Travel blog Travel Rants has a guest blog entitled "Seven things I hate about travel". While I only agree with one of them (bank fees), it's nevertheless a good idea -- what do you hate about travel?
Here's my pet seven hates to get the ball rolling:
1) Not speaking enough of the language
There's only so many languages one can learn or even attempt to learn, and it's a never-ending source of frustration to find myself struggling to be able to do anything more than order a meal or find the bus station. Forget about Viagra - where's the language pill!
2) Flying budget airlines
Sure they're cheap, but the mantra "you get what you pay for" is entirely appropriate when it comes to budget airlines -- the true cattle carts of the air.
3) Guidebook bumsteers
Spending six hours on a truck-bus to get to a "must see" spot only to find it doesn't (and has never) existed.
4) Touts & shysters
An especially toasty quarter of hell should be reserved for this breed. No, I don't want that free tuk tuk thanks.
I know this goes both ways and I realise the Australian govt certainly isn't the most generous, but come on -- let's at least get the price of the darn things under control.
6) Travellers behaving badly
Let me paint a picture; Other travellers boasting in Phnom Penh's Foreign Correspondent's Club that they bartered the airport moto down to nothing by promising to use him for the duration of their stay -- while they actually have no intention to; the clowns in the Lao restaurant refusing to pay for rice (that they've already eaten) because it was too cold; the twits defending to the guesthouse management their right to walk through a Muslim village on Ko Jum in a bikini... Unfortunately the list goes on and on and on. Travel is a great way to break down barriers -- not reinforce them!
I've never grasped the attraction in travelling with a bongo drum to shatter the otherwise beautiful serenity of a remote beach sunset. Leave the drum at home please. Guitars are only permitted out after the sun is down, and only if you're buying the beer ;-)
#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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3) check-in queues
4) airport taxis
5) guidebook evangelists
6) I'm a traveler not a tourist types
7) people who just don't belong
#2 todmanplaa has been a member since 4/10/2007. Posts: 4
1. Not being able to travel enough.
2. Anybody wearing thai fisherman pants who thinks i really really want to watch them twirling fire poi, the great spiritual experience they've been practicing for a whole 3 days, but will now do every day forever.
3. Not being able to travel enough.
4. That phantom tourist. You turn up at an amazing spot and cant wait to relax there. Someone starts up a conversation and you chat, they're nice enough - but then wont leave your side for the whole time you're there and suggests you should travel together for the rest of their trip! Everyone's had it. If not, you're that person.
5. Not being able to travel enough.
6. Finding the perfect isolated spot. Going back 1 year later. Finding that same perfect isolated spot with a starbucks/mcdonalds in it.
7. Not being able to travel enough.
#3 StewJordan has been a member since 4/10/2007. Posts: 1
1. Being sick on the road. Despite a very hardened stomach brought up on street food in the alleys of Asia, I still did time in Indian and Bangladeshi hospitals.
2. Improbable objects for sale. Most of the time they're fun to look at (flutes, various drums, imitation art), but sometimes all I want to do is eat my somtam and not be harassed into buying the most hideous fish hat I've ever seen, or into buying bananas for the elephant that's magically appeared in a soi of Sukhumvit.
3. Travelers who aren't so much keen on travelling as they are on exploring their guidebooks and talking to people who look like them.
4. Air travel. It's become too difficult.
5. Harassment. Don't get this in Southeast Asia but as a lone female traveller in India I can vouch that I think "oh my god I really hate men", several times every day.
1. Those ones travelling on 'Daddy's Money', you know the ones with the backpacks, and then a louis vuitton carry on bag you see walking into the business class lounge.
2. Airport Staff, nuff said.
3. Big, drunk topless european men
4. People who spend their entire holiday comparing things to home, and how much worse they are where ever they happened to be.
5. People who only eat food they're used to from home, eg the english breakfast and sunday roast in Bangkok...
6. Mobile Phone network providers ripping you off
7. Coming Home
1. Over-loud air-heads in internet cafes - as if the world gives a flying fig where you're off to next,
2. Over-aggressive bargainers..bullying their way to the last kip or whatever,
3. Squeaky clean yourists who stay in western hotels, eat western-style food in western style resturants, shop only in the big department stores, and contribute bugger-all to the local econimy where it matters,
4. US-style junk food outlets,
5. Tight-arses who wear socks with sandals,
6. Drunk morons with too many Euros and too few functioning neurons, and...
7. My real passionate displeasure is reserved for those big-framed neo-colonists with their 90 litre Vangos barging their way into crowded lifts, knocking people out of the way and not giving a toss.
1. The English, American, German, Canadian etc.... who after a few sips of sangsom start acting like they are with all there mates back home in the pub on Friday night. (at least drink a half bottle you pussies, you are giving the rest of us a bad name!)
2. The con men/scammers (tuk tuk drivers)
3 That cocky 'farang' who is looking so smug walking thru MBK with his new girl friend - Tall, slim, beautiful - Funny thing is tho mate, my wifes just told me "thats a man"!
4 Unpacking ;(
6 Getting hearded around the airport,
7 Going home! :(
Thats 7, I could of wrote 100. But I could also write 1000 things I love about traveling, Esp' in Thailand.
1 to 6: Going back home.
7: the scammers and sometimes the authorities, especially in some airports
#8 ignacio has been a member since 10/3/2010. Posts: 3
1) Paying for your flight to get there
2) Foreigners that don't even do the effort of speaking a little bit of the language (at least hello and thank you).
3) Western influence on 3th world countries (it's pos and neg, otherwise we shouldn't travel but f*ck that)
4) Same as Gorey at #5 : Rich backpackers who think they have a great experience but they're just wasting daddy's money.
5) corrupt cops in Cambodia
6) Backpackers who backpack for 2 weeks to get to 3 or 4 countries(Ok it's possible, but they are always in a hurry to get somewhere and if the bus is late they start complaining,...)
7) Having realised that after many months/years of travelling you just got enough money left to book your ticket back home to try and find a job again for a few months to go back again :).
Well, I don't like to travel. I have lived in eight different countries, and I like the experience of going somewhere and staying there a long time. But I don't like moving around all over the place every week or two.
So mine would be more like "Things about tourists (I hate the word travelers - implicit that they are some sort of superior tourist) I don't like:
1. Know it all kids who've read a guide book, been in country a week or two, and now show up in my town and want to start telling me about how the local culture works.
2. Loud, mostly drunk, expats (and tourists) who are totally obnoxious. It embarrases me by association. Fortunately for me I experience this rarely.
3. Sex tourists who think that rural Thailand is Pattaya and grope girls in bars or clubs here. Thankfully this happens seldom as it's asking for trouble and they usually find it.
4. People who make no effort to learn the language and actually complain "No one around here can speak English. They're all stupid." These happen to be the same people who complain most vociferously back home when "foreigners" in their home countries can't speak English (of German or whatever). The irony is always lost on them, even when you point it out.
5. People who complain about the food, traveling all the way here and then seeking out food from their home countries is bizarre. I actually heard an English guy out here say "You can't get any good English food out here." (talk about oxymoronic). Now, I am no huge fan of Thai food. It's edible, and I have a few favorites, but it gets old for me too. BUT, I live in Thailand. Coming to someone elses country and then complaining about it is, how do the English say it, pretty cheeky? If I come to Thailand, I can reasonably expect to find Thai food. Funny how that works.
OK, I only have five. When I do travel here (and I do have to go to Khon Kaen or BKK or Yasothon fairly often for different reasons) I can't really complain about anything. I have found Thais to be consistently courteous, and perhaps because I speak Thai they no longer try to rip me off (noting that would be futile) or concerned that the pitbull (my wife) at my side would take unkindly to it. The only negative I have to deal with is the damn bus. I hate the bus and will take my chopper whenever I can.
8) Tourists that feel superior to other tourists :)
#11 ignacio has been a member since 10/3/2010. Posts: 3
Most of my hates have already been covered off....
1. Obnoxious drunk tourists and expats. (Aussies win the award for being the worst, I hate to say... Drunk and spewing in the streets at 9am in Phnom Penh and Lovina (Bali) - good grief.)
2. Other tourists not accepting local culture and customs and that fact that things ARE different than at home. (If you wanted the same food, the same experiences - why did you leave home?)
3. Long, hot, uncomfortable bus rides with no decent toilet breaks. (Or to be more precise, breaks where there are no decent toilets!)
4. Not being able to just sit on the beach, have lunch at a roadside restaurant or just walk down the street without being harassed every 2 mins. (You want pineapple? You want T-shirt? You want sunglasses? NO!!! I just want to chill out and enjoy some peace!) Hmmmm... I hope that doesn't sound like it contradicts 2. above!
5. Cockroaches, snakes and other creepy crawlies that I don't have to normally contend with when at home in NZ.
6. Travellers who just can't chill out and not get upset when the buses and trains don't leave on time, or service isn't up to the standard that they are used to at home. (Does it really matter than the bus is half hour late? That's life in an Asian country. Hurry up and wait. Get used to it. There's no point in blowing a gasket.)
1. Gap year kids. Irritating little twerps, most of 'em. Oh dear, is this site aimed at them ? Whoops.
2. Too many tourists - why does everyone eat pizza ? Can't they live without western stuff ?
3. Too few tourists - what do you mean there's nowhere to get a decent cup of coffee. We're all hypocrites aren't we.
4. The increasing sameyness of everywhere.
5. Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC. Go home & poison your own people. Can I be sued for saying that ?
6. Scammers, especially those when you've just arrived somewhere.
1. first day of arrival. that includes airport taxi and finding the first hotel
2. backpacker areas. Khao San, Vang Vieng, Pham Ngu Lao. They may have had appeal in the beginning but they always get ruined by the very people who "want to experience the local culture" (in their fishermans pants and so on).
3. banana shake, banana pancake, banana cake. Don't get me wrong. It's a wonderful fruit but those are not asian dishes (or from any other non-western region). Just a western thing to make tourists feel they have something exotic
4. organized day trips. They always sound so good but somehow always disappoint. I always fall for it though. Usually 1 per trip.
5. changing money. You always find a shop a few minutes later where they have a better rate. Even after you spend considerable time shopping around.
6. posers. Already covered by many
7. airport departure tax. I never know whether it is chared and how much it is.
"2. backpacker areas. Khao San, Vang Vieng, Pham Ngu Lao. They may have had appeal in the beginning but they always get ruined by the very people who "want to experience the local culture" (in their fishermans pants and so on)."
I find myself in violent agreement with this sentiment. These are the kids that hang out together, mimicking some elements of local attire, often smoking or trying to look cool in a grunge sort of way - and pontificating amongst each other about their insights concerning what's wrong with the world. They are, of course, barely out of their teens, don't know much and have experienced less but are now planning on telling me what's what.
It seems like a lot of these complaints are valid...like packing, getting heckled, fess etc...but it also seems like most of the complaints are about other travelers. Maybe if the focus were more on ones self, the trip would be more enjoyable? those people traveling on "daddies money" and the ones that want to latch on im sure enjoy and appreciate their travels and where they are just as much as everyone else.
#16 JessicaBenson3 has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 9
1. Those Gap year kids who get their hair braided, look like a sack of ****, stink and reckon that they are having a great time living off a bowl of rice a day. Somehow i don't believe you.
3. Lazy minded people who don't have a mind of their own and follow what everyone else is doing.
4. Bumpy roads and travel sickness.
5. Anyone wearing a Manchester Yoonited replica shirt.
I am not really "traveling" since I live out here. But I have had some unfortunate experiences (not only - we get student teachers out here, mostly from Germany, and most of them have been a lot of fun) with the classic young backpacker profile type who will be sitting in a restaraunt and feel qualified to discuss my relationship with my wife. "How can you do that?" "Do what?" "Exploit that poor girl" My wife at this point becomes quite annoyed (she speaks English). She is 13 years my junior, but we have been together for ten years and have a child - yet the assumptions begin that I don't get from the expat set or the older tourist set. Then there are those who want to start telling me about the local cultural dos and don'ts that I am transgressing when they've been here for a couple of days and I've lived here three years. This becomes comical.
Not all backpackers or young kids fit this description - I am only talking about those who do.
I agree completely with MADMAC.
And Jessica: This topic is about things you hate about travel.
Your suggestion to look at ones self doesn't quite fit in there. People travel and they are bound to meet each other so it's only logical that frustrations are related to that. Off course there are memorable situations with other tourists as well but this topic was about things we hate.
In a sense you're right so that's why I've listed backpacker areas as a thing I hate (and also avoid at all costs).
Totally agree about backpacker areas; they are awful. They are always in areas which have little to do with the country in which they are situated and usually cater for western kids with little or no interest in where they've come.
It's kind of ironic really. Backpackers are often seen ( and certainly see themselves) as true travelers, open to new experiences, learning from a new culture. The reality, sadly, is that often they have extremely closed minds, only want to hang around with people like them, eat stuff they do at home, get drunk, show little interest in local culture and then move on to the next backpacker enclave. They act exactly like the package tourists they like to vilify, in other words.
Now, if that's what they want to do, well I guess that's OK. Its just the attitude that gets me. The 'I'm a backpacker I live it like it is' assumption is quite often laughable.
OK, OK ....I know not ALL backpackers are like that, many do do some proper traveling even if its just opening themselves up to new experiences. Unfortunately, though, South East Asia (and probably Thailand in particular) does seem to attract an awful lot of the other kind.
1. Debating 'travelling' , 'travel', who is/is not a 'real traveller', how does one do 'real travelling', are we tourists? or travellers? There is no superior form of 'travel'. Most people who are idiots/annoying are like that everywhere. I am not even sure i can bring myself to discuss this point any further for fear of inadvertently joining in and breaking my own No.1
2. Bargaining for a $1 dollar difference in price. I don't mean at markets or places where the price starts off at $50 but ends up at $5. I mean at guesthouses who are charges 35,000 kip a night, will it make a difference paying 30,000 and not 35,000? If you feel like the owner is abit of a con artist or something, don't stay there.
3. Mocking locals
5. Not even knowing 'Hello' & 'Thank you'
i wasn't trying to insult anyone by any means, or tell people to look at themselves first. I'm sorry it was taken so personally. i was just looking at this blog hoping for some insight on the negatives of traveling there and not how annoying other tourists are, but i will look else where. again apologies, im sure your all very friendly and accomodating people.
#22 JessicaBenson3 has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 9
1..Trying to speak the local language and not doing it correctly so you're still not understood. My southern US, ya'll drawl is a real hinderence.
2..Finding out my new state of the art camera I bought in my home country is actually not. Nor could I buy an extra rechargeable "made in China" battery in China.
3..Buying something at a market only to see it in another market for 3 times less
4..Not knowing if a product is real or fake, as in jewelry not $10 Rolex watches
5..Eating something really tastey only to be told 5 minutes later that it's cockroach do do. The all knowing person could have waited a little longer to dispel that bit of information
6..Being overcharged for minor paperwork by my own embassy
7..The realization years later as to how stupid you were when you first started
#23 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
"im sure your all very friendly and accomodating people."
Are you sure? The people here are like people everywhere. I think P.J. O'Rourke said it best "Everywhere I've been, Haiti, Somalia, Bangledesh, Bosnai, South America, people were as like to be swell as to be a jerk. OK, the Somalis and the environmentalists were total assholes."
My own experience is that everywhere in the world, people are people. You'll meet good ones and bad ones, in Thailand, the US, Germany and on Travelfish.
madmac, is there ANYTHING someone can say right?
#25 JessicaBenson3 has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 9
1. Bongo drums for sure, just put them away.
2. Add to that people who travel with guitars and "treat" you to various soft rock classics.
3. Guitar and singalongs with the local young men who are trying to pull, and any misty-eyed tourist
who gets pulled in this way.
4. Backpacker places where everyone thinks they are too cool for school so ignore you until your 31st
night or fifth year in a row visit and look annoyed when you smirk at them, instead of being in awe.
5. Mosquitoes. Or cockrels? Nah, mosquitoes.
6. People that board the plane ahead of their seat row being called and then block the aisle fussing over
the overhead storage ("Dennis, do you think I should keep my coat or put it away? Where did you
put the earplugs?")
7. Rock hard beds.
Gosh, I sound like a right winger! I do actually really enjoy myself, honest!
1. Not being able to save every poor animal that I see
2. Not being able to sleep on public transport no matter how many pharmaceuticals are consumed
4. People who assume that I am an ignorant trend follower traveling on Daddy's money (I wish) just because I am wearing fisherman pants. I spent two years working a crappy job so that I could travel and I dressed this way long before ever traveling overseas.
5. Fish sauce in everything
6. Putting on sunscreen and then sweating... what an oily mess
7. The fact that my backpack seems heavier and fuller every time I pick it up, even if I haven't added anything new since last time
MADMAC - Hadn't heard that expression before!
You know what I mean: cute, local, long-haired lothario crooning along to Bob Marley whilst tourist girl thinks "Oooh he's so exotic" rather than "I'm probably the 18th this month..."
No reason it should annoy me (aside from the Bob Marley) but it does.
Well, that's the next thing I don't get. You come to SEA, land of beautiful, exotic women that are much more difficult to find back in your home countries and who do you socialize with? Other women from your home countries! Talk about bringing sand to the beach. I don't get that at all. It's one thing if you're in a committed relationship, but otherwise???
"It's kind of ironic really. Backpackers are often seen ( and certainlysee themselves) as true travelers, open to new experiences, learningfrom a new culture. The reality, sadly, is that often they haveextremely closed minds, only want to hang around with people like them,eat stuff they do at home, get drunk, show little interest in localculture and then move on to the next backpacker enclave. They actexactly like the package tourists they like to vilify, in other words."
Nokka, I don't think I've ever heard a more accurate, succinct description of the sorts you're talking about!
Also agree entirely about the guitars. Shaydan - that's the unfortunate side-effect - most who wander round in fisherman's pants are that sort, though clearly not all!
And Madmac, I'll be honest - when I first started using Travelfish, I found you so irritating ;) I guess I didn't know what to think of your posts. Now I think you're great, and hilarious :)
Crikey - I've actually only just read the Travel Rants piece for the first time, and can see why you don't agree apart from on the bank fees front! Whatever happened to learning a bit of the local lingo, in particular?
'I’m too lazy to call up someone who speaks a different language and deal with the hassle of basic communication.'
'If the majority of visitors to your tourist economy are Englishspeaking, and if you work in the tourist industry (bed and breakfast,hotel, car rental, restaurant) then please, for God’s sake, learn how to communicate in English.'
"And Madmac, I'll be honest - when I first started using Travelfish, I found you so irritating ;) I guess I didn't know what to think of your posts. Now I think you're great, and hilarious :)"
I can be both irritating and funny Chris. I didn't make up the nick MAD MAC. It was bestowed upon me in my army days, for good reason.
1. Getting harassed by locals to buy products or services that I don't want.
2. Long lines at the airport.
3. Annoying fellow travelers (obese, ignorant, rude ones)
4. Expensive visas/visa fees
6. Language barriers
7. Returning home
You are right Chris, and I shouldn't have included it in my 7 things I hate about "travel" list, as people judging a book by it's cover in no way actually effects my travel experience. I guess I was just trying to point out the contraction in the fact that it's the very people who are proclaiming that all young, fishermen pant wearing travelers have the same personalities, who are judging people purely based on the way that they choose to dress. Seems pretty closed minded on the flip side too in my opinion, and I just don't see how someone else's appearance should effect your travel experience. Furthermore, if you are witnessing these people and their pizza eating ways, perhaps you too are hanging out in the wrong areas?
Ps. Tone of voice is impossible to portray over the Internet, my argument is completely friendly :)
Here's some other things I hate:
1. Being mistaken for a tourist. When I do get to BKK, I'm dying to eat some decent "falang" food, as it is in such short supply here where I live.
2. My wife being mistaken for a bar girl. Man, this one really gets her goat. There is always that rare occassion when we're together somewhere and some tourist feels compelled to comment on the nature of our relationship.
1. People who are clueless and cause huge delays at border crossings
Happened yesterday coming back over the Friendship Bridge from Vientiane. Choice of three queues for immigration exit stamp out of Laos. Naturally I always size them up and choose the one that suddenly has a sizeable group of Thai ladies none of whom has the required departure form. So rather than realise they are delaying a very long line of people who've taken the steps necessary to have the form and passport in-hand ready to go, they get the forms and start filling them out right there, and of course it turns out they have one pen between them so the forms get completed one-by-one. Meanwhile other impatient people begin inching forward and cutting in the line ahead of us and impolite comments start getting passed around. What should have taken about 10 minutes ended up taking nearly and hour with everyone getting quite hot and agitated, and the immigration officials doing nothing to mediate or, to put it bluntly, kick those clueless people to the back of the queue.
Thank you, I've just saved myself a trip to the mental illness clinic. Venting is good therapy.
Hahaha so true, amen - not quite as bad, but similar thing happened when I did my visa run to Cambodia at Poi Pet at the start of the month. Coming back through Thai immigration, an older American bloke is going through with a younger European guy, and the American guy is getting visible irritated at having to wait more than 30 seconds to get waved through. He asks umpteen times if they can't go to the 'border pass' desk, the European explains time and again that no, this is only for those crossing for the day for work or whatever reason. But the American keeps on. Eventually they open this desk up as a general entry stamp desk for everyone (because the other queues are lengthening), so they end up at the front of that queue, and then they get stopped and the European guy, the one of the two who actually seemed to have the faintest idea what he was doing, is turned back because he hasn't been stamped out of Cambodia - and of course expects to be stamped into Thailand nonetheless. No real delay caused to anyone in this instance, as he goes back to get his exit stamp from the Poi Pet side, but still never fails to amaze me how incompetent some people are, haha! How difficult is it to get your head around!? :-)
2. The 15-day-only visa-exempt land entry you now get for Thailand.
It was implemented supposedly to discourage would-be slackers (who can't "afford" a flight) wanting to stay in Thailand indefinitely by just doing a land border hop every month (previously available method) but it has mostly just forced travellers to speed-up their travel plans. I run a guesthouse in Chiang Mai and now more people tend to shallow-out their time here, do quick "everything" daytrips instead of multi-day treks, hanging out longer, eating leisurely at my cafe for several days, becoming part of the "family", having a more in-depth experience, etc. Now they're often forced to move on quickly and it kinda sucks.
1. Disrespectful Tourists - And yes, unless you live there or are on business, you are a tourist.
2. Turkey trots on long haul trips - worst feeling ever
3. Exchange rates - Budgeting for one rate and wouldn't you know it the ass drops out of the dollar 3 weeks before your trip.
4. Scams - its not a good feeling, but i can understand why they do it
5. Sex tourism - self explanatory
6. Passports - $200 to renew those bastards
7. Work - I know its not travel specifically, but i hate having to work to save to go on trips.
"5. Sex tourism - self explanator"
When I lived in western Europe I shared this negative view of "sex tourism". Now that I've lived her quite a while, I realize that the "sex tourists" are doing what almost EVERY LOCAL GUY is doing. If you don't like sex tourists, then you don't like locals.
Haters gon hate
#48 gilfunkel has been a member since 19/10/2010. Posts: 2
My #3 Sex Tourism, yes I have come to dislike it too.
Videos like this show tons of fun and make it look glam (well-made video) but it's really just a bunch of girls/guys/ladyboys pretending you are handsome so they can get money. Not very "sanook" when you get behind the scenes. Better to learn the culture and meet someone on level ground. Sex love trust and money have different meanings/connections here.
As I said in the previous post, that IS an organic part of the culture, and has been for over 150 years. Of course it's changed because Thailand has changed. But to say "better to learn the culture" - as if sex for money wasn't part of the culture - is absurd. Better to say "Learn the rules of the road before you drive". The arguement that it's not very "sanook" when you get behind the scenes is true of many kinds of professions. A lot of work isn't fun - which is why we call it work. For the girls it's a job and part of the job is to generate fun for the customer base.
I don't have a problem with people not participating - hell I don't participate. But I do have a problem with people casting judgements on it as if it were not an organic part of the culture. The VAST MAJORITY of the customers for the Thai prostitution industry are Thai. If you are casting dispersions on the white guys partaking - then you should be casting dispersions on just about all Thai men. Roughly 90% use the services of prostitutes here at some point or another, and regularly if they have the money to do so.
i hate the idea of luggage. I prefer to travel as light as possible and for that i should be super rich guy!
#52 williamducles has been a member since 23/10/2010. Posts: 19