You’re lucky if you have the chance to travel, so going around complaining is pretty lame. That said, nothing brings people together like shared whining. So, in the spirit of solidarity, I give you my travel complaints:
- Glass coffee tables. Being able to rent an apartment for a few nights is an affordable luxury. The chance to cook, do laundry, and enjoy a bit of privacy in the middle of a hectic itinerary is the advantage of this new Airbnb era. Perhaps it is just coincidence but the majority of apartments we stay in seem to have glass coffee tables. For an insomniac like me who often walks around disoriented in the dark of night, glass tables are an extreme health and safety hazard. Airbnb decorators of the world, I beg you, my kneecaps beg you, enough of the glass coffee tables already!
- Money belt monoboob. HOB and I have never been pick-pocketed though we’ve visited plenty of pickpocket infested areas—that’s because we keep our valuables tucked inside a money belt underneath our clothes. We both started out with traditional around-the-waist money belts which we found uncomfortable. These days we wear special shirts with a chest-level hidden pocket. These shirts are comfortable and feel more secure. Safe, comfortable and completely unflattering.. Yeah, turns out if you’ve got a bunch of stuff crammed into a pocket over your chest, you look like the queen of the flat-chested monoboob kingdom. And of course in 99% of the pictures of me on the internet I’m wearing the money belt-shirt so, yeah, that’s not so great for my ego. I just want you all to know that I have boobs, two boobs, okay?
- Lack of infrastructure for people with disabilities. While other countries seem to associate the United States with junk food, 20th century t.v. shows, and sketchy 21st century foreign policy, I wish often we could be associated with our more progressive achievements instead: for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course lots of countries excel at access, but it’s not enough just to have well-intentioned people doing their best—it has to be the law. So many places suffer from lack of accessible facilities; in public buildings, museums and transportation. Travel is a party we all should be invited to and excluding people with disabilities is a giant party pooper.
- Shower curtains (or lack thereof). I mean, we stay in cheap places so we can’t complain too much but what’s the deal with so many hotels having no shower curtains? There’s just no possible way to get clean without spraying water everywhere. Or the shower that’s just a handheld spray-head—- how can you suds up and hold the sprayer at the same time without a third arm? Or then there’s the opposite problem: tiny showers with curtains that cling to your body. Ewwwwwwwww!
- Garbage. Traveling makes so much trash. Just think of it, the obscene amount of trash from just one plane ride. Then after the plane ride—still more trash from eating and drinking on the go. At home we drink filtered tap water from a reusable bottle, but while traveling we are often drinking bottled water and without ready access to recycling, those plastic water bottles turn into more garbage. And street food is a notorious trash producer. Half of our vacation photos show me stuffing my face with street food goodies out of plastic bags or Styrofoam containers with plastic cutlery—my street food habit makes me a one-woman garbage monster.
- Audio tours. Speaking of garbage, let’s talk about audio tours and how much they suck. Some audio tours—most notoriously the free with admission variety—are ridiculously self congratulatory (I’m looking at you, Palazzo Doria Pamphili and Cathedral of León.) Others suck in their own special ways, like the audio tour of the Clock Tower of Rouen that is narrated by “the ghost of the tower” and the vapidly orientalist narration of the audio tour in the Alhambra. Audio tours also suck because you end up tangled with these bulky things around your neck, getting the straps caught up with your camera, backpack and binoculars. However, if you are going to get audio tours, by all means use them with pizzazz, like the German couple in the photo above who rocked the matching outfit/hairstyle/audio tour look.
- Photography restrictions. Why the fudgsicle do so many places prohibit photography? WHY WHY WHY WHY? Hey museums, do you have a sick desire to frustrate travel bloggers? Don’t you want people to photograph your collection and put those pictures online and hashtag the living bejeezus out of them so more people will visit and you’ll make money from ticket sales and sucky audio tours???????
Okay, let’s face it, these things are annoying but not a moral outrage. But hey, a little light kvetching between friends can be entertaining. What are your top travel complaints?