Friday, May 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Traveler's pet peeves haven't kept her at home

You check into the motel, having agreed to $90 a night, and that includes a complimentary breakfast. You have signed the registration card with your credit card, license plate number, and given a key that may, or may not, work.

Therein lies the first of several pet peeves from a regular motel/hotel patron. It's a list compiled after considerable debate with other longtime, regular travelers in conversation, by phone, and of course, e-mail.

Do they think we don't know that the cost of cold cereal, bagels, green bananas, and coffee has not been figured into the $90 tag? The breakfast is not free.

Complimentary hot breakfasts are being offered more often. This may mean that cups of waffle batter are furnished for do-it-yourself waffle baking. If the waffle bakes up well, we hope the package of syrup will open easily. The waffle trick gets interesting, and very messy when parents encourage their 6-year-olds to make their own waffles. Bowls of hard-boiled eggs were introduced a few years ago, but when were they cooked, and where? I have yet to try one.

Here we go with The List of complaints. Feel free to add some. It always makes you feel better.

Customers can count on a TV set in every room. But how often is a channel guide provided? We have to surf through many channels to find the right one. And when the TV is turned off, it immediately turns on either to the hotel/motel channel or to movies to rent.

The electrical outlet situation is at the top of my list. Once you follow a dusty cord to the outlet, it is often behind a piece of furniture that is hard to move. Pulling out the furniture often reveals thing overlooked in the cleaning. When you get to the outlet, there are already too many cords plugged into it. Because traveling with laptops and cell phones is common now, an outlet shortage is a challenge. We can travel with auxiliary plugs and cords, but for $90, or more, should we have to?

We can expect noise from the outdoors. If the motel is by a highway or railroad tracks, that noise should not be surprising, but there are two in-room noises that can drive you into a sleepless night. The air conditioning and heating system work, but each time one comes on during the night only a very sound sleeper misses it.

The second in-room noise that is frustrating is when the light in the bathroom also turns on a growling vent fan that never stops until the light is turned off.

And it's no wonder an increasing number of people now travel with personal pillows. Generally, hotel/motel pillows are hard and lumpy, or foam rubber that bounces back. Exceptions are the high-end hotels. Wouldn't it be wonderful if upon check-in, the desk clerk asked, 'What kind of pillow do you prefer? Here's a list of the styles we offer.'

The lack of safety bars in the tub and shower is also an issue. Even in rooms that are refurbished to include new bathroom fixtures, hotels fail to see the need for safety bars for seniors, who are, after all, a high percentage of the population.

Shower stalls designed without a ledge for the soap can be a hassle.

So it's a no-smoking room. You reserved it and there's a no-smoking sign on the door. Then why does it smell like a cigar factory?

Most travelers do not expect help with the luggage at the standard motel, but luggage carts are available if other guests in their rooms are not keeping them. Which guests? No one knows.

But do all these complaints keep me from traveling? Absolutely not.

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