We all love to travel. For some of us, it’s a much deserved break/reward from our busy work schedules and the constant bustling from the office to home. For others, traveling is a way of life, it’s what fulfills them intellectually and emotionally.
Throughout the years, traveling has changed in several ways that make booking our airplane ticket just the beginning of our adventure, and sometimes, misadventure. For starters, checking into the airport is no longer as simple as waiving our IDs or passports; from time-consuming security checks, long wait times to board, to other minor setbacks, just starting our trip can be quite the headache.
Once we reach our destination and get settled, we change into our comfiest (and for some of us, trendiest) outfits to hit the town. But sometimes, we forget we’re no longer home and let the culture of clubs, restaurants, and other such establishments take a toll on our satisfaction level. Soon, we start wondering why locals do things a certain way, why things are more expensive, why the nearest Walgreens or CVS is a twenty-minute walk oppose to the two-block stroll like the ones back home. Then there’s technology, which plays a key factor in any trip we take.
This is a double-edged sword for travelers. On one end, we know better than to pack objects like hair gel, sharp objects, water bottles, and any bottle containing more than three ounces of liquid, so we have no one but ourselves to blame when we’re asked to dispose of such belongings. On the other hand, it’s unfortunate when we’re questioned and sometimes forced to throw away gifts we’re bringing back to family members (souvenirs, clothing, European chocolates), most of which they can’t find back home.
This one pertains to people who choose to book trips with connecting flights. We all know that airfare is significantly cheaper if we pay for a flight with a remote layover, but these stops have a reputation that precedes them. A good example of this is San Antonio, which usually entails catching a connecting flight in Dallas or Houston but the harsh weather conditions in these cities cause overnight delays and cancellations. The same goes for traveling to New Orleans, Orlando, and other popular destinations; for those of us looking to save by taking two or three connecting flights over one straight shot, we better be ready to pay extra with our valuable time.
This one is probably an obvious one, but plane food just keep getting worse—and that’s if you’re even provided with one depending on what class you’re traveling through. Some of the biggest offenders include United, Spirit, and JetBlue, all of which offer less than palatable meals and even if you stick to just peanuts and a drink, you’ll probably end up paying a hidden charge. Your best bet is flying with Delta or Hawaiian Airlines, which have improved their onboard meal service to include economy class now. And you still get free snacks, too!
We pack way more than we need, whether we’re going on a business trip or family vacation. Of course, it’s really no one’s business how many t-shirts, jeans, shoes, socks, tooth brushes, combs, and phone chargers we bring onboard—that is until we take up way too much space. We often take up more than one storage compartment, and most of us do so to avoid the extra fees we would pay otherwise to check in our luggage. Talk about cheating the system and everyone else that paid the same amount of money if not more to be on that plane.
As if it wasn't bad enough that we bring so much luggage onboard, we also hold up exits without justifiable reasons. Pilots give passengers more than ample warning (sometimes over an hour) about when the plane is about to descend. We should be able to put away all forms of entertainment and sit tight until landing, ready to exit quickly. But no, we’ll stay on our phones, ready for the moment we get a signal to respond to undelivered text messages—and then we’ll pack everything up and cause a complete disarray for the flight attendants.
This one applies to those of us traveling abroad or with connecting flights. From the moment we walk into the airport, we know we’re in store for an ordeal. From weighing and checking-in our luggage, getting through security checks, the long lines to board, waiting for connecting flights, to the tedious Customs check upon entering our home country, our time at the airport is the biggest drawback of any traveling experience (and this isn’t taking into account some of the subpar and overpriced food options at airports).
Las Vegas is definitely on the overrated spectrum, and it’s all thanks to us. Whenever a major holiday hits, we pack our bags to cross the border into Nevada for the weekend. From clubbing, taking over slot machines, sitting for hours playing Poker, to taking up one-too-many free drinks and belligerently crowding the boulevard, we are rarely on our best behavior during our visit. The problem is—other people actually live there! These same people may just want to give the strip a visit one random weekend, and what do they find? A big mess, all courtesy of us.
It’s not easy being a flight attendant what with being on-call a good majority of the time, dealing with timezone changes, and having an alternating sleeping schedule; now throw in dealing with high-maintenance passengers—that’s a hard life! Most of us don’t give our behavior a second-thought when we ask for countless coffee refills, refuse to follow the simplest of flying procedures, and when we get short with them due to our own frustrations with flying. But as tired and jet-lagged as we may be, it’s important to remember that it’s a temporary state for us—for them it’s an everyday reality!
We do this a lot when traveling and it’s in really bad taste. We’ll go to a restaurant and talk about how the food back home is fresher or more ‘authentic’; we’ll criticize the service staff for matters that are out of their control, we’ll go to the grocery store and complain to the cashiers about the sales tax, like they really have any control over this system. We don’t just make ourselves look bad through this practice, we give everyone back home a bad name.
Traveling offers limitless possibilities. If you’re on a budget, you can simply fill your gas tank and take a mini road trip to a bordering State. For those visiting with sufficient funds, a properly coordinated trip to coveted destinations such as Los Angeles, New York, or England promise the trip of a lifetime. Nevertheless, some of the finest countries and cities in the world are turned into clustered hotspots by us. We’ll overrun the French Market in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, we’ll unconsciously stand over celebrity stars on Hollywood Boulevard, and half the reason why New York has a reputation of being packed 24/7 is because so many of us are there...walking ever so casually as locals are trying to get on with their lives!
There’s nothing wrong with properly packing for a trip, especially a long one, but some of us tend to get carried away and pack every single piece of clothing in our closets; some of us will go as far as packing everything in our room. If we’re willing to pay the extra fees to check-in our luggage at the airport, that’s fine, but a good amount of us don’t and certainly pay the consequences when trying to situate ourselves onboard. Also, this becomes a hassle when we find ourselves doing laundry over enjoying our highly anticipated getaway.
While it’s understandable to want some sort of compensation when hotels lose our reservations and accidentally overcharge our credit cards, some of us will go the extra mile to ensure we get some extra perk from hotels. Whether it’s a free next-time visit, an upgrade from a double room to a suite, to late checkouts, hotels are another system that we’ll reap every benefit from. And who really suffers the consequences? The unfortunate concierge clerk that has to relate our demands to upper management.
Just like we’ll crowd exits, we are equally guilty when it comes to leaving the ground. Whether it’s because we’re running late for our flight, because we refuse to put away our mobile devices, trying to squeeze in every last second of texting until the flight attendants take on a serious tone, or simply because getting our massive luggage into the storage compartment turns into a two-person job, we will do all sorts of small but time-consuming things that hold-up the air crew from finally getting us off into the sky.
This isn’t just at the club —it’s almost everywhere we decide to grace with our presence. Not all of us do it intentionally, but a good percentage will walk into a restaurant or other establishment and expect VIP treatment due to the sheer reason that we’re tourists. Matters only worsen when venue rules are broken, managers are forced to intervene, the service staff is cheated out of a tip, and everyone involved ends up in a bad mood. The solution? A much needed reality check. We’re not back home and even if we were, this type of behavior is inexcusable.
In the grand scheme of traveling, some places are more hyped-up than a worthwhile destination. Some examples include “Hollywood Boulevard,” which only minutes of walking through its crowded sidewalks proves to be a congestion of tourists, aspiring actors and musicians, and designer brand stores that can be found anywhere else. The same applies to the “Third Street Promenade” in Santa Monica, with the exception of more leg space and some added movie theaters for entertainment. Then there’s Las Vegas, which for previously listed reasons is best limited to a ‘once in couple of years’ venture. When traveling nowadays, it’s important to remember what options will maximize our monetary and time investments.
This particularly relates to people living in places like sunny Los Angeles, humid cities like New Orleans, and anywhere known to have generally hot and cold weather. The moment those of us from such areas step out of our element, we begin counting down the minutes until we can call it a day and rush back to our hotel rooms, followed by tracking the days until our flight back home. There’s no real solution to this problem except to pack/dress properly (parkas, trench coats, gloves, whatever keeps in insulation) and to keep the blood flowing by exploring our temporary home on foot.
We often get so caught up on where we’re going to go sightseeing, snorkeling, surfing, and of course—partying—that we forget one of the best perks of traveling: the food. No matter where we go, there’s always some eclectic cuisine of the area for us to delight our taste buds in; Philadelphia: Philly Cheesesteaks; London: Fish and Chips; San Francisco: amazing Clam Chowder; New York: Pizza! But sadly, these drool-inducing foods are passed up in place of fast-food right before heading to the most happening place in town. Talk about missing out!
We do this one no matter where we are; it has started to come hand-in-hand with owning a cell phone. Nevertheless, it’s still kind of, well, embarrassing to always be that person taking a picture everywhere just for the sake of posting it on social media. When it comes to traveling, the 'selfie' trend skyrockets. One thing is to take a picture in front of landmarks such as The Eiffel Tower, The Statue of Liberty, or Big Ben, but let’s face it, we’ll use our vacation as an excuse to take snapshots everywhere from restaurants, our hotel room, to the moment we wake up in our hotel beds—just because we’re on ‘vacay.’
The sad reality is that we don’t even realize we’re doing it; it just happens. From sitting inside out hotel rooms trying to decide where to go for the day, picking out the ‘perfect outfit’ to wear to the club, pregaming for hours before heading out, to sleeping in due to a night of intense partying, we manage to spend a majority of our trips doing absolutely nothing. But for some people, all the aforementioned occurrences make their trip even more special, so to each their own.
In an age when technology seems to run our lives, from getting directions to a job interview, finding restaurant options, and even where we go on a date, traveling without our mobile devices would be unheard of. That’s not just with our smartphone, this also includes every iPhone and Samsung gadget we own, from tablets, MacBooks, iPads, and any other device that helps us ‘capture’ our traveling experience. If only we could learn to take in the moment, the new people, and exciting scenery around us. If only...
Party animal or not, we have a tendency to let loose—fast—when we’re away from home. It’s justifiable to a degree, after all, we’re on vacation from our hectic 9-5 jobs or otherwise demanding profession. But this also puts us in the spotlight amongst locals and other tourists, especially when we start downing drinks at the club, followed by bumping and stepping on everyone around us, and ending with us at the hotel lobby asking for a spare copy of our room key because we ‘misplaced’ it on the floor.
Let’s take a moment to recognize the worldwide all-star of fast-food: McDonald’s. For almost a century now, the Golden Arches have been welcoming consumers of all ages with Big Macs, Happy Meals, and their classic vanilla ice cream cones. For those of us traveling into regions like Europe or Asia, we’ll notice that McDonald’s is a much greater experience than in the States. New Zealand has one Mickey D’s location built inside a remodeled airplane; Paris offers croissants at their McDonald’s locations and even has one location shaped like the Eiffel Tower; South Korea offers shrimp burgers along with other inventive spins to the traditional menu. That noted, we also won’t find a dollar menu at any of these fancy locations.
For those of us who do research before our trip, we have a clear scope of the best restaurants to eat at, the most affordable hotels to stay in, and all the popular tourist attractions to visit (or avoid); but this also works against us when traveling to coveted vacationing spots. Some of us traveling to Los Angeles get so invested in seeing the Hollywood Sign, walking down the “Walk of Fame” and visiting the beaches that we miss East LA’s delicious food stands and taco trucks, coffee shops in Echo Park and Silver Lake, and the developing Downtown Art District. Party-goers looking in NOLA get so comfortable on Bourbon Street that they completely ignore the French-Creole culture surrounding them. And Amsterdam and Ibiza offer so much more than just a 24/7 clubbing scene. These are just some of the many hidden gems we let slide under the radar.
Despite all the saving, planning, and packing that goes into traveling, some of us find ourselves running out of things to do quickly into our trip. Whether it’s because we’re all partied-out, we no longer want to sit by the pool while sipping on fruity cocktails, or because we’re tired of all the walking that comes with traveling, we’ll decide to take a day off to just go to the movies. Some of us will opt to recharge in our hotel rooms over Netflix or a good book. And there’s nothing wrong with engaging in these simple activities if they’ll help us enjoy the rest of our trip.
Some of us can’t wait to check-out of the office, leave all our textbooks at home, or leave the kids with grandpa and grandma so we can get our much deserved break going—but some of us just don’t know how to take a break. While there’s no fault in being a hard-worker, it does cause a problem when our business calls, online conference meetings, or constantly checking our phones for work emails take over time we should be spending with our loved ones and ultimately relaxing!