Jill Starley-Grainger’s World Worsts
Name Jill Starley-Grainger
Who? Journalist, editor, web editor and travel presenter. Has written about travel for Conde Nast Traveller, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, The Guardian, The Independent, Food and Travel, British Airways High Life, Ryanair Magazine, Time Out Travel Guides, Footprint Guides and numerous other travel magazines and websites, previously travel editor for Harper’s Bazaar Dubai and web editor for bahighlife.com. Read her blog at uktraveleditor.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @uktraveleditor
Countries Visited 29
1. Worst Airline Ryanair based itself on low-cost Southwest Air in the US, but unlike much-loved Southwest, everybody hates Ryanair – rip-off fees added almost daily, no customer service and clear disdain for passengers from the top down.
2. Worst Airport Abu Dhabi Airport is always packed and chaotic, and the few shops and cafes are tiny and rubbish. Expect to sit on the floor as there are only about 50 chairs for thousands of passengers.
3. Worst Train Meal On the overnight TrenHotel from Madrid to Paris, vegetarians should pack their own. Our ‘five-star’ breakfast? Cold, undercooked aubergines soaked in manky sunflower oil. When we asked for the croissants, toast and cereals our neighbours were being served, we were scowled at and told that since we’d ordered the vegetarian breakfast (must be booked weeks ahead), they couldn’t give us the normal one.
4. Worst Hotel The Travelodge in Battersea, London. It’s looks and feels like a prison – but with worse lighting and surlier staff. Rooms might start at £19, but they aren’t worth £1.90.
5. Worst City for Driving Istanbul – traffic doesn’t move – no matter what time of day. As we were sitting in a cab at 1am, a man with no legs scooted past us using just his hands for walking. Truly.
6. Worst Travel Gadget The microfiber travel towel. After the first use, it’s rock hard and only soaks up three drops of water. Plus, unless you’re hostelling or camping, you don’t need to bring your own towel. Waste of money.
7. Worst Museum The 007 Museum on the island of Naoshima, Japan, is so bad, it’s good. The island is a justifiable mecca of modern art and architecture, but this museum is an anomaly of awfulness. Based on a Bond novel, ‘The Man with the Red Tattoo”, that was partly set on Naoshima but that wasn’t even written by Ian Fleming and was never made into film, this “museum” features handmade models of some of the book’s villains, along with various bits of worthless Bond memorabilia, and a comedy cut-out where you can poke your head through to have your picture taken as Bond and Bond girl being rescued. Actually, it’s brilliant, in an OMG would-you-believe-this-place kind of way.