The Ugliest Travel Behavior, Part I

December 3, 2018

I’ve never witnessed blood being spilled in my years of travel, but some of the behavior in the hospitality industry, on airplanes, and otherwise has been shocking, to say the least. I can’t speak as to despicable stories that go viral like the idiot who climbed the Great Pyramid, anything Logan Paul did in Japan, or even Greenpeace violating the Nazca Lines.

“The Scream part 2” by Laura Lafond

10. Urinating on a seat

This story doesn’t really count if you’re excluding public transportation – and I’m sure stories on the NYC subway could fill several horror novels – but as I saw it firsthand and I was traveling at the time, I suppose it’s worth mentioning. I had had experiences taking Golden Gate Transit buses before to reach my friends in Mill Valley, the worst being a woman taking off her shoes and picking at her feet while a man’s dog proceeded to shed all over my clean shirt.

However, these were nothing when compared with a ride from San Francisco to San Rafael. A middle-aged woman stepped onto the bus, and took a seat. Shortly before reaching our stop, I noticed a liquid forming under her seat; other passengers did as well, and pointed out to her something was leaking (I’m guessing they didn’t think it was urine because she wasn’t reacting at all). In the end, she just walked off the bus without saying a word, leaving the driver to deal with the mess; he had to call for a replacement.

9. Middle school baseball players

In 2015, I was doing a lot of time commuting between San Francisco, Seattle, and LA. One of these trips had me flying from SeaTac to LAX, about 2-2.5 hours travel time. Alaska Airlines was solid, and I hadn’t had any problems so far… until I took my seat and watched an entire middle school baseball team flood the plane.

Imagine the most unruly school bus. Now take those same conditions and put them in the sky. We’re talking shouting, screaming, things being thrown, and coaches unwilling or unable to curb their behavior. I took it pretty well as it was such a short flight, but was dumbfounded when the flight attendants THANKED them for their good behavior at the end of the trip… what horrors have they seen to make them think this was acceptable?

8. Yelling at hostel staff

My six months in New Zealand were some of the most calming and yet adventurous of my life; I was spending most of my time doing manual labor on a Buddhist monastery, with days off in Auckland or elsewhere on the North Island.

As a result, it took a lot those days to make me angry, even when dealing with delays or expenses. One weekend when the Dalai Lama was in the country, I arranged to spend a few days at the hostel in a dorm room. While waiting to check in, I noticed a small group of European men absolutely badgering the hostel staff to the point in which I thought she would start throwing punches: language barriers combined with a lack of compassion led to some frayed nerves on both sides.

When it came time for my turn to speak, I gave her a triple chocolate chip cookie. She sneakily upgraded me to a private room and I avoided the crowds.

7. Snoring in hostel dorms

There is no excuse for this. If you know for a fact you snore, you relinquish your right to stay in a hostel dorm room or any kind of shared accommodation with strangers (UNLESS you inform everyone beforehand and they agree it’s okay). In the same way that no one should be allowed to play loud music at 2 AM, snorers should find another place to spend the night. I’ve thrown quite a few pillows over this, stopping short at buckets of water on the head.

6. Being “interviewed” by Couchsurfers

Now, I understand that Couchsurfing is not a right; I do not feel entitled to a space on someone’s floor even if it’s no inconvenience to them – they own the property, and they can choose who sleeps there. I also understand that New York City is completely inundated with people looking for cheap and free accommodation, and some Couchsurfing hosts may not have the time to respond to every request, and may have to reject the majority of them.

However, when someone toes the line by stating they will be able to host me, invites me over, and then proceeds to sit me across a “panel” of roommates who interrogate me, that’s just disgusting. I was expecting to meet everyone over a few drinks, maybe a shared activity, but instead my presence was treated hostilely, and in the end, they informed me in much the same way a Bachelor contestant gets rejected: told I didn’t make the cut, and sent on my way.

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