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How to Behave When Traveling

Updated on August 31, 2016
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How to Behave when Traveling

Stories fill the news with tales of travelers gone bad. From children who won't sit down to drunken passengers who act poorly, violent outbursts, and more, travel has recently gained news as the place where people behave badly.

One might think that this is a recent phenomenon, but basically, with having easy and instant access to the news, we are just seeing more reports of the poorly behaved as they have a few moments of infamy.

To avoid problems when traveling, read the rules of your travel carrier before you embark on your trip.

Note if there are restrictions in clothing, or what you are allowed to bring on board with you.

Bring all medications that you need, clearly labeled.

If you have a medical condition, declare it when you purchase your ticket, when you board your transportation, and to a travel partner if you have one. Something like low blood sugar from diabetes could be mistaken for drunkenness. Please, let people know what is going on with your condition and what to do in an emergency.

If you have a medical ID bracelet, wear it. If you don't and you need one, get it before you travel and wear it.

Bring proper government issued ID. If you are traveling outside of the US, you will need a passport. Check the rules of entry for the destination that you will be going to if you have any doubts.

Confirm your seats, destination lodging, car rentals and so on before you leave the house. Print it all out and keep it with you.

Changes. What they Mean for You

I once took a very long flight to China. I had ordered a special meal. The meal was not loaded on the plane. There was no reason for me to throw a tantrum or yell at the cabin crew. It was not going to make a meal magically appear for me. I told the flight attendant that I understood, and I pulled a meal replacement bar from my bag.

Plan for things like meals going missing, plane delays, bad weather, mechanical difficulties. Don't plan a trip with only enough time to get to where you are going. Things happen, and it is your fault if you did not plan ahead.

Bring an empty, clean bottle to get water from water fountains. Transportation stations and terminals have public water fountains, so there is no need to pay several dollars for a bottle of water. Bring drink mixes to add to your water if you find the taste unpleasant.

Stuff a very compact change of clothes onto your carry on bag. Accidents happen, even to adults. If you get a beverage spilled on you, I will wager that you would like to have a clean shirt to put on. Sitting next to a mother with a baby who got airsick during some turbulence, the baby vomited on me. I was able to change into a long shirt and leggings that I had packed. It saved me from being embarrassed and uncomfortable for the remainder of the flight.


Ideas for women to pack are leggings, clingy tops, clean underclothes and cashmere sweaters as they compact down very nicely. Yoga pants are nice as well.

Men can pack down a pair of lightweight workout pants, lightweight dress pants rolled down, and a pair of plain black pajama pants look like men's yoga pants. Golf shirts, silk collared shirts and workout shirts are a nice emergency outfit.

I always say to pack an additional pair of shoes as well. I broke the heel on a brand new pair of dress shoes. Luckily, I had a pair of black ballet flats in my bag. I was so grateful for that. Flip-Flops, ballet shoes, flats and more are great for both sexes.

Your Travel Professionals

No matter how you travel, there are people along the way that can make your trip pleasant and easier. From the ticket and gate agent to the flight crew when traveling on a plane to the conductor on a train, customer service is the name of the game.

The primary reason that a flight attendant is on the plane with you is for safety. S/he is not there to only serve beverage and meals. In the event of an emergency, it is the rigorous training that they have gone through that can literally save your life.

Be courteous to all of these people. Watch the safety presentation. Actually determine where your safety exit would be located. Even if you have read it before, read the safety briefing cards. Each make and model of plane is different, so it is best to be prepared.

Use the manners that you were taught as a child. Please, thank you, excuse me, all are welcome manners that are greatly appreciated when you are traveling. Listen when announcements are being made. Have your meal choice in mind as well as the alternative when you are asked. Look in the guide for beverage choices if there is on.

I always make a point to bring bags of packaged candy and snacks on with me when I travel for my flight crew, train crew, and cruise crew. It is such a small thing that costs nothing, but it makes them so appreciative of being remembered. When I get off my mode of transportation, I make it a point to tell them all thank you.


Write a Letter if Your Trip was Remarkable

Many travel professionals will be leery when you ask how to write a letter. I don't beat around the bush. I explain by saying "Your service was so nice, I would like to write a letter to make sure that you get the recognition that you deserve. Where can I write that to, and how do I make sure that they know I am writing about you?"

Without fail, I will be brought the address, and usually, they tell me to include the date, flight number, my seat, my name, and the name of the person I am writing about. When I have done this, the company always writes me a lovely letter back.


Do Manners Make a Difference?

Ever since I made it a point to be my best behaved self, I have to admit that it really does make a difference. People like dealing with pleasant people. I had a porter run down a flight of stairs to make sure that my bag made it on the suitcase years ago because I happened to speak very nicely to him as he was handling my bags.

Another time, I was moved to business class for simply agreeing to take a later flight. A third time, my manners paid off when I brought candy for the crew on a nearly empty plane. They rewarded me with a bounce forward to first class.

These are some rewards. The best reward of all is knowing that you did your part to reduce the chaos in travel.

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