No, Karen. They Don’t Have Your Brand of Bottled Water

Travel diarrhea, lost baggage, shady hostels-oh my!

These are the best parts of travel, amiright?

I’m actually only being half-sarcastic. The super crappy (often times, literally) parts of travel are always the most memorable.

My memories of The Rainbow Hostel in Dingle, Ireland are some of my fondest, and not just because I didn’t contract hepatitis. But, said memories do have something to do with a coed shower room.

(Hang tight for a blog post about this gem.)

I’m the kind of international traveler who realizes that when traveling in another country, THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE MY FAVORITE TOILET PAPER AND THAT’S OK.

Also, I realize that my accommodations might not be decorated to my tastes and the free continental breakfast might include gray-brown lunchmeat.


I’m always amazed (but not really, because people) at the kinds of concerns and non-issues people have/had when on vacation.

Whenever you have some time to spare, scroll through some Trip Advisor or hotel reviews. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Here are some “issues” I’ve read about from review and comment sections that are ridiculous with a capital “maybe you just shouldn’t travel”.

1. Complaints about decor:


Maybe I’m missing something, but do people really go on vacation for the sole purpose of staying in a well-designed hotel room? For example, do people want to see France only if they can stay in an all-white hotel room?

Balthazar, I am not going to Scotland unless we stay in a house that is all tartan. And, when I say “all“, I fucking mean if the carpets, wallpaper, and coffeemaker aren’t tartan, it will ruin my entire fucking experience!”


So, why are these people filling up the review sections with gripes about the decor in their accommodation? ALL I want to know is if it’s decently clean and bed bug-free. THAT’S IT.

You also don’t need to tell me you found a pube on the bathroom floor. I would like to know, however, if you found any kind of hair in supposedly clean sheets. That’s just nasty.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nice hotel room or house rental, but if how it’s decorated can make or break your entire trip, how about just stay home?

Our gorgeously hideous London hotel room. Sure, none of the furniture matched and their “AC” was a stand fan, but it was close to a tube station, was affordable, and they folded our towels on our bed fancy-like.

2. Food options:

How can people be so unaware that they don’t realize beforehand that a place like Myanmar maybe won’t have a drive thru Taco Bell? This is totally my own made-up not-so-exaggerated exaggeration. But still.

I’ve read about travelers complaining about India having curry, and expecting to find a Mexican server at a Mexican restaurant in ITALY.

Read more of these idiotic and true traveler reviews here.

When I went to the U.K. for the first time I ate cheese and tomato sandwiches literally every day. Only a few times did I deviate from my newfound comfort food. I chose this option because it was (is) freaking tasty as hell and also because I’m not very adventurous, food-wise. I knew ahead of time to be prepared to eat different foods. Instead of complain how a different country from mine had different foods (shocker), I found new foods that I could enjoy without activating my gag reflex. It’s really not that hard.

My mother swore up and down she found the last and only jar of mayo while in England. It was found dusty and alone on a top shelf in a tiny shop. My good friend professed that not a bottle of ketchup could be found anywhere on the British Isles. Naturally, I had to take photographic evidence of their LIES.

3. Expecting things to go your way and ONLY your way:

Another thing that really chaps my lips (I don’t like the phrase “chaps my ass”, because when does an ass get chapped? And, chapped lips are the worst) is how too many travelers don’t leave their stubborn ways at home.

When you’re in another country, with an entirely different culture, maybe you won’t necessarily have experiences that are exactly how you experience life in your home country. In fact, I know you won’t.

One of these differences I learned the hard way was how some English toilets flush. After a long flight and no comfortable bathroom time, it was no surprise that when I got to our hotel room in London, it was go time. When it came time to flush, it just was not happening. Thank God my boyfriend at the time figured out that pumping the handle did the trick, because having to call down to the front desk for help flushing my plane poo, would have been embarrassing.

Actually, now that I’m thinking, that would have made an even better story! Damn.

So, I learned that many of the toilets I’d encounter required pumping. No big.*

(This same toilet also tried to kill me when I sat down on the seat and went sailing off the base of the toilet, because it was just sitting there, not attached at all. And, you don’t see me complaining.)

If you check out the above link, you’ll read about people complaining how a beach was too sandy and how Spain has too many Spanish-speaking people. You’ll read it and instantly feel better about yourself. You’re welcome.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, if your outlook is so cloudy and full of shit that you can’t enjoy the weird/funny/exotic experiences you will have when traveling abroad, why even do it?

Just splash the hot and cold together to get warm (Sage advice from a friend). Duh.

So, unless you’re complaining about travel diarrhea from tainted escargot, lost or tampered with baggage (because there ain’t any way to make that a positive), or filthy, insect-ridden hostels, maybe check yourself before you wreck yourself. Your absurd review could end up on the next “Ridiculous Travel Complaints By People Who Suck”.

The person who sat down next to us, took her gum out, placed it on this ledge to eat her chips AND THEN LEFT IT THERE is totally Karen’s weird cousin, Gayle. She for sure complained about the hostel’s lack of trash receptacles.

This is the first in my Travel Tuesday series in honor of my upcoming trip abroad this summer. I can’t wait to share some travel stories, tips only idiots need, and much more! Buckle your seat belts and ready your barf bags, people. We’re bound to hit some gnarly turbulence.

*British friends, was I imagining this or are many toilet flushers pumped to get the toilet to flush?

Author: fattymccupcakes

Just a thirty-something girl trying to love herself the way she is: fat, rolls, cellulite, and fabulousness.

89 thoughts on “No, Karen. They Don’t Have Your Brand of Bottled Water”

  1. This list is also accurate for people who want to live abroad. If you read many expat blogs, you get a ton of how much they miss home and how everything is so different and not like home. Why on earth did you move to another country??? I love the differences. The food, the people, the toilets, everything is a little different and that makes life fun! (And toilet stories ARE VERY memorable!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I just don’t understand that either. Moving abroad is exponentially a bigger commitment to immersing yourself in new/different culture than just travel. Why, if you know you’re kinda stuck in your ways, would you put yourself through that? My belief is these kinds of people have no idea they are stuck within themselves. Zero self awareness πŸ™„.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m giggling at your toilet stories! I think you got a dud loo flush that time… or it was an atomic poo!
    And the seat not being attached… an anomily!
    But we look forward to the arrival of the McCupcake!!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Hilarious!
    Most of my funny travel stories have a ‘toilet’ theme lol!!
    My sister works for a large Travel Agency in the complaints department, we have weekly chuckles at peoples complaints! Some of my favourites… the woman who was sexually assaulted by a dolphin and someone else demanding a refund because the pyramids of Giza were smaller than she expected.

    I’ve come across a few toilets that need some extra pumping but don’t I think its normal lol!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. OMG these people give me murderous thoughts. I could care less about the decor. All I need is a clean, comfortable bed and a clean bathroom. No, I wouldn’t care about the lost and lonely pube on the floor. It’s a fucking bathroom. I would care about a dirty toilet for sure but a random pube? For fuck sake, people have too much time on their hands. Things need to be more or less in accordance to what I was told and what I paid for but that’s about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I understand that there are some things you just NEED. Frivolous, stupid things. I’m a terribly picky eater, for example, so if I go somewhere, I really, really hope I can find a place that serves chicken strips. But, here’s the thing: if there is something I just absolutely cannot live without, I BRING IT FUCKING WITH ME. If I’m not sure I’m going to like the food somewhere, I throw a couple bags of beef jerky and a jar of honey-roasted peanuts in my bag. It’s probably not the most healthy, but I acknowledge that starving will probably ruin my trip, so I decide to take precautionary measures to ensure that doesn’t happen. It’s on me, as the traveler, to do the research on where I’m going.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Okay, so when you’re in London, you often have to be careful of the dodgy plumbing! Especially (for some reason) if you go to the theater or a show. The loos in the West end are often terrible! It’s normally a bit less bad in people’s homes…

    Although, I lived in a host family in Cambridge when I was at school, and they had a carpet in the bathroom. I did find that pretty weird…but speaking to other international students, they all said their host families had carpeted bathrooms too! Maybe it was a thing in 1980s Britain!? It’s gross anyway!

    Other than that, I’m with you on people complain about strange things! I used to notice it a lot on yelp! People would give the London Eye a bad review because it was cloudy! Or get mad at local chip shops because the staff are from Poland, rather than the charming cockney-folks they expected!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! People actually complained about it being cloudy when they went on the London Eye?! Like it can control that πŸ™„! Good to know about the toilets in London!!! My ex’s mom has carpet in her bathrooms 😱😱😱!!!


  7. I like to think I am well traveled but I still pack some comfort snack bars from the states. My last beautiful hotel was newly renovated in Mexico but had no hot water – it was still fab! The menu, however, was full of Deer and Beef Tongue – that’s when the snacks come in handy…😁

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The farthest I’ve ever traveled was Iceland. Spent 6 months living in Keflavik when Hubby was stationed at Grindavek. Loved the people, the food, (except for fish gills…made Hubby sick), the culture, the whole experience. Would have loved to stay longer.
    Looking forward to your travel stories.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m positive you’d love it. I was able to experience long summer days, daily walks to the fish market for catch of the day, and the beautiful short winter nights. Experienced my first earthquake there. It was all a wonderful adventure.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. So I’ve been meaning to message you. I just discovered (well, not discovered, but actually tried and decided I love) those Jamberry nail things… and I saw on their website a red double decker bus and big ben “London” pattern. I was like OMG McCupcakes needs these for her next trip LOL

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m getting some for my daughter too lol. I invited you into my friend’s FB party. if you play along with games etc you get put into a drawing (I won the Grand Prize for the party I was in last week with that same consultant πŸ˜€ Dunno what it is yet… but Yay! lol)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. If you decide to order from this consultant this week pick the “Amy’s Beauty Bash” when you check out… she’s my friend hosting a party right now (otherwise I’ll be hosting one late April and I’ll be sure to invite you on FB πŸ˜‰ )

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I’d have to see a photo of said toilet, but whenever I’m in America, I don’t really feel like they’re that different. Oh and most sinks don’t have separate taps in the U.K. now. I think maybe it was an old fashioned bathroom? Anyway, I look forward to your travel tales & tips. And people are fucking idiots- too many Spanish people in Spain?!?!?! Ooh I saw something in a shop today & thought if you- it was a tin of shortbread biscuits, but the tin was a red phone box & I thought how I should’ve sent you that πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right! I really felt SO at home in England, BECAUSE it wasn’t too different, but just enough to be charming! πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§β€οΈ

      OOOOH that sounds so cute! I totally demolished your cookies, but I still have the box πŸ˜‚β€οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ll never understand travelers who don’t at least try local food. They’ll seek out McDonalds for every meal rather than try something new. And Americans who get annoyed if they can’t find someone who speaks English in a foreign country embarrass the hell out of me. If someone came into their US workplace expecting them to know Swedish or Hindi, they’d freak! Come on people – for God’s sake, take a minute to learn a few key phrases and don’t make an ass of yourselves!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OMGGGG! That is the definition of entitlement-the language thing. I’m embarrassed, as well. There’s NO way I’m going to expect English when I’m in Amsterdam. I think it’s just common decency to make an attempt to learn words and phrases you know you’ll need. Come on, people!!

      I agree! I’m not super adventurous, but I’m more than willing to sample the local flavor!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved my trip to the UK. The accommodations were to my liking, which means there weren’t any dead bodies in the room. I don’t ask for much . . . Actually, it was a lovely room from what I remember, but like you said . . you don’t go on vacation to hang out in the room.

    I was going to name my blog “The Entitled Traveler” before I remembered . . I’m not THAT guy!

    Peace, Love and Vacations!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m probably a leetle pickier than you are, but not by much. I’ve got a thing about smells, and the thing about honesty. For the love of your eardrums, do not promise me one thing and expect me to be content with a lesser alternative. (This would be why I spend the extra to book through a travel agent where necessaryβ€”a good one is worth every penny, in my experience.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I agree. False advertisement or embellishment is NOT cool. However, all I truly care about is cleanliness. If some room I get is decorated floor to ceiling in zebra-print, oh well! But, if there is an inch of dust on every surface we have a problem!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I moved to China last year and had to make huge unimaginable changes to my expectations. I’ve vacationed in various Asian and Missle Eastern countries. If your not willing to just throw your expectations out the window and just roll with whatever happens, you’re going to be miserable.

    As for food, I really enjoy the food of most places I have been, but I’ve been in China o long I occasionally want something from the States. The biggest one is Cheese. Cheese (well…all dairy products) is not something that is really consumed in China. Maybe because 96% of the Han clan (which is over 85% of the countries population) is lactose intolerant. So I have to really search for it and then pay a fortune even if I can track it down. But it’s worth it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I totally 100% agree! You really do have to accept that what you think/want it to be like might not be how it’ll be. Rolling with the punches is the best way to experience a trip! Also, I couldn’t live without cheese!!!! 😱😱😱


  15. I’m totally with you on all of your travel tips here, even though I’ve been abroad just a handful of times. The BEST part is definitely experiencing the culture you’re in – even the weird, gross, and awkward times warrant great conversation and fun memories. BUT, I do need my sleeping places clean. I don’t like smelly bathrooms, moldy walls, or hair in my bed (as you had mentioned). I’ve actually stayed in the dirtiest hotel room here in MN, not traveling abroad, so you never know where you’ll encounter them. I can’t wait to read more about your travels. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Where oh WHERE is the ‘laugh-out-loud’ button? I was once on a plane home from Paris and overheard a fellow passenger whining that he could hardly wait to get home to the good ole U Ess of Ay so he could have a Big Mac. Now he would be happy because they have Mickey D’s there. But he probably wouldn’t like those Frenchie buns. Or something.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. When I was in France as a late teen, I struggled with the food. Our teachers left us alone with our French families for about 4 days straight and my French wasn’t great enough to have/understand the full conversation. Not being able to have conversations left me feeling isolated and home sick. At least visiting England, there won’t be that language barrier. When you said something about ketchup not being on the entire island, I almost deemed that a deal breaker, vowing never to visit England but then your picture saved me. I need my ketchup.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL!! Was it an exchange program?? The exchange program in the US requires the students to be English proficient to prevent that isolation issue!
      Honestly, I wasn’t worried about the ketchup issue, because I just packed a crap ton of ketchup packets in case! Never needed them!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. LOVE travelling, and being exposed to other cultures and their loo habits is the best. I was never comfortable in Kos (the Greek island) a few years ago because that don’t want you to flush toilet paper as their sewers cannot cope. So every toilet has a little bin next to it to place your used paper. They were usually little metal pedal bins. It was wild! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the same case in Mexico!! SO MANY of our students’ families continue to dispose of the paper in trash bins, because…I’m not really sure. Either they aren’t aware that our sewers can handle the paper or it’s just habit. Either way, almost weekly, the feminine waste receptacle in the girls’ bathroom is smeared with poop, because someone is still putting their poo paper in it after we’ve assured and urged them all to flush many times!!! GAH!


  19. I just commented and seemed to lose everything so I apologise if this is a double comment, but I worked as a travel agent for 10 years and all the stupid crap you see people complain about in those viral emails… it’s all true.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think you commented twice, so you’re good. I hate when that happens to me, btw-after thoughtfully preparing a great comment and, POOF! Gone! Gah!
      You know, I questioned the validity of some of those complaints, but then I remembered all of the ones I’d personally come across and realized they are absolutely true. Thank you for confirming it as well!! People just amaze me! I’m sure it was never a dull day for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Right now my adult son is working on an expansion of our cities waste management plant. He refers to it as the poo plant. There isn’t a day that goes by that some poo story comes up. It seems to be my lot in life lately. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Sawat dee toon yen.( goodevening) Please too much sand on the beach…No loo roll down the loo here and no pumping the flush a bowl of water and a squat toilet is all you need unless it is down the garden in the pitch black and you don’t know what visitors are in the Hong Nam (toilet) Welcome to my home and I also miss cheese but not that often and the yummy Thai food makes up for that most of the time…Your post made me smile so thankyou πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  22. A notorious uncle in my family sat down to watch the Miss Universe pageant one year but turned it off because there were too many foreigners in it. This is the same guy who was turned down for military service in WWII but considered driving from Kentucky to Europe to see what was going on.
    Imagine how much worse it would be if he really had traveled. And needless to say it doesn’t run in the family. My favorite travel experiences have been the things I didn’t plan for, and it’s fantastic that you can find the bright side to terrible toilets.
    Although I did eat at McDonald’s in Moscow, but only once, to have a Beeg Mak with cabbage.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Oh this is so funny and so true! Why do people go on holiday abroad and spend their time round the hotel bar and swimming pool eating burger and fries? I love seeing how other nationals live, what they eat and my idea of a shopping expedition is to find a local supermarket and marvel at all the interesting ingredients!

    Mind you… I did once read that some American (sorry) tourists in London were concerned about the drought conditions (really?) as the River Thames was so empty….. The tide was out…..

    Liked by 2 people

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