Traveling made courteous

Sticky Situations_edited-1Like many other university students, I had a busy Christmas break. I went to three cities, and was on what seemed like a ton of buses, flights, and cab rides.

Over the course of this and other journeys, I’ve noticed some passengers assume the attitude that their trip is all about them, and forget some of their travel experiences are really going to be shared with others. So when you’re in airports, bus terminals, and train stations, try to be aware of your surroundings. These places are usually busy, making it confusing and hectic to make connections.

Since you’re not going to get anywhere faster by pushing someone out of your way, I find its best to remain calm and try to bring out your reserves of charm.

One time, I was trying to read signage in a foreign language and walked smack into somebody. They were alright, but I apologized, smiled and was on my way.

To avoid being lost and confused, take precautions by checking your itinerary ahead of time, so that you know what gate you’re expected at and what time you are required to board, or also how to get from one place to another.

If you allow lots of wait time before your departures, you have one less thing to be stressed and cranky about. Travel usually means long lines and waits, so there’s no need to be cranky about this when you’re in the lines. If you know what to expect, you’re going to deal with it better.

Try to streamline your visit to the station/terminal/airport by having things on hand you’re going to need. I always get a new book or magazine to pass the time. They’re perfect because I don’t need to commit large amounts of time to them, and can stop and start easily.

Bringing water with you can be helpful when you don’t have time to go grab one from an overpriced kiosk. It’s refreshing if you’ve trekked with your luggage for a while or if you just need a little break. If you’re flying, the high altitudes are dehydrating and drinking water helps to diminish the effects of jet lag and dry skin.

Don’t plan to do anything of importance while you’re traveling since it’s not a reliable situation. Although you might have planned for a smooth trip with lots of room to pull out some work you’ve been meaning to catch up on, that might not happen.

Between bumpy rides, and the junk that tends to accumulate around you when you’re traveling, you’re not going to have ideal working conditions.

This summer, I was on a ten-hour flight home from Europe. The plane’s entertainment system (and although they didn’t admit it , I think their heating system) was down for the whole ride. The girl behind me starting audibly complaining the minute they announced these limitations, and didn’t stop for the rest of the trip. She sat with her knees in the back of my chair and complained that there wasn’t enough room in coach for her to use the tray to do homework due the next day. Bad plan.

So, let me clearly say this: keep your elbows, knees, feet, hair, and all other protruding bits where they’re supposed to be so that you’re not making the trip worse for the people around you.

If you’re the social type and want to talk to the person beside you, it’s perfectly natural to try to speak with them. But if they start to appear uncomfortable with the chat you should probably change the topic or take a break. If they just don’t appear into the conversation by giving one-word answers, or not looking at you when you talk to them, don’t take it personally, just ease off the talking.

Last but not least, take care to travel clean. I mean shower, use soap, deodorant, breath mints, gum, mouthwash, or floss, whatever it takes to present a clean, smell-free you. It’s courteous to the other people you’re going to deal with that day. Put your garbage where it belongs; take extra care not to spill liquids. I’ve had a full glass of water spilt on me just after takeoff on a chilly night flight overseas. Since it’s hard to anticipate the temperature of your conveyance, bring some layers to keep warm. I usually bring a large scarf and thick socks with me.

Be prepared by thinking your travels through ahead of time and be a pleasure to deal with by using extra patience and being liberal with the smiles. Bon voyage!

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