Travellers are clogging up airports worldwide once again. But it’s not all sunsets and siracha. There are a lot of irritating aspects of travel you might have forgotten about.
The sun is shining. Skies are booming. Runways are full of skid marks. Though experts still say there are a few more (semi) subdued years to be had (economically speaking) for the sector, travel is well and truly back (notwithstanding the threats of inflation and war). Alongside that, many people, particularly Australians, are this year taking frivolous Europe trips for the first time since 2019. Although that’s great, there are a lot of irritating aspects to travelling which you might have forgotten about. As we’ve discussed previously, romanticising a destination is easily done.
But though you might have cradled idyllic visions of secret Maltese coves and soothing Swedish retreats in your mind while you’ve been stuck in Australia, getting to those coves and fancy retreats still involves a bit of hassle which is easy to forget about when it’s been a ~moment~ since you scanned a boarding pass.
In honour of those Pain In The Ass things, here’s a list of the worst parts of travelling Europe you’ve probably forgotten about.
Ah yes, that beautiful moment where you get screwed over at the last minute. Yep: if this happens you can (depending on how bad it is) kiss goodbye to your perfectly planned itinerary of hotel bookings, train ride tickets and restaurant reservations, and say hello to a world of reshuffling. Though some airlines will look after you, and put you up in a hotel (if it’s an overnight delay) others won’t.
Oh and – even if you get looked after – they won’t pay you back for (let alone help you organise) the things you had planned at the other end with other companies (think: a train ticket, a hotel reservation, another flight, etc.). So: if you get a flight delay, just pray it’s only a short one. On the plus side, this test of patience helps you learn things about both yourself and your fellow passengers (such as who will snap first in a frustrating situation).
As thousands of EasyJet customers found out the hard way this summer, airlines – particularly budget ones – can sometimes cancel a bunch of flights and leave you hanging. Whether you’re cynical and you assume this is simply because they crunched the numbers and decided it would be more profitable not to run them, or whether you’re charitable and buy their excuses of COVID-19 layoffs and staff shortages, is up to you. What’s not up for debate is that it is infuriating when this happens to you and even more infuriating when they offer ‘flight credit’ rather than a refund.
Passengers Who Have No Sense Of Personal Space
Ah yes. This one’s a doozy. Bonus (grievance) points if they fall asleep mid-flight and start leaning on you, or if they ‘accidentally on purpose’ hog the arm rest. And god forbid the snorers (no, seriously, god: please forbid them…).
Forgetting Your Neck Pillow
This sucks. And with so many people out of practice travelling, you can bet it’s happening a lot. Fortunately, some aircraft on some airlines (see: the Qantas Dreamliner) have a feature in the headrest (even in economy), which lets you manipulate it, and kind of does the job of a neck pillow. But yeah: if you, like me, have a stash of about four neck pillows at home, and you always end up having to buy a new one on a long haul journey because you forget to bring one of them, this is yet another annoying aspect to the travel experience you have probably forgotten about.
Being Stuck Near People Who Talk Loudly On Public Transport
This might be a personal one, and it might be something that annoys you at home too, but being stuck on, say, a train, with someone who won’t shut up about their trip, is not something you probably envisaged while waiting these last three years to travel. Petty? Yep. True? We think so.
Being Impacted By Other Tourists Who Don’t Respect A Destination
Whether it’s peeing in (or near) the sea, which has been recently outlawed in one Spanish seaside town, or throwing rubbish on the floor, this can put a downer on your trip.
Being Looked At Like A Dumb Tourist
What’s the only thing worse than other dumb tourists? Being assumed to be one yourself! Yeah, this one hurts – especially when it’s true… While you’ve been away you’ll probably have forgotten about what it feels like to stand out like a sore thumb – and look like rich pickings for scam artists etc.
The Outrageous Price Of Train Tickets
They might be good (or, better) for the environment, compared to flights, but how on earth are they able to charge so much? Considering how cheap flights can be, this one really boggles the mind.
The Bad (But Oh So Good) Habits You’ll Pick Up
That 6pm coffee habit you picked up in Spain might feel super cool and help you enjoy your evenings on holiday that little bit more, but good luck keeping it up at home without becoming an insomniac…
After a couple of weeks of sun and sand and Euro holiday bliss, and after not enjoying an extended holiday (perhaps) for the last couple of years, coming home after finally having one might be a bit of a shock. Better get saving for that next trip!