Travel pet peeves

Travel pet peeves

When you start to travel extensively you start picking at the small things that others do not notice. Sure it is great to have a free standing bathtub where to soak the day’s worries away but, “who wants a scratchy towel to dry your softened body afterwards?”, wonders Paula, the main voice behind Contented Traveller. Not me!

After spending the last decade on the road I have become quite the “naggy old lady” with some of the smallest things. I almost even look for them as soon as I walk into a hotel room as a measure of the hotel’s service level and attention to detail. The AC always set to Siberian levels, the light switches somehow hidden or requiring an engineering degree and the luggage you left with the valet that you are wondering where, between the reception and the room, it got lost in. My list could go on and on. But am I the only one? You will be happy to know that you need not unfriend me, picky travelers, like picky eaters, abound!

On all fours

Electricity from food

Electricity from food

If there is one thing that supremely annoys me and gets my blood boiling are unpractically and often awkwardly located sockets in hotel rooms. And this is something that can rally all experienced travelers behind. Paraphrasing Alouise, from Take me to the world, “We are talking about high-end or new properties where one needs to squat down on all fours to reach out for the plug that is located behind the bed’s head rest (really?)”. Where are we all supposed to plug the two cameras, one selfie stick, the GoPro, three mobile phones, two laptops and one battery bank? With just one power outlet, you bet we spend our time monitoring charging levels, waking up in the middle of the night to switch electronics and stay at the hotel just a tiny bit longer to make sure we set out fully recharged. To add salt to the wound, as we say in Spanish, it is even more frustrating when the room’s electricity is turned off when you take the key card out. And you were just given one! Room service it is then!

Missing bits and pieces

Some travelers get really wound up with incomplete hotel rooms. Let me explain. Apparently, “tables and chairs at the correct heights are a vanishingly rare piece of furniture in today’s hostels or Airbnb’s”, says Chris, from One Weird World. He continues, “I can understand hostels trying to say the kitchen table is the only place to work, or the twentysomethings can settle into a beanbag chair”, but what about the older folk like me who are starting to sport a hump because of the years in front of a laptop at the height of a bedside table? My back, not Chris’s.

Closet drawers are another increasingly hard-to-find element, says Vicki from The Vicki Winters Show. You end up leaving your underwear and accessories inside your carry on or scattering them around the room’s shelves. “I would rather whoever is designing these room without adequate clothing storage actually thought about that instead of trying to create something COOL.” As you can see, frustration is rampant.

Low tables

Low tables

Another item that seems to be missing in action at some hotels is the familiar in-room tea and coffee making amenity, complains Vanessa from The Island Drum. Not because they are not there but because they are minuscule. Thanks for the kettle and the coffee and tea bags, but please next time, she says, “give me a larger cup and a bit more than just a few teaspoon sized packets of instant coffee, creamer, sugar and a couple of tea bags. This is considered a convenience for the guests, but not only are the cups ridiculously small, any true coffee or tea drinker will usually blow through their daily supply allotment far sooner than any reappearance of housekeeping staff.”

End to end service

Then there are those who care for their complete well being, end to end. For Erin, from family blog Travel with Bender, a happy ending is key. No, really. “When you book a 5 star hotel you are usually expecting a certain level of comfort. A pillow top bed, no mould in the bathroom, luxury bath products and… nice toilet paper. I’ve seen 5 star hotels with L’Occitane toiletries and sandpaper for toilet paper. Why would anyone go to that much detail to make sure people have a great stay to only harm their customers butts with scratchy paper? Major pet peeve. I would like to see all hotels take on a “ply per star” policy. For every star the hotel is, they should have that ply toilet paper!”.


The hippie conspiracy

Grooming seems to be at the top of the list for hotels trying to make traveler’s lives difficult. We have all had to ask our significant others to hold the phone’s camera while we try to finish blow dry our hair without a mirror but shaving is a little more dangerous to be done against a camera image. For self-defined “Struggling Beard Cultivator” Sankeet, from Nomadic Lives, hair grooming is a matter of style. “Why do hotels that cost upwards of $100 per night not have the decency of placing a safety shaving plug in the bathroom?”. Perhaps we have to conclude that traveling enforces a hippie, wash-another-day mentality we are all trying to resist. Tough towels we don’t want to wrap ourselves in, harsh toilet paper we don’t want to use and lack of grooming options to look good. Hotels do it so that we can let our hair down.


Charged for additional items

Charged for additional items

Aside from bedrooms, some hotels do not seem to have evolved with times and they insist on charging for things that should be a given.

We have all been met with the ever surviving WiFi charges, sometimes as ridiculous as $20 per day. Or the annoying room key deposits, despite plastic room cards cost only a few cents (in fact I have a collection at home). It is not so much for the deposit in itself but for all the associated inconvenience that comes with it.

Josh, from Peanuts or pretzels, speaks for all when he puts his hands on his head and exclaims: “Sometimes the deposit isn’t that much, but other times it is, like the 500 Hong Kong Dollars we had to pay last week! The truly pesky part is when you’ve just arrived and it’s late at night. Either you don’t yet have the proper currency, or you have very little (perhaps exchanging what you had from the previous country when you crossed the border). When it’s late and you are tired after traveling, the last thing you want to do is run around in the dark (in a new city) looking for an ATM just so you can get your room key! As if that headache isn’t enough, when you are check out, you might be leaving the country right away and now you have way more currency than you need!” Yes, hotels are out to get us all!

Resort fees on Las Vegas

Resort fees on Las Vegas

The most ridiculous of the charges is the infamous “resort fee” you have to pay in resorts in Las Vegas or Hawaii, tells me Carole from Travels with Carole.  And I find this one completely onerous and shameful. You think you got yourself a really good room deal only to find out at check in that the rate did not give you access to the resort’s facilities and that there is an extra fee for that, which you cannot avoid.

The hotelier’s perspective

I asked a veteran General Manager of an international luxury hotel chain for his thoughts. Are travelers exaggerating?

“Some hotels still charge for things like WiFi and coffee because they make easy money with it, but this practices will soon be rooted out like charging for local phone calls was in the 90s”. On the design flaws and the missing furniture pieces he blames the hotel designers and, “the high costs of retrofitting older rooms from the time when sockets and electronics were not important”.

Remember that time when we had those brick Nokia phones we could only send SMS or make calls with? Their battery lasted for a week!

The “Other”

Some travelers are more forgiving of hotels and less of other travelers. Hannah, from Eat Sleep Breathe Travel, just hates people who jump queues and, really, who doesn’t? In London, Hannah had to queue for 30 minutes to take her chance at getting into Hogwarts. “My worst experience was in Kings Cross Station, waiting to get the iconic photo with the trolly halfway through the wall and the platform 9 3/4 sign. I stood in line, because there IS actually a spot queue, but people just kept bypassing it and jumping in front of others who were clearly waiting their turn. Maybe I’m just too much of a stereotypical polite Canadian but really, is it so hard to wait a couple minutes so everyone can be happy?”. Queue jumping seems national sport in some countries.

Don't jump the queue

Don’t jump the queue

Not enough of us actually get upset at disregards for the environment. I have shared posts on responsible tourism on my facebook page since the year started in the hope that this will bring in more awareness to the topic but there are some simple things we can all do to minimise our impact on the environment. Lucy, from Lucy Smiles away, shares her frustration. “My travel pet peeve is people who flippantly disregard the environment while travelling. You could easily buy a five litre bottle of water and keep refilling (or better yet, filter your water) a smaller one, but sometimes it seems like people are so quick to boast about seeing the world that they forget to look after it too”. Under the mid-day heat of Bagan you just need water to survive but, have you ever thought about bringing your own bottle?

What is your pet peeve? What makes you blood boil?

  • Tamara Wilcox

    Great idea for a post! I feel you on the nonexistent or inconveniently placed outlets in hotels–that drives me nuts! I get super annoyed when wifi is not free. Come on…we all use it all the time. It’s nearly like breathing air; it should be free. I also hate line-jumpers! Or the people who start the boarding line for a flight more than 30 minutes before boarding time. Then, instead of charging my phone and relaxing, I have to get up and get in line, too, if I’m going to have any change of getting overhead bin space!

    • I agree! Everyone works online nowadays. I hate that too, when their own paranoia affects another person’s recharging time.

  • Vyjay Rao

    Yes they are all annoying indeed. One more is the room access cards, many times they do not function and you need to head back to the reception to get them reset.

  • Vicki Winters

    OMG, the photo with the carrot made me spit out my drink:-) Thanks for including me and my pet peeve! Love your photos too!

  • Tangerine Reyes Trubiano

    All are annoying and from years of travel, I agree with you.

  • omg, I HATE the location of sockets in hotel/hostel rooms. Especially in dorms, where there is, additionally, just like one for ten people or so. That’s why I have a portable recharger – best investment ever!

  • Socket locations and how there’s never enough always get my blood boiling. I now travel with a portable power strip to make sure I can charge all my devices and still blow dry my hair! Speaking of which…Can we get rid of this mini-hair dryers? If you have hair that goes past your ears with even the slightest hint of thickness, it will take an hour to blow dry your hair with that little thing. Better not to waste the time! 😉

  • The very first thing in pack in my suitcase is a powerboard. There is no way our family can live with 2 power points when we all have 4 tablets, 4 camera’s 2 phones and a laptop that needs charging daily lol

  • Hahaha! great list. In Europe, I onced stayed in a 8 person dorm with 1 plug outlet. I’m not even joking!!! Also, places that charge for wifi are big annoyances.

  • Drew Seaman

    I hate difficult to find outlets in hotel rooms. I was in one last week where i had to unplug the bedside lamp to plug in my phone charger. That is totally weird and annoying. I also think that it should be normal for hotels to have extra electricity converters because some of us accidentally bring the incorrect ones sometimes!

  • london_unattached

    Sockets/outlets for sure. And drinking water…I stayed in a 3star in Italy a couple of weeks ago with no bar, no night service and no water in the rooms (let alone a kettle!). So, arriving back after dinner and thirsty I was stuck. There wasn’t even a glass in the bathroom so I could pour some tap water. The next Italian hotel was little better – there was water but at a price!

  • Jenna

    Can totally relate to so many of these! I always hate when a place has a lack of outlets. Another one of my pet peeves is when places charge a resort/wifi fee. Just add it into the room rate and don’t try to be tricky! Fun list to read through–sometimes we all need to vent a little 🙂

  • I’m with you on so many of these – and particularly like Erin’s ‘ply per star’ requirement – this should definitely be a rule everywhere!!

  • Christina

    Yes on so many of these! I also hate when the wi-fi in the room will only let one ip address (ie one device) connect to the internet. Really? In our family we have phones, ipads, and a laptop! I’ve already paid for the access why limit to only one device in the room? Arg…..

  • Bernard Tan

    I can totally relate to many of this and I totally hate it when I need to pay for WIFI, I feel that WIFI is so much of a necessity.

  • Cai

    Agree with the first part. I hate it when the socket is awkardly located somewhe makng charging pain in the ass. As well as paid wifi. Its like are u serious. Hate it! Hahaha

  • Karla Ramos

    Very few people talk about the downside of travelling, thanks for letting these out for all of us. We all know that there will always be things like this, no matter where you are in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. I’m so used to it, but sometimes, when you’re really tired from all the travel, it would help to have these amenities “within your reach.”

    • Exactly! I understand some are a luxury, but things like paying for wifi gets annoying in this day and age. Especially if they don’t tell you it needs to be paid for till you get there.

  • Argh! So many of these things are sooooooo frustrating! I just left my hotel today and actually had to unplug the clock to open up just 1 outlet for my computer and phone. It kills me when people charge for Wifi and parking on top of the ridiculously high rate too. These amenities should always be included.
    Mostly though I get frustrated with other travelers. Today I was at the end of a pier in Tampa where locals were fishing and smoking their cigarettes. They left fishing line and cigarettes everywhere! I picked up the trash and threw it away in the VERY accessible trash can while giving the culprits my best evil eye. Maybe it will make them think twice…..but sadly I think not.

  • Christina Guan

    haha I can definitely relate to a lot of these, the first one with the sockets, especially. It can be SO aggravating!! Especially when you have to unplug lamps and things just to have space for a laptop charger so it can reach the bed… grrr!

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