By The Duchess, 21st May 2015

The Neurotic and the Rebel

Why I Hate Travelling with My Husband

Why I Hate Travelling with My Husband

I love my husband. Beyond words. I think I may be one of the lucky few that actually enjoys spending time with my husband after nearly 10 years together. I say this because the time we share together is now more precious than ever. Because now he travels for work… a lot!

Two weeks out of every month he is not under my feet with his annoying habits. He is in another country bothering someone else with is incessant complaining and constant chain smoking. So when he returns, tired and having missed his wife looking after him and making his tea each night, he appreciates me and all the little home comforts he has.

This week he decided he had missed me so much that he wanted me to join him on his next business trip. I was so excited. How nice to spend some proper time together… Alone… Without kids and responsibilities. We could act like teenagers in love again.

Hell yes I’ll come with you! Book the flights and pack the suitcase and we will leave right now…

Hang on, wait… Shit. It just dawned on me… That means I have to get on a flight with you!

Now I was beginning to think up excuses as to why I couldn’t go.

The kids need me – No. Mum will look after them

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I have work to do – You can write from anywhere, bring your laptop

It’s cold, it’s winter, I’ll freeze over there – I’ll buy you a new coat, gloves and I’ll keep you warm.

Shit, he had thought of everything.

I wanted to spend time alone with him. It had been a stressful few months and we needed “us” time. The fear was not that I didn’t want to spend time with him, it was that I dreaded travelling with him.

You see, some may describe me as a control freak and others may class me as a little OCD, either way, my personality clashes with that of my almost horizontally laid back husband. My need for laws, rules and regulations clashes with his need to rebel against authority. Travelling together is a nightmare, we are officially known as The Neurotic and The Rebel.

In the days leading up to us leaving I could feel the panic attacks already brewing.
Had he booked the flights? Had he booked the hotel? Had he arranged transport to the airport? Were the clothes clean and ready to be packed? Yes, I knew we had 4 days before we travelled, but what if something happened? Someone got sick… We forgot… Anything. Better to be safe than sorry.

My husband knows what I’m like, yet he still waits until the day before to book the hotel, and he still waits until the hour before the deadline to check us in online. He enjoys watching me act like a ‘nutter’ and delights in telling me to “chill out” – knowing those words make me act in the exact opposite manner.

The first major hurdle – the night before we leave. My clothes for the journey are laid out ready for the morning. I know they are because I have checked 50 times to make sure my matching knickers and bra are there. Just in case… You know… I wake up in the morning and forget where my knicker draw is.

My suitcase has been packed, emptied and re-packed again three times. I’m taking hand luggage, which adds a little more stress as I check and double check the size with a tape measure against the dimensions online to make sure I am within the guidelines and weight limit.

My handbag has been emptied and re-packed. My liquids containers are cleaned, checked and placed in neat clear ziplock bags (the ones I pick up from the security area each time I travel and store at home for the next time. Yes, I am that organised.)

Andy Rennie
Andy Rennie

The flight is at 7 am, which means we will be leaving at an ungodly hour of the morning. So I check, double check and triple check the alarms are set. I prepare all of this at 7 pm the night before, get into my pjs and am in bed for an early night by 8 pm.

Where is my husband during all of this? In his office still working.

Then I get “where are my jeans darling? The black ones with the stitching on the pockets? I need to wash them to take with me.”


We are leaving this house in less than 8 hours and he wants to do washing? An hour and a half for the wash load, an hour and a half for the tumble dryer – that’s 11 pm. Ok. If I put them in right this second I should be able to get them washed and dried and packed before midnight, giving me around 4 hours sleep.

As I huff and puff around the bedroom looking for his damn jeans I see him sniggering from the corner of the room.

You’re a fucking asshole.

“Chill out, Babe. I was kidding. My jeans are clean, I have them here. I was just messing with you.”

Where is your suitcase?”

Of course he hasn’t packed it yet. Why would he! My blood is now boiling.

I can’t look at him packing his suitcase. His happy relaxed demeanor just pisses me off even more. Why the hell is he not stressed? Rolling his clothes haphazardly into the suitcase with no order or explanation. Clothes on top of shoes, socks stuffed down the sides and his toiletries, not bagged, on top of his clothes.


I fidget in bed and he knows exactly what I’m thinking.

“Do you want to pack it? Would that make you feel better?”

Yes. Yes please.”

As we finally climb into bed I check the clocks and alarms twice more, make sure the volume is up and the phone is definitely not on silent. It’s never ever on silent. But I have to check.

I’m just about to go to sleep when my husband turns to me.
“I’ve booked the taxi. He’s coming at 4:15,” he says.


“We don’t have baggage, we have hand luggage. We don’t need to be there two hours early, we only have to go through security.”

“But what if there is a queue? You know that being late stresses me out.”

“We won’t be late. You should be happy. It’s an extra 40 minutes in bed.”

I’m not happy.

The Night time Ritual
We drift off to sleep and at 10 pm I look at the clock and think … I’ll just check once more that I laid out socks for the morning. I get out of bed; check my socks, the pants and bra and my outfit. I check my bag and once more lift my mini suitcase. It feels heavier. Did I put something else in after I weighed it?

Oh for God’s sake. I get back into bed.

Guilherme Tavares
Guilherme Tavares

11:20 I’m awake again. Checking the clock. Checking the alarms and back to sleep.

I go through the same routine again at 12:30, 1:15, 1:55, 2:20 and then I finally just lay there. From 2:20 am I am wide awake and staring at my husband.

When the alarm finally goes off I am utterly exhausted and our day of travel has not even begun!

So Close but yet so Far
On the way to the airport he takes my passport and slips it into his bag. I am having palpitations. I like my passport in MY handbag, in the front zip, where I can rest my hand and check it a million times between the house and the departure gate. Even the thought of watching it going onto the carousel at security, and the possibility of the dark hole somehow eating it up, flashes across my mind each and every time I travel. So the thought of it being nowhere near my reach for the entire journey is starting to break me out in hives.

We pull up to the airport. It’s 5:55 am and our flight is due to take off at 7 am. Shit shit shit. You are supposed to be at the gate 40 minutes before your flight is due to leave, so that’s 6:40 am… which gives us 45 minutes to get checked in and through security before boarding.

The airport we are flying from is relatively small. The cab drops us right outside the door that leads straight to security. It’s not yet 6am on a Friday morning and even the cab queue is small, which means there is likely to be no-one inside at all. It will take us no longer than ten minutes to get through security with our hand luggage and then our gate for our flight is just the other side of security. My husband knows this already because he takes this flight at least twice a month and treats it like getting on a bus. Still, knowing all this, and trying to calm myself down, is making my husband crease in laughter. I am neurotic, I know I am. Just like I KNOW I am a control freak. I know it and I can’t change it. There is nothing at all I can do about my stupid brain and the images and scenarios it is conjuring up, despite the fact I can see – where I am standing next to the cab – that there can be no more than 10 or 15 people in the security queue inside.

Still, we get out of the cab, and I am tapping my foot on the ground while my husband chitchats to the driver. I glance over my shoulder at the queue and have convinced myself that it has grown longer while we’ve lingered outside.

As we stride (well, I stride, my husband almost tiptoes) towards the entrance door, he stops. Yes, STOPS right outside the door. What the fuck are you doing now?! We are almost there. As soon as I am through security I will feel a million times better, my head will stop spinning and I can breath again, so why the hell are you prolonging my pain?!

Ahhhh that’s right… he’s a SMOKER.
Yep. He lights a cigarette and casually stands there puffing away at it like we have all the time in the world, while I watch the clock on the side of the wall, its second hand speeding up with each drag he takes. And when he finishes one cigarette he lights another.


We have the same ‘discussion’ every time we travel. The flight is only four hours. It’s not like he won’t be able to smoke for an entire day. 4 hours is not long at all. He sleeps for longer than that at night and doesn’t get up every couple of hours to have a cigarette! The words are falling on deaf ears and as he stubs out the second cigarette I edge towards the door and he pulls out the packet again.

“If you even fucking think about it, I swear I’ll go without you.”

Insecurities at Security
Going through the line at security, I pull out my pre-prepared bag of cosmetics, my iPad, laptop and my phone. I undo and take off my boots and jacket, checking my jeans (despite the fact I KNOW I have no coins in the pockets, or a belt on… still, I have to check – its almost a ritual) and I am not even at the front of the queue yet. I pull out three separate grey containers and carefully place each of my items into the trays just as it shows on the picture above… Shoes and jacket in one, laptop and phone with my small clear bag of cosmetics in the other and my handbag on its own in the third. I slide my hand luggage bag onto the conveyor and re-check my hair, my belt loops and my pockets, pat myself down, and with a guilty look on my face I pass through the scanners. Smiling at the fact it hasn’t beeped (like I have just received a big red tick next to my maths homework!), I quickly trot over to collect my belongings. Yay. I’m through security. Nearly there.

I look back to see my darling husband grizzling at the security woman as he searches in his bag for his laptop… he KNOWS he has to take it out… he flies this route at least twice a month. But no, he still huffs and puffs at the authority figures for making him do something he doesn’t want to do.

As he steps through the scanner, it beeps. Loudly. And I cover my face with my hands and think… oh God what now… He’s wearing his belt… Yep – despite being told by a security person to remember to take off belts, and pictures up all over the place asking him to remove them, he is STILL wearing it. I swear it’s purely to defy authority. He huffs, takes it off and goes back through the scanners.

I check the departures board.

Our flight is boarding. In big green flashing letters it says, Boarding. Go To Gate. Boarding. Yet my husband, as cool as he is, decides he’s hungry. Eat on the plane. He’s Thirsty. Get a coffee on the plane. No – he fancies a muffin now. GET ON THE BLOODY PLANE. With my boarding pass in hand I think about heading towards the gate myself. But no, he still has my passport…

departures board

Please. For the love of god and the sake of our marriage. Can you please, for fuck’s sake, get on the GOD DAMN PLANE.”

He walks towards the plane then stops 20 meters short of the boarding gate.
“I need a pee.”

He rushed to the toilet leaving me standing with my luggage in hand, a death stare on my face and anger emanating from every pore of my body. I tap a hole in the floor with my impatient foot, the entire 4 minutes and 55 seconds it takes him to get his ass out of the toilet. It takes all my willpower not to go in there and drag him out by his balls!

We board the plane to a sea of grim stares from almost every other passenger sat in their seats, all seat belts fastened and luggage stowed. I nod an embarrassed apology to the stewards and take my seat as quickly as I can. My husband of course spends the next five minutes trying to decide what he will keep at his seat and what he will stow up above. When he sits down I exhale so loudly that I’m sure the captain can hear from the front of the cockpit.

Christopher Doyle
Christopher Doyle

Oh So Nearly There – But Not Yet!
You would think that I would be more relaxed now, right? But no. Not yet. As the plane starts to roll on the tarmac, I make sure that all my devices are switched to flight mode and turned off. My husband, however, is still checking emails. I’m glaring at him and he knows it. I’m trying NOT to say anything but he knows that too.

He slips his hand inside his coat pocket and retrieves his E-Cig.

You KNOW you are not allowed those on here. You KNOW it. The announcement just SAID it”

“They won’t know,” he announces with a cheeky grin. A cheeky grin that I used to love, but right now just want to wipe off his smug face.

I close my eyes, lay my head back and resolve to ignore that last irritation for the rest of the flight. He takes my hand and I look at him.

“Chill out, Babe, we made it. We are going on holiday!”

Yes. We are. We are going on holiday.”

Travelling with my husband is one of the most stressful experiences of my life – but I endure it, because at the other end we get to spend the most amazing time together. Although, after the ordeal of getting onto the plane in the first place, if I didn’t need a holiday before I sure as hell need one now!

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