After spending time next to hundreds, possibly thousands, of people each day in subway stations, airports, taxi stands, and on city sidewalks, I've found a few things that you can do (or avoid doing) in order to keep everyone around you just a little bit happier. And if you are thinking, I don't care about their happiness (which, I surely hope that you are not), just think that they could be thinking the same thing. Let's just all give a little and make this world a better place to be by being better for each other and ourselves.
- Stopping abruptly while walking in a crowd. With the new iPhone 7 coming out and a culture that is largely based on the amount of likes that you get per Instagram post (guilty...), we have a lot of people taking pictures. Like...a lot. Everywhere. Don't be the person that stops mid-step to take a photo of something. Do the foot traffic a favor, glance behind you, step to the side, and then re-enter the spot that you want to take your photo from when there is a break in people. I get it...I'm guilty of being in my own world and thinking that I just have to stop this very second or the world will end. But it won't, I promise. Just be conscious of your surroundings and don't be the person that causes a pile-up. This, I am begging of you.
- Stopping abruptly to check your luggage for something. Let's revisit number one and then transport ourselves magically to a crowded airport. If you have to check your bag for your passport, your phone, or anything else, follow the same rules. It's easiest here to veer to the side and just take a pit stop by the wall. People are hustling to get to their connections and it is thoughtless to stop traffic because you think you might have left your phone in the bathroom (we've all had that panic moment).
- Asking someone to switch seats in the plane. Sometimes, this is unavoidable for families with kids. However, I am a big fan of the mini-upgrades. I will gladly spend $39 for a seat with extra room, extra movies, and some extra perks. Please don't ask me to give up my aisle seat because you didn't book your tickets with your friend, or you need more room, or any myriad of reasons that make me want to throw a little kid like tantrum because all I want to say is "no." It puts people in a difficult position...and if you notice the bottle of water that I'm carrying, you'll want me to have the aisle seat.
- Enjoying street performances/art without tipping. This one goes for anywhere in the world where there is someone exercising their creativity in public for some cash. If you are standing around watching, listening, or taking a photo...throw down some dough. It's okay if it's $1...but they are working to make a living, and by you absorbing this, you have consented to becoming part of their paying audience. If you don't want to pay, don't hang around and just continue on your merry way.
- De-boarding any group mode of transportation. It's simple...first row, first to go. Don't go elbowing your way in front of the aisle in front of you by placing your luggage in front of their aisle (you know those people). Unless the airplane makes an announcement to let passengers with connecting flights off first, wait your turn and don't jump in front of others while de-boarding. This goes for buses too. There is an easy order to things, if everyone follows them. It just takes one impatient person to throw off the whole process and then it becomes twice of an ordeal as it should have been.
- Grabbing your checked luggage. When you head to grab your luggage, just stand about 8-10 feet away from the belt. If we all did this, we would be able to see every piece of luggage as it came out. The owner would just be able to step up, grab the bag, and go. Don't hover over the luggage belt and make everyone say "excuse me" every time a new piece plops onto the belt. It will come when it comes, and you can just grab it when it does.
- Offer to take photos for others. Lastly, I think this is one of the best things that you can do for a group of people or a couple traveling together. We've all been there... you get home from vacation and have no photographic evidence of everyone being together. So spread some joy and offer a hand to others, regardless of if they are holding a selfie stick or not. The favor will most likely be returned!
Okay...so maybe those are really just pet peeves and not necessarily etiquette, but I think they are one in the same here!
I'd love to hear your thoughts and your tips for creating more cohesive travel. Please comment and share!