It’s not only about the process of preparing for a trip or of packing one’s luggage (see the first part here). One of the most important parts of a getaway is the trip itself. After 30 years of travelling, these are my tips:
C. While travelling
You have already closed the door behind you…you are clutching your suitcases and are ready to embrace the brand new world that lies ahead of you.
15. Always carry with you a sweater, a cardigan or a coat. Even if you are travelling in the middle of the summer, planes, trains and boats may test your endurance as they often operate air conditioning systems set at very low temperatures. You will often feel that you need something to warm you up…and of course you will be grateful (to us) when you do!
16. Always wear comfortable and closed-toe shoes. Even though it might be tempting to travel wearing your flip flops or sandals, it’s worth having your feet protected. Dust, dirt, and unpredictable weather conditions (many times I’ve seen tourists wearing sandals trying to find shoes and socks to buy with the first summer squall) can always arise.
17. Travel with style. One word describes the perfect travel outfit best: layering (wearing several pieces of light clothing layered on top of the each other). This includes cardigans, shirts, and sweaters made from natural materials (which breathe) that you can wear or take off depending on how cold or hot you’re feeling. In addition, a comfortable pair of pants made from a soft material is a safe choice. Try to also have your passport, wallet, and tickets in a protected and easily track-able pocket.
18. Always arrive early to airports, ports, or train stations. You shouldn’t start your trip with stress. It is better to arrive early so you don’t add unnecessary agonies to your life.
19. Our manners (especially while travelling) show our character.
20. Be patient while waiting in queues. Older people, people with special needs and families with kids have priority. And not because this is imposed by the guidelines of the companies but simply because you are a human.
21. Help others: If you see an old lady who doesn’t know her gate, a stressed old person who doesn’t know how to get to his terminal, a student who is lost, help them. Be helpful. If you see a mother with 3 kids trying to juggle a baby carriage, suitcases and her children, offer a helping hand. She will thank you with her most sincere smile.
22. Garbage, gum and other stories… It might be great to travel, to feel relaxed and laid back but for God’s sake don’t spit your gum, don’t glue it beneath chairs and tables and don’t drop your coffee and your garbage just because you believe that somebody else will collect it for you.
23. There is a golden rule. Leave a place in the same condition you found it.
24. Toilets: This is a long story…. You will experience and see pretty much everything. Super clean toilets that will impress you and others that don’t even have light. Always have some napkins with you, don’t touch much anything (!) and always leave the toilet the way you found it. NEVER forget that after you another person is going to enter and that these places are being taken care of and cleaned by people like you and me. Respect them.
25. Well-bred social behaviour and good manners. You might be a passenger on an empty train. Don’t put your legs on the seat opposite you. After a while, another person will sit on the exact same seat. You are not alone in this world. We are sharing it.
26. Try not to be loud. It’s that simple! You want to talk on the phone, to have a fight with your partner, to hear music loudly? Never forget that you are not alone. Always be discreet.
27. Chapter children: Regardless of whether you have kids of your own or not we should all be sparing of our little friends. I was once flying and a kid was suffering from pain in his ears and crying during the whole flight. His parents were embarrassed and were apologising to everybody. Don’t put them in a difficult spot. Give them your smile. They are fighting a big battle.
28. If you are a parent and you are travelling with your kid, there are two simple pieces of advice that you should follow: Try not to irritate the kid and always have with you their favourite toy or snack. A very dear friend of mine says that in order for a kid to behave while travelling you need to have taught them proper behaviour way before the trip. You cannot learn good manners on the spot (it’s a different thing all together for a kid who is suffering or is in pain), while a spoiled kid is a completely different story: the only responsible ones are the parents. No matter what the case is, be tender with the parents and their kids. Travelling for them is a much more complicated procedure.
29. Follow the personnel’s instructions. When they ask you to fasten your seatbelt, when you hear an announcement to deactivate your cell phone, just do it. Don’t be the typical annoying trouble-maker traveller.
30. Be kind with the personnel and the crews. Address them with courtesy. Do not forget to offer them a simple “please” and “thank you.” You may share your complaints but always with courtesy. Being kind is not a characteristic that you may adopt whenever it is convenient for you. Kindness should be second nature. It’s a life choice.
Nothing else. Do not forget to smile. Your trip has just started.
P.S. For all the trips we have done and for the ones that lie ahead.
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