It’s taken me over 25 years, but with a recent trip to Maine, I have now been to every state at least once. That’s a lot of traveling—I’m on the road about 75 days a year giving speeches. It’s also a lot of experience in travel etiquette.
Here’s my list of things to do and NOT do when traveling.
Come On, Man
How is that people don’t have their ID out and ready to go and show when checking in or going through the TSA screening process? Or, why do some people travel in shoes, belts, and pullovers that are almost impossible to take off and put on when going through security?
Step Back, Please
I used to love Southwest Airlines. Now, not so much. When being herded onto a Southwest flight it’s almost impossible to not stand close together, but anywhere else, I wish people would back off—like back in the Covid days. Let’s all take a step back and respect our fellow traveler’s personal space.
Read The Room
It’s always nice to say hello to a person seated near you on a plane or greet your Lyft driver if only to see if they want to engage or be left alone. Not everyone is a chatty Cathy. In fact, most people just want to be left alone—and they’ll let you know with non-verbal clues. Read the room.
Do you really need to talk so loudly on your phone while in line with your fellow travelers. Just so you know, we’re listening to everything you say—how can we no?. Same goes for bringing stinky food on a plane, taking your shoes off, or dousing yourself in perfume or cologne. Also, hold your farts in . . . please.
A person has every right to put their seat back and recline on a plane. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If meals are being served, don’t do it. The person behind you has a laptop, don’t do it. If you drink a lot of water and have a small bladder, choose the aisle seat and not the window. Lastly, just because I have a large laptop doesn’t mean I want you looking at it or watching a movie with me in flight.
Here’s a “Tip”
Freaking out while traveling is never a good option. We all want to, because it’s frustrating, but you can get better results when you calmly and nicely ask for an upgraded hotel room or rental car. Some travelers give gifts to flight attendants at the start of a flight. I have tipped the front desk clerk for a late check out when they just minutes before said that would be impossible. Also, if you don’t tip the maid you can kiss whatever you left behind in the room goodbye.
Expect The Worst
This is the one time where being pessimistic is a good thing. I tie ribbons on my suitcases so someone doesn’t grab them by mistake. (I also keep anything I don’t want lost with me in my carry on.) Expect long lines, bad weather, travel delays, and lost luggage and plan and pack accordingly. The most scary thing about traveling is . . . running out of battery life. Charge whenever you get a chance and bring a back up battery.
Last, and Least
I love, l-o-v-e to bring clothes to wear or sleep in that I can leave behind. I don’t know why I find this so satisfying, but I always come home with less than I left with.