Comfortable travel is a tall order

24 Jun 11 07:00AM EST
Post by George Perry

What’s not to love about travelling overseas? The journey, the hotels, different cultures, food and modes of transport all combine for an experience you won’t forget. But there is one thing that makes travelling a little less enjoyable than it should be - being tall.

I’m just over 6 foot three inches, or just a fraction over 190cm if you’re metrically inclined. Not “Oh, my goodness, you’re tall”, but tall enough.

It’s hard to know where to start. Probably the plane trip. I can sleep anywhere, more or less. On a plane – less. I perform my contortions to wedge myself into seat 47J and accept that I won’t be able to read the safety instruction booklet as it is now stuck between my knees and the seat in front. As we take off, I find a place of relative comfort until the passenger in front decides that his stretching out is far more important than me being able to feel my knees.

I always ask for an aisle seat so I can spread out into the aisle, only to be met head-on with a furious looking flight attendant wheeling the trolley at breakneck speed – it can only be stopped by two things: my knee or my elbow.

When we land and all I want is to check-in and have a nice, relaxing shower. I don’t know why but I always think things will be different: arrive at hotel room, dump suitcase, head into bathroom, climb over side of bath into shower (what is that about, by the way?) and turn on the shower – only to be met by water hitting me in the chest. Who put this showerhead in? Do they always subcontract really short plumbers to install showerheads in hotels?

So, I drop to my knees to wash my hair. Turns out I can feel my knees, and they’re sore!

So, I’m out of the travel zone and into the tourist zone. I’m here and I’m now fresh. It’s late so I go to bed. I’ve got a day of walking and shopping ahead. I get into bed and my feet feel resistance. My bed is too short. They’ve tucked the sheets in so tight that my legs are at a forty-five degree angle. I’m wedged. Again. This time in between the bedhead and the sheets which are riveted, it seems, to the end of the bed. But I’m so tired from the trip that I fall asleep.

I wake up and feel fresh (-ish) and I figure that, while I’m away, I’ll take advantage of the strong Australian dollar and buy me some of them fancy American clothes. I go to the biggest flagship stores figuring they will have everything: every colour, every design, every size. Or so you’d think.

I try on my normal size pants which reveal my ankles and so I ask if they have them an inch longer. “No sir, you’re in the ‘big and tall’ range, so you’ll have to go to the online store”. Are you kidding me? The land of the supersize? The land where bigger is better? No long pants?

Of course, there are upsides to being tall. In fact, I’d say the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Studies have shown that you’re more likely to be successful if you’re tall. Tall people can always see the whole movie/concert/match. They can reach stuff on the top shelf. And, perhaps best of all, tall travellers can peer over the other tired travellers’ heads to determine the shortest customs queue.

For more, see our article on the pitfalls for tall consumers. How does being tall affect you? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? What’s one thing would you’d change to make being tall a more comfortable consumer experience?


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