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Fri Dec 09 01:58:40 SAST 2016

22 ways to make travel more enjoyable in 2015

Oliver Smith | 2015-01-15 09:57:08.0
Those of us who want to admire art - like Renoir's 'Dance at le Moulin de la Galette' - in an atmosphere of decorum would like a ban on people taking selfies in museums and galleries

From an end to the 100ml airport liquids rule to a ban on excessive cushions in hotel rooms, Oliver Smith looks at some changes that would make our travels in 2015 far less stressful

1) No more selfies

So many of the world's greatest attractions are now blighted by the sight of iPad or selfie-stick wielding tourists blocking the view. The 'Mona Lisa' is just one (particularly notable) example. Why not let them all in on one day of the week (call it "selfie Saturday" or something) and let those who want to soak up the exhibits with a little decorum do so for the rest of the time?

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2) The "10-day" break

Don't tell me I'm booking a "10-day" holiday when I leave home during the evening of day one, and fly back on the morning of day 10. That's an eight-day holiday. Treat me like a grown-up.

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3) Reform the car hire industry

In particular a ban on extra charges and insurance being added at the pick-up desk. Rates should be fully inclusive at the point of booking.

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4) Buzzwords must buzz off

The dreaded "staycation" reared its ugly head again this year. The horrid PR word must go, along with "weighcations", "floatels", "flightseeing", "twixmas" and "spafaris".

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5) Cheaper parking

Leaving your car at the airport is notoriously expensive. A report in 2012 even claimed that parking a plane can be cheaper.

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6) Passports incorporated into smartphones

If we can land a spacecraft on a comet I'm sure we can work this one out.

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7) An end to the liquid ban

Two years ago we were assured that the 100ml liquid rule's days were numbered. But still we cannot pass through security with a proper supply of suncream and our own bottle of water. And that's despite experts like Chris Yates, a respected consultant on international security issues, saying: "I'm not sure airport security has ever stopped anybody from doing anything, anywhere." And isn't it time they invented a way to scan luggage without you having to remove your laptop first?

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8) Happy airline staff

Cabin crew are, almost without exception, unfailingly cheerful and welcoming. Isn't it time ground staff and security personnel developed such enviable people skills?

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9) Bag bother

 Low-cost airlines must find a better solution to the problem of crowded overhead bins. Forcing half of passengers to put their carry-on bag in the hold just isn't good enough - especially when you realise there's plenty of room once you've climbed on board.

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10) Drinking fountains

Some airports, and even a few airlines, now supply fliers with free drinking water - why not make it mandatory?

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11) Gadget ban

OK, this one won't have everyone's backing. But did not TS Eliot say that it's the journey, not the arrival, that matters. That journey is hard to enjoy when your neighbour is playing Bejeweled Blitz and listening to Taylor Swift at full volume.

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12) Quiet flights

More child-free sections on long-haul planes, with state-of-the-art sound proofing.

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13) No more reclining seats

On short-haul flights at least.

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14) Paperclip armrest

Changes to plane interiors usually revolve around making life more luxurious for premium passengers - and cramming as many people into economy class as possible. How about one that reduces tension? This simple design was unveiled last year - now it's up to manufacturers and airlines to back it.

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15) Wing headrests for all airline seats

Etihad has them in economy - it should be the norm for all airlines - especially on long-haul. A tiny adjustment that will make sleeping easier and prevent awkward moments.

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16) Wi-Fi charges at hotels

There's been huge improvements in recent years but still hotels persist in high fees. This year we even found one charging up to à 300 (about R4000) a day for its speediest service.

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17) Confusing lights in rooms

Rip out every single automated lighting gizmo and replace it with a switch. Tip: a spot near the light in question is known to work well.

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18) Slip-up

Stop giving us one-size-fits-all man-sized gowns and slippers. It's the 21st century.

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19) Hotel check-out

It shouldn't be until 11am at the very earliest.

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20) Cushion overload

 It might seem petty but almost no one wants to wrestle their way past a mountain of cushions to be able to get into bed. In fact, a survey last year found that 84% of respondents want hotels to ditch them.

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21) Mini-bar prices

Why do so many continue to charge eye-watering amounts? Nobody will pay R200 for a miniature bottle of Bell's. So why not cut it to a reasonable amount and actually enjoy some sales?

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22) Pretentiousness at restaurants

Surely 2015 must see the death of foams, smears and unnecessary squiggles of sauce. Not forgetting the newest one: "soil". Just stop it.

 

- © The Telegraph

 

Contributions from Teresa Machan, Johnny Morris, Charles Starmer-Smith, Lizzie Porter, Adrian Bridge, Ben Ross, Nick Trend and Jolyon Attwooll.

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