Travelling with Style and Manners

Have your travel experiences been positive lately? Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the attitude you take with you makes a world of difference. The best or the worst can be seen in people while traveling. Begin your journey with an amiable attitude and pack your manners. Travel with a high level of decorum and you’ll be surprised by the superior level of service you’ll receive. People will welcome you everywhere.

Air Travel

The majority of long distance travels are done through the airways. People from all walks of life and social backgrounds travel via air. Because air travel can be a stressful event, the following are some etiquette guidelines to make the trip more bearable for you as well as other travelers.

  1. Be Timely – Arrive at the airport in plenty of time to avoid the frustration and stress of rushing.
  2. Be Patient – Expect long lines and endure them without complaints.
  3. Use Self Control – Don’t blame the airline personnel if the flight is delayed. Air traffic control and bad weather conditions are not within their control. Follow directions in the security lines. When boarding and unloading the plane, proceed as instructed. Hurrying to obtain your carry-ons and lingering in the aisles will not help you get off the plane any faster. Alert the flight attendants if you have a tight connection; special arrangements can be made.
  4. Be Considerate of Others – Show consideration for the people sitting near you. Share the armrest (the middle seat should be granted control). Don’t bring smelly foods or wear strong fragrances on the flight. Respect fellow passengers’ space. Position your chair so that both you and your neighbors are comfortable. Be cognizant of the noise you may make. When listening to iPods and talking with travel companions, keep the volume low. And, if you occupy the aisle seat, be understanding when others need to pass.


  1. When your travel involves an overnight stay in a hotel, motel, resort or inn, familiarize yourself with its accommodations and amenities prior to your arrival so you’ll know what to expect (hair dryer, iron, laundry service, restaurants, coffee service, etc). Being properly prepared will help your stay be more enjoyable.
  2. Once checked in, survey your room for towels, blankets, pillows, hangers, etc. If you need additional items, call immediately to avoid delays. It’s better to request housekeeping early than to wait too late at night when the services are limited.
  3. Follow the rules of the establishment. When lodging in a non-smoking room, avoid smoking. For those traveling with pets, please check beforehand to ensure that pets are allowed on the premises. Most major hotels do not allow pets; however, you can google for pet-friendly accommodations.
  4. Keep the noise to a minimum. Be aware of the television and radio volumes; most rooms are in close proximity of one another.

It is okay to take the unused portions of the shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. The towels, robes, mugs and glasses are for your enjoyment during your stay. Taking them is considered stealing.

Tipping guidelines – Bellman: $1-2 per bag. Valet Parking: $2 when your car is retrieved. Doorman: $2 for hailing a cab. Maid Service: $2-5 per night. Place tip in a marked envelope labeled housekeeping and then leave on a pillow, desk area or in the bathroom. Room Service: the gratuity is usually added to the bill, if not, tip 18-20.

When tipping, have the exact change ready. Do not display a lack of decorum by requesting change.

Traveling Abroad

There is much to be said about international travel and the rules vary from region to region. Before traveling to foreign countries, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the local customs and practices; they differ depending on the area. If you do not know the language of the locals, at a minimum, learn the following words or phrases: “please”, “thank-you”, “hello”, “I don’t understand”, “how do you get to”, and for the shoppers, “how much does it cost.” Also, an English Translation Dictionary is always useful.

In summary, the number one rule while traveling is to treat others with the highest degree of respect. Follow the Golden Rule and treat others the way you would like to be treated. Don’t leave home without common courtesies (“thank-you”, “you are welcome”, “please”, “excuse me”, etc). A smile should also accompany you on your trip. Your smile can be your passport to an astounding travel experience and lead you on an adventure beyond your imagination.

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.