The inventions that ruined travel

Segway tours. Do you really want to look like this?
Segway tours. Do you really want to look like this? CREDIT: CORBIS/VCG



Are you feeling grumpy today? Perhaps it's the hot weather. A theraputic moan seems to be the only solution...

1. Segways


How did the Segway city tour become a thing? Why would you want to bomb around in such a conspicuous manner on what is essentially a mobility scooter? They are the transport equivalent of a bum bag, guaranteed to make you look like a foolish tourist.


2. Paddleboards


Like a segway on water; just stupid. Fans of Orlando Bloom might disagree.


3. Selfie sticks


Little needs to be said about this narcissistic weapon of Satan. They have tarnished the experience of visiting every major attraction in the world, with their only redeeming feature being that their pouting owners make normal people feel pleasantly superior.   


Go away


4. Waxworks


The cheapest adult ticket for Madame Tussauds, a horrendous temple to vacuous celebrities, is £29. If you don’t think that’s a waste of money then consider this: you can currently fly to Barcelona and back with Ryanair for less than £20. And the National Portrait Gallery, where you can see the marble likenesses of people worth celebrating, is free.


5. Wi-Fi


There are far wider issues at play here. Social media, smartphones, digital cameras, the constant need for connectivity… For many people, travel is now all about documenting and bragging – not experiencing.


The 30-somethings on our desk miss the heady days of the internet cafe, while the 40-somethings long for the renaissance of the postcard, but all of us are depressed by the fact that many people’s first question when arriving at a new hotel concerns not the local attractions or last orders at the bar, but the Wi-Fi code.


Do you really need the Wi-Fi code?
Do you really need the Wi-Fi code? CREDIT: CJG - TECHNOLOGY / ALAMY


6. Trunki suitcases


These “ride-on” suitcases encourage a horrendously lazy attitude towards travel. And while children are supposed to power themselves, 99 per cent are too lazy to do so, forcing their parents to break their backs while pulling them around.


7. Hotel key cards


They stop working, normally at 2am when you’re in no fit state to ask for assistance from the night porter. Proper keys don’t.




8. Tiny tourist trains


Fancy exploring a city on foot and discovering a few hidden corners? Or would you rather sit grim-faced in a cramped trailer, attached to a car disguised as a train, and pulled around like some with a bunch of other glum tourists?


All aboard
All aboard CREDIT: ALAMY


9. GPS


Bring back the art of getting lost.

10. “Smart” lighting

We want on/off switches (or in exceptional circumstances a simple dimmer) located by the door or beside the bed. No “sexy” mood lighting that can’t be fathomed without a degree in codebreaking. The same goes for the bathroom taps – don’t overcomplicate.

11. Luggage wrapping machines

What a pointless and eco-unfriendly waste of time.


12. Wheelie suitcase of every conceivable shape and size

Carry your blasted bag.

13. Google Translate

Learn some of the language – or have fun trying. Don’t just wave your iPhone at that poor Portuguese grocer.

What's the Portuguese for "onion"?
What's the Portuguese for "onion"? CREDIT: ALAMY


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