5 Problems All First-Time Long Distance Travellers Face

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A seasoned traveller lists out the most annoying things about travelling.

Once during the holiday season, I sat thinking and I realised that I could not seem to recollect the last time I was not absolutely thrilled about travelling. The thought of meeting new people, exploring new places and learning about new cultures is always an exciting one. However, every time the moment to actually start preparing for a trip slowly arrives, I am overwhelmed and distressed. I am not someone who has vacationed over the world or has two passports full of visas of distant lands, but I have travelled enough to know that irrespective of how entertaining the whole trip will be, there is definitely going to be a flood of completely irritating details and tasks coming your way. No matter how you are travelling, there are a few issues that test everyone’s patience. Here are five of the most annoying things about travelling:


1. Packing 

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It’s essential, it’s inescapable, and it’s frustrating. This tedious task is basically a representation of your entire trip; no matter how much effort you put into it, it will never be completely satisfactory. If you’ve ever seen an Indian family pack, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. There are never enough sweaters, never enough socks, and most definitely, never enough food!

Recently, I took a trip to Europe. Memories of packing my bag are clearer than the memories of the actual trip. Perhaps this is because the packing lasted longer than the vacation. 15 days, 4 people, and 7 bags; could anything be more out of proportion? The funny truth is that we carried more food than the required number of clothes. We ended up often freezing in the evenings, but as any Punjabi mother would put it, ”Beta, lekin bhuk toh nahi lag rahi na? Bas phir koi nai!”


2. Ill-Behaved Children

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Kids are adorable and amazing, but I do not particularly love them when I’m vacationing. There has not been a single trip where I have not encountered a tantrum-throwing child, whether it is a crying baby on a plane, or a child who insists on swinging from berth to berth in a train. More often than not, it is the fault of their parents. However, this detail does not make their shrill wails any easier to bear.


3. Messy Queues

Queues are taxing in themselves, but when you’re tired and jet lagged, they can be exceptionally frustrating. Additionally, if they are not organised, queues can be the death of you. I remember just how pathetic my experience at the immigration centre at the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam was this summer. To ensure that we don’t miss our flight,  my family had to perform 30 minutes of Usain Bolt level running through immigration and the airport. All this because people could not maintain a simple queue and insisted on standing all over the place.


4. Poor Connectivity

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Being promised free Wi-Fi at an airport and then receiving a terrible connection or no connection at all is sort of like getting stood up at a date. The fact that I am given the false hope of being able to save my data is bad enough, but what adds to this horror-filled scenario is a flight delay. Without a smooth internet connection, how do I tell my followers on Snapchat that my flight is late! How will I upload a hate-post about the airline on Facebook!

On a more serious note, this lack of Wi-Fi could potentially land you in soup too. This one time when I ended up reaching slightly early at the Mumbai Airport, I was required to send in important forms to my school over e-mail. I heaved a sigh of relief when I saw the ‘Free Wi-Fi’ sign, but this relief was short lived. The internet connection was so poor, that my e-mail was only delivered four hours later, when I walked out of the New Delhi Airport.


5. Actually Travelling

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Booking tickets, remembering flight details, and understanding boarding rules are surprisingly complex processes. Sitting in those abnormally small, uncomfortable flight seats for unending hours is a complete nightmare. Things get even worse when you’re slightly above the average height or a light sleeper; if you’re both, I understand the trauma! If you ever end up travelling alone in increasingly smaller economy class like I did a few days back, you would understand what I mean when I say it is just simply exhausting. You cannot make yourself too comfortable, because you are with strangers who may just be extremely judgmental. On the other hand, sleep is dear to you because it is the only way the blasting air conditioner is not going to kill you. I had the benefit of at least being at the emergency exit, or else I may have cut off a limb or two.

In an ideal world, these five problems would be reduced or gotten rid of. Unfortunately, these five problems have become an inevitable part of travelling. But maybe it is their presence that allows us to fully appreciate the mesmerising sunsets, the beautiful buildings, and the delicious food that are part of our vacations. Maybe, without them, vacations wouldn’t feel the same.

Geetali Gupta is a handpicked product of The Bayside Project where we empower the young and the young at heart with the power of storytelling. To become a part of our extended family of unique contributors, call up Prem Madnani at +91 9892913788 or email him on [email protected].

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