travel

Behold: the 10 commandments of good travel etiquette.

By Rebecca Males

Who gets the armrest? Should you recline your seat? How much to tip?

All travellers know what it’s like to experience the scrum once your gate has opened, or what it’s like to board a plane – only to realise you’re seated next to a dreaded armrest hog.

Here’s the Skyscanner travel guide to handling those less-than-desirable travel dilemmas.

Etiquette when boarding

1. Board when called forward.

They call forward seats in groups first for a reason – it avoids a scramble to get through the gate. If your seat hasn’t been called, sit back, relax and dip back into your book. You know it’ll take a minimum of 15 minutes to board the families with children first, anyway – or are you the one travelling with the kids?

Being prepared for your flight makes a world of difference. (Getty)

2. Be prepared.

Everyone boarding the flight knows they will need to show their passport and boarding pass at some point during the boarding process, whether it’s at check-in or at the gate. So be prepared and have them ready before boarding. There’s no excuse for fumbling around and wasting others' time, especially when you’re at the front of the queue.

Pro tip: keep your travel documents organised and in easy reach with a travel wallet.

Travel etiquette on the plane.

3. Have patience.

Some travellers will always take a bag that doesn’t quite fit into the overhead compartment (and they will delight in taking the extra five minutes to play luggage Tetris whilst everyone else waits). There’s no getting around this: smile politely, and offer to help if they’re struggling. If you’re the person who takes that oversized bag, consider buying a new one, or use the space under the seat in front of you.

Image: Getty
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4. The middle seat gets the armrests.

Who gets to use the armrest on a flight is a common quandary. There’s no advantage to having the middle seat – you don’t get the sky views of the window seat, and you don’t get the easy access of the aisle seat either. So let these unlucky folks in the middle have the armrests.

5. Talk to your neighbours.

You will be seated next to these people for at least a few hours, and a little interaction makes the journey much more pleasant. On that note, if you’re not in the mood for talking, pop on your earphones (you don’t have to listen to anything, but these act as a social ‘quiet time’ signal).

Listen: Meet the mum who packed up and moved to Bali with her kids. (Post continues.)

6. Ask before you recline.

Whether you should recline your seat frequents many travel etiquette debates. No one enjoys being stuck in a confined space for any amount of time, and it becomes much more unpleasant when you take away even more of their seat space. Your seat should never be reclined during food or drinks service, either. If you do fancy a nap, ask your neighbour if they would mind first – they will be much more likely to say yes, especially if you've followed our tip #5 too.

7. Respect personal space.

This is a public space, albeit a small one. If you’d like to stretch, don’t invade on a fellow passenger's space – head to the front of the aircraft and walk it out. Leave personal hygiene regimens in the bathroom, and if you do like listening to music make sure you’re the only one who can hear it. Everyone has their own way of relaxing during travel time: just don’t let your way affect someone else’s. (Post continues after gallery.)

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Travel etiquette on the ground

8. Walk in the 'fast' lane.

This is the unspoken rule of public transport, but it also applies on airport escalators and walkways. Observe the signs in the airport and see whether you're in the right 'lane' or not. Likewise, your suitcase can’t walk; so make sure that’s on the same side as you.

9. Tip according to the country you’re in – not where you’re from.

Tipping etiquette varies across the world and this is where things can get muddled, as some cultures do not expect you to tip at all. When in the USA you should be tipping your waiting staff between 15% - 20% (in fact, it is practically mandatory), While in Europe a tip of 10% - 15% is very welcome upon receiving good service. When in Asian countries, check your restaurant bill as sometimes 10% service charge has already been included. As always, when someone has gone above and beyond, it’s worth recognising with an extra tip.

Walk in the 'fast' lane. Please. (Getty)

And always…

10. It's okay to make mistakes.

It’s natural to get things wrong when you’re travelling, especially when travelling internationally and experiencing new cultures and travel expectations, but what matters is how you handle it. Apologise and try to reconcile the situation, whether there’s a language barrier or not. You can avoid some situations with research, but for the rest – let it go. Even the most well-travelled globetrotters get it wrong sometimes, and the best know how to handle it.

Do you have any rules to add?

This post originally appeared on Skyscanner Australia and was republished here with full permission. To read the original article, go here

Skyscanner Australia is a leading travel search engine, comparing millions of prices from airlines and online travel agencies to help travellers find the best deal on their flightshotels and car hire with no added fees. You can also find Skyscanner Australia on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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