Wanderlust. The travel bug that we all catch at some point in our lives. It is an all-consuming desire to travel, and I can personally say I am 100% a victim. I began traveling at a young age since my mother is also a travel addict. The first plane I ever took was to Tyler, Texas when I was six, and like any six year old, I was a little afraid.
I am by no means a travel expert, but I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Most travelers are nice, decent people who will cause you no issue. However, there are some people, who I refer to as the “idiot traveler,” that insist on making everyone’s travel experience miserable. So I’ve compiled a list of the top 8 ways to not become an “idiot traveler.” Follow this guide and make everyone’s life easier…please.
1. “The Gate Creeper”-Most airlines provide a zone or section number, and when your designated zone/section is called you are supposed to board the plane. DO NOT approach the gate before your zone is called. DO NOT board the plane in a different zone. There is nothing I hate more than the mob that forms in front of the boarding gate when the gate agent calls for “families with young children or those who need extra assistance” to board. You do not have children, we can all see that. SIT DOWN AND WAIT.
2. “The Inconsiderate Traveler”– Research which items are and are not allowed in a carry-on BEFORE you enter the security line. We live in a post 9/11 world, and whether you agree with it or not the TSA has some pretty strict rules on what you can and cannot take on a plane with you. Research them ahead of time. Listen to the TSA agents. Read the signs in the airport that state (often pictorially) items prohibited in carry-ons. If I have to stand behind one more person who packed a 16oz bottle of shampoo and slowed down everyone behind them, I will officially lose hope in all of humanity.
3. “The Chatter Box”– We all like to let our friends and families know when we arrive safely to the airport or the gate, but you do not need to do it at the top of your lungs for the entire airport to hear. Whether it’s on the plane or in the boarding area, no one wants to hear your life story as you complain about the flight delay to the poor soul on the other end of the line.
4. “The Snacker”– Airline food is highly overpriced, and I completely get that. No one wants to buy a previously frozen $10.00 sandwich, and certainly food in the airport would taste a lot better. But for the sake of everyone on the plane, please do not purchase the strongest smelling food you can find and bring it on the plane. This may come as a surprise, but in a small metal tube flying through the air, smells stick around.
5. “The Excessive Packer”– Most airlines have a policy of one carry-on and one personal item that passengers are allowed to take on the plane. If your one carry-on item is larger than your 8-year old child, it is too big. Connecting three bags together to make it look like one item is also a no-go. Save some overhead bin space for the rest of us.
6. “The Wanderer”– If you’re not in a hurry to get anywhere while traveling through an airport, that is totally okay. I wish I spent less time running through airports. However, most people ARE in a hurry. So please, move over and let them pass you. Do not take up the entire escalator so other people cannot get around you. If you walk slowly, move to the side of the hallways, not right smack-dab in the middle. See someone running? MOVE. They are in a hurry.
7. “The Idiot Abroad”– So you’ve reached your destination and realize, “oh, they don’t speak English here.” Do not complain about language barriers, because you willingly chose to travel to a country where your native language may not be spoken. Embrace this, and do not incessantly complain that no one speaks English. Not only does it make you look stupid, it makes Americans as a whole look stupid. You will encounter a much higher cultural engagement if you attempt to speak the native language, or at least learn to better appreciate cultural differences. Don’t want to worry about a language barrier? Don’t travel to areas where they don’t speak English. Better yet, learn some phrases in their native language. For the sake of America’s image abroad, don’t be “that guy.”
8. “The Complainer”– Finally, always remember that 95% of the people around you also do not enjoy being trapped on a very small piece of metal flying magically through the air. Do not loudly complain about how awful your seat is making your back feel or how little leg room you have. We are all in this together.
At the very least, you’ll be hated less by me if you follow these tips.