3 Ways to Be a Better Traveler and Tourist

This summer, you’ll most likely be traveling in some way. While a lot of posts teach you about being a better traveler for yourself, I’m going to talk about being a better traveler for other people.

Over the years of travel, I’ve noticed a few things that most people seem to do over and over again that are extremely annoying. I don’t think they’re intentionally being jerks. They just don’t know.

So I’m going to talk about 3 of the most common traveling annoyances I see all the time, and maybe you can avoid them too:

  • Highway Driving
  • Luggage on Flights
  • Hotel Living

1. Highway Driving: Drive on the Right, Pass on the Left

Photo by Self

If you’re driving cross-country, you may find yourself driving down a 2-lane highway through the middle of nowhere. There are barely any cars on the road, so you can go pretty fast.

You’re in the right lane and come up to a car that’s going a little slower than you. Not a big deal — people can drive at a slower speed if it makes them comfortable. So you go to pass them on the left.

Except you can’t.

Because cruising there in the left lane, aka the “fast lane” or the “passing lane,” is another car, going the SAME SPEED as the slow car.

So if you don’t know, here are the common rules of 2-lane highway driving. In some states, it’s actually law.

  • If you’re driving, stay in the right lane. It doesn’t matter if you’re going fast or slow.
  • If you come up to someone going slower than you, no worries. Put on your blinker, move to the left lane, and speed up to pass them.
  • Then immediately move back into the right lane. The car you passed isn’t going to be mad at you. They’re just chilling in their lane.
  • Do not stay in the left lane. I don’t care if there are no other cars in front of you or behind you. Eventually, there will be. And eventually, you’ll be the slow person blocking traffic. You are not as fast as you think. The 2 lanes aren’t there for you to pick one.

The right lane is for cruising, the left lane is for passing.

2. Airplane Luggage: Pack Less and Don’t Hog Space

Unless you’re wealthy enough to fly first class, no one enjoys flying. When you’re crammed into tight quarters with a lot of people, the smallest nuisances are magnified into unforgivable grievances.

Ever since airlines started charging to check luggage, everyone just packs all they have into their carryon. That’s fine, but remember you have to share the airplane space with everyone else.

Here are some things I’ve noticed with other travelers on planes, and have been guilty of myself sometimes.

  • Buy luggage that’s carryon size. This should be obvious, but I’ve seen people try to bypass this with humongous “carryons” that take up the whole overhead bin.
  • Don’t pack your carryon so that it’s too heavy for you to lift and you have to get a group of 3 people helping you.
  • Before you board, have your overhead and personal items separated. There’s no reason for you to stand in the aisle mid-flight digging through your luggage overhead while your stuff is falling everywhere.
  • Don’t get out all your junk and setup your living room and office space in your chair. A few things is fine, but be respectful of your stuff overflowing into other people’s spaces. This is especially annoying if you’re the middle or aisle seat, and we have to wait for you to pack up before we can get out and go to the restroom.

We’re all packed in a tube and miserable. So pack nicely.

3. Hotel Living: Clean Up After Yourself

Image by ming dai from Pixabay 

I’ve stayed in rooms with friends and family where they trash the place. Garbage is left on tables, beds, and floors. Towels are lying around everywhere. Furniture and appliances are moved and not put back.

Now I know what you’re thinking.. I paid for this room, and that includes people to clean it up for me. It’s their job.

True, it is their job to clean up your room, but you don’t have to make it harder for them. You could drop all your napkins on the floor at a restaurant, and it’s their job to pick it up for you. But you don’t want to be an asshole, so you kindly put the napkins on your plate.

Housekeeping at hotels have thankless jobs. Their work involves intensive physical labor, exposure to chemicals, dealing with some pretty disgusting stuff from guests, and often work on a quota of rooms to clean. By doing just some basic tidying up, you can help make their jobs a little easier.

Before you leave each day:

  • Put all your trash in the trash cans, and all in one can at the front if possible.
  • Make your beds. They don’t have to be perfect. Just put the pillows at the top and lay your blanket flat.
  • Use towels more than once and hang them up. If you need towels replaced, put them in a single pile by the front.
  • Don’t leave stuff lying on the floor for people to trip over.
  • Try be somewhat tidy with your personal belongings so there isn’t confusion about what is trash and what isn’t.
  • If you spill something, just wipe it up.

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can turn your hotel room into a college dorm room.

Traveling is an incredible experience, but people can make it horrible for other travelers and the people that serve them. These are just a few of my pet peeves that I’ve noticed almost every time I travel.

What are yours?

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