Well I’m just back from almost a month away on holiday in America visiting two national parks in California and flying to the beautiful island of O’ahu in Hawaii. Wow, did we have a good time! Travelling the world – particularly the USA – is just my favourite thing. A few days in San Francisco, a snow-covered lodge in Sequoia National Park, Christmas in a log cabin in Yosemite National Park and New Year in a fabulous private house in Hawaii – truly memories to cherish and remember forever.
A great experience of course but there are so many things which negatively affect the whole experience when you’re hard of hearing. Not being able to hear announcements on the plane, not knowing what’s happening when flights are delayed and being unable to hear announcements in the airport – that’s just for starters. Add to that the terrible background noise at check-in desks, being unable to hear bus drivers on courtesy coaches when they ask which hotel you’re staying at, trying to hire a car in a deafeningly loud rental office …. it makes travelling so much more stressful.
I’ve also become a keen critic of architects who design marble hotel reception areas with no soft furnishings, terrible acoustics and waterfall features which drown out speech. Then there’s waiters in restaurants who have strange accents and mumble while they tell you about unfamiliar food you’ve never heard of, plus tours around tourist attractions with no loop system for guided talks …. well it’s just a real pain.
One thing that made the journey slightly easier was a new app – Flightview – a flight tracker and airport diary. You can track your flight number and it updates you on any delays, changes to arrival/departure times and your departure-gate number. It was a real help, although you need to keep an eye on the airport information just in case as our flight departure gate changed at the last minute and Flightview didn’t update us. At least it reduced the stress of having to listen to garbled announcements or fighting the queue to get to the check-in desk for more information!