Rae Bates

Considerate Travel

My husband and I just got back from Texas. We were in the Dallas area to attend our son’s wedding. It was beautiful, and I’ll probably write about the wedding soon. Today I want to talk a bit about traveling.

We left late on a Friday night. We drove about three hours and slept for a few hours at a rest stop. Many other travelers were doing the same. About 4:30 in the morning a family pulled in. The kids were a little noisy, but that’s not unusual. Children rarely think about the effect their actions have on others. However, the parents violated the first rule of travel—be considerate of others. They both yelled loudly, more than once, for their children to “Load ‘em up!” I will assume it never occurred to them that the cars around them held people attempting to sleep. Still, yelling at 4:30 in the morning is not a considerate thing to do, no matter where you are. Frankly, yelling loudly in public is never a considerate thing to do.

We stayed in comfortable hotels the rest of the trip. Hotels hold their own set of courtesies. If there is someone else already at the desk registering, be sure to stay back until you’re asked to approach the desk. You and I know you’re not trying to listen in for others’ personal data, but they don’t know that.

Many hotel rooms have doors that close on their own, and they often close with a bit of a bang. Always attempt to soften that closure. This is especially important if you arrive or leave late at night or early in the morning. But any time of day you may find that someone in a nearby room is trying to sleep. I have a friend who travels for work. His work takes place late at night, so he’s usually trying to sleep during the day.

For this same reason, you should always talk quietly in the hallways. It’s amazing how much sound from a hallway seeps into a hotel room. Remind your children that running in the Rae of Sunshine logohallways is also a no-no. One young child can somehow manage to sounds like a herd of elephants when he or she is running down a hotel hallway.

Remember to stand back while waiting for the elevator. I’m often amazed at the number of people who will stand right in front of the opening elevator doors. It is always likely that there will be people on the elevator who will need to step out before anyone can step in. Once you’re on the elevator, if you are standing near the buttons, you should ask what floor others in the elevator need. If you are standing near the opening, please step back if the doors open on a floor other than the one you need so that others can step off.

It’s also important to be considerate of the hotel staff. They are not your personal servants. It’s fine to make requests for extra towels or whatever else you need. Just remember to make these as requests, not demands.

You’ll want to decide whether or not you want daily housekeeping for your room. The Furry Guy dislikes having to unmake a bed every day, so he prefers not to have daily housekeeping. Some hotels have started offering bonus perks or points if you don’t have daily service. It’s considered eco-friendly to forego the daily housekeeping. All you need to do is slip the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door on the days you don’t need service.

Speaking of housekeeping service, remember to tip. The standard amount is $2 per day of service or $1 per person staying in the room, whichever is more. If you aren’t receiving housekeeping service every day, it isn’t necessary to tip for every day. For instance, we stayed in our hotel in Midlothian, Texas, for seven nights. We didn’t have housekeeping service our room until we left, so we did not leave a tip for all seven nights. If you are having housekeeping service your room every day (I know people who love slipping into a freshly made bed, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that), be sure to tip daily. The person who cleans your room on Tuesday and Wednesday may not be the same person who cleans your room on Thursday.

As I said, we drove. Considerate driving is safe driving. Allow enough room for others to merge in if necessary. Don’t crowd the car in front of you. Say thank you to the person who lets you merge in. Apologize if you accidentally cut someone off or do something else to irritate another driver.

Flying? Don’t bring along smelly foods. Not everyone enjoys the scent of tuna or curry. Try not to be loud or take up more than your fair share of space. Don’t crowd the baggage claim carousel. And if you have children along, keep them near you. While I adore children, not everyone does. And if they’re running about between people, they are likely to get hurt or cause someone else to get hurt. Pay attention to the cues from the person next to you. If he or she has brought along a book, some work to do, an electronic device for watching movies or listening to music, or something else to keep themselves busy, they are most likely not interested in getting into a long discussion with you.

Generally speaking, considerate travel boils down to making sure you treat others with kindness. Happy travels.

May your week ahead be filled with sunshine.

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Rea Bates is an independent Consultant with the Pampered Chef. You can see her Facebook Page by clicking HERE. Her column appears each Sunday in Peru Indiana Today.