Don’t be that guy: Good manners while traveling

Erica Paredes
FLY HIGH, BUT DON'T BE THAT GUY. Just a few tips to improve the journey to your destination overall

As much as I love traveling, there are certain things about the entire transport process that I don’t always enjoy. In fact, sometimes being in transit can be downright unbearable, and the only thing that keeps you going is knowing you’ll be in a new place, albeit wishing it was sooner rather than later. 

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If you really think about it, riding an airplane is akin to being on a long bus ride. It’s public transportation, except thousands of feet up in the air, so you never really can tell what kind of person you might be sitting next to for the next 12 hours. Since we are all on the same boat, shouldn’t we do out best to try to make things a little easier for each other?

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Here are a few things to remember when going on a trip:

1. Have all your documents ready. Make sure you have filled up and signed your departure card and you are holding your passport, because the best way to stress everyone out is to be that person who is putting all documents together when it’s their turn in line.  

Lines are usually so long and most people just want to get to their gates as quickly as possible. Having everything ready will make for a quicker and smoother transaction.

2. Bring headphones. Long trips mean filling up your iPad with new games or your favorite shows, but bear in mind that your favorite comedy may not be your seatmate’s, so in order to be considerate, make sure you keep all audio to yourself, especially on long haul flights where people are trying to sleep.

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3. Keep your voice down. On my last flight, this group of guys kept talking really loudly to each other across the aisle, as if they wanted the entire section of the plane to hear about their future plans. Seriously, no one cares, so keep it down.

4. Give each other space. Be considerate about the amount of space you take up on the plane. Yes, it is tight and yes it is uncomfortable, but take comfort in knowing that everyone feels the same. If there is an extra seat on your row, make sure you and the other person negotiate before just grabbing the seat. If the person has a child, just give it to them.

LONG LINES. Travel does entail some waiting, but there are ways to make it a lot less painless for everyone

5. Watch your hygiene. Don’t be that stinky person on board that no one wants to sit next to. If your feet are prone to smelling, keep your shoes on, try not to smoke too much prior to a long haul flight (non-smokers can smell it no matter what you do) and if you plan to talk to anyone next to you, please brush your teeth. 

6. Stay Sober. Free alcohol on board does not give you the license to become a belligerent drunk. You are in an airplane, not at a bar! One or two glasses of wine with dinner or to help you sleep is fine. Practice some self- control. Once, my dad was on a plane where a drunk guy started getting aggressive, and this resulted in him being arrested the minute they arrived at their destination.

7. Flush the toilet. Airplane lavatories are already less than desirable places to relieve oneself at best, so dirty airplane bathrooms are the worst. Would you want to walk into one in the middle of the night only to step on a floor full of wet tissue, an un-flushed toilet and random trash everywhere? Is this how you would treat your own bathroom? I didn’t think so.

8. Keep your carry-on baggage a decent size. Everyone has something that needs to be stored on board, so don’t be hog the overhead space. If you really have that many things to bring back, pay the excess baggage fees and be fair to others.

9. Follow the queue. Lines are always tricky because Pinoys even seem to have trouble even queuing to use public toilets, and people making “singit” (cutting in) is a regular occurrence every time there are long lines. When traveling, there is a lot of waiting, and there are even more lines, so please be fair as everyone is on the same boat. Don’t be the person getting dirty looks from others and though people might not say anything in the Philippines, you most likely will get called out elsewhere.

10. Keep to the right (or left, depending on the place). When in transit, everyone is usually in a rush or trying to find their boarding gate. When on an escalator or travelator, remember to keep to one side when you want to stand, leave the other side open for people who prefer to walk. Don’t block the way, you never know who is trying to catch a connecting flight straight from a delayed one! –

Photo of the beach and photo of crowded airport from Shutterstock

Erica is a hippie in high heels, fashion renegade, world traveler, kitchen gangsta and tattoo collector