You have either been at the receiving end or at the giving end. Truth is you have been at one end.

Travelling with someone is much like living out a marriage. You enjoy your time with the person, you suffer him/her, you annoy the hell out of the dawg. Some are difficult, some are a pain in the ass (pun wasn’t intended, but whatever). Let’s look at some difficult situations you are bound to face when you travel.

On Flights:

The Family Drama

We know you are a big loving close-knit family. All Indian families are. Or at least they like to pretend to be so. And we also know that you haven’t heard of family planning. But don’t rub it in our faces everytime you travel. On a three-hour flight, you take half an hour to settle down. Exchanging packets of chips. Passing over to each other books, headphones, and chewing gums. Fixing your cushions right. Calling out to each other to ask if something else is needed, if everything is all right, sab kushal mangal?

The plane takes off, you fall silent, and we heave a sigh of relief when suddenly you pop up your head in front of our eyes and say, “Excuse me! Could you pass these candies to that little (by no means!) girl over there?”

As soon as the seat belt sign goes off, little children start appearing from every nook and corner. We never realized there so many children on board. Screaming, yelling, laughing, spilling food, pulling pigtails, hitting each other—yes, we all loooved this when we were kids, but not when we are in a plane, and there is no window to throw you out from.

What they say: “Excuse me! Can you swap your seat with my brother sitting there near the toilet?”

What you should say: “Of course, I can also swap wives with him.”

My Seat, My Space

How many times have you had your arm pushed from the armrest in a plane? The passenger next to you might or might not be fat, but that won’t stop him from using all the space he paid for. Just when you had made peace with keeping your arms to yourself, the gentleman sitting ahead of you decides his belly needs more space. You are cornered from all sides.

Nope. You forgot the overhead bin. They chew more carry-on luggage than they can swallow. So that extra handbag will either spill over towards your side of the seat or you will have to lend your space in the overhead bin to them.

What they say:  “I need a little space for my bag”

What you should say: “What if we throw your bag in space?”

We Like to Chat

They need silencers. If they are travelling with somebody, by the end of their flight we would know why exactly Priyanka and  Rahul broke up and why the speaker is suffering from a bad stomach ever since he returned from a trip to Amritsar.

Are you from Delhi? I don’t like this sandwich. Isn’t it too cold? You know I am going for my sister’s friend’s brother’s sister’s marriage. I am so excited. I can’t sleep. You mind if keep the reading light on? Phew!

What they say: “Where are you going?” [To be noted: You are on a Delhi-Chennai flight].

What you should say: “I am going to Kolkata. Will ask the pilot to take a little detour and lend me a parachute when we hover over Kolkata.”

Er…I Need to Go Pee for the Thirteenth Time

Just when you have finally managed to find peace in the 10-hour long flight, and are about to doze off into blissful sleep, a tap on your shoulders jolts you out of your senses. The gentleman next to you wants to go to the bathroom. You get up. After some time, his sweet-looking wife wants to go. You oblige. After some time, you too need to go pee.

There are four reasons for people to frequent airplane loos:

  • 1. They are too chicken-hearted to fly in a plane
  • 2. They downed too many beers before boarding
  • 3. They are just using the bathroom as an excuse to go see the pretty air hostess
  • 4. They are just restless and want to stroll in the aisle
  • 5. If not any of the above, they obviously have poor bladder control


What they say: “Can you move? I have to go to the bathroom.”

What you should say: “Oops sorry, my legs just got numb. There’s no way I can move for the next three hours.”

The Chomp-ers

We know you paid for everything on the plate. We know it’s going to be a long flight. We know you are bored. But for God’s sake, don’t take out that boredom on your food.

They take ages to choose their menu. Choose ten things. Send two of them back twice. And then chomp away noisily enjoying every bite. With too much food on their tray, a little packet of bun falls off to the ground and rolls under your seat. They look at you with a “Please pick it up. My hands are full.” expression.

What they say: Chomp! Chomp! 
What you should say:
Pretend to puke. On their tray.


As Travel Companions: 


They painstakingly list out every hotel, every restaurant, every bus, train and bullock cart – anything that can be booked on your trip. They are the overplanners. Planning is good. Hell, it is awesome. But it can really kill the spirit of a holiday when overdone. In fact, the best holidays are often the unplanned ones.

The typical ‘overplanner’ is often sweet-natured, always cautious, always willing to help. He/she is the kind who as a child sat on the swing first to wipe off all dust so that the younger little sibling doesn’t get his whites dirty. They are the people who plan about planning. Someone like Monica from Friends.

One word. Pain in the neck.

What they say: At 2 o’clock, we will have lunch, and at 2.30 p.m. we will set for Alibaug.

What you should say: For all their good intentions, lock them up in the hotel room in the morning.

Kidding. Talk to them before the trip about how you want to leave room for detours and spontaneous fun. Tell them it’s okay if you get lost, it’s all right if you decide to chuck the trek and head to the waterfall instead.

Being Emo

People are sentimental about travel. Some are overwhelmed. Then there are those who experience epiphanies when they travel. They see it as an opportunity to unravel the deeper mysteries of life. Nothing wrong with that. But they should only travel alone.


What they say: “I think this cloud represents my life—wandering, hazy, volatile.”

What you should say: “Take care. It’s about to burst and wash all the shit of the earth.”

Not Having an Opinion

Steering clear of the overplanners and the devdas types, you finally manage to set out on that adventurous backpacking trip. You wish to explore the land, take a detour, meet new people, go with the flow. Driving down an unending road, you encounter a fork. You ask your travel companion. The answer you get is “whatever you like.”

They are cool with everything. For a change, being cool with everything is not really cool.

Doormat, get a perspective.

What you can say: “I think we should throw you off the cliff.”

What they say: “Okay, whatever is cool with you.”


Littering the place

This is the breed obnoxious to all, and harmful for the environment. They are not responsible, they are not bothered. They throw used water bottles out from the bus window. They litter the valley with packets of chips.

Get an education.

What they say: “Arre yahan fenk de na.”

What you should say: You shouldn’t say anything. You should quietly slip in a banana peel in their bags.

I’m sure there are many more irritating habits to travellers. What’s your pet peeve?

Nishi Jain

Nishi Jain spent some precious years of her life studying English literature, editing novels, and writing newspaper articles. Then one day, as she was sitting under a tree with no branches, a rotten pancake fell on her head from the window above and she had her Newtonian moment. From then on, all she does is eat pancakes, write, and profess fake love to pastry chefs.

Nishi Jain – who has written posts on WAH Blog.