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Travel Etiquette: My Top 5 Travel Pet Peeves


by Shirlene Hatchett



Traveling is an exciting and enriching experience that opens our minds to new cultures, traditions, and ways of life. Whether we’re exploring far-off destinations or simply venturing to nearby towns, traveling allows us to break free from our daily routine and immerse ourselves in unfamiliar environments.


However, while travel can be a transformative experience, it is not without its challenges. One aspect that can often dampen our travel spirits is encountering individuals who have little regard for travel etiquette. These individuals, oblivious or indifferent to the impact of their actions, can turn what should be a pleasant and enjoyable journey into a frustrating and unpleasant one.


In this article, we will delve into my top 5 travel pet peeves that can hinder the overall travel experience for both tourists and locals alike. By highlighting these common grievances, we hope to foster a greater sense of empathy and understanding, encouraging everyone to be more mindful and considerate travelers.


Pet Peeve #1: Loud and Inconsiderate Passengers

One of the biggest travel pet peeves is encountering loud and inconsiderate passengers during a journey. Whether it’s on a plane, train, or bus, there’s nothing more frustrating than being subjected to the incessant noise and disruptive behavior of fellow travelers who seem oblivious to the impact they’re having on those around them.


These passengers may engage in loud conversations, play music without headphones, or ignore requests to lower their voices. Their lack of consideration for others can quickly transform what should be a peaceful and enjoyable journey into a stressful and unpleasant one.


Not only can their noise be disruptive and annoying, but it can also hinder the ability of other passengers to rest or concentrate. It can make it challenging to read a book, watch a movie, or simply enjoy some quiet time during the journey.


Additionally, loud and inconsiderate passengers can create an uncomfortable and tense atmosphere for everyone on board. It can lead to conflicts or altercations between passengers who may become frustrated with the constant noise and lack of respect for shared space.


To avoid being the cause of frustration for your fellow travelers, it’s important to be mindful of your volume and respect the need for a peaceful environment. Keep conversations at a reasonable level, use headphones when listening to music or watching videos, and be receptive to any requests from others to lower your voice or reduce noise levels.


By being considerate of others and practicing good travel etiquette, we can ensure a more enjoyable and harmonious journey for everyone involved.


Pet Peeve #2: Lack of Personal Space

Another common travel pet peeve that can quickly dampen the joy of exploring new places is a lack of personal space. Whether it’s in crowded tourist attractions, public transportation, or even in accommodation, feeling cramped and invaded can be incredibly frustrating.


One of the main culprits of this pet peeve is overcrowded public transportation. Being crammed into a bus or train with no room to move can be incredibly uncomfortable and make the journey feel much longer than it actually is. Additionally, having to endure physical contact with strangers due to tight quarters is an invasion of personal boundaries that many find unpleasant.


Another situation where personal space can be compromised is in crowded tourist sites. Popular landmarks and attractions often attract large crowds, making it difficult to navigate and enjoy the experience. Pushing and shoving, accidental bumping, and constant jostling can quickly turn a fascinating sightseeing opportunity into a stressful and exhausting ordeal.


In accommodation, shared spaces such as dorm rooms in hostels can also present challenges in maintaining personal space. Limited storage, communal bathrooms, and noisy roommates can all contribute to a lack of privacy and personal space.


To navigate these situations and respect personal space, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and mindful of others. Keep an appropriate distance from fellow travelers in crowded places, avoid unnecessary physical contact, and be respectful of personal boundaries. When choosing accommodation, consider the option of private rooms or ensure you select accommodation with shared spaces that offer enough room for everyone to comfortably coexist.


By considering the personal space of those around us and being conscious of our actions, we can contribute to a more enjoyable and respectful travel experience for all.


Pet Peeve #3: Unruly Children

We’ve all been on a flight, train, or bus where we encountered unruly children whose behavior made the journey challenging and unpleasant. Unruly children can be a major travel pet peeve for many travelers, as their actions can disrupt the peace and tranquility that we seek during our travels.


These children may engage in loud and disruptive behavior, such as screaming, crying, or running around in confined spaces. Their lack of discipline and supervision can make the journey uncomfortable for both the child’s parents and other passengers.


Furthermore, unruly children may also exhibit behaviors that infringe upon the personal space of others. This can include kicking seats, grabbing at belongings, or invading the personal space of fellow passengers, causing frustration, annoyance, and discomfort.


While it’s crucial to remember that children are not always in control of their emotions and behavior, it’s important for parents and guardians to take responsibility for managing their children’s behavior during travel. This can be achieved through proactive measures such as engaging the child with games, toys, or books, setting clear expectations and boundaries, and intervening effectively when necessary.


For fellow travelers, it is essential to approach situations involving unruly children with empathy and understanding. However, it is also important to communicate any concerns regarding disruptive behavior to cabin crew, train staff, or authorities when necessary. Striking a balance between compassion and enforcing a peaceful travel environment will ensure a more enjoyable journey for everyone involved.


Travelers can also explore seating options that minimize interaction with families traveling with young children. Many airlines offer designated “quiet zones” or seating sections that cater to individuals seeking a peaceful travel experience.


Ultimately, by fostering a sense of understanding and empathy, and by implementing effective strategies to manage children’s behavior during travel, we can all contribute to a more harmonious and enjoyable journey for everyone.


Pet Peeve #4: Disrespectful Behavior at Tourist Sites

One travel pet peeve that can put a damper on the experience of visiting popular tourist sites is encountering disrespectful behavior from fellow travelers. Unfortunately, some individuals fail to show respect for the historical and cultural significance of these sites, resulting in a negative impact on the overall atmosphere and the enjoyment of others.


Disrespectful behavior can manifest in various ways. For instance, some tourists may disregard signage or restrictions in place, such as climbing on ancient ruins or touching artifacts in museums. Others may engage in excessive noise-making, littering, or vandalizing the site. These actions not only show a lack of respect for the site and its heritage, but they can also degrade the experience for other visitors.


Additionally, disrespectful behavior can extend to the treatment of local guides, staff, or volunteers at these sites. Being rude, dismissive, or demanding towards those who are there to provide valuable information and assistance not only reflects poorly on the individual traveler but also serves to undermine the experience for others.


To ensure a more respectful experience at tourist sites, it’s important to educate ourselves about proper etiquette and guidelines specific to each location. Familiarize yourself with any rules or restrictions in place and abide by them to preserve the integrity of the site and show respect for its historical or cultural significance.


It’s also crucial to be mindful of our actions and their impact on others. Practice good behavior by avoiding excessive noise, refraining from vandalizing or touching sensitive areas, and disposing of trash properly. Respect the authority and expertise of local guides and staff by listening attentively and asking questions respectfully.


By cultivating an attitude of respect for the sites we visit and being mindful of our behavior, we can contribute to a more enjoyable experience for ourselves and our fellow travelers.


Pet Peeve #5: Ignoring Local Customs and Traditions

When traveling to a new destination, it’s important to be aware and respectful of the local customs and traditions. However, one travel pet peeve that can often be observed is tourists who completely disregard or ignore these cultural norms, leading to a sense of disrespect towards the local community.


Ignoring local customs and traditions can manifest in various ways. It could be as simple as dressing inappropriately or immodestly in places where modest attire is expected, or participating in activities that are considered offensive or disrespectful in the local culture.


For example, visiting a religious site and failing to remove shoes or cover shoulders can be seen as a disregard for the sacredness of the place and the beliefs of the local people. Similarly, engaging in loud and rowdy behavior in public spaces where it is customary to maintain a more subdued atmosphere can be seen as disrespectful and disruptive.


By not taking the time to understand and appreciate the customs and traditions of the local community, tourists risk creating a rift between themselves and the local population. This not only impacts their own travel experience but also spoils the impression of tourists as a whole.


To avoid this pet peeve, it’s crucial to research and familiarize oneself with the customs and traditions of the destination before arrival. This includes understanding appropriate attire, greeting customs, dining etiquette, and any other cultural practices that may be relevant.


Respecting local customs and traditions go beyond being a courteous visitor. It allows us to engage more deeply with the destination and its people, fostering a more meaningful and authentic travel experience. By embracing and honoring the local culture, we can bridge the gap between tourists and locals, creating a harmonious and respectful atmosphere.


Remember, travel is not just about sightseeing; it is also a chance to learn, grow, and connect with different cultures. By being mindful of local customs and traditions, we can leave a positive impact and build bridges of understanding between ourselves and the local community.



Traveling is a wonderful opportunity to explore the world, immerse ourselves in new cultures, and create lasting memories. However, to ensure a positive and enjoyable travel experience for both ourselves and the communities we visit, it is crucial to be aware of travel etiquette and avoid common pet peeves that can negatively impact our journeys.


We have explored my top 5 travel pet peeves, including encountering loud and inconsiderate passengers, experiencing a lack of personal space, dealing with unruly children, witnessing disrespectful behavior at tourist sites, and witnessing the disregard for local customs and traditions. By being mindful of these pet peeves, we can strive to make our travels more harmonious, respectful, and enriching.


It is important to remember that travel involves interacting with different people, cultures, and environments. By practicing empathy, understanding, and respect, we can contribute to a more positive and enjoyable travel experience for ourselves, fellow travelers, and the local communities we encounter.


So next time you find yourself on a journey, whether it’s a short trip or a long adventure, be mindful of your actions and their impact on others. Practice good travel etiquette, respect personal space, be considerate of fellow passengers, appreciate the local customs and traditions, and leave a positive impression wherever you go.


By embodying these principles, we can make travel a truly enriching experience that fosters connection, cultural understanding, and memories that will last a lifetime.