When we think of a perfect vacation, we always imagine sweeping ocean views, sand in our toes and a cocktail in our hand. But not all travels are created equally idyllic and go as smoothly as initially planned. In fact, there are more than one thing that can go wrong or can mess up your blissful getaway. Here’s the list of my biggest travel pet peeves and fears:


I hate selfie sticks with passion. Yup, you heard me right. And yes, I mean it. The New York Times named it as “the most controversial gift of 2014”, while TIME magazine proclaimed it to be “the greatest invention of 2014”. Not sure which camp you belong to, but I find it a bit annoying and distracting to see hordes of people walking around with long sticks. I almost had a selfie-stick phobia attack in the Forbidden City in Beijing. SO.MANY.STICKS. And while I do appreciate the practicality of it, I’d rather ask someone else to take my photo. Of course, to each their own. But if you choose to own a selfie stick, make sure you don’t violate someone else’s space with it, or hit somebody with it because you were too distracted to notice or care.


I’ve talked about it before while discussing my travel essentials for a long-haul flight. When you are confounded to a limited space, suspended thousands of feet above the ground, you might as well have some positive attitude. Sitting too close to the toilet? Not enough leg room? The chicken is under-seasoned and bland? Your favorite movie is not on? Well, guess what? We are all in this together, and as long as the crew is polite and welcoming, the service is good and the pilot knows what he is doing – I really don’t care. And in situations when I do care, there is always a diplomatic way of trying to express your displeasure without making a scene.


I think this might be a universal issue. We all have flown with at least one of those passengers who steal your armrest, violate your space, or kick your seat non-stop. I even had a few cases back in the day, when someone tried to claim my window seat! Not cool!

I also came across this article – a horror story, really – telling how a woman put her feet on the armrest of the traveler in front of her. This is messed up on so many levels. I’m really curious, what would you have done in a situation like this?


Nothing can be as disappointing as arriving to a destination only to find out that it looks nothing like the advertised pictures. It is true of the vacation spots, as well as the resorts or hotel rooms. Thankfully, we now live in an era of Instagram. I like looking up the geo-tags, hashtags and stories of the places where I’m headed to have a realistic expectation. Out of 10 filter-perfect photos there will always be a one to reveal the true face of the place if it has some flaws.


This is a really big travel pet peeve of mine, and that’s why I try to avoid organized tours unless they are private and fully customized. It might be just me, but more often than not, I feel rushed during the group tours. There never seem to be enough time to enjoy the place at your own leisure. In addition, there is always someone who is slower/faster and everyone needs to keep up or stay behind, thus loosing precious time. Being an alpha traveler doesn’t help me either, I tend to want to adjust the flow of the tour, spend less time here and more time there and the lack of flexibility is pretty annoying. Naturally, it’s not true of every tour, as attested by the amazing food tour we enjoyed tremendously in San Juan.


I think every traveler has to go through this at least once during his/her travels. It is nothing but a huge nuisance, that’s why I always make sure to pack a few travel essentials in my carry-on just in case. In my Top 9 Travel Tips & Lessons Learned I told you about an incident where my luggage was opened by the airport personnel and a few items were stolen from it. So, so sad.


I think we can all agree that you can survive in a foreign country without your luggage, as long as you’ve got your wallet! Same goes for passport. Thankfully, it has not happened to me (insert a very loud knock on the wood here), but these are the two items I hold particularly tight during my travels (plus my camera, see the next paragraph).


If you are a blogger you’d understand me oh so well. But even prior to my blogging life, creating visual tokens of my travels was of paramount importance to me. I love documenting the beauty I’m seeing and having something happen to my camera during a trip would be incredibly frustrating and upsetting.


I was once flying to Florida via Charlotte when the blizzard hit the city, and all flights were either delayed or canceled. The stress of figuring out how to fly out of there, and the relief of finally getting on a plane was unforgettable, in the most negative way. On our recent trip in China we had to sit in a plane on a tarmac for almost three hours before we took off. While we, the travelers, cannot help these things from happening, they do take their toll on our travel plans.


I know, I know, I might sound like a spoiled brat, but I think it is fair to expect to get a free WIFI at the airports in the 21st century. I absolutely loved Toronto Airport. Not only did they provide free WIFI, but also gave out iPads to the travelers for free use during layover! Now that’s a superb customer service!

What are your biggest travel pet peeves? 

xoxo, nano

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My Biggest Travel Pet Peeves


  1. What a great article! You’re so right, especially with the Wifi and rushed group tours. It’s the little things as much as the big that make trips feel special and neglecting those can really get under my skin … looking forward to reading more of your writing!

  2. Ugh yes lost baggage and lost passport are huge ones!! Although for me they are more than a pet peeve and more of a terrifying hyperventilating-inducing experience! And love your opening on selfie sticks btw, haha, they are certainly controversial! We went on a desert tour in Morocco with this guy who was OBSESSED with his selfie stick, his poor kids were so embarrassed! When we were on the camels he dropped the selfie stick in the sand and was yelling for the guide to stop the camels so he could get it back. However the guide just pretended he didn’t understand english and kept going aha… I think he was sick of the selfie stick too!

  3. That is AMAZING customer service at Toronto!! Just another reason why the idea of a trip there really appeals! As to the selfie sticks, I hate them with a passion & the way they can make people so blind to everyone else around but the feet on the seat trumps even that – eugh eugh eugh!!

  4. I hate when one person in the tour group has to demonstrate their vast depth of knowledge and take all the guide’s attention.

    Nobody else gets to ask a question because know-it-all won’t let anyone else speak.

  5. Yes to all of these. I have a selfie stick but I can only take it sailing, anything else and no no no! Tours – we had a private guide all round India and it was money well spent!

  6. I definitely agree that lack of flight etiquette is a hugeee issue when traveling. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about the flight, especially if it has been delayed, and then don’t have their boarding pass ready when it’s finally time to go on! Haha

  7. Oooh selfie sticks are so annoying! Mostly because people seem to become completely unaware whilst using them. I think when you put people on planes they collectively lose their manners. Everyone is out for themselves. My pet peeve on planes is the person behind you pulling themselves up using the back of your headrest, and twanging you about in the process. I already find it hard not to spill things down myself! Also, it’s my seat. Use your own armrests.

  8. AHAHAHAHA! I was actually asked by some tourists to take their photos from their phone… on a SELFIE STICK!!!! The horror!!!!

    And I do hate airports sans WiFi. Don’t they know that data roaming can be expensive?! Lol.

  9. Lack of wifi in airports is SO annoying, I agree! I also hate poor in-flight ettiquette. People can be the worst! I’ve encountered some pretty rude travellers on planes and it’s unbelievable how discourteous some people can be toward their fellow passengers.

  10. Oh my god yes to all of this. I purposely make people who spend too long taking selfies with their sticks feel uncomfortable… I’m a blogger and I take photos faster then them hahaha

  11. There’s nothing I hate more than those horrific padlocks left everywhere – it’s just pure vandalism, nothing else. I want to see places as they’re supposed to be seen and not with locks everywhere. Tour groups comes a close second.

  12. Oh man, I totally agree about wifi! Best way to pass the time, catch up on things and get some entertainment when you’re there for hours! I do have a selfie stick and use it sparingly. Mostly when I’m alone and there is nobody to take a pic. I do agree that walking around with one is a bit annoying. I wonder if there have been cases of selfie stick rage yet? ;)

  13. I can’t even describe how much I despise selfie sticks. I hate them with a passion. One other pet peeve I will add is seeing people disrespect places by ignoring the rules. Seeing someone taking photos in the Sistine Chapel or at a tomb where they clearly tell you in 20 languages that no photos are allowed b/c it’s a holy place (even if not to you, it is to them), really chaps my hide. That and seeing people climbing up on statues and monuments right next to the “Please no Climbing or Touching” sign so they can selfie themselves on it while making duck lips. So disrespectful to other cultures and places. Ugh!

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