Top 10 Things We Hate About Travel

Written By: The Planet D

I know what your thinking, what can you hate about travel?  How dare you complain. You are lucky enough to be able to travel the world and hey if you don’t like it then why don’t you just stop traveling?

Dave and I love to travel. Travel is in our veins. We can’t live without it.  Whenever we return home, we immediately plan our next trip

But sometimes we just hate certain things about it and being on the road for months at a time amplifies the things that we hate the most.

Things we Hate About Traveling

We could have put in things like sub standard rooms or questionable transportation, but we really don’t hate that stuff. 

We could talk about touts and scam artists or getting ill and lacking the comforts of home. We could talk to you about a lot of things. 

But the list below is about the things that really irk us time and again. The things that we sit and talk about regularly (and when you are traveling 24/7 together, you can talk about things for hours).

This is a list of stuff that no matter how often we see it, no matter how often it happens or no matter how prepared for it we should be, we still hate it when we travel.

Dirty Toilets

filthy_india_urinate_public_toilet.jpg

As budget travelers, we have seen our share of gross toilets; Bus stations are the worst, trains are a close second. 

Many restaurants can be rough too.   We can handle a lot of filth in our travels. We have developed pretty low standards over time.  But no matter what, we both really hate dirty toilets. 

There is no putting it out of our minds and sucking it up.  We just hate everything about it. 

We are tired of timing our bowel movements and having to avoid drinking fluids just so that we don’t have to go to the bathroom.  We just hate dirty disgusting toilets and really, who doesn’t?

Cracked Heel

bare feet at the rat temple

Every time we travel, we get cracked heal about two months into the trip. 

We live in flip flops and that is an unfortunate side effect. 

Walking in the polluted streets seems to dry our heels out. We don’t really understand it because during the summer at home our feet stay nice and soft, but when traveling our heels dry up, crack, and are perpetually stained with dirt. 

We hate our cracked heel.

We see other travelers with clean, crack-free feet and we marvel at how they manage to keep them in such good shape.  Our feet are disgusting and we hate it.

Kids Working

india children black and white

We tend to travel to a lot of developing nations. Sadly in most of the countries that we visit, many families have a hard enough time putting food on their tables let alone sending their kids to school. 

Instead, young boys and girls are out on the street selling jewelry and books or making tea and bussing tables. 

It is heartbreaking to see kids missing out on their childhood.  It is even harder to see kids begging for food or money. We hate seeing kids or anyone suffering.

Rude Neighbours

We don’t understand it. If we have to catch an early bus in the morning or if we arrive at our room late at night, we try to speak quietly. 

We cannot believe how many travelers are just downright rude.

They speak at the top of their lungs and bang around in their rooms at four in the morning without a thought or care for their neighbors. 

What is wrong with people? Stop being so rude and think of your fellow travelers who are just trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Getting off the Bus/Train

Diablo Rojo - Panama Bus (1)

We love moving on to new places when we travel. But we absolutely hate getting off the bus when we arrive at our destination.

It is exhausting being inundated by touts trying to get you into their taxi, to take you to their guest house, to collect their commission. 

We hate having to throw our packs on our backs and look for a place and we hate having to deal with the mob of people that awaits us at each stop. As our destination draws nearer, the dread grows.

We just hate getting off the bus or train.

Leaving New Friends

Yangshuo-China-Cycling-Guide

One of the best things about travel is making new friends. 

You run into like-minded people and very often you hit it off and it is like you have been friends your entire life. 

There is a strong bond that happens with people when we travel and we never forget the new friends that we make. 

When we have to part ways and move on, it sucks. We hate it.

Being Asked to Buy Drugs

say_no_to_drugs

It never fails, no matter what continent we are on, Dave is always asked if he wants to buy drugs.

We used to think it was because he had long hair.  Now that he is older and has short hair. They still ask.

In Kathmandu, they asked so often that it really got on our nerves.

It may seem like a little thing, but it is amazing how annoyed we get with guys asking us every time we walk out the door.

Bugs

Let’s face it, all tropical countries have huge and scary bugs. 

Normally you only see them outside or in the woods, but when you are Dave and I and stay in budget accommodation, you see them in your room a lot. 

We can’t bring a snack into our room or our crumbs will be swarmed with ants, we have had cockroaches in our bed.

We have had encounters with bed bugs and Dave has developed a major phobia to bugs due to some scary situations with fire ants…not once but twice. 

Since his fire ant swarmings, he hates all bugs and can’t sleep if a bug is spotted in our room.

Pollution

Starting Line of our Cycle Through Africa
Starting Line of our Cycle Through Africa

In Asia and a lot of Africa the exhaust pollution is out of control.  Streets are thick with smog and we become quite congested and ill because of pollution. 

We are starting to think that travel to these places is doing permanent damage to our lungs. 

We haven’t been to South America since 2005 and as I recall Lima was quite polluted too. 

Our next travel really needs to be in a place that has clean and fresh air.  Sadly,  I think that the list of countries that meet this criterion is growing shorter.

Smoking

market-myanmar-burma-woman-smoking-XL

As anti smokers, we can’t stand how much travelers smoke. Locals don’t seem to smoke much but fellow travelers light up every second. 

It seems that as soon as they leave their country and are allowed to smoke indoors, they chain smoke for the entire time they are away. 

The pollution outside is bad enough. It is awful to try to go inside for a break from the smog and heat only to enter into a cloud of smoke.  Our lungs are taking a beating on the road and we hate it.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

36 thoughts on “Top 10 Things We Hate About Travel”

  1. I have zero interest to travel and I am not a lazy person. If I want to see people I can go outside and, I don’t have to go to a different country for that. People are everywhere. If I want to go to an awesome place in nature, I live in Oregon for goodness sake. I can drive 15 minutes from my house and be on a beautiful trail along a creek in the forest. If I want to explore new areas, there are so many places to do that from 15 minutes to 2 hours away. I have had plenty of offers to travel to different countries and have no interest at all. I have no fear to travel nor do I have any other hangups nor do I have anything wrong with me. I think it is funny that people think something is wrong because someone doesn’t have an interest to travel? That is hilarious. I love nature, trails, hiking, remote camping. I do all of that right here. I don’t understand why someone would want to travel unless they lived in a very undesirable location. Traveling far away is not one of my interests.

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  2. airport shuttle, airport parking,TSA, carry on, checked, gate attendants, the talkative sick person in the next seat, take off,, turbulence, landing, taxi, uber,lyft, restaurant food, hotel check in, elevator smell, in room wolfgang puck coffee makers, street beggars, cigaretees, perfume, oysters, traveling farters, merchants, trollys, bag living, unfamiliar people, alcoholics and addicts, lawyer billboards, maids, dirty streets, costumes, humidity and dryness, cell phoners, texting, waitresses, lies, danger, gawkers, gawking, bedbugs, back door greasy sludge, everything expensive, everyone nuts, incompetence, incorrect advice, unsolicited interjection, a waste of precious time.

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  3. Smoking and dirty toilets really are my pet peeves. I wonder what peoples bathrooms look like or if they really go out of their way to make the janitors lives hell.

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  4. Very true… All of the marvels of travel should outweigh the few things that drive me crazy, but sometimes I just can’t deal with one more disgusting toilet or yet another encounter with bed bugs. I’m low-maintenance, not no-maintenance 🙂

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  5. Loved this post! Every single thing on the list we can relate with! (and we thought we were the only ones with cracked heels!) Although they are the things that you (and us!) hate about travel it is almost worth it, when you compare it to every situation you experience! Thanks for posting this, it made us laugh! Ant & Elise 🙂
    .-= Positive World Travel´s last blog ..Adapting to Life on the Road- Part 1 Patience =-.

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  6. dirty toilets is the worst! luckily no bugs for us but I can’t tell u our shock to find out after few days we were sharing our bungalow in Ko Lipe with a rat on the roof!

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  7. every traveler, especially in asia, seems to smoke. even when they don’t smoke, they usually get drunk and smoke. it’s pretty weird. I never as many people light up than when im traveling
    .-= Nomadic Matt´s last blog ..Songkran: Thai New Year =-.

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  8. It’s always good to vent every now and then. There’s a lot of annoying stuff in the travel world and with other travelers (I also don’t get the rude behavior in the middle of the night or AM!). Always leaving people that you’ve just met and really click with is tough and gets tiring. Sure, there’s email, skyple and Facebook, but it’s not the same. On the positive side, it’s great to always be meeting people you find a connection with.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..What’s Missing From My Hotel Room =-.

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    • Very true Audrey. We have met some of the greatest people traveling. It is always difficult leaving new friends and wondering if you will ever see them again.

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  9. Love #5! It stresses me out simply reading the paragraph about it! Arriving in Marrakesh alone at 11PM was probably one of the worst experiences I had.
    Thanks for your honesty – great post!
    .-= Sherry Ott´s last blog ..signs =-.

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  10. @theplanetd I hate the guy who likes to lean his chair all the way back & have the audacity to tell me to move my knee. #traveltuesday
    Comment originally posted on twitter

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  11. My pet peeves when travelling: 1, 4, 5, 8 & 9. Rude neighbours probably tops the list.

    Fab post D&D.
    .-= Keith Jenkins´s last blog ..Velvet moments: travel photo of the week – Masaai Mara =-.

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  12. Great post, I can relate to each one of these, especially noisy neighbors which is my absolute hate passion.

    Although I love traveling the worse thing for me about travel is the traveling part. Nothing worse than 12 hour coach journeys in sweaty clothes sitting shoulder to shoulder with people.

    I was just traveling with with a friend for a couple of weeks who hardly smokes at home but in Thailand would smoke 5 cigarettes over lunch! No need.
    .-= Joanne´s last blog ..Why is Passion such a big deal? =-.

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    • Joanne, you are so right! We have come to the conclusion that everyone smokes more while traveling then they do at home. Why do they do that? I watch people chain smoke in every cafe. In Kathmandu, I was wearing my surgical mask indoors as well as outdoor. (I am not kidding. I was really sick and couldn’t take the smoke anymore)
      And you are right, sitting shoulder to shoulder with sweaty smelly people (myself included) is terrible.

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  13. A personal major pet peeve: undefined food! And not because I’m a picky eater, but because I have food allergies for many artificial flavours and food colours…. And when that happens you get to the dirty toilet problem… You HAVE to make use of it while bent over double from stomach cramps…There is no holding it up/in while looking for a cleaner place!

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  14. I love your list, and agree 100% with all of them! It’s okay to hate some aspects of traveling – we all have our pet peeves, and some are just intolerable. Sadly I don’t see any of those things changing anytime soon, so we just get to develop strategies for dealing with them, because for those of us with wanderlust in our blood, that’s preferable to not traveling at all.

    I can totally relate to Dave and the bug thing – I can’t sleep either if there’s a bug in the room. 🙂
    .-= Trisha Miller´s last blog ..Travel Contest: The Blog Hop is On! =-.

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    • @Trisha You and Dave would do well together. When he sees a bug, we have to get it out of the room (or at least the bed) before he can sleep. Luckily he isn’t afraid of the bugs, just the thought of them crawling on him, so he gets them out any way he can. He doesn’t leave me to have to deal with them alone. Because I hate them too!

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  15. The smoking cigarettes kills me – I have a really hard time not getting agitated when I am finally in doors from the pollution and about to eat and am forced to inhale someone else’s smoke!
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Tour…Coffee’s Amazingness Knows No Bounds =-.

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    • Shannon, Get this…In India I had a guy sit down beside me at an Internet Cafe and ask me if I mind if he smokes. I said “yes actually, but we will be done in a few minutes so you can go ahead once we leave.” About a minute later, he lit up anyway. I looked at him and said “why did you even bother to ask?” What is wrong with you? Are you an idiot? He couldn’t understand why I was upset. I guess he really was an idiot.

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  16. I also feel guilty complaining about anything when I travel because I am so lucky to be able to do it in the first place. But I 100% agree with your list. I’m not a budget traveler and I haven’t yet traveled in Asia (someday soon I hope!) but most of these things cross all borders.

    It also drives me mad when other travelers are inconsiderate, not only to their fellow travelers but particularly to people in the country they are visiting. Many times, people act like being in a foreign place is a license to behave like a total jerk. Not cool.

    And as for dirty toilets and smoking, I’m sad to say you’ll find plenty of those in Europe too. The smoking situation has gotten better at least since I first came year but it’s still much worse than Canada. I love going home and be able to sit on a restaurant terrace without having smoke blown over my food.

    Huge scary bugs – that’s my biggest fear about traveling to some of the places I want to go…
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Where Do I Go From Here? =-.

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    • Alison, you are right. I didn’t think about people being inconsiderate to culture. People can be just downright rude. We are afraid of the smoking when we go to France I have to admit, but I heard that they aren’t allowed to smoke in restaurants anymore either.

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      • No they aren’t permitted to smoke where food is being served which is great. However, there is still smoking at cafes and any outdoor terraces and bars. There is no more smoking on trains which is GREAT! Also the airports and train stations are basically smoke free.
        .-= Alison´s last blog ..Where Do I Go From Here? =-.

  17. Yeah there are always positives and negatives.
    The smoking around the world is a cancer, I hate it too.
    The bad bathrooms might explain something about society, maybe not.
    Rude Neighbors, a big time problem, basically people just don’t care and are not even aware.
    Trouts are always bothersome in poorer countries.
    I have learned to live with bugs.

    Nice list.
    .-= Shawn´s last blog ..The Daily Meridian Clock Generates a Healthy Lifestyle. =-.

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  18. Love it! I agree completely.

    The drugs issue, along with certain unsavory purchases being pushed upon you, is one that I have at the top of my list. In Bali, illegal drug and “skin” pushers seemed to be 2-3 per block and everyone was trying to get you to buy.

    It is of course completely possible to avoid the purchase, but eventually you start to feel dirty. Sordid. Nasty.

    And the only way out is to leave the country.

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    • It’s true Garrett. You do start to feel Nasty. I start yelling No, I don’t want your hash! They usually just ignore me. Then they ask again on our way back. Kathmandu was really bad. That was the worst Dave has ever been hassled.

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  19. Good post! I can relate to almost everything on your list, even though my travel style is very different from yours. I would hate those things, too. In fact, that’s probably one reason why my travel style is what it is. It’s okay to hate some things about travel–nothing’s perfect.
    .-= Gray´s last blog ..Shiny Travel Objects: April 18, 2010 =-.

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