If you travel with other people, chances are you’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of being annoying. When you’re in close quarters with people for days, there’s bound to be plenty of annoyances. Here are some things that I’ve done to others or others have done to me, or a combination of things I’ve experienced traveling in a group. We can always learn from our mistakes, but chances are, each one of us will always find a way to be obnoxious to our travel buddies (at least once during the trip).
1. Start a conversation every time someone starts reading. Every time you see someone get comfortable, open their book and start reading is the perfect time to ask them about what they want to eat for lunch in five hours. It’s also a good time to ask if they want to get up and walk around the airport. It’s also a good time to give them a summary of what you’re reading. Give them the plot, characters and spoil the ending of the book you’re reading as they’re trying to read theirs.
2. Don’t use the bathroom when everyone else does. What your mom used to tell you when you were a child, “even if you don’t think you need to go, just try” has no business in adult world. You simply say, “Oh I don’t need to go” when you’re stopped. Then once everyone is settled in the car, wait ten minutes and then inform everyone it’s time for you to go. Make sure to inform them that you “can’t wait”. If you want to really annoy people, refuse to use certain gas stations and fast food restaurants. Have one or two places that you will use (like Exxon and Wendy’s) so that the driver can drive around in a panic looking for one of those places while you yell, “Omg! I have to go soooo bad! Be careful over the bumps! My bladder!”
3. Trash the hotel room the second the person goes to the bathroom. When you arrive at your destination, while everyone is using the bathroom, this is the time to unpack all of your bags and put stuff on every surface, closet and chair. That way when they walk out, it looks like you moved in and there’s no room for them to unpack their stuff.
4. Bring up politics the last leg of the trip. When everyone is tired, exhausted and ready to go home, this is when you ask people their political views. Ask them who they voted for, tell them who you voted for and then try to persuade them that their politics are wrong and yours are right. For added effect, after someone changes the subject, change it back to politics.
5. Tell everyone the drive is only 3 hours, when it’s actually going to be 8 hours. When you’re planning out the itinerary for a group, inform everyone that it’s only a 3 hour drive. Then, double-check your work after you’ve booked all hotels, rental car and flights, and discover that Google was wrong and it’s actually 3x longer than you thought. Then let everyone know the day before you leave, when there’s nothing you can do about it.
6. Be vocal about all the things you hate about the trip. This works best if you can point out the obvious things that everyone else is also experiencing but trying to just patiently deal with. This will not only keep you irritated, but ensure that everyone else is irritated. Say things like this: “This corn chowder sucks. I ordered it because you did, and it’s the worst soup I’ve ever had.” “It’s so cold. Omg I’m freezing. It’s so cold. I didn’t realize how cold I would be on this winter trip.” “How much longer is this drive? I’m so tired. I just want to go to bed. I don’t want to be in this car, this drive is taking too long.” “What music is this? I hate this band.” “We have to wake up at what time!? I guess I’ll just try to go to bed early, because I definitely didn’t realize we had to get up at that time because I didn’t read any of the itinerary.”
7. Sleep in the car so everyone else has to be quiet. As soon as you get in the car for the 12 hour long drive, get your pillow out and fall asleep. Stay asleep for hours on end so that everyone else can’t listen to music, talk or do anything but wait for you to wake up. For added effect, when you wake up, be in a bad mood so that everyone has to continue to be quiet so they don’t make you more upset.
8. Be on your phone the whole time. While everyone is having a conversation, be on your phone. Then when someone asks you a question, say, “What was that?” about ten minutes after they asked you. When the group has to make a decision about something (like what they’re doing about dinner) make sure to be on your phone and not participate. Then once the decision has been made, bring up your scruples about the group-decision after its already been settled while you were busy on your phone.
9. Start a new diet right before the trip. The perfect time to go on a new diet is when you’re about to go on a long trip. That way it will be impossible to find anything you can eat, and you’ll be starving, so you’ll be in a terrible mood. (Win-win, actually.) You can also silently, and vocally, judge everyone else eating stuff you wish you could eat, and comment about how bad the food is for their health. “I would never eat that. It’s so bad for you. So much fat in that.”
10. Don’t offer to help with anything on the trip. Always wait until everyone is good and frustrated and shouting, “are you going to help or not!?” before offering to help. Don’t be proactive and see if you can help load the car, navigate the road or pick out a restaurant. Let everyone else figure it out until there’s a big blow up and then you can offer your services.
I hope you found these things humorous. If you did, that means you’ve done these things or had these things done to you. I try to be aware of how my actions affect others on a trip, but “nobody’s perfect”, so sometimes, I’m the annoying one.
Here are two pictures from our trip to Italy 8 years ago. If pictures could talk, they’d say, “I was annoyed and being annoying during this trip.”
My official travel tip is to be as considerate of others as you can. If everyone does that, the trip should have less annoyances! (Not annoyance-free, of course, but maybe less.)