These are the worst travel annoyances. Here’s how to fix them

annoyed traveler

What are the worst travel annoyances? And is there any way to fix the them, besides staying home?

For Brett Manders, the answer to “what drives you crazy?” is simple. “The carousel cozy-uppers,” he says. You know, the folks who crowd around the baggage carousel after a flight lands.

“I’m 100% certain that your bags will not come out any quicker the closer you are to the baggage carousel,” says Manders, an international airline pilot who wrote the book “Behind the Flight Deck Door.”

The solution – at least to this problem – is simple, too. Some airports draw a line around the carousel and tell everyone to stand back until their luggage arrives.

What are your travel annoyances?

As the busy holiday travel season begins, let’s talk about our travel annoyances and how to fix them. There are no reliable surveys that examine the entire travel experience, from planning to arrival. But you already know what grates against your nerves, right?

Oh, and if you said other travelers annoy you, then you are in good company. A recent poll of British tourists found that they were put off by the behavior of others when they traveled. No wonder we aren’t happy about travel.

Hate to plan? Here’s the fix

Travelers love to hate vacation planning, for example. Rey Alton, a travel advisor with Travel Leaders in Houston, says your anger is justified.

When air travelers go all DIY, they often purchase tickets they don’t understand. “I see this issue arise more and more,” he says. “Basic economy fares don’t allow you to choose a seat, and to upgrade to a confirmed seat assignment can be pricey.”

I think the fix for this problem is pretty straightforward: Make these stripped-down “basic” fares illegal. I mean, who doesn’t fly with a bag or need a seat assignment? Whose plans never change? Not mine!

Meantime, people like Alton – professional vacation planners – are the solution. A travel pro will keep you far, far away from these absurd airline tickets.

Travelers hate lines, too

How about long lines? Do those annoy you? Sure they do. I spoke with dozens of frequent travelers who loathe lines more than anything. “One of my least favorite things about traveling is waiting in line for TSA checks,” says John Linden, a furniture designer from Los Angeles. “I understand that it’s for our safety. Ultimately, that’s a good thing. But no one wants to stand in line for 45 minutes.”

The solution: Hire more agents and add them at the busiest times. But the government moves even slower than those TSA lines, so good luck with that one.

In the meantime, passengers like Linden are applying for known traveler programs like TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR. That should move things along.

Travelers can’t stand travel industry deception

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas now charges an extra $45 per night in resort fees. With taxes, it comes to $51.02.

Travelers want the unvarnished truth. Consider what happened to Lauren Wolfe, an attorney in Washington, when she tried to book a hotel in Florida a few years ago. She discovered that after she selected the hotel online, it added a mandatory $25 per night charge. “I said to myself, ‘This has got to be illegal,'” she told me.

The hotels say it is legal. “Resort fees,” which cover extras like the use of a gym and “free” Wi-Fi, are common in the hotel business. Wolfe started a site called and made it her mission to destroy the fees. And that’s the long-term solution to these unwanted extras. There ought to be a law.

No wonder we arrive exhausted when we’re on vacation

Is it any wonder that travelers arrive at their destination exhausted? It’s the indignities we suffer in transit. That’s what you hate about travel.

The travel industry thinks suffering is a normal part of the travel experience. So it doesn’t hesitate to sell you an airline ticket with stupid restrictions or a hotel room with an outrageous fee. It doesn’t care if you have to wait in a long line. Or if you can’t figure out how to plan your trip online without losing your shirt.

None of this should happen. The travel industry ought to set the standard for customer service. But until they do, at least we know we’re in this together.

How to handle travel annoyances

Take a deep breath. That’s the advice of Christine Scott-Hudson, a licensed psychotherapist. “Your deep, long breaths stimulate your vagus nerve,” she says. That, in turn, promotes feelings of general well-being and safety.

Take inventory of your situation. Put your problem into perspective. Your trip will eventually end. You’ll be home, far away from the stress of holiday travel. Might as well take another deep breath while you’re at it. That’s right. Breathe in. Breathe out. There you go.

Take action. If you experienced something that made you hate to travel, try to eliminate it from your trip. Whether you’re starting a site to protest resort fees, or just avoiding an airline or hotel in the future – do something.

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Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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