I’ve been trying to break out of my curmudgeonly ways lately, so I didn’t want to write a post about what I don’t like about travel. I also find posts like those obnoxious because most people would love to travel more than they do, problems or not. That being said, there are certain aspects of travel that could be improved upon, that would make travel always a joy instead of the occasional headache.
Note: Sarcasm is used with a heavy hand, so please take this post in the light-hearted manner in which it was intended.
1. Invent teleportation – Almost every Twitter chat I’m involved with has invariably concluded with someone wishing for teleportation to make travel more enjoyable. But would it really? Personally, I am a firm believer in the maxim that getting there is half the fun. I love transportation and boarding a long flight doesn’t fill me with dread, it makes me excited. Unless I’m returning home, then it’s absolutely dread. But I have no doubt that should teleportation be invented people would find something else to complain about. Much like the advent of the microwave, speeding up a process does not necessarily make people happier, it just makes them expect even more.
2. Free WiFi everywhere all of the time – This is a more serious desire and imagine life if this were true. Staying connected while traveling takes up more of my time and energy than I’d like to admit to. It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago staying connected was the least of our concerns when we traveled, that was usually the reason why we left home in the first place. I remember my first solo travel experience in 1998. I didn’t have a cell phone, much less care about staying in touch via email. Once a week I used a pay phone and a pre-paid calling card to call my mom and that was about it. Not many people I knew used their email on a frequent basis so staying in touch that way just wasn’t a concern. It’s hard to say now which style of travel is better.
3. Give everyone as much time off as they want – The average American gets just a couple scant weeks of time off every year and in spite of this pittance they don’t even use all of their vacation time. A few businesses have experimented with giving employees as much time off as they want and so far the model has worked well. Instead of taking advantage of the system and staying at home watching TV, eating cheesy poofs, employees get their work done and take enough time off to have a proper vacation. Not exactly a novel concept, but it has also led to people being more productive and not less.
4. Check in to hotels whenever you want – I can’t tell you how much time I have spent waiting in hotel lobbies waiting for my room to be ready, but it’s a lot. A particular bane when traveling overseas, there’s nothing worse then getting off a long flight early in the morning only to find out that you can’t take a shower or a quick nap for several more hours. I really don’t like the way hotels manage check in/out times and there has to be a better way. I don’t know what it is, but I really never want to spend hours in a hotel lobby praying for a shower ever again.
5. Eliminate other tourists – Sartre once wrote that “Hell is other people,” and I am convinced he came to this conclusion while on vacation. I love travel and it really is my sincere desire for people to get out there and see more of the world, just not at the same time as me. I cringe every time I see someone get impatient with an airline worker or embarrass themselves in a foreign city. More than that I don’t like waiting in lines or being in huge masses of humanity, that takes away from my travel experience instead of enhancing it. Imagine how pleasant visiting the Vatican Museums would be for example if you were the only person there. Or what the Louvre would be like if it was closed to everyone except for you. Yes, the biggest problem with travel is the tourists, so let’s work on eliminating them.
6. Bring back the steamer trunk – Everyone always laments the end of the Golden Age of travel when things were more elegant and civil, so let’s bring everything back including the steamer trunk. Forget about going carry-on only, instead prepare all of your belongings in a convenient series of 20 or so trunks, each one weighing as much as a new car. Nothing says luxury or convenience like bringing enough clothes for six months of travel along with you. Think the Golden Age of travel was so great? Then you won’t mind reliving all aspects of it.
7. Divide planes into levels of annoyance – A while back the Oatmeal ran a comic dividing the modern commercial plane into areas of annoyance and I couldn’t agree more. I’d love to frankly separate children from the rest of the passengers and add some further subdivisions between frequent and occasional travelers. Call me obnoxious if you want, but my patience wears thin fast when people don’t get out of the aisles when boarding or insist on constantly whacking me on the head when walking past with their steamer trunks. I’d love a section of the plane where people get in quickly, don’t bother each other and mind their own business. Oh, and stay out of my yard!
What are some ways you’d improve the travel experience?