They've been burning away in the back of my mind for some time now, but having just returned from a work trip to Melbourne I've been reminded of some of the inexplicable and baffling things we often face while travelling.
Grab your magnifying glass and finger print kit, and let's see if we can crack some of my top five travel mysteries.
Mystery 1: Why do hotels still charge for wifi?
It's like they're operating in 2004 and a reminder that if they could find a way to charge for soap and sheets they probably would. Worse still, it seems the more you've paid for your hotel room, the higher the internet access fee. I've been in Moroccan desert camps and Vietnamese jungle tents and still been able to access free wifi, but check into anything above a three-star hotel and you could be charged more than $20 for 24 hours.
Mystery 2: Why are there phones in some hotels' bathrooms?
Who are you desperately wanting to talk to on that corded phone hanging next to the loo? And who on earth wants to take your call while your in the middle of doing your business. No one. That's who.
Mystery 3: Why does the Australian accent sound so ocker overseas?
Is it something to do with the atmosphere in other parts of the world? Sort of like an aurora borealis, but for sound? No matter where you are in the world, you can pick out an Australian before you see them and everyone suddenly sounds like Alf Stewart from Home and Away. Stone the crows Shelia! It's just not right!
Mystery 4: How do some people make it out of their front door, let alone out of their country?
Recently I was on a flight from Australia to London and sitting next to this German lady who had started her journey home from New Zealand. She had no idea about the onward flight to Berlin she had been booked on, including which airline the flight was with, and from which terminal or time the flight left. So when we arrived in London she just started asking anyone official looking when the next flight to Berlin was. How on earth did she make it to New Zealand and did she know she was in New Zealand when she was there?
Mystery 5: Why don't people fill out their immigration cards before they're standing at the front of the immigration queue?
There's a reason why airlines hand out those immigration cards on the plane, often some ten hours before you land. But you'll still see those people standing in the immigration queue at the final destination, frantically riffling through their bag trying to find their passport number, count how many kids they have and work out how long their staying in the country.
Mystery 6: Why do Australians sprint to the duty-free shop after landing?
You'd think the shop was on the verge of running out of rum and cigarettes the way some Aussies run from the arrival gate and into the store. As international tourists stand by wondering what all the commotion is about, inside the store it's reminiscent of war-time rationing where desperate hordes clutch their new-found bounty like it's the last loaf of bread. It's best to remember that it's duty-free goods, not free goods.
Sadly I feel some of these travel mysteries will never be solved.