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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Until next time,
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