At a time of a pandemic sweeping across the globe, we all miss travel. Oh, the freedom we had to just get on a plane or train and arrive at a new destination feels like a fairytale now. Discovering new culture, different food, scenery and people, was bliss. We all miss it. But as they say, the grass is always greener. So while there are a hundred things I do miss about travel, I must admit that there is a small list of things I don’t miss about travel.
5 Things I DON’T miss about travel
1. Getting scammed
Pretty sure I’m not the only person that hates getting scammed. Nor do I crave those feelings of being ripped off or shaken down to pay ridiculous bribes.
I don’t miss those days of sketchy border crossings in West Africa or the persistent attempts to trick me into handing over way too many Chinese yuan to taxi drivers in China. Besides, those guys never won with me. I was always one step ahead of their game.
Above all, the things I don’t miss about travel are the small percentage of people with bad intentions.
However, I’ve always said that the majority of people I meet around the world are good. I still firmly believe this.
Things I DON’T miss about travel – A sign in our Beijing Hotel
2. Eating bad food
There is nothing I hate more in life than eating bad food. It’s my pet peeve. Seriously, it takes me several hours to get over a bad food experience. I know, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit it. But it’s true.
My hatred of eating bad food doesn’t only apply when I travel abroad. It 100% applies when I’m at home in Australia too.
However, the worst food experiences seem to happen to me when I’m travelling internationally. I mean, you arrive in Italy and are expecting to have the best pizza or pasta of your life. And then… oh no, you order something and it is just mediocre! The disappointment!
But there is also another type of bad food. I’m not talking about poorly cooked food, bland flavours, or the overpriced kind. I mean, that’s not ideal either. However, I’m talking about the kind of food that makes you woefully ill.
Things I DON’T miss about travel – Eating bad food
The kind that stops you dead in your tracks. You begin to sweat profusely and waves of heat sweep rapidly over your body. Then, the panic sets in.
Most times, you have no idea where the nearest public toilet or shrub is (in some cases) to get impending toxins out of your body immediately!
Getting ill from bad food really sucks!
I don’t miss the times I’ve endured intense stomach cramps. That gut feeling never ends well, it has to come out.
And when it does it ALWAYS happens when you’re miles away from your accommodation. Highly inconvenient if you need to change your shirt or perhaps get a fresh pair of underwear…or both.
I’ll give you an example of why eating bad food is one of the things I don’t miss about travel.
The bad grilled fish in Laos
The culprit on this particular evening was a whole grilled fish. We were at the night market in Laos. I retraced my steps to pinpoint what I ate earlier to provoke the devil trying to bash its way out of my body (at least that’s what it felt like).
I do remember questioning that grilled fish at the time. It was hot on the outside, yet after a few mouthfuls, it wasn’t. I saw that it was cooked through, but it was stone-cold in the middle. The flesh was kind of tough too.
Note to self: Always follow your instinct. It is rarely wrong.
I didn’t trust my instinct. Stopping right then and there would have been the smart thing to do.
I guess the fish had likely been cooked a few days ago. But, it probably hadn’t been sold for the past few nights. A good chance it wasn’t refrigerated over that time too. Somehow, the fish managed to make it back onto the BBQ every night that week, with the hope that some foreigner (yours truly) is super hungry.
3. The battle of the trolleys at the baggage carousel
I have no control over it. My eyes roll to the back of my head as if on cue. It happens every time I clear customs and make my way to the baggage carousel.
I almost need to psych myself up for it, similar to the way a boxer bounces around before he enters the ring before a match.
Here it comes, my chest tightens as I attempt to approach the carousel. I try to find any line of sight to get eyes on the bags being spun around on the conveyor belt.
It’s way too hard.
This is why.
It always feels like every man and his dog is in this hall trying to collect their bags and it reminds me of feeding hour at the zoo. (clearly, I’m exaggerating here as no dogs are walking around in the baggage hall), but there might as well be.
Things I DON’T miss about travel – Trying to collect bags upon arrival at the airport
Bring on the baggage carousel
Every time I approach the baggage carousel, it feels as though I’ve just entered a circus tent and the main act is on.
People jump up and down as they wrestle suitcases the size of my fridge at home (don’t even get me started about enormous suitcases, that rant is for another time).
Women use anything in their path. It appears that their aim is to create a defence wall. They usually park the trolley up sideways to obstruct anybody who thinks of approaching the carousel.
I’ve seen prams locked in place, children piled high on bags, and even a second trolley being used. Anything to form a barricade around those few metres of the conveyor belt.
This will never change.
This behaviour in airports is one thing that I don’t miss about travel. However, it’s one I’ve accepted that probably won’t change. Therefore, I’ve changed the way I travel to avoid it.
I now travel the world with a small carry-on 40L backpack. I rarely have any baggage to check-in, rather choosing to take it on board with me. Now I don’t need to spend any time at the baggage carousel. Problem solved.
The massive growth of social media, particularly Instagram has had a large impact on the way we all travel today. Has this been a positive thing or not? You be the judge. However, whether we like to accept it or not, travel is different now.
I kind of miss how it was back in the good old days when we weren’t so connected. I like the element of surprise, the spontaneity of not knowing what a place is really like until I see it with my own eyes.
Times are different now
Nowadays, within seconds using our iPhone, we can pull up photos of spectacular cities and places around the world that look picture perfect. You hit the book button on the hotel that looks too good to be true and start making plans for visiting all those hidden gems and beautiful spots you’ve seen on Facebook and Insta.
Things I DON’T miss about travel – Instagram has ruined some places for good
Here is the problem
Upon arrival, the hotel you booked online isn’t at all like those photos you saw online. The room somehow seems a lot smaller than the picture online. Hmmm…
Lastly, when you get out into the city to explore attractions and highlights, you realise it’s going to take much longer to get to than you anticipated. One thing I don’t miss about travel is seeing a queue of people at an iconic photo stop. Have you seen the line for the Louvre before the pandemic? Insane.
A photo posted so many times on Instagram is now the one that everyone must have.
Nowadays, people will go to great lengths to capture the perfect pic. Sadly, some have even lost their lives trying to snap the ultimate selfie.
People spend much longer taking THE perfect photo now. The reason being, they don’t just take one photo these days, they’ll take up to one hundred photos. Just in case.
I can’t do it. I won’t do it.
I’m not one of those travellers that will get in a queue of people to snap a picture.
Sometimes, once you get to said iconic spot, it is puzzling because the water isn’t that turquoise blue that every photo shows, and some random person is trying to charge you a small fee for wanting to take a photo there. Of course, nobody said anything about that part in the Instagram posts.
I’m also not one of those travellers that will hike to the top of a mountain, change into a flowing red dress, slap make-up on and pose on a rock.
Things I DON’T miss about travel – Overtourism. I am over it.
This is another thing I don’t miss about travel. Social media has contributed to turning some beautiful destinations into absolute chaos. Venice, Dubrovnik, and Barcelona are just a few destinations that come to mind.
These cities suffered heavily from overtourism before the pandemic. One reason was due to multiple cruise ships docking here daily. Ships spew out up to 10,000 people onto the streets for a few hours only.
Cruise ship passengers don’t spend much money in port
Reports indicate that most cruise ship passengers around the world spend less than $10 when they dock at a new port. In addition, the strain on accommodating that many people at one time is challenging.
Streets get clogged up with thousands of people shuffling around aimlessly looking for a magnet or tacky souvenirs.
In addition, they’re using public toilets, of which there are never enough. These are problems that affect the locals who reside in these cities. It will be interesting to see how this changes in the future.
While we’re on the topic of social media. Would you like to follow an Instagram account that shows you nothing but the real deal?
CLICK HERE and follow our adventure travel account as we make our way around the world (well, when Australians are allowed out of the country again).
5. Applying for Visas
If you own an Australian, American or European passport, this is probably something you don’t need to deal with too often. Unless you are going to Russia or China. However, on my journey to visit every country, I had to obtain visas for obscure nations and some of the hardest countries to visit in the world.
This was an endless task when we travelled in West and Central Africa.
In hindsight, I’ve no idea how I managed to muster up the patience to continue on the adventure.
At times, it felt as though we spent more time going back and forth to embassies, than exploring actual cities. I ultimately didn’t have a say in the matter. I had to obtain those visas to continue on the adventure.
Are there any things that you don’t miss about travel? Have you been targeted for a scam? Fallen ill from something you ate? We’d love you to hear your travel story. Tell us about it in the comments below.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 186+ countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.