Travel is no longer the “big deal” that it once was. Whether for pleasure or business it seems everyone is always on the go somewhere. Even for us, we travel as much as our time and bank account will allow.
We live in a wonderful world filled with many glorious things to see and do!
Sadly, with vacationing and travel becoming such a common affair, general etiquette has become much less common.
It is nothing to be nearly knocked-over in the airport, screamed at by an unhappy traveller, run-off the road by an angry driver, or appalled by the dress (or lack there of) from others. As Audley, Bradley and I begin to pack for a family adventure this fall break weekend, I have really been occupied with issues concerning proper manners in an airport, flying, and driving in an area in which we are unfamiliar.
While etiquette seems to be a thing of years past, It is something I have been passionate about my entire life and always want my family to practice, even as they are growing up and moving on into their own adult lives.
First, when traveling, be patient and be prepared. Pushing, shoving, screaming, and muttering curse words for small children to hear are not going to keep flights on time or make the lines shorter. Since 2001 security in airports has become extremely tight and getting through check-point lines can often seem like a lifetime. Save your self the heartache of rushing to your flight or sitting in rush hour traffic and plan ahead. Try to be at the airport at least an hour and a half for domestic flights and two and half hours early for an international flight. You will still have a wait of some sort, but you shouldn’t have to run to catch your flight! When we travel by car we do our best to remember time zone changes and leave an extra hour time in hopes of avoiding rush hour traffic or other delays. Accept your delays with grace and tact. Impatience will not change a thing.
Second, be understanding and tolerant. It is not the poor girl who is checking boarding passes fault that the flight is late, nor is it security’s fault that a hundred people showed up at once to go through the lines. And understand, if YOU change your flight after arriving at the airport to avoid delays YOU are risking the loss of your luggage. Also, while traveling, realize that things are not going to be as they are at home. Just traveling within your home country you will find so many cultural differences, so don’t you know another country will be a whole new experience! Be open to these differences and try not to offend anyone by snarling your nose. Try something new, go with the flow, and you might find something that you love!
Third, take care of your health. If you feel a cold coming on a couple of days before a trip, take proper care of it, don’t assume it’ll just go away. Would you want to sit next to someone who is coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose an entire flight? Also, be sure to get shots you might need before going. If you take prescriptions, be sure to have them filled and then pack them so that you are not spending time you could be having fun calling pharmacies and doctors trying to get what you need. Rest to the best of your ability before and during your trip as well. Improper sleep contributes to feeling bad and colds which you do not want on a trip!
Fourth, please get dressed, and have a little class when doing so. I do not want to see your boobies or your bum. I have my own and know what they look like. I have a teenage son who doesn’t need any encouragement to think impure thoughts and an overly opinionated husband who will judge your character based on your dress. Bathing suit tops are for the beach and halter tops are perfect when you are in your own yard, not for riding in an airplane. Have respect for the people around you and cover up. Also remember, lounging pants are found in the pajama department for a reason. Sleep in them, don’t wear them in public. When traveling it is important to dress attractively and comfortably. Slacks, jeans, flowing skirts, cotton tops, sandals, or tennis shoes work great for travel.
It is OK to dress as if you care about who you are.
It also speaks volumes to those sitting around you.
And finally, have A LOT of respect for everyone you come into contact with. Say “excuse me” or apologize sincerely when you bump into someone or have your belongings in their way. Keep your personal items to a minimum so that it is easier for you to get around, avoiding awkward situations. Plan ahead; have your boarding passes, passport, driving directions, hotel reservations, etc., on hand for easy access. Don’t hold up the security line by packing everything you own into a carry-on despite FAA regulations (no liquid over 3 ounces, must be in clear bottles, etc…) or wearing shoes that take a lot of time to remove. Make sure you have information available regarding liquid prescriptions on hand if asked.
You don’t like unnecessary delays, so assume others feel the same.
Oh yeah, keep your voice down when talking on the phone or to a traveling companion. No one really cares about Joe-Bob and Flossie’s marital issues or LouAnn’s broken pinky toe. And don’t assume everyone you sit next to wants to have a conversation.
When I (or anyone else) put headphones on upon boarding, it means, I am shutting everyone & everything out.
My kids (now more of adults) have always been full of life. All four are such social butterflies, loving to chat with adults as well as their peers, and we constantly reminded them that not everyone has their passion for living when we travelled with them. They get excited about being with people and enjoying all they can bring to life. If you have children, please keep them occupied. Don’t let them annoy other people by running around, pushing on seats, or tugging on them in restaurants, in flight or while you are delayed at a rest stop or airport!
Whether in a car or on an airplane, I have always allowed our kids to carry backpacks filled with activity books, reading material or a couple (not the whole toy box) of small toys to keep them from being bored. As they get older iPods and tablets are fabulous for entertaining kids and teenagers alike. They were also taught to sit down and behave, not to bother others. Not everyone likes children and especially other people who aren’t family’s children. You will find you are happier because your children are behaving and others around you will appreciate it as well.
And ask my kids. We have turned around, canceled several trips, and left restaurants due to misbehaving. Sometime’s it’s the only thing to do to show respect to other’s around us and teach a lesson.
It also made our kids better people and more aware that they are NOT the center of the universe.
And just a note, If you are traveling in a foreign country, learn some basic phrases in their language. The people there will appreciate you so much more for doing so, even if you mess it up a little!
There is much to do before we leave for our extended weekend, but I think we are off to a great start!
How do you travel with your family and what are some basic courtesies that you extend? If you travel often, you know that we need more and more people extending courtesies!