The Unfair Traveller - Symptoms and Treatment - Travel Etiquette

Travelling is what I love to do, in recent months alone I visited seven different countries, and you can well imagine that I spend a lot of time in, on and around public transport, like train stations, bus stops, airports, planes, boats and trains. I always expect the very worst things that can happen to me on my travels. I’m fully aware that I’m at risk of experiencing profoundly disturbing or utterly bothersome things, as soon as I leave my home. I love that with my expectation comes a feeling of being prepared (up to a certain extent).

A town by the sea seen from a plane window.

The Unfair Traveller - Symptoms

Looking at the state of things when travelling I have serious doubts that we will ever achieve world peace.
People can’t even behave friendly and/or kind at bus- or train stations or airports. These places often feel like gatherings of hordes that all lost common sense. It is almost as if people are looking to pick a fight, be it with fellow travellers, with the woman who sells newspapers or with the guy that sells coffee, with flight attendants or bus drivers. Has this probably got to do with the fact that they feel they can behave in a certain way since nobody is watching, at least not somebody they know? A ticket to somewhere is not a licence to go off the rails.

In our day and age people look for the cheapest deal, they just want the cheapest meal, the cheapest hotel room, the cheapest flight, the cheapest of everything. However bizarre it is that in return they expect the very best meal, the very best hotel room, the very best flight experience, the very best everything there is for their money. Remember, you get what you pay for, and it all comes at a cost. If we get all these things at a low price, who is going to pay for it? The flight attendants, the pilots, the waiters, the receptionists and the list goes on. Exploiting others, ruthlessly, in favour of the own advantage. Weren’t we the ones who wanted to do things better than our ancestors?

The Travellers Who Always Come Second

People feel entitled to be the first. They expect to be the first person in line. They want to be the first person to grab a seat. They think they have the right to be the first person at check-in, and the first person to board the plane. Then they want to be the first person to put luggage in the overhead bin. And of course, do they want to be the first person that leaves the bus, and obviously the first person that leaves the plane. It is assumed to be the first person to gets served coffee at a cafe or on board. Exhausting.

If we always want to be the first, how does that make the ones who always come second supposed to feel? It comes at a cost, and who is going to pay for it? Everybody of us has to pay for it. There is no enjoyment anymore, too many travellers are so haughty, that life becomes overly competitive and ugly. Morals are low. People believe the world spins solely around them; the world is full of divas with a rock star attitude. In private probably everybody dreams of being a rock star, and I’m all for dancing like nobody is watching, but don’t step others on their toes just so that you can dance in the front row. Be kind. I mean it in the true sense of the word, drop the pseudo-kindness but keep it real for a change.

The Unfair Traveller - Treatment

Here is some inspiration on how to make travelling lovelier for everybody. There are so many easy things we can do to make it more fun with simply thinking a bit more about all the others around us.

1.    When you look for cheap deals, stop for a moment and think about who is going to pay for it in the end.
2.    Do not book tours that exploit animals.
3.    When on the road somewhere, schedule in a bit of extra time, no need to rush and become stressed.
4.    Let senior citizens and everybody who isn’t as fast as you are (for whatever reason) take their time.
5.    Don’t arrive at the very last minute at check-in only so that you can officially jump the queue. The rest of us can see how ‘clever’ you are.
6.    Queue in line like everybody else does, I have yet to see a plane/bus or train that leaves without a passenger that was the last in line when boarding. Use the wait time to dream or to talk to your travel companion, or to throw smiles at fellow travellers. If all this doesn’t help, play with your phone.
7.    Read and understand regulations when you book a flight, there are so many different fares one can pay, and they are calculated based on the service a traveller receives. Plan and pack accordingly (use a luggage scale) and don’t discuss things at check-in/luggage drop-off. If you are over the limit, just pay the extra fee and get on with your journey. Repacking at the check-in counter is a no go. Hundreds of others want to check-in too.
8.    Read up about security regulations at airports before you pack your luggage. Don’t start discussing the fact that you can’t take scissors or that water bottle with you through security while hundreds of people are waiting in line behind you. Have your plastic bag with liquids, your belt, shoes, computer, and laptop ready to go into the tray separately. There will sometimes be rude security staff who misuses their power, ignore them you will probably never see them again.
9.    If you visit a café with self-service at an airport/train station please clean the table when you leave. No one wants to eat next to your rubbish.
10. Leave only footprints in a public bathroom.
11. Don’t discuss things with airline staff during boarding while all the other passengers wait in line behind you. If there is a misunderstanding take it to the next level and contact the airline later via email or phone.
12. Offer fellow travellers to help with their luggage if they struggle lugging it down from the overhead bin or from the conveyor belt.
13. Obey the flight attendant's/skipper's/bus driver’s requests, not because you are a stickler to rules but because you are considerate and want things to run smoothly for everybody involved.
14. You don’t own your seat on a plane, and you are not the king or queen of that row if you sit at the aisle, get up when somebody needs to get through (and don’t roll your eyes).
15. Do not get off your seat during meal service.
16. Do not push against someone’s seat so that they feel as if they are in turbulences (and no kicking from the back either).
17. Do not fight with fellow passengers.
18. Do not litter on the plane/train.
19. Do not talk so loud with your seat neighbour that everybody in the seats around you can follow your conversation.
20. If your seat neighbour doesn’t want to talk to you, leave them be.
21. No one wants to listen to your loud phone calls about how fantastic you are or what you are going to cook tonight.
22. Do not push others so that they walk faster.
23. If you are carrying a backpack on your back move carefully to not push others in the face or knock them over.
24. Wait to get off the plane/bus till it’s your turn, row after row makes sense.
25. Do not just stop walking in the middle of a passageway in busy areas so that you become a hindrance. You are not alone in this world.
26. Do not stay so close to the conveyor belt that no one else can take off their luggage.
27. Do not write false negative reviews on social media just because you have the power to do so. If you don’t get what you want your way that is no reason to be vicious.

Wouldn’t the world be closer to world peace if we as travellers would all take responsibility for our actions and on our next trip at least remember a few of the mentioned things?

From Berlin with love