7 More First World Problems of a Traveller

Sequels are rarely as good as the original, so on that note I present to you the follow up to a post I did a while back about the trivial problems travellers face. Will it be as good as the original? Was the original even good to start with? Have I run out of ideas? Only the brutal and unforgiving public can answer those questions, so I’ll try not to worry about it.

Water doesn’t stay cold in hot countries

Picture this: You buy a 1.5 litre bottle of water, drink some of it before going to bed (it tastes good, it’s cold) and then you’re stuck with about a litre of warm water when you wake up in the morning. Warm water never tastes good, but even though water is extremely cheap in Asia (and many hot, humid areas of the world) I can never bring myself to waste it.

It’s hard to find good syrup

Pancakes are the classic traveller’s breakfast – the “Banana Pancake Trail” says it all really, but the pancakes being sold to hungry travellers often come up short, and it’s all down to the syrup. Sometimes you won’t even get syrup (I’ve ordered quite a few pineapple pancakes only to find out I had to pay extra to make them eatable). The syrup really does make the pancake – I’ve even heard of some people carrying their own from town to town and I’m starting to think it’s not a bad idea.

Mangoes aren’t always in season

Mangoes are almost the perfect fruit, although their sole weakness is a big one – they aren’t always in season. I was recently in Nepal, and even though mango shakes and lassies were advertised at most restaurants, my enquires about whether I could have one were always denied. It’s a bit of a tease having them on the menu; from now on if a fruit isn’t in season they should erase/cover any trace of it on the menus and advertisements.

Mosquito nets are hard to set up

I’ve had some really annoying mosquito nets over the years – the worst was in a small town in Flores, Indonesia (Moni). I tried for about 15 minutes, but I was either really bad at figuring out nets or it was just too small for the bed. I’ve had nets that have taken me a while to set up, and as soon as I was comfortable in bed I realised I needed some water or something, meaning I had to undo all my good work. A lot of Mosquito nets have holes in them as well, meaning they can’t even do their core job properly.

Lurking (or absent) waiters

If you’re the only westerner in a small town then chances are your presence will be of interest to the general public. It’s ok, but waiters really should be more professional. I’ve had some just stand there and stare at me for the entire duration of my meal (I tried to talk to them but they spoke no English). I had 2 waiters do it to me in Singapore – I don’t even think they blinked. Absent waiters can be just as bad – it’s almost impossible to order food or get the bill sometimes. I’ll give you a tip… try and sit reasonably close to the action, because if you sit on the outskirts of the restaurant waiters will often forget about you (and all of that food you ordered).

Scarce power outlets

Like it or not, electronic gadgets have become indispensible for most travellers. A large number of cheap guesthouses haven’t moved with the times and only offer a single power outlet, or worse yet, none at all. Some people travel with multi plug adapters, which is a pretty good idea if you can afford the space in your bag.

Bus stations and airports are often well out of town

This is a great way to make that seemingly cheap airfare or bus ticket a lot more expensive. Airports I can understand – planes are pretty big and seem to need a lot of room, but having a bus station out of town makes no sense. It happens a lot in Asia; I’m guessing the bus companies have some dodgy deals going with the taxi/tuk tuk drivers to drop unsuspecting tourists miles from their intended destination, and desperately in need of a ride.

Do any of these annoy you? Can you think of any more first world problems of a traveller? Let me know!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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  1. October 30, 2014 at 9:41 am — Reply

    I don’t mind room-temperature water, but it’s annoying when you’re eating out and your soda/beer/wine gets warm. I’m a slow eater/drinker, so it’s a real ordeal. *cries*

    • November 1, 2014 at 7:17 am — Reply

      Haha, you’ll have to start drinking quicker!

  2. Fabio
    October 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm — Reply

    As sequels go, it’s no “Aliens”… But still, nice list!

    What annoys me are the dripping wet toilet seats… Eugh.

    • November 1, 2014 at 7:22 am — Reply

      As long as it’s not considered a Starship Troopers 2 style sequel (non of the actors from the original, straight to DVD and about a 10th of the budget of he first one) I’m happy!

  3. October 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm — Reply

    I don’t mind warm water either, but I do mind warm beer. But they add ice to in Thailand, so that solves the problem. It does take a bit of getting used to though.

    • November 1, 2014 at 7:23 am — Reply

      Yeah I had ice in beer a lot in Taiwan, not really a fan.

  4. November 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm — Reply

    It’s very easy to get cross about things that don’t work, or that aren’t the same as they are at home. But it’s good to be reminded that these aren’t “real” problems!

    • November 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm — Reply

      Haha yeah, I’d take these over real problems any day.

  5. November 6, 2014 at 9:11 pm — Reply

    The lurking waiter/waitress experience has happened to me more than once, often ending with a compliment about my nose.
    It’s been both hilarious and slightly embarrassing!

    • November 7, 2014 at 7:58 am — Reply

      Haha, as long as it’s a compliment it’s all good!

  6. November 25, 2014 at 6:06 am — Reply

    Hahaha nice list. 🙂 I think my personal pet peeve is the bus/train station being out of town – so inconvenient! 😉 That and being unable to get a decent coffee.

    And the power outlets!! One place I stayed recently had plenty, but they didn’t work at all. It took me a day to convince someone to let me use their outlet. Ok, so I was in a rural village on a remote Pacific island that runs entirely on solar and doesn’t turn on the electricity during the day… I still need my smartphone! 😉

    • November 26, 2014 at 12:01 am — Reply

      Haha, well at least you were somewhere nice. I stayed in an awful guesthouse in Khao San Road, Bangkok with no power outlets – it was a bit depressing.

  7. December 6, 2014 at 4:42 am — Reply

    Heh good list. I’m looking forward to my travels round the world but I wonder how many of these first world problems I will come up against!

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