We’ve all seen them. Those rude, annoying, travelling assholes. I like to think that these people are actually nice, they just don’t know how to behave when they find themselves in unusual circumstances. When stressed (and travel can be stressful), sometimes we revert to our asshole selves. So here are some travel tips on how NOT to be an asshole the next time you go on your vacation. Oh, and by the way, you’ll find that by NOT being an asshole, you’ll actually have a much better time.
At The Airport
Know the rules. Airport security lines can be unbearably long, please don’t be the asshole who thinks you’re the only person on the plane that should be able to bring his bottled water through security. You can’t do that, so throw it in the bin, apologize, and move along. And don’t wait to be told to place your laptop in the tray. Have it out of your bag, and ready to scan before you get to the front of the line.
Never Yell at Airline Staff. This should go without saying because it’s just rude. Airline staff are yelled at by stressed out, weary travellers all day long. Don’t be that guy. If common courtesy isn’t enough, consider the power these people hold – they can get you on another flight ahead of everyone else, or bump you up to business class. Being nice can have its advantages.
Flights get delayed, it’s just a fact. You should always consider this as a real possibility when you book your flight. If you live in a cold climate and are travelling in the winter, expect extra time to de-ice the plane. Regardless of the reason for the delay, never yell at the airline staff.
Don’t Be Gate Lice. You know who you are. You’re that woman who hangs around the gate trying to get to your seat before everyone else. If you don’t have small children or a disability, sit the hell down until your row is called.
On The Plane
Either Check Your Bag, or Bring Less. This breed of asshole tries to cram all his earthly possessions into that wheeled “carryon”, and also brings an oversized briefcase as his “personal item”, and then carries his electronics in various pockets of his cleverly designed traveller’s trench coat. Before he sits down, he shoves the suitcase in the overhead (sideways to be sure the wheels fit), and then his briefcase and jacket go next to that. Next thing you know, he has taken up most of the overhead bin designed for at least three people.
Don’t Get Drunk on the Plane. Some people need to have that stiff drink because they are afraid to fly. But when a nip of courage becomes five or six, you will become a blithering idiot. Maybe the thin air makes you drunker faster, but please stay sober on your flight. There’s plenty of time to get drunk when you arrive at your destination. Meanwhile, your airplane seat mates are stuck with you.
Don’t Be “American Loud”. We know you’re excited, but please keep your voice down. Some people like to use the flight to catch up on some sleep. You’ll be spending your entire vacation with your friends and family, save the chit-chat for when you’re not disturbing others.
At Your Accommodations
For Airbnb, Couch-surfing, or Other Sharing Economy Type Lodging, Treat Your Host Like a Host. If you’re going to be late, have the courtesy to text your host and let them know when they can expect you. Don’t just show up at 3:00 am like you’re checking into a hotel. Your host will likely be very understanding as long as you give them a heads-up.
At the Hotel. You may not be happy with the room you’re assigned. There’s a way to complain without being an asshole. Explain in a quiet voice what the issue is, and ask if they can offer you a different room. If the matter is serious (something you cannot bear), and there are no other rooms, then ask if they can refer you to another hotel (with a refund of course). Hotels depend on good Trip Advisor reviews, they really want you to be happy. Give the desk clerk a chance to do that before you get all up in his face.
Expect Crappy Wifi. It’s likely you won’t have the same lightning speed and reliability you get at home. If you’re paying for wifi, you should expect to be able to get online most of the time. Otherwise, wifi is sometimes a crap shoot when you travel. It’s normal.
Learn the Language. No need to be fluent, just a few phrases will do, like “please”, “thank-you”, “how much is that?”, and “where is…..”. If you are completely unable to learn a few phrases, then at least have a translating app on your phone. Only assholes expect everyone in a foreign country to speak English.
Understand and Follow Local Customs. Read up before you go and understand the customs so you can respect them. Remember, you’re a guest in their country and should act respectfully whether you agree with the custom or not.
Don’t Assume Everyone will Cheat You. It’s true, there are “local prices” and “tourist prices”. But are you being ripped off? Given the currency exchange and the cost of living, ask yourself if you’re paying a FAIR price before you get all ass-holy about being charged more than a local.
Don’t Assume the Food will Make you Sick. One of the best experiences of travel is to enjoy the local food. If street food makes you nervous, eat where local families take their children. Note: Refusing to eat shark fin soup in China, or dog meat in Vietnam does NOT make you an asshole (in fact, quite the opposite).
Haggle Respectfully. In many countries vendors will haggle for price, it’s normal. Haggling at a market can be a fun experience, but it’s not a game you must win. Don’t beat the vendor down by loudly demanding a better price than he’s willing to offer. Remember, he has a family to feed. If you can’t get the price you want, simply say “thank-you” and walk away.
Ask Permission Before You Take Someone’s Picture. It’s common courtesy folks. Also, if you are watching a street performance, you are expected to tip before you take any pictures. They are trying to make a living, so if you’re entertained by watching them, then pay for it.
Find Better Forms of Entertainment – Ones That Don’t Involve Animal Abuse. Believe it or not, elephants don’t want to give you a ride. These gentle giants are made docile enough to be subjected to unnatural acts, like giving rides and painting pictures. Similarly, posing next to a tiger or a lion means the animal has to be continually drugged. C’mon, can’t we let these beautiful creatures live a natural existence?
Don’t let travel frustrate you or make you stressed. By understanding what makes you a travelling asshole, you can start to correct certain behaviours and have a much nicer experience.