We’ve all been there. You’re on vacation — or on your way to a vacation — and you’re in a great mood. Everything’s going your way: you made it to the airport/train station on time, you got the seat you wanted, you have no work for at least a week, you’re super psyched to get your tan on. And then … the ultimate buzzkill sits down next to you and harshes your mellow. Well, we’re not gonna take it anymore. We here at Yahoo Travel have identified the worst types of fellow travelers to avoid at all costs — and are giving you a cheat sheet on what to do if you can’t get away.
1. The Grabber. You know him — the guy who grabs the back of your headrest to pull himself out of his seat to go to the bathroom. Thanks. A lot. I wasn’t sleeping or anything. You’d think by now everyone knows not to touch the seat in front of him (or her). Then again, there are still people who, while going through security say, “What do you mean I can’t take my bottle of water? I just paid for it!” If it happens once, give it a pass (although turning around and giving them the stink eye doesn’t hurt). If it happens again, do what my pal Hampton used to do: as they grab your seat, snake your hand back, clawing at their arm, and say, “Oh, sorry, just having a bad dream!”
2. The Megaphone. These are those loud talkers on the train who yammer on the entire trip. No, I DON’T want to hear about your bunions, your cat fetish or your miserable dating life. I like Greg Benson’s method of “crashing calls“ — where he sits next to the person having the loud, public conversation and joins in. Try it, it’s genius.
3. The Stinker. Please. Don’t wear your cologne. I’m not your wife. I don’t want to smell you. But please DO shower and wear deodorant. Again. I don’t want to smell you. And people, if your dogs are barking, wear better shoes. Your bare feet reek. The only recourse in this situation is to overpower their smell with one of your own. No, I am not advocating High Altitude Flatulence, but I am advocating using a small bottle of Febreeze directly on the source of the smell.
4. The Hacker. No — not the computer type. The chest, phlegm-y type. I get it. Sometimes you have to travel when you’re sick. But don’t hack on me the entire flight. I recently sat next to a guy who, in order to avoid coughing on his wife, coughed on me … which resulted in me getting bronchitis. I couldn’t change seats, as the flight was full. Even after the second time I looked at him and said, “DUDE! Come ON!” he still did it. Next time I’m bringing a face mask and Lysol.
5. The Groomer. It always mystifies me why some people wait until the train, bus, or plane to clip their toenails, fingernails, pick their nose or trim their eyebrows. The only thing to do if you are sat next to one of these people is to shame them into compliance by whipping out your cellphone and pressing record while threatening to put it up on YouTube. Kind of like I did with this guy:
6. The Sprinkler. These are the people who pee everywhere but the toilet, thereby making any plane, train, or bus bathroom smell like a midday Porta-Potty at an outdoor concert venue. It’s really not that hard to sit, aim, or wipe the seat down, is it? Sadly, because you don’t catch people in the act, there really is nothing to do but go in armed with some wet wipes, Lysol towelettes, and a nose clip.
7. The Belly. Okay, so you’ve got a gut. I’m down with that. Heck, I have one too. But I don’t want to get up close and personal with it when you reach up to grab your bag and shove it in my face. A well-placed elbow or pokey finger usually does the trick.
8. The Tailgaters. This can be someone who is actually tailgating you in a car (infuriating!) while you’re on a road trip, someone who walks or stands too close on the street, or that guy in the airport who is breathing down your neck to get on or off the plane. Either way, they increase your anxiety level and ruin a good mood. Solution: let them pass you or slow down. As in turtle slow. They will eventually go around you.
9. The Grifter. This is that person you meet while on vacation who seems really nice, very friendly, a lovely person, and … always leaves before the bill comes. Yet somehow they always keep showing up at the bar or your table. Again and again. Either cut them off or, the next time they sit down, say, “Hey everybody! It’s Bob! The next round is on him!”
10. The Drunky McPukelstein. Everyone knows a mean drunk. Or a sad drunk. Or a drunk drunk. You just don’t want them on your vacation. What starts out as fun and amusing usually ends up messy (literally) and annoying. But who knew? Sally looked like she was so much fun when she joined the group … and now she just won’t leave. You have two choices: you leave, or give her one more shot to send her over the edge and get a bellman to take her up to her room.
11. The Sad Sack. Okay, fine. We’ve all been there … we’ve all had our hearts broken, gone on vacation, and moaned about it to strangers. So, let’s have some compassion when others do it to us … to a point. There’s a fine line between sharing and wallowing. And that’s a line that no one wants to be on anyway. Solution: avoid this person at all costs. Even if you have to hide behind a potted plant. This is your vacation, and don’t let anybody drag you down.
12. Anger Management. Those people with tempers? RUN. RUN. RUN. Even if they’re in your party. Nothing will ruin a good time like walking on eggshells.
13. The Clinger. Also known as The Instant Best Friend. That person who may have traveled alone but doesn’t want to be alone. Or the person who sees you are traveling alone, assumes you are a sad sack in need of constant company, and — being a philanthropist — offers himself up as your new best friend. Despite the fact that you’d rather chew your arm off than hang with him.
14. Judge Judy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some (actual) Judge Judy. Fun fact: I watch her at least four times a week. But if you’re on a trip and someone is constantly judging you or others? That’s no fun. In fact, it’s a fun repellant. I like to pull the Irish Goodbye on these people — say you’re going to the bathroom and walk out the back door of the bar or restaurant. Don’t forget your purse.