41 Ways To Be A Horrible Traveler and Make Everyone Hate You

I travel often and I work in a major airport, so I have seen my share of passengers with no sense of travel etiquette. It’s often puzzling when a full grown person doesn’t seem to have the travel common sense of a toddler.
These 41 tips, or “don’ts” are things I have seen travelers do over the years, and they are sure fire way to make everyone around you hate you (at least momentarily).

Airplane Etiquette

Do not put your hair over the back of your seat

Why? Why would you do this? I took this picture on a bus but this still counts towards airplane etiquette. Your beautiful hair does not belong behind your seat. There is someone sitting behind you and they do not want to have your hair in their personal space. Just don’t. If you want to take care of your hair while you travel, why not get a beautiful bonnet, handmade by me? 
I took this on a bus in Madrid.

Do not recline during meal service

There is so much debate as to whether someone has the right to recline or not, I write about it here and would love your thoughts. Recline as you wish, but please be courteous to your fellow passengers during meal service. You should not recline your seat while passengers are eating, those few inches make a huge difference when someone is trying to dine in peace. You can recline your seat as soon as the trays are collected, but until then, reclining during meal service is a no no.

Do not put your bare feet on seats

I love walking barefoot, and in my house I almost always have bare feet. However, in public spaces, I do not put my bare feet on public surfaces. Why? Cause it’s nasty. Period. Don’t do it. The pic below was taken by Tomika on her recent 8 hour international flight. Click the link to check out her IG. See the woman’s foot on the seat? Not only was it on the seat, it was touching Tomika’s thigh. THAT. IS. GROSS.

Don’t tap the screen like you’re angry at the world

Many airplanes now have video on the back of each seat, which makes it super convenient to enjoy your inflight entertainment. However, I have seen time and time again, people punching those screens like they are a heavy weight fighter. Go easy on the screen and remember there is someone sitting in front of you. If you tap too hard, you are disturbing them.

PRO TIP: Use your knuckle and tap lightly on the screen, that usually works very well.

Don’t put coat in overhead bins

Overhead bins are for carry on bags. If you do not want to keep your coat with you, put it ON TOP OF your carry-on bag, not next to it. Your balled up coat is taking up precious space from other passengers and it’s not fair.

Don’t let your kids kick the back of the seat

This should be self-explanatory. NO ONE likes getting the back of their seat kicked. Control your child. Make them stop kicking the back of the seat.

A bare table tray is not for changing diapers

Come on now, you KNOW this is gross. The table tray is for eating, NOT for changing a dirty diaper. If you absolutely must use the tray table, PLEASE use a portable baby changing table like the one highlighted here so nothing gross gets on the table.

Don’t ignore your crying/loud/disruptive child

Your child is precious to you, I get it. But not everyone loves kids and your fellow passengers do not have to engage with your child. I know it’s hard to understand that many people simply do not like kids, but those people exist. Your child is no exception. Make sure to pay close attention to your little one and do not ignore their cries and their bad behavior. Flying with kids soon?  Here are 10 expert tips to help you travel well with your children.

Don’t pull on the seat in front of you when getting up.

It is possible to get out of your seat without pulling on the seat in front of you. When you pull on the seat, that disturbs the person sitting in said seat. Would you want someone pulling on your seat as they get up? No, you wouldn’t. So think about the other person and act accordingly.

Don’t blow up bathroom

Come on man! This is not your personal toilet. If you know you are gonna let loose, please travel with Poo-Pourri and spray before you go. You can get a two pack here.


Do not bring pungent foods on your flight

Listen, I love good food. And we all know airplane food isn’t usually the greatest. However, that doesn’t give you the right to subject every person on your flight to your offensive odorous food. This means no fish and no hard boiled eggs. Don’t bring anything that once opened, has an aroma that will kill the nostril hairs of every passenger aboard.

Do not wear pajamas on the plane unless you are a toddler.

Being comfortable while flying is a must, I get it. However, the plane is not your personal bed. Wear clothing that will help you be as comfy as possible, but keep your pj’s at home. You may like this jumpsuit, it’s super comfy and fashionable.

 Do not reach over someone to lower the shade

If you do this to the wrong person, you may get slapped as this is not proper airplane etiquette. You may not get slapped but you will get a strong side eye. This is extremely rude so do not do this. HOWEVER, if the person by the window is sleeping and the shade is disturbing you, you do have the right to close it.

 Don’t pack more in your carry on than you can lift.

It would be nice if people would offer to help you life your bag, but that isn’t something you should count on. Do not pack more than you can lift and you won’t have to worry about anyone helping you.

Close the bathroom door!

When you leave the bathroom on the plane, it is not hard to close the door behind you. It doesn’t matter what you have just finished doing, no one wants to smell it.

Don’t block the aisle with your feet

Of course there isn’t enough legroom, we all understand that. But the aisle is not your personal space. There are people walking up and down the aisles and they shouldn’t have to watch out for your feet. Keep them out of the aisle.

 Dude. If you fart, go to the bathroom. No one wants to smell your stinky butt.

Do I really have to explain this one?

Don’t hog the arm rest if there is someone in the middle seat.

The middle seat sucks and we all know it. Why would you deprive the middle seat rider of having both arm rests? They get so little in life, give up the armrest, ok?

Don’t hover over someone else’s seat

You want to stretch your legs during the flight? Cool. That’s totally understandable. But do not stand in front of someone you aren’t traveling with and do all kinds of stretching and bending. They absolutely do not want you in their personal space.

Do not smack your food

Do you smack? Why? Horses smack. Cows smack. They are animals who graze in fields. You do not graze so why are you eating like an animal? Close your mouth in public please.


Do not drinks tons if you are in a window seat

I have to use the restroom often, it’s just a part of my life. So when I have a window seat, I make sure not to drink a ton and I always empty my bladder before I sit down. If you know you are a frequent bathroom visitor, the window seat is not for you.

Basic Travel Etiquette

Hotel Behavior

Travel includes staying in hotels, and there are definitely things travelers should not do while in a hotel room.

no loud music in hotel room

Yes, you have paid for your hotel room, but so did the person in the rooms next to you. There is nothing wrong with listening to music, but please do not blast your songs of choice in your room. That is really rude and not something anyone should do.

Don’t forget to tip housekeeper

Housekeepers work hard. I normally deny housekeeping when I stay in a hotel, and I explain my reasons in this post. However, if you do have housekeeping clean your room, please leave an appropriate tip.

Don’t forget headphones

There is truly no place you should listen to your electronics without headphones, so this is also for the plane and the boarding area. No one, and I mean NO ONE other than you cares about what you are watching or who you are talking to. Headphones are earbuds should be with you at all times. I use Bose headphones and take them everywhere. They are simply divine. 

Don’t speak louder to someone who doesn’t speak English

This is something people do often and it makes no sense. If you are dealing with someone who doesn’t speak English, talking louder and slower won’t help. Hand gestures, facial expressions, and google translate all work very well.

Don’t talk down to hotel staff

It is faulty thinking (that’s my christian way of saying stupid) if you think that someone working in a hotel is beneath you. They are hard-working people that have a job to do, and if you choose to try and demean them, they can make your hotel stay less pleasant. However, that isn’t the reason you should be nice. It doesn’t cost anything and it makes everyone feel better.

Don’t make fun of people who speak a language you don’t understand

Remember, they are speaking their language and can probably speak a little bit of yours. Most people only speak 1 language, so it makes no sense to make fun of someone who is probably smarter than you.

Going through Security etiquette

 Don’t be a cheapskate. Do not wear all your clothes to not check a bag.

These types of stories make for funny anecdotes on social media, but it’s really not necessary. Checking a bag isn’t that expensive, just pay. Or better yet, just take a carryon bag. I have been traveling with only a carryon bag for years!

 Don’t wait until the last minute to take out your laptop in security.

Why do people do this? IF you don’t have Pre-check, you will have to take out your computer and other electronics. Do NOT wait until the very last minute to take out all of the things you are supposed to. Everyone will hate you.

 Check your ticket BEFORE you get to the TSA line. you know if you are pre-check or not

I am always surprised by the look of surprise on a passenger’s face when they stand in the pre-check line, only to find out they don’t have pre-check. Here’s a tip: If TSA pre-check isn’t listed on your ticket, you ain’t got it.

Boarding area etiquette

don’t crowd the boarding area. If you’re in group 7, Get out of the way if they are boarding group 2.SIT. DOWN.

Don’t be daft.

How can you be daft? By asking the gate agent, “Is this the gate for my flight?” when the destination is listed on the screen behind you. Look up dude. Take a minute to look at the board BEFORE you ask a silly question.

Don’t sit in the boarding area with your headphones so loud that you miss the announcement of your flight boarding.

This just happened to someone I was talking to at the airport. She said she had her headphones on and was so involved with her show, she missed the announcement that her flight had changed gates. She ended up missing her connecting flight and everything she had planned had to be rescheduled. Don’t let this happen to you.

Do not let your baby crawl around the boarding area with no shoes on.

The boarding are carpet is filled with germs. Thousands of pairs of shoes walk through there daily. Do you really want your baby to crawl around and touch all of those germs?

Do not walk around the boarding area with no shoes on.

Same principle. But, even if a baby crawls around the boarding area, it can be cute cause babies are adorable. A grownup walking around with bare feet is just gross.

General common sense etiquette

Common sense is not common, and travelers do the most ridiculous things in public. Here are just a few that you should NEVER do.

Do not pick your nose in public

Your nose, your boogers. But please, do not go diving for them in public. That is just nasty and no one wants to see it.

Don’t clip fingernails or toe nails on plane or in boarding area

Basically any hygienic activities should be done in private. Clipping toe nails or fingernails in the boarding area or on an airplane is revolting.

Do not throw a temper tantrum with the gate agents.

This always baffles me. Gate agents have the power to help you. But they can also make your trip a living hell. Do not yell at the person who is capable of denying you boarding for your flight, that is just plain stupid. If the agent is not doing their job to your satisfaction, get their name and take it to corporate. Plus, yelling at someone is so barbaric and childish, it’s just not right. Don’t do it.

Don’t spit in the water fountain

Yep. This happens at airports. Why? because people are gross. Not you of course, but other folks. Do I need to explain why spitting in a water fountain is simply disgusting? Nah, I don’t. Just trust me on this one and don’t do it.

And there you have it, 41 things you should never do while traveling. Do you agree with my tips? Let me know in the comments if you agree with me.

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  1. These are fabulous tips. I’d have to add don’t paint your fingernails on a flight! (You would think this is common sense) The smell of fingernail polish in a small cabin is horrid!

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