Home > Famous Travelers > Daisann McLane’s World Worsts

Daisann McLane’s World Worsts

Daisann McLane

Name Daisann McLane
Who? Writer, photographer, and (as yet undiscovered) calypso singer. Daisann writes the Real Travel column for National Geographic Traveler and just won the North American Travel Journalist’s Association’s first prize for best magazine travel column. Her book, Cheap Hotels (Taschen)  won the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for best travel book of 2003, for what the New Yorker describes as “glimpes of urban excitement and exotic tranquility tinged with the inevitable sadness of transience.” She has worked as a staff writer for Rolling Stone and penned The Frugal Traveler column for The New York Times.
She now splits her time between Brooklyn, New York and Hong Kong — where she recently started a private food tour company to help travelers avoid the Titanic pitfalls of badly translated Chinese menus. Check out her Real Travel blog here.
Age 52
Countries Visited 56

Titanic Nominations
1. Worst Toilet Shanghai’s Fuyou Antiques market. A vendor pointed me to a corner by the stairwell. It had no cubicles, toilets or even water–you had to squat over a communal concrete sluice of shit that angled down to a hole in the concrete wall. Occasionally an attendant would come and slosh a bucket of water to keep all the stuff moving through. Later, traveling around China, I discovered that this was a common public toilet setup, dating from the pre-economic boom days. Now in China you’re more likely to find high-tech sensor-powered flush toilets. But there’s one thing you can always count on: hi or low tech, you won’t find any toilet paper in your mainland Chinese stall.
2. Worst Plane Ride Air Tonga, from Va’vaau to Tongatapu on a nine-seater twin prop. Some big chief’s funeral was going on, and I was waitlisted, standing on line behind what looked to be the entire Tongan rugby team. Their carry-on consisted of bundles of taro roots and whole roast pigs. The flight manager made each bereaved Tongan stand with his luggage on a old-fashioned metal scale, then wrote a figure down on a clipboard. He added everything up, scratched his head, added the column again, then looked up at me and shrugged as if to say: You want to try?
3. Most Annoying Tourist Attraction The Pyramids, hands down. I think I took a wrong turn at the McDonalds, and had to baksheesh my way through four rings of attendants before I even got close. It’s an ancient wonder, indeed: the world’s oldest and most authentic tourist trap.
4. Worst Hotel Bedspread Barnacle Bed and Breakfast, Big Pine Key, Florida. (see photo below) My book, Cheap Hotels, had a whole chapter devoted to the worst bedspreads I slept on during my six years as The New York Times‘ Frugal Traveler. This one was at least clean (while researching, I discovered that the average US hotel chain usually washes its spreads only once every 60 days!) but aesthetically, it was like coming home every night to a velvet cat painting.

Agree or disagree? Take the 2010 worst travel survey


  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg

Famous Travelers , , , , ,

  1. Jon
    March 24th, 2010 at 08:02 | #1

    I went on that Tongan flight in 1983 and it sounds like it hasn’t changed much. However, the “ferry ride” alternative, 24 hours of vomit (and worse) was even more memorable on the return journey!

  2. March 24th, 2010 at 11:56 | #2

    I travelled the Turfan-Kashgar bus route in China in ‘89, 3 days through the desert. Stayed in state hostels every night and the toilets were one long trench with water running down it. Brought a new meaning to the dawn-chorus every morning!

  3. March 24th, 2010 at 15:48 | #3

    Jon- I also did the Tongan ferry ride, but had a great time…all things considered. I got “adopted” by a group of very funny Tongan women who fed me barbecued fish and talked trash about their boyfriends the whole way to Va’vaau.

  4. Jan
    March 29th, 2010 at 15:36 | #4

    Daisann, I really enjoy your articles in NG Traveler!

  5. March 31st, 2010 at 16:24 | #5

    thanks Jan!

  6. Mike H.
    April 19th, 2012 at 15:17 | #6

    I am an Egyptian, who used to work as a travel coordinator for a large tour operator in Cairo. The constant harrassment of tourists (and locals) at the Pyramids and Sphinx is a shame for all Egyptians and an unsurmountable nuisance. But what can you do?… it’s all part of the thrill of seeing new exotic places… some will delight you, some will frustrate you.
    Stay safe out there… that Air Tonga flight sounds like it was risking your life, haha!

  7. January 2nd, 2014 at 16:45 | #7

    Russek called it “the costliest set of two game-used footwear of which any person offers at any time distributed. It just smashed this report.Inches [url=http://www.mot-stoff.no/contactus.php?id=65]www.mot-stoff.no/contactus.php?id=65[/url]
    During his pension, Fine art experienced traveling, sportfishing and also spending time with his spouse and children. He or she beloved to fish throughout Sharon’s Attiring in Body of water Kississing, Manitoba, along with South Padre Region, Colorado. This individual became a person in Redeemer Lutheran Chapel. [url=http://www.mot-stoff.no/contactus.php?id=34]canda goose[/url]
    in Latvia or maybe Ukraine tend to be more needy as compared to theirs.The new HHS specific [url=http://www.mot-stoff.no/contactus.php?id=64]canada goose store[/url]
    Most ballots had been single. [url=http://www.mot-stoff.no/contactus.php?id=36]canada goose norge[/url]
    School adult males: Free airline Baptist with Emporia Talk about, Several:Thirty s.meters. ? KBFL Ninety nine.In search of FM [url=http://www.mot-stoff.no/contactus.php?id=7]canada goose trondheim[/url]
    seeking just a point to ensure additionally, they end from the top 5.

  8. January 2nd, 2014 at 21:56 | #8

    888 Luxurious buckskin iPad episodes
    cheap nfl jerseys

  9. January 4th, 2014 at 14:07 | #9

    999 We’re not sure should they be enough to prevent a pedicab driver, but we’ve not nonetheless placed much of our self worth within their arms.. Using the web TutorialsLet’s encounter it, a lot of of us please don’t provide the time or dough to employ hair dressers, louis vuitton sale books makeup artists and stylists on even an occasional foundation.
    cheap ugg bailey button boots

  10. January 5th, 2014 at 14:38 | #10

    Daisann McLane’s World Worsts | The Titanic Awards
    gkgbsjosnl http://www.g0ce2okgoei0m132u7p87055q9rz585is.org/

  11. January 5th, 2014 at 18:28 | #11

    you should never ugg 激安 店舗 be sad, you should never prefer to try to eat people ugg 激安 通販, bats most desired is certainly ugg 激安 クラシックミニ ugg モカシン 店舗 eel hold ugg 激安 ブーツ,|still|yet|however|though|and yet} ugg 激安 正規品 discovered no person ugg 激安 店舗, グッチ ネックレス a grouping of 15 -year-old guy are actually ugg 店舗 ブーツ thought of as ugg ブーツ 激安 店舗 infants ugg モカシン 店舗.

  12. January 5th, 2014 at 21:16 | #12

    999 We are undecided when they are adequate to prevent a pedicab driver, but we’ve not yet positioned so much of our self esteem within their arms.. On the web TutorialsLet’s face it, loads of of us please don’t have the time or moolah to try hair dressers, used louis vuitton briefcase make-up artists and stylists on even an occasional basis.
    louis vuitton purses uk

  13. January 15th, 2014 at 20:50 | #13

    Ridiculous story there. What occurred after? Thanks!

  14. January 15th, 2014 at 20:51 | #14

    I’d like to find out more? I’d love to find out some additional information.

  15. January 24th, 2014 at 17:55 | #15

    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!
    woolrich parka arctic

  16. January 25th, 2014 at 19:32 | #16

    Hurrah, that’s what I was looking for, what a information! existing here at this web site, thanks admin of this web site.
    ugg støvler

  17. January 25th, 2014 at 19:33 | #17

    I am really delighted to glance at this blog posts which includes lots of valuable information, thanks for providing these kinds of information.
    ugg lue

  18. January 25th, 2014 at 19:34 | #18

    What’s up, constantly i used to check website posts here in the early hours in the daylight, for the reason that i love to learn more and more.
    Billige frakke til kvinder

  19. January 27th, 2014 at 19:33 | #19

    9995 The large sequins and lace at midsection beam the slender midsection, women don’t have any need to have to worry about the bloated look in winter. Arvind KejriwalYahoo! India Information Fri 23 Nov, 2012From shaking up the particularly foundations in the Indian government to stirring up unseemly controversies, louis vuitton noe large from demonstrating great bravery with the experience of utmost adversities to getting rid of a good reputation created around a long time of labor in just a blink of an eye, wilshire pm louis vuitton from placing the electoral hustings afire with golden speeches to entering into trouble for not speaking by any means, authentic louis vuitton outlet there were most ‘newsmakers’ in 2012 who caught the normal man’s creativeness.
    seahawks jerseys cheap

  20. February 1st, 2014 at 17:51 | #20

    You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I to find this topic to be actually one thing that I think I might by no means understand. It seems too complex and very large for me. I am having a look ahead for your next put up, I will try to get the hang of it!
    uggs online shop

  21. February 9th, 2014 at 22:54 | #21

    Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What an ideal website.
    beats by dre review pill

  22. February 9th, 2014 at 22:56 | #22

    What’s up, I check your new stuff on a regular basis. Your writing style is awesome, keep it up!
    cheap beats by dre gold

  23. February 9th, 2014 at 22:56 | #23

    Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific website.
    beats by dre executive release date 2012

  24. February 9th, 2014 at 22:57 | #24

    Hi there, You’ve done a great job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.
    beats by dre studio navy blue

  25. February 9th, 2014 at 22:57 | #25

    Hello, I wish for to subscribe for this weblog to take newest updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.
    beats by dre david guetta review

  26. February 9th, 2014 at 22:57 | #26

    Thanks for another informative site. The place else may I get that type of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a challenge that I’m just now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such information.
    beats by dre zappos

  27. February 9th, 2014 at 22:58 | #27

    You made a few nice points there. I did a search on the matter and found nearly all folks will have the same opinion with your blog.
    cheap beats by dre headphones pro

  28. February 24th, 2014 at 08:30 | #28

    I love my beats by dre. these are my to begin with one particular, thier sooo adorable and trendy.

  29. March 5th, 2014 at 12:11 | #29

    Daisann McLane’s World Worsts | The Titanic Awards
    longchamp bags on ebay

  30. March 20th, 2014 at 16:17 | #33

    next battle, and remains so, Ling Road, the performance of each battle is extremely common, and there is nothing unique. Every time he played a long time before we can win, unlike some of his disciples, the sword is you can win.
    Michael Kors On Sale

  31. March 31st, 2014 at 02:23 | #36

    You select the career that you want to spend your life doing or whether you want children or not.

  32. April 1st, 2014 at 00:04 | #37

    Daisann McLane’s World Worsts | The Titanic Awards
    cheap kobe shoes,cheap kobe bryant shoes,cheap kobe 8 shoes

  33. April 1st, 2014 at 00:05 | #38

    Daisann McLane’s World Worsts | The Titanic Awards

  34. April 1st, 2014 at 10:29 | #39

    HEADACHE: At least 10 percent of the HCG dieters report headaches for the first few days of the protocol.

  35. April 4th, 2014 at 07:07 | #40

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to offer something again and aid others such as you aided me.

  36. April 4th, 2014 at 07:07 | #41

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  37. April 18th, 2014 at 13:20 | #42

    that’s good posting.

  38. April 18th, 2014 at 13:21 | #43

    it’s good posting.

  39. April 18th, 2014 at 13:21 | #44

    that’s good posting.

  40. April 18th, 2014 at 13:22 | #45

    it’s nice posting.

  41. April 18th, 2014 at 13:23 | #46

    it’s nice posting.

  42. April 18th, 2014 at 13:23 | #47

    it’s good posting.

  43. April 18th, 2014 at 17:33 | #48

    Whats up! I simply want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice data you have right here on this post. I can be coming back to your weblog for extra soon.
    Kuba Jewgieniew

  1. March 23rd, 2010 at 21:01 | #1
  2. January 5th, 2014 at 14:25 | #2