Sunday, 13 October 2013

I Hate Travel

I have come to a point in life where I generally hate travel.  I hate jet-lag, airlines, hotels, the general chaos, bad food at airports, bus travel, lousy trains, waiting, lugging a thirty-pound suitcase, and making all these travel arrangements to work in an efficient fashion.

With the exception Southwest and Iceland Air....I regard almost all airlines as two-star.  They could delay a flight simply because the pilot didn't show up on time.  They could offer you three inches of extra legroom on an international flight for $80.  They make the toilets on most planes just big enough for you to slip your pants down.....but never enough to bend and pull your pants back up.  Entertainment is probably the only thing over thirty years that improved.

Airports?  Most all the food you find is marginal stuff that you wouldn't even feed your dog.  The cost is relative to something in Disneyland....usually fifty percent higher than it should be.  A beer will never be less than $5, and a Coke never less than two bucks.  That fancy hotdog?  It's a minimum of seven bucks and you generally dump it after four bites.  Except for a Snickers....there's really not much to snack on.

Hotel planning these days consume a minimum of an hour.  You decide on the location, then you look at the twenty possibilities.  Prices and stars usually matter, but then the new internet world brings up personal reviews.  A nice place for $80.....you come to note has four recent bad reviews.....bedbugs are mentioned in each one.  The $105 room had negative reviews over breakfast.  The $119 place was said to be overpriced for what they offered.  You eventually venture to a $60 a night room which has only two reviews and both seem happy with it, but they were both truckers.  You shake your head because it used to be simple.

I hate the bag business.  I used to travel real light, then I went to hefty bags, and now I'm back to a 20-pound bag.  The airlines made this a big mess by charging now for every single bag (except Iceland Air).

Waiting in airports?  If they have TV's set up....it's set to CNN, and you usually try to find someplace where there is no TV in plain view.  Folks sit around whining about the travel situation, the stress, the chaos, or someone complaining about a relative coming to pick them up at the final destination in the wrong vehicle (it should have been the big car, not the small car).

If you have been around a bus depot in the last couple of years....it has gone to marginal status.  Homeless guys wander around and pretend to be travelers.  Nutcases come up and start some discussion over where you came from and where you are going.  Some guy will be wearing a boot on one foot and a tennis shoe on another.  Some sixty-year old gal is going to visit relatives over in the next state, and admits that she's never been out of her home county in her life.  The only safe thing to eat is the cheese-and-crackers out of the machine.  The wannabe cop advises folks to stay inside the terminal and not stand near the buses (that's secure territory that only he monitors).

The train terminals?  They are mostly all in parts of towns that you'd never go at night, and you notice that nothing has been painted or renovated since 1974.  A private security guy wanders around but he's seventy years old, and would be more prone to shoot first and ask questions later.

If you arrive in Atlanta, or DC, or Chicago....most of the taxi drivers are all foreign guys with a thick accent.  You use regular English, then you slip over to southern English, and then finally you go to simple phrases....to explain where you need to be dropped off.

Chaos is around every step.  Storms come through and get you stuck somewhere.  Trips are cancelled for odd reasons.  Hotels overbooked.  So you are continually working off a plan "B".  No trip is complete.....unless you already have a strategy ready for bad situations.

Yeah, I absolutely hate travel.

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