Petite Traveller Problems | The Invisible Tourist

Petite Traveller Problems. Is there even such a thing? Oh, hell yes!”

Another reason I consider myself to be an Invisible Tourist is because I’m quite petite, measuring the perhaps laughable height of 5’2″. In everyday life this is not normally an issue unless I need to reach something in a high cupboard but when it comes to travelling, woah – it’s really a whole new ball game!

From dangling legs in exit rows to sticking your arm up above crowds to take photos blindly; difficulties getting noticed by the bartender in a pub to easily losing your travel buddies because you’re too short to see them among hoards of other people, the struggle is real for us petite folk.

I’ve teamed up with 6 other bloggers to shed some light on the problems we’re forced to face when we venture abroad. If you’re a petite traveller like we are, you’re bound to relate to these #petitetravellerproblems!

What are some Petite Traveller Problems?

My personal favourite: When I was “upgraded” to an emergency exit row on a long haul, 14 hour flight. My 6’2″ travel buddy was ecstatic about this change of fortune, little did I know how uncomfortable I was about to be. The entire time my legs were dangling and aching without having something to rest my feet on. I was unable to place a bag or something under my feet to prop them up, because… it was an exit row. Sigh. Exit rows are actually not beneficial at all for us shorties and are NOT my idea of an upgrade. A petite traveller’s idea of torture, more like!

Petite Traveller Problem #1

Jennifer, Luxe Adventure Traveler

I’m 5’2″. Most airplanes that fly long haul are not made for petite travellers. I can put my bag in the overhead locker, but I can never reach it to get it back out without standing on the seat. Which is frowned upon, by the way. The minute you climb on that aisle seat, flight attendants come barreling down the aisle like linebackers and the other passengers are throwing daggers with their looks of disdain. Definitely one of many petite traveller problems!

Petite Traveller Problem #2

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Lexie, Lexie Anime Travel

One of my petite traveller problems happens every time I travel abroad (especially in Europe). People look at me as though I am a minor. One time I wanted to buy liquor in a shop so I was in the queue with some bigger, taller guys and girls in front of me. As it came to my turn the cashier joked and asked, “Are you sure you can buy this?” I answered yes while grinning. Immediately he changed into serious mode and ask me to show ID to ensure I was 16 years old or more. Remaining calm I offered him my ID and he laughed, stating “You look 15” as he winked. The same scenario happens on flights when I order red wine to accompany my meal. Stewardesses discreetly have to ask me if I’m a minor. Sometimes it’s annoying but it’s the reality when you are petite, people might think you are a minor.

Petite Traveller Problem #3

Mary, A Mary Road

I stand 5’1″ this is somehow decent from someone in the Philippines but obviously too short for the European or Western standard. I think the silliest petite traveller problem I face is being lost in the crowd and losing my friends on the way to the bar or something. When I was in Denmark trying to brave a busy local festival, it was not possible to get out from the crowd without bumping into everyone’s chest (or worse, being nose height to 50 shades of human body odour).

Another problem I don’t personally enjoy is being left behind or the requirement to walk faster. A lot of travellers are much taller than me with such long legs. For instance, if the green light on the pedestrian lane has turned red and I’m in the middle of the road I have to make the split decision to run to other side or just play dead and give up.

Petite Traveller Problem #4

Daniela, The Lost Romanian

I’m 5’3″ tall. In my home country, Romania, I was always considered short. Short for sports, having trouble finding shoes for my size, etc. You ladies know the pain. Moving to the UK didn’t change much, but I’m not that bothered anymore. One of my petite traveller problems happens when I ride a busy bus or overlook a crowd, I mainly see shoulders.

When I travelled to Japan though, it was amazing. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, in reverse. I could find my size with everything! Nobody would tell me to try the kids department. When I looked at crowds, I saw faces rather than shoulders. I was average height all of a sudden. It’s a strange feeling, as you experience what is normal for one culture is different for another. And this applies to everything, even height.

This is one of the “magic” tricks of travelling. It makes the world shrink or expand for you. It makes you realise that “being short” is a matter of perspective and not a fact.

Petite Traveller Problem #5

Nicole, Family With Latitude

I am a petite traveler.  By that, I mean short, 5’1” short to be exact. The thing that is the worst about being petite and traveling though is finding the right backpack. I would love to own a backpack that didn’t slap my thighs when I walked.  I would love it if I could adjust the straps of the backpack to actually have the weight of the pack sit against by back, rather than my butt.  I would love a backpack that I didn’t have to buy in the kid’s section.  A “Hello Kitty” backpack can cramp your style.  Not to mention that most kids’ backpacks don’t have the functionality and durability that I would want.  It is hard to find laptop compartments, extra pockets to store keys, water bottle storage and waterproof covers in the kids section.

One of the hardest things about travelling is moving from place to place with all your stuff.  A great backpack would make that so much easier.  Most backpacks are designed for men.  Occasionally, I’ll get lucky and find one made especially for women. Due to my smaller stature, even those backpacks designed for women are too big.  They are too long and too wide.  Backpack designers of the world, help a petite traveller out!

Petite Traveller Problem #6

Cris, LooknWalk

I’ve been blessed by mother nature with exactly 5’2”. Which, I swear, I try to embrace gracefully. There are, however, several instances when I really, really, really am not pleased with my height or my hate of high heels.

Obviously, the most annoying one is being in tours which have you in rather cramped quarters or ask you to “gather” around something. You know the drill. Someone who is twice as you (both in height and weight) gets right in front. And usually jumping up and down is not the option. So, going sideways is. The most annoying for me was the Hungarian Parliament tour some years ago. I could see almost nothing thanks for my height. In the same category are the concerts. The only difference is that at least I can jump up & down and no one thinks I’m crazy.

The cherry on the cake comes when someone wants to do a group selfie. And they have to try several times before my head shows up in the photo, too!

Petite Traveler Problem #7

Why do we travel if we face Petite Traveller Problems?

I know the ladies here will overwhelmingly agree that our petite traveller problems are always outweighed by the many wonderful experiences that travel brings. Travel opens up your mind, your soul and forces you outside your comfort zone which in turn makes life more fulfilling.

Are you also a petite traveller? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know some of your #petitetravellerproblems we haven’t mentioned in the comments below!

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Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

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7 Petite Traveller Problems You Didn't Know Existed | The Invisible Tourist

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  1. Well it’s not that bad for you ladies but try being a petite man! I am 5 foot 2. It’s impossible to buy trousers off the peg and when you are younger not easy to get a girlfriend. Oh and it takes ages to get served in the pub. And people making silly remarks about “short man syndrome”

    On the other hand you don’t have to worry about paying for extra leg room on planes, and you can nip in and out of all those slow walkers to get to the front of the queue.

    1. Ohh that must be annoying, Alan! We do have to take the few advantages as little wins, don’t we? Haha thanks for your comment!

  2. A nice post for Petite those face problems while traveling. I’m totally agreed with these describe problems. This is Such a good post!

  3. I’m an inch taller than you, but that doesn’t make a huge difference in our experiences. I think the only one of these that I don’t experience is being carded. Apparently, I look over 21 now, that’s a shame! 😉 The shoulders is the worst part. I miss so many things because I can’t see over all the tall people in front of me.

  4. Haha I had never thought about this! But I once almost had my emergency exit seat taken away from me because they thought I looked too young for it – I was like hell no you don’t! To Jennifer – I always stand on the seats to get my bag out of the overhead! People can think what they want, better than my bag landing on someone’s head because I can’t reach it properly lol!

  5. It’s true, I did not know these problems existed. Thanks for shedding a light on these. My wife is 5’6″ and I’ve never heard her say any of this. She just doesn’t like concerts because there’s always that one or five tall guys right in front of her.

  6. I’m not particularly tall, and I always hate when the handle bars on subway cars are placed so high. I’m at full extension to hold onto it, which isn’t particularly comfortable, especially for a long ride. Now that I live in China though, it is much better. Even those pesky subway handle bars are closer to shoulder height. I like that!

  7. I have never thought about this but geez, some of these really stink. I would have an anxiety attack if I lost everyone and couldn’t see them in a crowd!

  8. It’s always interesting to hear about travel from someone else’s perspective! I love those exit rows and never thought about how that extra legroom would actually be uncomfortable for someone who was very petite. I’m with you on reaching those overhead bins, though – especially with a heavy bag. Traveling can definitely be challenging!

  9. Even though I’m not petite, but I also struggle to find the right backpack. Brands really need to design bags for people at different heights. If we can have different sizes of clothings, we should have the same for bags.

  10. Loved your perspective and honesty. I guess the luggage can be a bit of a hassle! Loved your tips too! Backpack from kids section? Loved that one:)

  11. No, I did not know about these problems – since I’m rather too tall then too petite. Always envied petite ladies since I thought they had more space. Anyway, very sweet post – will probably always remember it when I see a petite lady on the plane 😉

  12. I’m 5’0, and I can relate to every single one of these problems.

    I gave up trying to deal with overhead compartments on planes. When I find my seat, I immediately flag a flight attendant or just ask one of the passengers next to me (most of them are relatively happy to help me, especially if they see I’m traveling by myself).

    My feet never touch the floor, like anywhere. I’m 22, but many people refuse to believe I’m over 18.

    EVEN IN JAPAN I WAS SHORTER THAN MOST PEOPLE. Don’t get me wrong, I was super excited to live in Japan for 4 months. Everybody else complained that they had to go up a size or two in clothing in Japan, but I was the opposite. A small t-shirt actually fit me and I didn’t have to go to the kids section to find jeans that were short enough. However, while I found that my lack of height wasn’t as obvious in Japan, I was still on the short end (the average height of girls in Japan is 5’2). This became incredibly apparent when I traveled during Golden Week (the busiest travel time in Japan) and every major attraction was packed. I could never see anything.

    1. Ohhh Kiyoko the pain is too real! Hehe my feet never touch the floor anywhere either. It must have been wonderful for you in Japan finding clothes that fit perfectly, I had the same experience there! It’s one place where you don’t have to worry about getting clothes that are too big and ill fitting when you’re petite. Hopefully you’ll get to revisit Japan during Golden Week and somehow get yourself a better view over other people’s heads! Thanks a lot for your comment 🙂

  13. As a fellow shortie, I feel everyone’s pain – the struggle is too real!! 😛 I somehow lucked out in not having my legs dangle while sitting in places (they are longer in comparison to my overall proportions), but there is nothing more awkward than having to stand on public transport and not being able to reach the handles and hoping you don’t fall over!

    1. Haha oh yes Radhika, those handles are always way too high! I try and stand against a wall somehow, which is definitely not always easy ? Thanks for your comment!

  14. I absolutely LOVED this post – I am a petite traveler, so can 100% relate to all the stories in this post! I am definitely the person who has to stand on the seat to put my things in the overhead bin on planes. I think I’ve done it so many times that I’ve given up worrying what others think. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?? I mean, how else can I get my stuff up there? Alas, if we were wizards and witches we would not have this problem – levitation all the way!

    1. LOL so much yes!! What choice do we have?? Actually levitation would be VERY handy, especially in big crowds! So glad you loved this post, Mae-Gene 🙂

  15. Haha, interesting. I’m not petite and didn’t realise it was a problem. But I suppose all heights have its advantages and disadvantages!

    1. I’m sure you’re right, Eniko! I’ll bet there are a bunch of ‘Tall Traveller Problems’ us petite folk aren’t aware of 😉

  16. I absolutely love this post because I can totally relate! I am 5’2 and people always think I am much younger than I am, I can easily relate to all these petite struggles! Great read!

    1. So glad to hear you loved it, Andrea! It’s a blessing but also a curse sometimes, isn’t it ? Thanks for your comment!

  17. Totally relatable as I have barely reached 5 ft.. hahaha.. Reaching for my things at the overhead compartment and even watching concerts can sometimes be annoying. LOL

  18. Way too real! I’m barely 5’1″ and just got elbowed at a art gallery opening in Rotterdam a few nights ago. When I’m in holland and I sit down on the tram, my feet don’t touch the ground ?

    1. Ohhh I can definitely relate, Alaine! Yes the Dutch are usually quite tall. In Amsterdam I had to hire a kid’s bike because their regular bikes were too tall for my short little legs ?

  19. These are so funny!! I’m pretty tall so I’ve never had any of these problems but it’s interesting to read none the less! I never would have thought of most of these haha! 🙂

    1. Thanks Eryn! Hehe I think when it comes to travelling you tall folk get loads of benefits us shorties have to go without (except legroom on the plane!)

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