nice having a hotel or apartment in a great location. I would rather forego my vacation for another year and save for a hotel in a great location.

And I have always been envious of people taller than I am - except on a plane. Being short has its advantages sometimes. :)

Oh, crowds - my enemy. It does get me out of bed EXTRA early though to beat them. I would rather get someplace an hour early and be the first in line than to have to deal with crowds. We were first in line to all our London attractions with the exception of the Tower of London. We went about 11 am with EVERYONE else - never again! Now when traveling and I'm trying to coach my husband out of bed, I just have to say "Tower of London Crowds" and he jumps up. He too doesn't want to deal with them. LOL

Posted by
1952 posts

MrsEB--

I am guilty as charged. You're right on all counts, except for calling me elitist. And it has nothing to do with diversity, either. Ethnically--gosh, I welcome interacting with every nationality, gaining experiences, because I am a curious person by nature, I can't get this at home and this practice can only enhance my trip. And I think I try to lead by example as far as assimilation goes--eat what the locals eat, learn some of the language, treat everybody with respect.

Yes--the example of an oblivious Mommy & Daddy visiting Junior in Florence was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but dang if it doesn't ring true because I saw it myself in Firenze, and have heard comments repeatedly from acquaintances here in the States. 'Jay, I hope they speak English over there.' or 'Do you think they have McDonald's there?' It's just the type of thing that gets my goat at times, and I can't get past the fact that as residents/representatives of this nation, we should know better than to perpetuate the 'ugly American' syndrome while traveling abroad. Rick Steves himself has made this statement more than once. But I will agree that I should focus on the positive a little more... :)

Can't deny it's an interesting topic, however. Peace out.

Posted by
8293 posts

Jay, very gracefully said. Should calm the ruffled feathers.

Posted by
15640 posts

I want to change my answer. I've now decided (after having to eliminate a trip this year), that what I like least is that each trip drains my resources, making them fewer and farther apart. Sigh.

Blisters I never go for a long walk without some moleskin in my bag. I put it on as soon as I feel a shoe is rubbing and I usually avoid getting a blister.

Posted by
6358 posts

Jay, a few years ago we were at a trattoria in Florence. At the next table was a party of Americans, one of whom was angrily deriding the staff because they would only accept euros. A cringe-worthy moment.

Chani, I feel your pain. Not the blisters, the diminishing resources.

Posted by
518 posts

"....and have heard comments repeatedly from acquaintances here in the States. 'Jay, I hope they speak English over there.' "

Believe it or not, upon returning from a first time trip to Europe many years ago, a Chinese friend of mine remarked, "....no one spoke English over there, apparently not all 'white people' speak English..."

But, back to the topic at hand. Regarding airlines and seat spacing, I don't like that seats on airlines have gotten thinner and thinner. And this is on all airlines I've observed, not just United, domestic, etc. I remember in the old days, the seat backs were nice and thick, now they are nearing the thickness of a folding chair.

Posted by
14580 posts

" no one spoke English over there." If that was indeed his experience when encountering people, I say, " too bad, you're out of luck , pal." Plus, think of it this way...why should "they " speak English just for you? Of course, there are American tourists who claim that the locals they met knew English but would not speak it with them. True, I've met locals like that but would not hold that opinion against them...their choice.

Posted by
11507 posts

A bit off topic, but someone brought it up.

Locals who "pretend" not to speak English. This one hits home for me.. because I have local friends and relatives. They DO NOT speak English.. not to their minds anyways.. some of them speak a bit of "tourist English"( like my cousin and her husband who owned a Tabac in Paris near the Madeline) they can help customers with basic requests.. but then you guys start rattling away in a foreign language at them.. raising your voices and freaking them out.. they are embarrassed and know their English sucks.. so they will say "no" if you ask them do they speak English. Now.. at that point you will try and slaughter their language. then they realize.. "heck, my English sucks.. but this guys French is worse" so then they relax a bit and start trying their English...which many of you then think "hey , this guy DOES speak English".. but you have to understand.. to them speaking a language is an accomplishment you do not claim lightly. Its the way they are raised.. they learn to speak a language correctly ( French schools mark HARD) so they are really not trying to be mean, evil or trick you.

Its a matter of interpretation .. they do not "speak English" .. but will often try to speak a bit if you show them how bad your French is.. lol

Posted by
11507 posts

Ps I am loving this thread and the topic.. most of us agree travel is not for sissies.. but so worth it..

Posted by
11613 posts

Pat, I completely agree! When I was in France nearly everyone I met sort of cringed at my attempts to speak French, but tried to be helpful with a few words in English (except for one hotelier in Strasbourg). To a person, their English was much better than my French.

Posted by
20 posts

Packing! Trying to make decisions about the best stuff to take, making sure I'm ok for weather changes makes me nuts. We like to travel with carry-ons only, so it's essential that everything I pack is something I'll use. The hardest thing to deal with is hair products! Some things can't be transferred to smaller containers for my 3-1-1, plus I have too many of them (LOL) so I'm annoyed that I have to leave them behind.

Posted by
518 posts

"I don't like when nobody cares about my trip."

I've experienced both this and another version of it, where, upon telling your friends/framily about your trip, they ask (or demand) with either a bewildered or grimacing look on their face, any one of our combination of the following:

"....why'd you go there????"
"...what's there to do/see in (fill in the blank with just about any place other than on a beach resort)????"
"...Oh, I've heard it's really (fill in the blank with any unpleasant adjective) over in (fill in the blank with just about any place other than on a beach resort)!"

I went to India with an adventure style tour 11 years ago and even now, people STILL question me or bring it up as if it was some kind of deranged death wish of mine.

Posted by
14580 posts

"...when nobody cares about your trip." How true!

"Why did you go there?" Depending on the way it was asked, I've answered with " No one told me why me, and it was optional, so I went ."

Posted by
5697 posts

If you want to talk about your trip and nobody cares --- get yourself to a Travel Group meeting where people want to pick your brain about what worked, what didn't, and where you're going next. I learn something new every time.

Posted by
4 posts

Me too. Very dreadful when it comes to packing. You need to be very careful in choosing the right type of luggage to use. And then the things need to be put inside. Packing for me is a stressful one. It takes time and plan according to what, where and how long you are into.

Posted by
91 posts

No one cares before you go on your trip "no questions or anything " I think some would like to do it so jealous perhaps ? .... but then they don't say anything hardly when you get back. I am excited when someone goes on a vacation even if I wouldn't go there.. My husband said he's worried about me going though , and since I love history and he doesn't we can't talk about that very much as he overloads. Planning to Skype while I am gone , email too , so he is going to turn Skype on everyday just in case I send him a video...

Posted by
6358 posts

I don't think it's jealousy, necessarily, more a failure to connect. As I've mentioned before, my eyes tend to glaze over when people start talking about their grandchildren, and that's the same look I've seen on the faces of others when I start talking about our most recent trip. Even when people ask "How was your trip?", they just want to hear "Oh, it was great. What have you been up to while we were gone? How's that new grandbaby?" Lol.

Posted by
518 posts

On the flip side, I had a boss once that was SO interested in a trip I took to the Serengeti that she made me give a slide show presentation of my trip photos during lunch to my fellow coworkers. Now that was awkward as I'm pretty sure half of them were completely uninterested.

But yes, failure to connect is probably a good way to put it. It's like someone telling me how great their beach resort (any resort) vacation was. I have nothing against resort vacations, but I've never been to one and have yet to desire of one (too many other places on the list before that).

Posted by
19 posts

Wow! I am amazed at how many responses you received from your post. I have one word. Claustrophobia. I love to travel, and do not mind most of the process but I get very claustrophobic with being crammed into an aircraft shoulder to shoulder for seemingly endless hours. We now just plan on upgrading for flights over five hours. Iceland Air has a category called Economy Plus where the middle seat is left vacant so the window and isle have a bit of extra space. I can handle the close quarters for up to around four hours but go a little nutsy after that. :-).

PS - we try to stay in B & B's when vacationing and about 99% of time have a great experience!

Posted by
250 posts

For me the most annoying part is also related to flying, but not like any of the usual complaints: My mom seems to be completely deaf with her hearing aids in after a flight. This is despite the fact that she wears custom-made earplugs during the entire flight. If I don't yell at her, she can't hear me at all, and then she gets mad at me for talking too loud. This goes on for hours after we leave the airport.

Posted by
630 posts

For me the most annoying part is also related to flying, but not like any of the usual complaints: My mom seems to be completely deaf with her hearing aids in after a flight. This is despite the fact that she wears custom-made earplugs during the entire flight. If I don't yell at her, she can't hear me at all, and then she gets mad at me for talking too loud. This goes on for hours after we leave the airport.

Traveling Woman, is it wrong that I found this funny? I can picture this scene in a movie. It's nice that you can travel with your mom - the good and the bad LOL

Posted by
250 posts

Pilgrim, yes it is wrong to think the situation is funny. Would you want to hear another guest yelling in the hallway at the hotel? I didn't want to, of course, but felt I had no choice.

Posted by
630 posts

Pilgrim, yes it is wrong to think the situation is funny. Would you want to hear another guest yelling in the hallway at the hotel? I didn't want to, of course, but felt I had no choice.

Sorry, I guess I took it the wrong way when you were describing it. It brought back memories of my grandparents talking to each other. My grandmother would hell at my grandfather because he couldn't hear. Then he would yell at her for speaking so loudly. I always used to get a chuckle listening to them converse. I'm sure the situation is frustrating for you. I hope you do have nice traveling memories with your mother though. :)

Posted by
3521 posts

The part of traveling I like least is when the trip is over.

I have to go back to my house and wade through a pile of bills I have to pay, restock the fridge, and readjust to life as normal.

Posted by
518 posts

I agree, when the trip is "over" is the worst. Not so much "returning home" as "returning home" and "trip being over" to me aren't quite the same.

The strangest part of the transition is when flying home from Europe, because you gain time, you feel as if you were "just there." One minute you're having a coffee and croissant in Paris, and the next your in line at your local Walmart or Target...ugh, the transition is sobering and depressing. It actually feels quite good to go back into my house and relax, integrating back into the surrounding infrastructure is a different story.

Posted by
3696 posts

Could not resist posting the 100th post....
with all the complaints I was beginning to wonder why some people travel:):)

My least favorite is also returning home:(

Posted by
9429 posts

"One minute you're having a coffee and croissant in Paris, and the next you're in line at your local Wal-Mart or Target... ugh, the transition is sobering and depressing."

Exactly how I feel KC. Coming home is the only thing I dislike (hate, actually). So, so depressing... and I actually love where I live. But the fun, the adventure is over.

Posted by
64 posts

I love almost everything about traveling, except
* public restrooms
* long flights
* rude guests and unruly children in hotels (especially at breakfast buffets).

Posted by
3941 posts

Yup on the returning home. We've always flown home from London, which is about a 6.5 hr direct flight to NS. So we leave the UK around 11am, getting home at about 2pm our time with the time diff. And that evening when we eat supper, we are always like...this morning, we were in London eating breakfast. It fries my mind a little. :)

Posted by
11613 posts

(sigh) Not a day has gone by since I returned from my last trip that I have not done some research/planning for the next one. I work to travel.

Posted by
8994 posts

Really smelly people sitting next to me on the plane and who also "ooze" into my seat, leaving me with even less place to sit and overpowering me with their aroma.

Parents who bring nothing for their child to play with on a 3 hour flight. Parents who are not consequent with telling their child to stop kicking the seat in front of them or banging the tray up and down. Place your hand on the legs of your child to stop them. Telling them 200 times to stop it obviously isn't working very well.

Posted by
14580 posts

Totally agree on coming home and having to wade through a pile of bills, and the contrast of having an espresso in Paris contrasting that with being at Denny's when you're back. As I far as know, no Walmark close to SF. If coming back is a let -down, that's when I start thinking of the next trip. On the return flight I don't care as much if I fall asleep to avoid any jet lag effects, since there is more of a temptation to watch the movie so the time passes quicker on the 11 hour flight to SFO.

Posted by
18500 posts

Traveling woes I get. But did I read correctly that one of the least liked things was having to share the tourist environment with less deserving individuals? A view apparently seconded? Really? The world will go to pot if we don't learn a little tolerance. All Americans are boorish .............. but me syndrome? That's funny. I sort of have an interest in a tourist related business in Europe and when I ask the daily manager who is the most difficult or the most screwed up; his first thought isn't the Americans; for that matter it isn't the second, third or fourth. We tend to have this self hate thing going on.

Okay, my least favorite thing is I never have enough time.

Posted by
14580 posts

Based on my observations I would agree with the hotel manager's assessment. In the 1970s and '80s I would say Americans were no. 1, not any more. There are other nationalities who are more boorish, taxing to deal with, etc especially from the service industry perspective. I watch these encounters when in the hotel line waiting to check in/out.

Posted by
518 posts

"...and the contrast of having an espresso in Paris contrasting that with being at Denny's when you're back"

For me it was an IHOP, we got back from an amazing European tour and had jet lag and was hungry, so we went to the only place that was still open 24 hours, which was an IHOP and man, sitting in that greasy booth and staring at the caddy of messy, sloppily poured, not to mention "colorful", pitchers of pancake syrup, and that plate of highly processed food....:( In a STRIP MALL no less.

To be fair though, Europe probably has their same fair share of unsavory chain restaurants, and we all know our joys are colored by context. If I were coming home from a great American road trip, I might be reminiscing glowingly over that same IHOP.

Posted by
14580 posts

So very true when one gets back at late hours, where else can you go except a 24 hr place, either Denny's or IHOP., more accurate in terms of contrast. The others don't exist anymore. But in all fairness, Denny's has improved quite a bit in the last 30 years.

Posted by
518 posts

I heard some Denny's serve beer/wine, although I haven't seen any in my neck of the woods that do.