The Ten Unwritten Rules of Travel
The Ten Unwritten Rules of Travel

The Ten Unwritten Rules of Travel

The world of travel entered a new era after its COVID shutdown in 2020. Things changed rapidly, first with travel requirements and a dearth of demand emptying airports and then with a shockwave of revenge travel coming back shortly after that, when combined with the lifting of those restrictions, created a perfect storm of travel chaos.

by Daniel McCarthy / August 15, 2022
Photo: Clare Louise Jackson /

Photo: Clare Louise Jackson /

However, even though things changed, that doesn’t mean that there are no rules now. And while travelers have no control over the hurricane of travel chaos swirling around them, they do have control over how they react and their own behavior. 

TMR asked travel advisors about their unwritten rules for travel, and what rules they make sure to abide by when they are doing their own personal travel. Here are the most common answers: 

1. Wait Until It’s Your Turn to Deplane
“Stay in your seat until the rows in front of you are moving during deplaning. Don't stand in the aisle like you are about to cut in line unless you are a tight connection. If you are, announce your urgency."
- Anna Gipson, Travelwell Company, South Carolina

“Always allow those in the rows ahead of me to deplane.  If someone tells me that they have a very tight connection, I am happy to let them come from behind me.”
- Wendy Mercer, Classic Travel Connection, Birmingham, Alabama

“You are supposed to deplane starting with the front row and working your way back. Do not get up and just start barging up the aisle from the back of the plane before your turn. One exception is if you are about to miss your connecting flight.”
- Linda Heard, Dream Vacations, Omaha, Nebraska

“To always wait until it's my row's turn to exit the plane.”
- Diana Thompson, Diana's Dream Vacations

Photo: Rob Crandall /

Photo: Rob Crandall /

2. Don’t Allow More Opportunities for Things to Go Wrong

“Never book a connecting flight if a non-stop is available. It's just another opportunity for something to go wrong and it's never worth the small savings.”
- Denise Koranek, Sunset Vacations, and Travel Planning, Grapevine, Texas

“Always check in online 24 hours prior and arrive at the airport 2 hours prior for domestic. 3 hours for international. Security lines are long and airports are crowded.”
- Pat Telano, Tzell Travel Group Long Island, Rockville Center, New York

3. Pack Light and Only Use a Carry-On
“I usually try to pack light and only use a carry-on when possible. I buy my toiletries at my destination and leave them behind when I’m departing.”
- Konnie Oviatt, Red Hot Adventures, Portland, Oregon

“Lay out everything you want to pack and then put half of it back.  Pack lightly to travel effortlessly!”
- Lisa Fletcher, Gifted Travel Network, North Carolina

“Take twice as much money and half as much luggage... and you will be much happier in the end.”
- Marianne Vogel, Just for You Travel & Consulting, Canada 

"Carry bag only - this will prevent overpacking as well as bag delays!”
- Georgiann Jaworskyj, Custom Travel Services, Inc, Merchantville, New Jersey

“Absolutely only travel with carry-on luggage until the travel industry gets back to normal. Checking bags is too risky even when traveling domestically.”
Margaret Pratt, Brownell, Birmingham, Alabama



4. Keep Your Feet Out of Site and Out of Mind
“Do not put your bare feet on display. Bring a pair of socks. And for the love of all things right in the world, do not put your feet on the bulkhead wall or seat back in front of you.”
- Helen Jordan, Brownell Travel, Birmingham, Alabama

“Don't stick my feet onto the armrest of the seats in front of me.”
- Tomomi Shimabukuro, N & K Travel Service, Inc, Honolulu, Hawaii

“Please keep your feet out of my seat. I know the airline seats are cramped but sticking them through the seats is rude and no one wants to see or smell your nasty toes.”
- Teri Hurley, Endless Love Travel, Austin, Texas

5. Go Straight to Your Gate, But Don’t Crowd It
"Don't crowd the gate, wait until your boarding group is called. and then approach the gate.”
- Christine George, George Custom Travel, Florida

“Always go straight to the gate, do not stop at the restroom or food places. I like to visually see where my gate is, make sure my flight is displayed and only then do I allow myself to go eat or use the restroom. I feel less stressed.”
- Barbara Khan, Journeys by the Book - Protravel, Inc., Florida

“There is no rush to get on an airplane, since once you board you will be sitting a long time, so I often wait as patiently as possible to board, unless I am in a window. The plane won't be leaving until the gate is cleared, so really there is no rush.”
- Nancy Wilson, Leisure Life Holiday, Ottawa, Ontario

6. Don’t Forget to Move Around
“To move and stretch my feet, ankles, and legs as much as is humanly possible under crowded situations. My late father nearly died from a blood clot incurred on a long flight. I am very much attuned to the dangers of sitting in cramped spaces for even a few hours.”
- Alex Ramsey, All Aboard Travel, Dallas, Texas

Photo:  Vinnikava Viktoryia /

Photo:  Vinnikava Viktoryia /

7. Use the Airline’s App, Especially When Dealing with Cancellations or Delays 

“When flying be sure to download the Airlines App - if and when your flight is delayed, use the app and type "Representative" in order to get a live person for assistance.”
- Sandy Keel, Cruise Planners, Jacksonville, Florida

8. Be Prepared for Things to Go Wrong
“Always bring a power bank as you never know how long it will be before you can get to an outlet for your phone or computer.”
- Marilyn Burrows, Your Dream Travels, Florida

“Always bring sanitizer wipes for the airplane. The tray table on an airplane is listed as the dirtiest area on a plane. So, I always bring sanitizer wipes to wipe down tray, armrests seat belt, etc.”
- Kerry King, Cruise King, Orlando, Florida

“Always have a change of clothes in your carry-on, in case luggage is lost.”
Deborah Tatter, Dreams Vacations, Rochester, Indiana

“Air tags in everything traveling with me.”
- Barbie Guziak, Montecito Village Travel, Santa Barbara, California

“Everyone must purchase travel insurance.”
Michelle Fluster, Vacation Dreams by Michelle, Albany, New York

9. Respect the People Around You

“Do not lean on the seat in front of you on the airplane when you stand up. Lean on your own seat.”
- Robin SanchezMontecito Village Travel, Santa Barbara

“I never wear any perfume when I fly. My seatmates may have allergies, or just not like what I'm wearing.”
- Leslie ParkerLeslie Parker TravelSan Clemente, California

“Middle seat gets the armrest.”
- Marc Casto, Flight Centre Travel Group, Boston, Massachusetts

“I never recline my airline seat. I hate it when someone does it to me. You totally take up someone's leg room when you do.”
Sandra Harris, Cruise Planners, Jacksonville, Florida

“When flying, on a bus, or any other common space with other people around, use your inside voice. The rest of the plane does not need to hear your conversation. And the corollary, try to keep the chit-chat to a minimum. Nothing more annoying than two chatty Carols (could be either male or female) talking, usually about nothing, the entire length of the journey.”
- James Wigdel, Honu Adventures LLC, San Diego, California

“Middle seat gets BOTH armrests.”
- Debra Connelly, Cruise Planners, Snellville, Georgia

Photo: David Tran Photo /

Photo: David Tran Photo /

10. More than Anything, Pack Your Patience and Be Kind
“Be nice to the staff and airline crew.”
- Sarah Reed, Country Junction Travel, Whitecourt Alberta

“Always pack your patience.”
- Becky Schulze, Accent Travel Agency, San Antonio, Texas

“Treat people the way you would want to be treated.”
- Brenda Ewing, Golden Postcard Travels LLC, Virginia

“Be kind. That includes being kind and courteous to the staff even if things don't go according to plan or if service is slow.  Remember it's not their fault 99% of the time.  Kindness gets you everywhere.”
- Cindy Bryant, Bryant Getaway Vacations, Alabama

“Be courteous to everyone you meet. Please and thank you gets you so much further than getting upset when things don't go your way.  Reach out and help a fellow traveler when the opportunities present themselves.”
- Casey Coven, Cruise Planners 411 to Travel, Annapolis, Maryland

“Always arrive at the airport earlier than the airline recommends. Pack my patience in my carry-on.”
- Norma Wheeler, Travel Agent Next Door, Ottawa, Canada

“None of this is a life or death situation.  Relax and let the cards fall how they may.”
- Jennifer Reeves, Adventures Around the World, Utah

“Always smile and be polite even when things go wrong. It will get you much further ahead in a resolution than if you are rude, loud, and cursing.”
Tracee Williams, Destinations, Fayetteville, Arkansas

“Be patient and polite to everyone!”
- Jani Miller, Central Travel, Toledo, Ohio

“Be prepared for the unexpected, think positive, be outlandishly creative in problem-solving - if you have the right attitude, you will reach the right altitude.”
- Norman Payne, Uniglobe, Ottawa, Canada



Comments (0)

Add a Comment