Travel can be fun. Really fun at times. But it can be so very annoying at other times. We’ve assembled a list of the most annoying things about travel. Laughter guaranteed.
This slightly sarcastic compilation of the most annoying parts of travel is the result of a collaboration with fellow travel bloggers. Numerous travel bloggers all share their big travel annoyance in this post. Enjoy.
The Most Annoying Things About Travel
From reclining seats, the airport security to smelly passengers and jet lag, travel bloggers highlight the most annoying things about travel, below. We’ve even sprinkled in a few ourselves!
Don’t forget to leave a comment about what YOUR most annoying thing about travel is or tweet us @CBoardingGroup.
Reclining Airplane Seats
By Maureen Spencer at “So Many Places! So Little Time!”
Here at “So Many Places! So Little Time!” we are passionate travelers and we just love to travel by plane, by train, by ship, by car, by bus, by camel! We love it all! We will travel anywhere, at any time, and we are easy-to-please, peaceful people. It takes quite a lot to get our blood pressure raised and rage pumping, but there is one aspect of travel that is guaranteed to do just that and bring out the revengeful monster in us.
And that is the person sitting in front of us, in an economy flight, who, within five minutes of a day-time flight taking off, reclines his or her seat back as far as it can possibly go, so that not only are your knees crushed by the seat unexpectedly flying back, but you are now sitting with that person’s head virtually under your chin, and your tv screen two inches from your nose! Maybe I exaggerate a little, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
Unfortunately, our response is childlike and pathetic, but we just can’t help ourselves. It involves a lot of thumping on the back of the seat, putting our bare feet on the little bit of their armrest that we can access, and making sure that we go to the bathroom frequently and have to hold on to the top of their seat and swing on it as much and for as long as we can to enable us to get out of our seat. We know! Very immature behavior, but that is how it affects us.
Fortunately, these days the flight attendants on most flights request that passengers return their seats upright for meal service and I believe that Ryanair has got rid of reclining seats entirely in their economy class sections. Good on them!
We do believe that reclining seats are permissible for long night flights, and seats should be able to be reclined only once the crew dim the lights for sleeping, but for day flights and definitely for short flights of three hours or less, the seats should be locked into a non-reclinable position.
Resort Fees are the Worst
By Jan Schroder from The Travel 100
I can sum it the most annoying thing about travel in two words: resort fees. You think you’ve found a good price on a hotel and have even figured in the taxes and occupancy fees. Then when you check out your bill is $20 or $30 a night extra for a resort fee, even if you’re not staying at a resort.
If you inquire what this fee covers, you may hear things like a newspaper delivered to your door each morning, free wi-fi or use of a fitness room – typically things you would expect to get for free or don’t even want in the first place. For example, who needs unlimited local calls these days?
These fees are estimated to cost consumers close to $3 billion in 2019. While I understand the hotels love these mandatory fees as the go straight to their bottom line, is it worth the bad will generated with their customers? Apparently they think it is.
Jet Lag Sucks
By: Raw Mal Roams
The most frustrating thing about travelling for me is jet lag. This is how it normally goes. I arrive in a city in the morning after a multiple hour-long flight. I’m super excited to start exploring immediately. In my head I think I’m alright because I slept on the plane. Oh I can’t be more wrong. I’m out on the streets. At first my enthusiasm leads forward but the heat, humidity and busy streets slowly wear me out. At about 3 pm my body starts shutting down thinking it’s bed time. I drag myself back into the hotel and fall into the trap of going to bed way too early.
The first 4 hours of sleep feel amazing, and then from about 1 am the jet lag is in full swing! I keep waking up and needing the toilet. I doze off only to wake up in the next 10 minutes or so. The cycle repeats again and again. At about 5 am I’m thirsty and so hungry but I still have 2 hours to go until the hotel breakfast opens. I twist and turn a few more times before I make an executive decision to get up. I look at my itinerary and realise how behind my schedule I am. This will be a long day! This scenario can repeat the first few days in a new location and it’s definitely something I dislike with passion.
Airport Security Screening
By: Robe Trotting
One of the most annoying things about traveling is going through airport security screenings. It’s a natural choke point that can hold up travel. Even though it’s vitally important for safety, other travelers can hold up the line and make the process super frustrating.
When you enter the screening gates, you have to show or scan your boarding pass. It’s a mystery to us why people don’t know this and sometimes walk up to the turnstile and THEN look for their boarding pass. Have it out and ready to go – you know where you are and what you’re about to do.
There are also people who hold up the process once they send their carry on luggage through the scanning machines. If you need to have your items searched and re-scanned it hols up the process for everyone. People who don’t remove liquids, pack liquids that are larger than regulations or need special attention can be really annoying.
Different travel zones also have different rules. We often fly between America and Europe and some travelers get thrown off by the differences in rules. It’s annoying that in the states you have to remove your shoes, but not in Europe. It’s also frustrating that Americans flying through Europe don’t know this. It holds up the process when they remove and then put back on their shoes.
Traveling Next to Someone Who’s Sick
Do you know that feeling when you find your seat on the plane, no one else is there yet, and you’re hoping that maybe, just maybe, the seat next to you will remain empty? But then your hopes shatter into pieces. Not only is that seat taken, but it belongs to the sickest person on the planet.
You’re left with the joy of spending several hours with someone who constantly coughs in your ear, sneezes, and blows their nose. Gross. And so very annoying.
All you can do is hold your breath every once in a while to try (unsuccessfully) to avoid their germs and hope you won’t get sick yourself. I know they’re probably already feeling bad enough, but sitting next to sick people during flights has to be one of the worst things about traveling.
Being Sick while Traveling
The only thing worse than traveling with or near someone who is sick is traveling when YOU are sick. #Nope
Traveling when sick is one of the most annoying things about travel and we try to avoid it all costs. How about you? In fact, we espouse several tips to stay healthy while traveling here.
By: Holly from Four Around the World
One of my biggest pet hates with travel is delays! While it is unavoidable, it can completely disrupt your travel plans and drastically impact your trip.
We usually travel with kids, so we try not to schedule our travel too tightly. Trying to occupy kids for an extra 3 hours at the airport due to a flight delay is downright painful though. And sometimes it feels like every single flight we take is delayed by at least an hour.
The wait is bad enough. Often the delays mean worse things though too, like missing a connecting flight or getting to your accommodation really late. This is especially tricky if you are staying at a private rental, such as an Airbnb property and have a host waiting for you with the keys. We have had one threaten to cancel our booking for this reason.
Delays are inevitable with travel and there’s a good chance you will get at least a few minor ones on every trip. It does not make them any less annoying though.
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Too Many Kids for Hotel Rooms
By: Hul with Kids
We have three kids, meaning we travel in a party of five. Unfortunately, it is completely impossible to find one room that will fit all of us and thus one of the most annoying things about travel for us.
Essentially, we have three options:
- An apartment (our choice 90% of the time)
- 2 hotel rooms, which means it would be crazy expensive (at least $300 per night, usually more like $400)
- A suite – also very expensive, and even suites don’t always have room for more than four.
The worst part of booking two separate rooms at a hotel is that most hotels won’t guarantee connecting doors until the week you come – which is useless when traveling with small kids because we need to know for sure that we won’t be leaving 3- and 5-year-olds alone!
Passengers wearing too much cologne or perfume
Dear Baby Jesus, please don’t let me have to sit next to someone who’s perfume or cologne is on full tilt! This is one of the most annoying things about travel. Some people have no sense of other people and feel the need to slather themselves in some smell-good whilst the rest of us are dying in agony.
Make it stop!
People who expect everyone abroad to speak English
By: Graham Grieve My Voyage Scotland
I am a native English speaker. Or ‘Scottish’ speaker as the Scots dialogue and Scottish Sayings are so far removed from the English dialogue to almost become a different language in itself.
When I was younger, on holidays with my family I was always taught to say ‘hello’ in the local lingo when travelling and to try and attempt to speak the local language.
9/10 times I got a friendly response in English.
I ended up living in the south of France, where most people speak English. However, if you walked into a shop or bar and started speaking English they would pretend not to speak English. Being able to walk in and speak (very broken to begin with) French got me a long way.
It annoys me slightly when you get obnoxious tourists walking into a shop, bar or restaurant and shouting at a member of staff “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH”. I mean, comeon – at least learn how to say “parlez vous anglais”.
That being said, watching this sort of scene unfold can be hilarious.
Not enough plugs in my hotel room
Plugs are one of the the first things that you look for on entering your room. After a tiring journey, all you want to do is recharge yourself and charge your gadgets. From having only one plug point in the entire room, to placing them in inconvenient locations; hotels just don’t seem to want their guests to have easy access to plug points.
I have stayed in luxury resorts and budget friendly motels. The common denominator in both these categories of stays is their lack of plugs. So annoying!
Their exemplary service, delicious food and lovely ambiance all goes for a toss when you are crouched on the floor, trying to unplug a useless lamp just so that you can access that precious plug point that will bring your phone back to life.
To me, that is the single most annoying thing about travelling.
Carrying my Kids $h!t when we travel!
At this juncture in life, the most annoying thing about travel is carrying my kids’ sh!t everywhere. They’re still too young and too small to effectively manage much more than their in-flight entertainment – going by the rule that a backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of the wearer’s body weight, that only gives us about 3-4 pounds to work with! I also don’t want to constantly be worried about where the kids are and where they’ve left their bags. So my husband and I lug their clothing, car seats, toiletries and more.
Passengers who does not have a sense of the world around him
By: Zip up and Go
You remember that person vividly, deep in the recesses of your memory.
Putting his feet up and shaking it incessantly, blocking the aisle and everyone trying to use it.
He sits on the aisle seat, and puts his entire arm on the middle arm rest, totally ignoring the unspoken etiquette of letting the middle person have both armrests. Or at least sharing it.
Not only does he take the armrest, he encroaches your space too since his arm is way too big for it.
You shoot him an annoyed look, but all he does is tear open the headphones, dump the plastic bag on the floor, and starts cranking the movie to full volume.
Next thing you know, it’s time for takeoff. And he’s that guy that starts running to the loo as the plane approaches 45 degrees midair.
Mid flight, you almost fall asleep, but is rudely awaken by his intruding elbow.
You sit there the entire flight contemplating to throw him out of the plane or to devise an evil strategy to get him banished to another section of the plane where no one will ever find him.
When someone I am traveling with checks their bag
The number one rule of travel is never check a bag. We cover the pros and cons of this here but one thing is true, we are super annoyed when someone we are traveling with checks their bag.
Why not carry it on and travel like a pro!?
Time Don’t Make Sense Here
By: 9to 5 Voyager
Many countries you’ll visit have a vastly different concept of time than you may be used to. While travel opens up your mind to other cultures, don’t feel bad if certain aspects irk you!
For example, in many Latin American countries, particularly outside the major cities, buses are basically going to get there when they get there. Most locals may be used to not holding their breath for public transit to show up on time, so they don’t bother to remember a schedule. I was in Havana with some friends waiting on a bus. We asked someone in line when it was supposed to arrive, and they responded with a resounding, “Soon.”
This looseness can also extend to directions. In Guatemala, there is little to no cultural imperative for giving clear directions. If you ask where a certain establishment is, they’ll basically point you in a general direction and say, “Walk until you find it.”
It can be extremely frustrating to travelers from the more “developed” nations. But, that’s part of traveling!
Packing and Unpacking
By: Nassie at Snippets of Paris
A beautiful day out in a new city, wonderful architecture, fantastic food, what more can you ask for? And then you get back to your hotel room and trip over your luggage which is strewn all over the place. Tomorrow’s itinerary calls for a new city, and so begins the most annoying part of traveling: the packing and unpacking.
Even if you travel light like me, it is still annoying. There’s simply no getting around needing at least 2 pairs of shoes, a jacket, toiletries, a couple of pants and t-shirts, and so on. Itineraries that change cities every day are the bane of every tourist.
I started going on cruises just avoid the constant effort required to squeeze everything you think you need into a large rectangular plastic box on wheels. Either that, or holidays where you just stay put.
When the weather doesn’t cooperate!
By: The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Creating the trip of a lifetime takes a lot of time, energy, and money. I try to plan the perfect itinerary to see everything I want to see, the hotels with the view, and the food I want to eat. Upon arrival at the destination, I want it to be exactly like the pictures I saw. I did not spend a lot of money to travel thousands of miles for clouds and rain.
Snow is only acceptable if it does not stick to the roads or impact travel in any way. It also shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. I think we should all make a petition that if you invest a certain amount of money on a trip that the weather should be perfect. Not only would this benefit us for our comfort, but also remove the need for busy seasons of travel! It’s a win-win for everyone!
For example, we spent five days in Iceland – which is known for breathtaking beauty – and all we got was misty overcast days. Thanks, mother nature!
Time difference is my biggest issue when travelling. I consider myself fairly intelligent but time differences just make me feel so stupid! I find it very difficult to comprehend why we even have some strange time differences. Like when I visited Sri Lanka from Thailand and found out that you can have time difference in 30 minute increments – not only one hour. Seriously…what…the…heck!?!
This reached a WHOLE new level of confusion when I relocated to the Maldives last year and I found out that the resort islands can CHOOSE their own time. So the tiny resort island that I work on is one hour different from the capital of the Maldives, Male and also one hour different from the local island next door which is only 15 minutes by speedboat! <sigh>
This results in no-one being able to set an automatic time-zone on their phone, all messages looking like they have been sent one hour earlier and frequent morning alarms set for the wrong time after returning from other islands.
Lines, Lines and more lines!
I love travel, but it definitely has its annoying parts. Number one for me is all the never ending lines in airports. There is so much waiting around, in fact, that you have to be flying a long way before you spend more time flying than being frustrated in lines.
First up can be a line to even get in the airport. At many airports, they want to check your tickets and scan your luggage before you even get to check in.
Next up is the check in desk. These can be the worst lines. Sometimes, there are electronic check in booths but so often I find there can be an issue then waiting for someone to fix that takes longer than using regular check in.
If you are flying internationally, there’s also immigration. Either way you need to line up to get everything scanned before entering the secure area. With some airports requiring shoes, belts and jackets off and electronics and liquids scanned separately, this can feel like quite a work out.
Finally, you make it to the gate to board… and sometimes you are hit with another scan! And either way, a line to board.
At least on arrival there tends to be fewer things to deal with but with international flights, there’s still immigration and customs to clear and a bag to wait for being finally being free.
It’s worth it when you arrive at your destination but geeze I wish there was a simpler way short of being able to charter your own plane!
By: Adventures in Middle Aged Travel
I love to travel, I love it more than almost anything. However, there are some things about it that I hate. The thing I always think about when I have a lot of stuff to lug about is the fact that I have to drag everything around myself.
I’m over 50 and it’s bad enough to be hauling luggage on and off trains, through the airport, and in and out of cabs, but the worst, the absolute worst, are the stairs. There were 95 stairs in Barcelona.
I didn’t want to climb them without luggage, let alone full-size luggage and a carry-on. I just about cried when I made it to the top, but I did it. And I’d do it again, because I love to travel.
Internet vs. the Real World
By: Worthy Go
People sometimes think the internet has ruined travel by making a place entirely knowable. After 11 years of traveling, I have to laugh at that. The internet has had a wonderful impact on helping us discover destinations, find the best places in an area, and so on.
At some point when you’re traveling, the internet exits stage left and your real-world adventure sets in. You’ve done all the research you can, and now it’s time to get there. It’s usually around this point where Murphy’s Law gets involved, and we might discover the internet has some critical detail wrong. Sometimes it’s totally wrong, like a site saying the place is open on Sundays when it isn’t, or it’s partially wrong, like the point on the map corresponds to the address, but not the entrance.
Unlike some of the other annoying things about travel, this one’s (probably) fixable by you. The next time you see something wrong, report the problem. Google Maps calls it ‘Suggest an edit’, and other sites usually have ways to report incorrect information. Look for it and do it while you’re thinking about it.
Visa Red Tape
By: The Nomadic Vegan
For some countries, obtaining a tourist visa to visit is such a hassle that it will make you question whether it’s even worth it. Russia and China are two of the worst culprits in this regard. For example, one of the best travel tips for Russia I can give is to apply for your visa many weeks in advance.
A number of countries, Russia and China included, have begun outsourcing their visa processing to private companies. While applying via the company might be slightly less hassle than applying directly to the embassy or consulate, it also means that you will have to pay middleman fees on top of the regular consular fees.
In many cases, they don’t accept walk-ins, so you have to make an appointment in advance. And when they only accept appointments on two or three days out of the week, the wait times can quickly get out of hand.
Incessant Announcements from Flight Attendants when I am trying to watch my movie
Stop the madness. I am just trying to watch an episode of The Expanse and y’all over here pumping your United Credit card. And yeah, I know the seat belt sign is on. I heard the ding, I saw the light come on. I. am. Ok. Stop the announcements please!
People who eat smelly food on the plane
Hey buddy, leave that pizza in the terminal. We don’t need to smell your sausage and peppers for the next 3 hours. #Hardpass
One of the more annoying things about travel is when people don’t follow proper travel etiquette and bring stinky food on a plane. Come on man!?!
If you are gonna bring food bring a healthy travel snack that doesn’t stink…not a calzone!
The Hotel Breakfast Line is too long!
By: Backpackers WRO
What annoys us the most during travel are the queues for the breakfast buffet. Don’t get us wrong. Usually, we are in no hurry, and we can wait for our turn. But in some places, people behave like crazy! They do everything to fill their plates first and often loudly comment on things around them.
We often hear many impolite comments such as the food is too cold, too hot, there is not enough milk or coffee is not tasty.
However, what irritates us the most is when people put a lot of food on a plate and then just don’t eat everything. As a result, a lot of food is wasted. Wouldn’t be better to put only a small portion of food and then, if still hungry, come back to the buffet for more?
Did you enjoy this list of the most annoying things about travel? What did we miss? Drop us a comment below or tweet us your least favorite thing about traveling.
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I can relate to many of these and had a good laugh! We are travelling and have two small children too, so it seems to make all the slightly annoying aspects of travel even more so!