Travel Etiquette
How to be respectful and appropriate while exploring
By Laura Zimmerman
Published Apr 2015
Whether you live in an urban area, or are planning on traveling to one, there are some unspoken rules that everyone should try and all abide by to help elevate the human species. Some are common sense, and some rules are the beginning of evolution. ENTRY LEVEL DO on a bus or train in any city, give your seat up to the elderly, pregnant, disabled, those with large bags (or parcels), people with young children, friends traveling together, or the person hankering to do that daily crossword. Basically stand if you can—think of the calories you’ll burn! DON’T lose your cool when speaking with someone trying to help you get to where you are going. No one is amused when you cry because you didn’t pay the bus fare and are now getting a ticket, or when you prove how important you are by yelling about delayed planes. DO put your arm rest down and share it with someone on the plane, both people gently resting elbow to elbow on the 2” of shared plastic while silently reading. This is the epitome of classiness. DON’T Ask to put your leg, or worse just shift your leg over into the 3ft of leg room available to us all. I don’t care if you are bigger than me, have a broken foot, or are “asleep” and it just “slipped”. We both paid the same price for a ticket and thus deserve the same leg cramps. ADVANCED DO bring your own mini bitters, and packet of sugar to whip up an old fashioned cocktail on the plane. How Mad Men of you! DON’T down three beers while waiting for the flight, and then order a vodka ginger on the plane in the name of sleep, only to pass out subjecting your seatmate to snores, hiccups, and drool while you subjected yourself to a fitful excuse for rest. DO dress like you would on a normal day, but with shoes you feel comfortable to walk in and with several layers so you don’t have to go back and grab a jacket as the night progresses. DON’T be afraid of using your phone, even internationally. Find wi-fi and download maps of places to go and eat, for when you are out exploring. PROPELLING THE HUMAN RACE FORWARD DO try to learn “Hello”, “Please,” and “Thank you” in the foreign language of the country you are visiting. Bonus points for “How are you?” and the subsequent answers. DON’T expect everyone to know English, and then get annoyed when someone doesn’t understand you. This is the magic of traveling to unknown lands—the unknown. DO try to find unique souvenirs for yourself and friends. Hit up the local flea market for interesting finds, or try to support local artisans at boutique shops. DON’T hesitate to go off the beaten path for authentic food. Look for crowds of people and a clean dining area. High prices are not necessarily indicative of good food and vice versa. DO try to help lost tourists in your own town! It’s easy (you know this place), and it’s paying it forward when you are alone in a dark alleyway trying to find your Airbnb after 17hrs of travel.