I love to travel…it’s probably obvious to most people. I travel a lot (for someone living in the US). But, when I’m away there are some things I really, really miss…especially when traveling internationally.
Obviously…Family, Friends, and My Furry Kids
It goes without saying I miss my family, dogs, and friends depending on how long I’m gone and if I’m traveling internationally. When I’m traveling within the US, I can still call them regularly (ok…maybe not my dogs). But, with internet and apps galore staying in touch has never been easier.
Guaranteed Hot Showers
I’ve taken many cold showers while traveling. Sometimes the hot water just isn’t available in third-world countries (or in short supply). Other times traveling with others can cause a hot water shortage. Yep…Galapagos I’m talking to you here. For some reason I frequently ended up taking a shower towards “the end” and was thanked with shivers.
Strong Water Pressure
Anyone with long, thick hair like me will get it. Water pressure while taking a shower is lovely, but when you have long, thick hair it’s a necessity. My poor hair just isn’t the same when I travel. Combine that with a location in which I’m spending long periods of time in salt water and it’s a real disaster. I often get my hair corn-rolled and braided just to avoid the frustration. When I got home from my recent trip to Belize I washed my hair five-six times in the course of two days and it was still several days (and washes) beyond that before it started to “feel normal” again.
Generally I don’t like to take more than a week’s worth of clothes no matter how long I’m gone. I find starting my shower in clothes that need to be washed a good way to get by. In Central and South America, it can be quite inexpensive to get laundry done…washed, dried, and delivered. Other times I’m tracking down a washer and dryer where I’m staying. Even so, clothes get worn several times between washings. Add a humid climate and the stank starts to settle in. I never would have thought I’d miss my washer and dryer so much until I started traveling more.
Two-Ply Toilet Paper
The horrors of one ply toilet paper. I just don’t understand why this stuff is still manufactured and in my experience used a lot commercially (restaurants, hotels, etc). Do they really think I won’t just double up on my usage? This is a major pet peeve to me and I look forward to coming home to my two-ply every time.
Reliable and Inexpensive/Free Internet Access
Over the years internet access has improved significantly and becomes less of an issue each time I travel, but it’s still not reliable all the time and can even be a bit pricey. Interestingly enough, I’ve never paid for internet in Mexico, Belize, Ecuador, or Peru. However, I’ve had to pay for it in the US, New Zealand, and Australia. Why is it free in poorer countries?…I don’t get it. In Australia one hotel wanted $22AU per day. I ended up paying $11AU per day since I signed up for their rewards program. Starbucks is my go to “free” internet access provider in the US, but in New Zealand and Australia I got a code that only worked for 30 minutes per purchase.
My Cell Phone
Not being able to use my cell phone when I travel internationally sucks (although it’s freeing as well). It’s amazing how reliant we’ve become on these devices…calls, texts, Facebook, directions, etc. When I travel my cell phone gets set to airplane mode before I leave the US and doesn’t get taken off airplane mode until I’m back in the US. While I’m traveling it becomes a fancy alarm clock. Sure I can get a local SIM card, but that would require me to have Verizon unlock my phone, find a retailer to purchase a SIM card, and even then it’s only local so it’s not like I can call home. If I traveled full (or near full time) I would definitely do this, but it’s probably a good thing to be without my cell phone for several weeks/months per year.
Good Burgers and Pizza
Am I the only person who’s almost afraid to try burgers and pizza when traveling internationally (with obvious exceptions for places like Italy for pizza). I once tried pizza in Belize at a place that was touted as being the “best pizza in ABC” (it’s the only pizza place in the area, so just protecting their reputation). The owner was so proud of his crust. I don’t know who voted it “the best”, but it tasted like glue crust with mediocre meat and sauce on top. He boxed up what I didn’t eat so I could take it with me. I “accidentally” left it behind. The next day I was walking by, he stopped me, and said “Oh…you forgot your pizza last night. I put it in the fridge for you. Let me go get it.” My immediate thought “Crap” and then I disposed of it as soon as I got out of sight.
A Good Salad
It might be hard to believe, but it’s not easy to get a good salad…at least not in places like Mexico, Belize, Ecuador, and Peru (all places I’ve visited in the last five years). Sure…they have lots of delicious fruit and some good vegetables, but lettuce is really a cold weather vegetable. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy either.
Last but not least, I miss good old fashion ice tea. I’ve tried ordering ice tea in other countries…it’s always different. I like just plain, unsweetened, black ice tea. I don’t want any “fancy” fruity flavoring. And, in some places the ice can be questionable so there really is no point in ordering. You better believe that the minute I land in the US I search out a Starbucks.
I’m sure I missed a thing or two. What do you miss when you travel internationally?