Ever since my self-proclaimed “year of the vacay,” I’ve been obsessed with travel. I got bitten by that travel bug, y’all, and she left a big, oozing lesion of wanderlust on my soul. I know; I should’ve been a poet.
My passport was nearly nude back in 2012, but I jumped at the opportunity to move abroad to London with work. Since then, it’s been a race against time as I’ve tried to crash as many culture parties as my bank account will allow. So far, I’ve ticked off an additional 17 or so countries to add to the three I had pre-2012, and I’m far from done.
There’s loads to be gained from consistent travel – you get to stuff your face on the reg, you get to practice a whole slew of foreign accents, you master getting through airport security unscathed – but people rarely talk about the downside. It’s underrepresented, and I’ve chosen to bravely speak out for all the voyaging moaners amongst us.
So, without further ado, here’s what sucks about traveling:
- Kids kicking the back of my seat – I mean, listen, I totally get that every child is a miracle and entitled to a fair amount of wailing when he or she is cooped up on some mode of transit for several hours. That’s only human, and they have but three means of expressing discontent – crying, screaming, or flailing their limbs into the closest object within reach. I understand that my seat is but collateral damage in the quest for getting the hell off the aircraft, train, bus or boat. What sucks about this is when I either a.) bravely do the imploring over-the-shoulder meaningful glance to the parents, or b.) utter a polite, “Sorry, but can you ask him/her to not kick my seat please?” and the response is “Billy, the lady doesn’t like it when you do that. You can’t do that or the lady will get mad.” Isn’t it preferable to be all, “Billy, stop that. Don’t kick – it’s not polite. If you continue to blame other people when you’re the one being annoying, then you will grow up to be an asshole.” I mean, that’s clearly preferable. That sort of “the lady is mad and ruining your fun” talk really sticks in my craw.
Poorly planned plane entertainment – Now, multiple times a day I give some sort of speech about how lucky we are to be alive and what a marvel modern technology is, but I’ve been consistently astounded by the shoddy in-flight TV and movie options. Like, why is the Wolf of Wall Street with its gratuitous orgy scenes even an in-flight option? You look like such a perv when the flight attendant has to interrupt your ogling to be like, “Beef or chicken?” but you have to choose that delightful con artist over three random mid-series episodes of Girls. And why is Girls on every airline? You know Lena Dunham can’t go more than two episodes without airing out her boobies, so why tempt the passengers? I don’t get it. Then, you have Qatar Airways, which offers Wolf of Wall Street and the like, but they’ve edited it down to remove all the drug and sex scenes, so that the entire 3 hour movie is like half an hour. Then, they’ve dub over the curse words to be like “fudge you,” and “holy schniekies,” and whatever. It’s just bizarre.
- The war against water – this bottled water con has gone way too far, y’all. We’ve
been held hostage by this fat cat industry for more than 17 countries, and I can no longer stay silent against their endless greed. Planes are dehydrating, and access to water is a basic human right. Why the eff do we allow ourselves to be stripped of our inoffensive Evians in security so that airports can peddle their overpriced off-brand glorified tap water and be like, “we just can’t risk another 9/11.” It’s beyond ridiculous, is it not? They should just make you drink and swallow the water in front of security staff and then follow you to the bathroom to make sure you aren’t vomming up your chemical warfare or drugs or whatever. It would be so much less sucky than forcing you to feed into this growing global bottled water conglomerate.
- Paying for the toilet – there’s several places throughout Europe that charge for the
toilet. Sometimes it’s like 25 cents, but it can cost upwards of a Euro to relieveoneself, and this is irrefutably sucky. I guess I could understand if these bathrooms were immaculate or featured heated toilet seats that sing a little Mozart to entertain you while you piddle, but in my experience they’re always average. I’ve come across paid entry facilities everywhere from train stations to castles to food markets, and I can confidently deem them a sham. Step up your game, paid toilet facilities, or throw in a few upgrades if you’re gonna have the nerve to ask us to pay to pee, amirite?
- Trains without dining cars – a few months ago, I took an overnight train from
Vienna to Cologne. I wasn’t exactly a train virgin – I’d taken the Eurostar from London a few times, done the Amtrak from my hometown to Miami, been on the Eurail a few times and taken the overnight train from London to Edinburgh – but this was my first time traveling for 5+ hours at once. Each train I’d been on had a communal dining station at some point in the middle of all the cars, in which the staff serve all sorts of instant and pre-packaged frozen foods and the like. I thought this train would be fancier – I joked with my parents that elbow-length gloves were a requirement for women and men must read The Financial Times while donning un-ironic monocles – but I still assumed it would be in line with my previous experiences. I moved through about five or so train carriages before breaking down and asking a member of staff which way was the dining car, and he broke the news to me – there was no dining car. Our closet-sized cabin was to be the extent of our leg stretching, unless we cared to do laps along row after row of dimly-lit cabins. How did we get here? The Orient Express this was not. I feel like they’re missing an opportunity to really swindle bored passengers, too, so while it’s a sucky passenger experience it’s an even suckier business decision.
So there you have it, the 5 things that truly suck about traveling. I hope you voyaging moaners feel justifiably heard and appropriately represented. If only my oozing lesion would let me stay home.