Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it's the little things that make your experience go much more smoothly. Travel is often full of hassles and uncertainties, but thoughtful behavior can do a great deal to minimize stress. A few simple gestures have the power to enhance your trip and brighten the mood of those you encounter. Demonstrate polite behavior and create goodwill by remembering these small but significant travel etiquette tips.
- Utilize charging station courtesy. Use one plug at a time, and avoid setting up shop to dominate multiple charging stations for all of your technology.
- Stay seated (or stand off to the side) until it is your turn to board. Loitering at the front of the boarding line before your section has been called causes delays for those passengers attempting to board at their designated time. Anxiously pacing doesn't get you on the plane any faster and irritates fellow travelers.
- Use the overhead bin directly above your seat when possible. Don't place your luggage in a compartment that is several rows ahead unless it's the only available space. Leave the bins for others with bigger items to store and keep your smaller carry-on under the seat in front of you.
- Be generous with armrests. Allow the person sitting in the middle seat to have the armrest. It's a courtesy for the passenger getting stuck in the most inconvenient seat on the plane.
- Look before you lean. With airlines cramming as many seats onto planes as possible, space is tighter than ever. It's not mannerly, or comfortable, to recline back into someone else's lap. If you must lean back, look behind you first to make sure you won't make contact with another passenger's personal space.
- Cross facing forward. If you must leave your seat to stretch or to use the restroom, cross over facing your seatmate, flashing them your smile rather than your backside.
- Show respect for other people's luggage. If you accidentally take the wrong piece of luggage from the conveyor, place it back on the rolling belt as carefully as possible. Tossing a person's luggage haphazardly on the moving machine is a sign of disrespect.
- Tip respectfully. Along your travels, you will encounter many service people who deserve a tip. Make sure to carry enough cash so no one gets slighted. A basic rule of thumb is, "If they touch it, they deserve a tip." Factor gratuity into your travel budget.
- Know the rules of the doors. A revolving door is meant for you to walk through alone. Don't jump in with another person unless it's clearly an extremely large space. An elevator door should be held open for a guest that is in close proximity, but not necessarily for someone that is several feet away. Use the "door open" button rather than your hand or leg. Step out of a taxi or town car nearest the curb to keep from getting run down by oncoming traffic.
- Wait for the next elevator if it's crowded. If the door opens and the car is full, avoid the urge to "squeeze in," making other passengers agitated and fearful of overcrowding. The last thing you want to hear when entering an elevator is an alarm signaling you have exceeded the weight limit! To exit, face forward and step off in the order you are standing. Despite good intentions, attempting to let others off first based on age or gender doesn't make sense in this situation.
- Be a polite tourist. Step to the side to take a picture. The flow of traffic on the sidewalk is swift, and stopping in the middle of the crowd to take a photo of a site causes a pedestrian traffic jam. Keep your shopping bags and umbrellas close to your body to avoid prodding the person walking next to you.
- Don't expect miracles - but if you get one, express your gratitude! If you are requesting a reservation at a restaurant that is booked several months in advance, don't fault the concierge when the attempt is not successful. The concierge can often work wonders, but if the attempt is futile, still show your appreciation for their labor. It is standard for a concierge to be rewarded for their efforts.
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