by Ellen Blake
Reasons I love to travel
Traveling is wonderful in a lot of ways. I love to explore new places, learn about other cultures and try new foods. My journeys expand my world view and help satisfy my curiosity about other parts of the world. I enjoy getting acquainted with beautiful beaches and leaving bad weather behind. Once I reach my destination, I’m usually very happy and raring to go. I’ve learned not everyone has the travel bug, but I definitely do. The memories created are well worth the expense; I much prefer experiences to stuff. So what’s the problem?
Reasons I also hate to travel
I really hate the actual traveling part, particularly air travel. I didn’t always feel that way. Years ago, airports seemed so special to me. Booking a flight was a big deal. I grew up in a large family that seldom flew anywhere due to the expense; driving vacations were much more cost effective with seven people.
Back then, I found people in the airport were generally cheerful, friendly and full of anticipation about their upcoming journey. These days, airports are chaotic, crowded and understaffed. Lines are long, and travelers are grumpy frustrated. Delays and cancellations are now the norm, rather than the exception. Checked bags do not always reach their destination at the same time as the passengers as a result of all the flight changes. I try to make due with a carryon to avoid luggage getting lost, which also helps to get me out of the airport more quickly than if I have to stop at baggage claim.
My most recent trip, which was my first in three years due to Covid, was a five day beach vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My travel stress started with the packing. As a chronic overpacker, deciding what to bring in my carryon was difficult. I needed only lightweight summer items and nothing too fancy, but I still worried I wouldn’t have enough clothes or bring the right ones. It turns out, I didn’t have enough of the right clothes. I made it work, but wished I had some of the items I chose to leave out.
A friend told me about her compression packing cubes that allow you to pack about 40% more. She absolutely loves them, so I checked the reviews on Amazon and it’s obvious she’s not the only fan of these accessories. A few years ago I tried compression cubes and didn’t like them. They required a blow dryer or vacuum to compress the bag, which was a pain, and the zippers broke easily. These new ones with compression zippers seem much better and don’t require the user to provide the suction. I ordered some of this brand (Taskin) for my next trip and am optimistic packing will be a much less stressful project next time. I’ll let you know how it goes.
The Customs Declaration form
Our plane was full of people age 50Plus. In fact, very few young people were on board at all. When the Customs Declaration forms were distributed I heard grumbling throughout the plane. Most could not read the tiny font on the forms, myself included, even with my multifocal contacts in my eyes. Fortunately, my husband was able to complete it for me, but many on the plane had to ask strangers to help. One positive is that it was comforting to know I wasn’t alone.
For the next trip, I will remember to bring my magnifying glass that I usually carry with me everywhere, but forgot to throw in my travel bag this time. Here’s the one I use as the slide out glass does a great job of making words crisp and sharp. It’s also comes with an optional light that comes in handy, and is lightweight and fits easily in your pocket or bag. I ordered an extra when I returned from Cabo to keep one in my travel shoulder bag.
The San Jose del Cabo International airport
Disembarking from the plane and going through customs were relatively painless. Once we entered the main part of the airport, though, we were literally assaulted by salespeople offering time share opportunities or outrageously priced excursions. We were exhausted and just wanted to get to our hotel.
The first guy we talked to offered us a free ride to the hotel providing we committed to a time share presentation the next day. Sorry, not interested. We moved on to talk to another airport employee who told us there was a shuttle to the hotel was $15, and showed us where to wait. In the waiting area, after some time another employee approached us to explain there are no shuttles after 6:00pm available; it was already 6:30pm. We tried to get information from a few others, but each one gave us a different song and dance, none of it helpful. It went on and on, but I won’t bore you with more details. Long story short, we decided to take a cab for the short ride to the hotel for which they charged us $70. It was a nightmare.
The bottom line
Okay, so travel is a mixed bag. There are definitely good, the bad and the ugly parts. For me, the pros of travel far outweigh the cons. Humans are meant to explore and doing so keeps my mind sharp and my creative juices flowing. The less fun parts are just part of it, and because I love to travel I am working to try to be more patient and accepting of these annoyances. What’s my option? I don’t want to stop traveling, so I need to try to focus on the positive aspects and let go of my angst about the negative ones.
Top 10 Things I Love About Traveling:
|Exploring new places
Learning about the local culture
Understanding the history behind the sites
Escaping bad weather
Experiencing beautiful beaches
Trying new foods
Sampling wines from different countries
Enjoying the change of scenery
Temporarily escaping reality
Creating new memories
Opening my mind to new ways of doing things
Reliving the trip later through pictures
Top 10 Things I Hate About Travelling
Long lines and crowds
Cranky airline employees
Seat mates that talk too much
Crying babies on the plane
Pushy salespeople at the airport
Tiny font on customs forms (and distributed without pens)