6 Bad Habits To Avoid On Your Next Vacation

While exploring new lands and experiencing different cultures can be exhilarating, it’s not all smooth sailing. Along the way, we encounter fellow travelers who can be quite irksome, to say the least.

From being overly opinionated to failing to have basic hygiene, these habits can put a damper on our travel adventures.

In this article, we delve into the realm of annoying traveler habits and explore the ills of travel etiquette by hitting on a few things you can avoid.

Being overly opinionated when you don’t need to be

Being excessively opinionated when it’s unnecessary can be a real buzzkill. Look, I don’t mind discussing politics with open-minded and levelheaded folks. They’re a rare breed, but they exist.

However, during my travels, I’ve encountered way too many self-proclaimed political gurus who just can’t resist sharing their “expert” opinions on every contentious issue under the sun (or should I say, every talking point they picked up from a podcast).

Here’s the thing: most people don’t want to engage in intense debates or deep dives into politics while they’re on vacation. If someone doesn’t seem interested when you start veering towards those topics, just drop it and let them enjoy their well-deserved break from reality.

And even if they do seem interested, have the courtesy to consider that the people around you might not want to listen to a heated Fox News versus MSNBC showdown while they’re trying to relax and soak up some vacation bliss.

In short, let’s all agree to save the political punditry for another time and place. After all, there’s a whole world out there to explore and enjoy, without getting caught up in the never-ending political circus.

Bask in the beauty of beaches, not the chaos of politics.

Spoiling peaceful moments

Recently we watched a spectacular sunrise on top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Unfortunately a small group of people decided to bring their drone up to the top and fly it around. Never mind the fact that it’s a no-fly zone, they kept their drone in close proximity to everyone on the mountain and subjected them to the delightful symphony of a thousand angry hornets.

Needless to say, the early morning noise did not leave many in a state of bliss.

Parents also need to be extra careful that their kids don’t run wild in places of sanctity. I recall visiting the the USS Arizona Memorial where people remain very quiet, usually only talking in respectful whispers.

At some point someone unleashed a running brigade of kiddos through the sacred grounds and didn’t seem to feel much urgency with remedying the situation.This was another unfortunate incident that threatened to ruin the moment.

So try to be cognizant of your surroundings and act accordingly so that you don’t disturb others embracing a moment of tranquility.

Not pictured: annoying drone flying above

Not treating workers like humans

It truly is disheartening to witness the countless instances where people forget that servers are, in fact, humans. It’s as if some folks have developed a “server blindness” that prevents them from seeing beyond their own needs and desires.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should engage in lengthy philosophical discussions with every server you encounter (although that could be interesting). But hey, taking a moment to acknowledge the humanity of those working in the service industry can work wonders.

Instead of treating them like an emotionless robot, how about a splash of warmth?

A smile, a genuine “thank you” can brighten their day, and yours too. Same goes for restaurant servers, flight crews, and all the hardworking souls who make your tours and adventures possible.

A little sprinkle of kindness, a pinch of empathy, and voilà! You’ve added that extra ingredient that turns an ordinary interaction into a memorable one.

Put some respect on their name!

Arguing with TSA Pre-Check agents

I’ve seen it more times than I’d like but one thing I would like to see less of is arguing with TSA Pre-Check agents when your boarding pass doesn’t have Pre-Check on it.

You should always check your boarding pass at the time of check-in to see if you have Pre Check and if you don’t, then take it up with an agent at the check-in counter. Odds are, they will probably be able to add your number right on the spot.

But please for the love of humanity do not unleash your frustrations upon the folks manning the TSA Pre-Check line and get into a lengthy tirade about how you paid for it. All you’re going to do is slow things down.

TSA lines are not the ideal venue for engaging in lengthy debates. Take it to the check-in desk.

Failing to have basic hygiene

At some point, the stench of adventure catches up with the best of us, and we become one with the odorous essence of travel.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We can all understand a little post-excursion musk after a day under the scorching sun. But there’s a difference between a collective aromatic experience on a tour bus and showing up to a hotel restaurant smelling like an olfactory supernova.

So, fellow travelers, let’s take a moment to sniff ourselves out. Embrace the art of basic hygiene, for it is a gift to yourself and those around you. A spritz of deodorant, a splash of cologne or perfume, and a focus on general freshness can work wonders.

Strive to keep the tour bus fresh and fragrant by avoiding any contributions to its potential pungency.

Not knowing how to act in nature

Some people rarely venture out into nature unless they are on vacation and it really shows.

But it’s also understandable that these people would not know all of the nature etiquette they should. However, sometimes there is a shocking lack of common sense that really is not excusable.

In a moment of cringe, I recall seeing tourists treating a 1,600 years old bristle cone pine tree like it was their personal jungle gym, climbing and swinging like they’ve stumbled upon a wild playground.

Then there are those who blare music on trails. Can’t we leave the dance parties to the clubs and let the birds and the rustling leaves provide the soundtrack to our outdoor adventures?

And let’s not forget those snorkelers who kick through delicate coral reefs like they’re auditioning for the role of the ultimate underwater bulldozer.

When venturing into nature’s embrace, channel your inner curator. Treat the wilderness as a priceless work of art, disturb as few things as possible, and leave only footprints behind. Remember, we are but humble guests in this grand gallery of life.

Mother Nature is the ultimate artist and doesn’t appreciate her masterpieces being treated like a toddler’s finger painting.

Final word

These are just a few of the habits that I’m sure drive others crazy. Ultimately, it just comes down to being considerate and using common sense to avoid falling into these ways.

Switching Seats on a Plane? Etiquette Tips for Getting “Yes” and Saying “No”

Switching seats on a plane is a hot button topic for a lot of travelers.

Whether you are switching with a stranger or just trying to swap seats with a friend, there are certain factors that you need to be aware of in order for your plan to go smoothly and to avoid confrontations.

In this guide, I’ll talk about how to properly ask someone to switch seats with you and also how to politely tell someone no. I’ll also give you some tips on how to swap seats with a friend or family member to make things easy.

Call ahead of time

If you’re flying a premium cabin on a well respected airline, you might be able to call ahead of time to figure out your seating situation.

For example, when we booked the first class suites on Singapore Airlines I noticed that one passenger was occupying one of the suites that could be shared.

This meant that Brad and I would be in suites that were not adjoined and because that traveler was a solo traveler it wasn’t a very efficient use of the cabin features.

So I called Singapore Airlines to see if they could contact the passenger and see if they would be interested in changing seats.

I fully did NOT expect my request to work but somehow Singapore Airlines worked their magic and arranged for the seat swap a couple of months before departure.

I would not expect this to work every time but it is worth a shot when flying in certain premium cabins.

Ask the agent at check-in

If you’re not crazy about your seat or you want to inquire about other options you can do so whenever you arrive at the check-in desk.

Medical exceptions aside, a check-in agent is usually not going to move anybody’s seat for you but it could happen.

But even if they don’t relocate others, they might be able to find you a newly opened seat or perhaps a seat that was not available to choose online.

This could help you avoid having to ask another passenger to swap seats with you.

Depending on the type of ticket you purchased and the airline’s same day change policy, you might also just be able to inquire about other flights. Perhaps you can depart an hour or two later but with better seats?

Ask the agent at the gate

Sometimes you run into a less than happy check-in agent that only seems interested in doing the bare minimum (checking you in and checking your bags).

If you get the sense that they are not helping you as much as they could or they are just being not very fun to deal with then consider heading to the gate and inquiring with an agent there.

They may be able to help you with changing seats although they probably will not get involved with calling up on the passengers to give up their seats.

Be sure to arrive early before boarding though because they will be too busy to help you once boarding begins.

Ask a flight attendant

Getting a flight attendant involved with your seat swapping pursuit is one of the best routes to go.

If you are shy they can facilitate the requests and other passengers might be more likely to honor the request of a flight attendant (although it is debatable).

Unless there are weight or balance safety issues, I don’t believe a flight attendant can force another passenger to switch seats with you, although there are some horror stories out there of tyrant flight attendants.

Be sure to ask a flight attendant that is located near your seat for assistance rather than bombarding a flight attendant at the entrance of the plane.

Explain your reason (briefly) and be transparent

Your odds of getting someone to switch seats with you will probably increase if you can provide them with a very short and reasonable (and preferably honest) explanation for your request.

For example, you want to keep your family together or perhaps you are taking care of someone, those are generally good reasons for wanting a seat switch.

Just try to avoid getting too long-winded with your explanation and avoid sounding overly pushy or sob-storyish (spare other passengers your personal drama).

In addition to providing a good reason for swapping, make sure you also are 100% upfront about where exactly your seat is and what type of seat it is.

You also need to disclose relevant details like if there is a crying baby next to the seat, stinky passenger, etc.

Don’t ever poach a seat proactively

The number one tactic to never do (because it is a jerk type of move) is to sit in a seat that is not yours with the expectation that the original seat holder will switch with you when they show up to their seat.

This not only causes confusion for people but it’s actually pretty rude.

Also, you will likely rub someone the wrong way or simply piss them off to the point that they will not want to switch seats with you (even if they would’ve been open to it before).

The much better strategy would be to stand near their seat and make a request when they arrive to that seat before they store all of their belongings.

If you can clearly and calmly articulate the perks of the seat you can provide them with (e.g., “the seat is just two rows back and is the exact same type of window seat”), that will be an exponentially better route to go than simply taking their seat.

Don’t trade for a worse seat

Sometimes it’s very clear what constitutes a worse seat like asking to swap a first class seat for an economy seat.

But you need to be very conscious about both the subjective and objective value of a seat when requesting a seat switch.

First, be aware that many passengers place a high value on a particular type of seat such as a window or aisle seat.

For me personally, I’m a window seat person and not having the window as an outlet is a pretty huge deal to me.

For others, having direct access to the aisle could be worth a lot to them, especially if they have some sort of digestion concerns or plane anxiety by the windows.

Other people might place value in sitting in a bulkhead, emergency exit row, towards the front of the plane, back of the plane, etc. Don’t assume that just because you don’t care for a seat that others will feel the same way.

Also, a lot of times people pay extra money for different seats within the economy cabin.

They could be paying for a little bit of extra legroom or to sit towards the front of the plane. And this is important: the amount that they paid could be different from the amount someone in the adjacent seat paid.

Asking another passenger to essentially cover the cost of your seat upgrade while losing out on their paid benefit is a major ask. Some might even say it’s inconsiderate to put a stranger in a position to deal with that scenario.

If you’re asking someone to switch with a seat that appears to be of equal value such as a seat directly behind them then consider maybe adding on a little incentive.

Maybe offer to buy them a drink or give them a bag of chips or something along those lines. Heck, even $5 can go a long way.

The best way to motivate someone to switch seats is to offer them a seat that is better than what they have.

If you can offer them a change from a middle seat to a window or aisle or perhaps extra legroom you have a lot more leverage.

Don’t get upset if people say no

If you ask to switch seats with someone, even if you have a very legitimate reason, don’t get upset or rude if they refuse.

Once again, you don’t know what type of value they are putting on their seat or what type of situation they may be in.

For many nervous travelers, they’ve just gone through the hectic experience of arriving at the airport, going through security, boarding, and are now anxiously awaiting take-off.

By adding an unexpected seat request swap, you could be throwing them for a real loop and they could be more prone to an outburst type of response if they feel you are getting rude with them over their decision to not grant you their seat.

So if they refuse your request then just be polite and move on to another passenger if you can.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Airline Boarding Policies

Don’t say “yes” for others without asking

If someone is requesting to swap seats with you and other people in your party make sure you don’t just say “yes” on impulse without first checking with the other passengers.

This is something to consider if you’re flying with other people, even if it is someone you know very well like your spouse or another family member.

Don’t ever agree to swapping seats with others unless you have consulted with the other passengers in your party.

How to say “no” politely when asked to switch a seat

If someone asks you to switch a seat and you want to say no but are afraid of coming off as rude or inconsiderate, first of all, just know that it’s completely reasonable for you to decline the request.

You could just say, “Sorry, not interested in switching.”

But if you would like to also provide a bulletproof excuse (that no sane person or flight attendant should push back on) here are some that you can use:

  • If they are offering you a window seat tell them that you get anxious sitting by the windows or that you need direct aisle access to visit the bathroom.
  • If they are offering you an aisle seat tell them that you have plane anxiety and need to sit by a window to be calm or if you are a larger frame let them know that you get hit constantly due to your wide frame.
  • If the seat is towards the back of the plane let them know that you have a connecting flight and you need to get off the plane quickly or tell them that the back of the plane receives more turbulence and that makes you anxious.
  • If the seat is near a wing tell them that you get anxious sitting near the engines.

You could tell them that you paid X amount of dollars for your seat but be prepared that some people might counter your offer by paying you that amount.

So unless you’re open to receiving payment in exchange for swapping seats try to keep their counter options limited with your excuse.

My usual go to excuse for staying at my window seat is that I get aerial photography shots for my travel blog which is my full-time profession. It’s 100% true but you can use this excuse to help you lock down a window seat if needed too.

How to avoid seat swapping issues

If you want to minimize people asking you to change seats or others poaching your seat there are a couple of things you can do.

First, you can get a seat in the emergency exit row. This will make you a “no sit zone” for kids and families with kids. Therefore, you can avoid getting asked to move so that a family can sit together.

You can also board quicker. The quicker you get into your seat and store your belongings, the less likely someone is to poach your seat.

Print out your boarding pass on paper. If a gate agent decides to screw with your boarding position at the time of boarding you will have your original seating position which you can use to help claim your original seat. This may or may not work.

And finally, if you are in your seat jamming out to your headphones and not making eye contact with passengers coming through you will probably be less likely to be bothered.

Swapping seats with a friend

If you are trading seats with a friend or someone that you have a relationship with, it’s going to be a lot easier.

For example, if you are feeling like an angel and have seats in first/business class but you want to give up those seats for friends or family sitting in economy, most airlines should allow you to trade your seats without a problem.

You could notify a crew member about what you’re doing but you could also just have them sit in your seats and you sit in their seats.

This means that when it is time to board the first class passengers could simply head to the boarding group where the economy passengers are boarding.

This way, you can have the airline scan your boarding pass that belongs to you and then you can swap boarding passes with the other passengers while walking on the jet bridge.

This will avoid having to get redirected to a different seat during a busy boarding process.

Also, if a crew member sees someone from a lower cabin enter the business class or first class cabin during boarding they are likely to question them and if for whatever reason the airline is not on board with the seat swap, your plans could not work out.

Switching seats between economy and premium cabins during the flight is often problematic so it is best to handle this during boarding.

If you’re flying an international flight, especially on a premium airline, it’s not uncommon to get individual attention as a first class passenger.

For example, you might get welcomed with a “Hello, Mr. Johnson.”

So in that situation if you are switching with someone else it’s probably a good idea to let the flight attendant know that the two of you are switching positions.

Final word

Switching seats can get a little nerve-racking sometimes. But you can increase your odds of a successful seat swap if you start trying to work out a solution as soon as you can. Also, if you remain polite and aware of the exchange of value you are offering you’ll find that you’ll be successful more times than not.

How Much Should You Tip the Hotel Bellhop? (Rule of Thumb) [2023]

So you are arriving at a hotel and as soon as you pull up two bellhops approach your vehicle and start transferring your luggage from your vehicle to a trolley cart.

You start searching for some cash and luckily find some but you’re not sure exactly how much you should tip these people (if anything at all).

What exactly are the “rules” for tipping the bellhop and what is a good rule of thumb for a reasonable tip? In this article, we’ll take a close look at when you should tip a bellhop and how much is a reasonable tip.

Before we jump into how much you should tip the bellhop let’s take a look at what exactly a bellhop is and their duties so that you have a good idea who they are and what they do.

What is a bellhop?

A bellhop (also called a hotel porter, bellman, bellboy, or bellwoman) is a hotel staff member who helps guests with various tasks when they arrive and depart hotels.

Typically, these tasks would be moving/storing luggage, utilizing the trolleys, getting in and out the front doors, and helping you to get acquainted with the hotel or perhaps even escorted to your room.

If your room comes with technical features they may even give you a brief overview on how to utilize everything in your room (e.g., electric curtains, tablets, etc.).

Some bellhops may also assist with or assume other duties like: giving directions, basic concierge assistance (recommendations), valet, calling cabs, helping you find your ride share, doorman duties, etc.

Bellhops are usually found at full-service hotels and resorts and are less commonly found at cheaper hotels or motels.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

bellhop bringing luggage trolley

Where did the name bellhop come from?

Back in the day, a bellhop was usually a younger male (boy) who would be summoned by the sound of a ringing bell from the front desk. He would then “hop” to duty in order to properly serve the hotel guests. Hence the name bell-hop.

Related: Should You Tip Hotel Housekeeping?

How much should you tip the bellhop?

As a good rule of thumb, tip the bellhop $1 per bag at a standard hotel and $2 per bag at a luxury hotel or when dealing with heavy/large luggage. Try to tip at least $2 minimum in every situation as tipping $1 is sometimes not received well (it’s seen almost as an insult).

The above is just a rule of thumb, though. The exact amount you tip probably comes down to a few factors you want to consider. Let’s dive into those factors.

Related: How Much Should You Tip the Valet at a Hotel?

Level of courtesy

There is nothing worse than showing up with a lot of excitement to a hotel only to be greeted by a rude or completely indifferent staff member.

At many properties, your first contact will be with a bellhop so in many ways they are sort of the face of the property, capable of setting the tone for your stay.

Sometimes these people have to work in less than ideal conditions such as super hot afternoons or ridiculously cold nights. Other times they may be struggling to keep up with the mad rush of guests during arrival hours.

So I don’t always expect them to be the most cheerful in every circumstance. But if a bellhop is visibly rude or does not acknowledge you, that’s usually a sign that a tip should be reduced or even taken to zero.

On the other hand, sometimes you’ll have a bellhop who seems to be going over and beyond.

They greet you with a smile and make sure to do all they can to assist you with getting luggage out of your vehicle and loaded into a trolley or taken to your room. They might even be a great conversationalist with a sense of humor that makes your day or puts you at ease as you arrive in a new city.

For these type of bellhops, I’m usually prepared to give them a $5 tip once we arrive at the room or when they handover the bags. If they really went over the top and I’m feeling especially generous I might even throw them some more dough ($5 to $10+) and make it rain!

Check out: Ultimate Hotel Upgrade Guide: 17 Tips

How they handle your luggage

Perhaps the most important thing for a bellhop is that they properly handle your luggage.

This means that they get your luggage to your room in a timely manner such as when you arrive at your room or shortly after.

It also means that they do not end up delaying your luggage or have it flying off the trolley.

One snowy afternoon, we were checking into the Renaissance Hotel in London when a bellhop swiftly pushed the trolley through the lobby causing my small bag to fly off (after we had warned him about the fragile nature of the contents).

This bag had all of my electronics in it and when I checked on them afterwards I noticed that there was a broken $1,000 camera lens!

That is obviously the type of scenario that would not be ideal for a tip. (For what it’s worth the hotel helped me purchase a replacement lens at a nearby camera shop after they reviewed the footage.)

bellhop bringing luggage trolley

Level of work needed

If all you have is a small roller bag and a bellhop simply helps remove the small bag from a vehicle and places it in front of you, that’s not exactly a tall order.

In that case, you may not tip or simply leave a $2 tip basically to just acknowledge that they are doing their job and avoid the awkwardness of not tipping.

But if you are traveling as a family with many heavy bags and the bellhop is breaking a sweat trying to gather all of the luggage then consider that his work is a little taxing. That’s when you might fall into the $10 range for a tip.

Also, if a bellhop helps you all the way to your room with multiple bags typically you would want to tip a little bit extra (closer to the $10 range).

Refusing assistance from the bellhop

You don’t have to allow the bellhops to help you with your luggage.

Usually, upon arriving, the bellhop will ask if help is needed but sometimes they are very proactive (some might even say aggressive) when approaching the vehicle and removing your luggage.

Some people might like this and others probably don’t because it could be a little bit invasive.

Feel free to let the bellhops know that you can take care of your luggage yourself.

They should not have a problem with you helping yourself but sometimes they can be very persistent to the point of practically prying the bags out of your hands so be prepared to deal with that.

If you choose to go to self-help route, there really is no need to leave a tip at all for the bellhop.

Personally, when I am departing a hotel I like to load up our Jeep ourselves because we have a specific way that everything fits well on road trips.

Nine times out of 10 when the bellhop starts loading things up we have to change it so we usually refuse the service when departing.

bellhop helping out

Requesting or utilizing the bell cart/trolley

There is a little bit of debate on whether or not you should utilize the bell cart or trolley yourself when staying at nicer hotels.

The argument against using it is that it is a standard procedure at these properties for the bellhops to manage and utilize these for guests. You are essentially “assuming” their duty and in a way denying their tips.

Personally, I don’t care too much for this argument.

As mentioned above, I’ve had valuables broken by a bellman at a very nice hotel in London and so I trust myself more than anyone to transport my bags safely. If you would like to use the trolley yourself, I say feel free to request it.

Just remember to return it as soon as you’re finished.

Related: Should You Tip At All-Inclusive Resorts?

What can you request from the bellhop?

As mentioned above, the duties of a bellhop may extend beyond helping you unload your luggage from a vehicle and taking it to your room.

Sometimes they may also be able to help you with valet, directions, getting a taxi, finding your Uber or Lyft, etc. You can even ask them for restaurant recommendations and things like that (similar to a concierge).

For these random requests, a tip of $2 to $ 3 dollars is usually sufficient. Maybe a little bit more if they go above and beyond.

Just don’t ask them to help you out with illegal activities or things that could get them fired such as “where can I find some good drugs?”

When should you tip the bellhop?

It’s recommended to tip after you have received services from the bellhop unless you know that you have an impressive tip to offer.

If you pull out a $1 bill as a tip that’s going to kill the motivation for a bellhop and probably cause them to deliver the minimum level of service to you. In that case, it would be better to just wait until they have finished delivering your luggage to tip.

At the same time, if you’re dropping a five dollar bill or more that’s a good signal to them that you’re a solid tipper and you may want to do that at the beginning.

Other people may prefer to tip at the end regardless of the size of their tip so that they can accurately provide a tip based on (organic) performance.

Splitting up your tips

Sometimes you’ll have multiple bellhops helping you out and you may not know which one to tip.

If you were particularly observant then you might have an idea of how much work each bellhop did for you.

If it is equal work then maybe you can tip both of them equal amounts. Or if one seemed to do most of the effort then perhaps just drop your tip to that person.

A lot of times tips go into a pool and then get divided up based on the amount of hours worked so it often does not matter if you tip one person or the other.

Even if they do pool tips, I like to tip people individually because I think it just makes everyone feel better but that’s just me and it’s not always practical to do with something like a five dollar bill.

What if you forget to have cash for a tip?

Nowadays, I always go to the bank before a major trip and receive a band of 100 $1 bills. This makes tipping very easy but sometimes you may forget to pull out some cash and you don’t have anything to tip.

If you’re feeling especially motivated you can always let them know that you’ll come back down to give them their tip as soon as you get some cash. Just make sure that you actually do that because I’m sure a lot of people say they will but never do.

If you have no intention on doing that immediately or within a short amount of time then just say thanks and move on. Giving them your life story on why you don’t have cash on you just gets really old for them. Once you have proven yourself to not be a tipper you are essentially dead to them and it’s best to just move on.

Final word

There’s always debate when it comes to tipping at hotels.

Often you can refer to the prevailing rule of thumb for tips and in this case it would be one dollar per bag at a normal hotel and two dollars per bag at a high-end hotel or when you’re dealing with large and heavy bags. But it’s also worth considering the attitude of the bellhop and other factors.

It’s also worth remembering that you can always refuse help from the bellhop if you don’t need it or want it.

Is It Okay to Remove Your Shoes When On a Plane?

If you’ve done a fair amount of flying then you’ve probably wanted to remove your shoes at some point to increase your comfort level.

But is it a breach of airplane etiquette to remove your shoes on a plane?

Or is this something that passengers commonly do without causing a problem?

Let’s take a look at the issue below and dive in to whether or not it’s okay to take off your shoes when flying.

Is it okay to remove your shoes when on a plane?

It’s generally acceptable to remove your shoes on a plane as long as you’re not putting off an offensive odor or putting bare feet (especially unsightly bare feet) on display.

Still, when removing your shoes on a plane you also want to think about other considerations like being prepared in the event of an emergency landing or dealing with feet that could be swelling on the plane.

For more detailed tips on this issue, keep reading below!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Why it’s not taboo to remove your shoes on a plane

Some people act like it is taboo to remove your shoes while traveling on a plane.

This is a weak position to me for a few reasons.

For one, when you fly premium business class and first class, you are sometimes given slippers or even socks to change into.

No airline would issue these if they did not think it was okay for you to remove your shoes at some point during the flight.

First class seat with airline slippers

But more importantly, keeping shoes on during a long-haul flight can be quite uncomfortable for lots of people.

The idea that they should be forced to endure discomfort or pain for hours upon hours because of some taboo on removing shoes just doesn’t make sense.

With all of this said, I do think that there are some key considerations you want to first think about when choosing to take your shoes off on a flight.

So below I’ve broken down some situations where are you should not take your shoes off or should at least consider taking some measures before doing so.

When you should NOT take your shoes off

If you have smelly feet

The number one reason why you should not take your shoes off on a plane is if you have a smelly feet, socks, or shoes.

This is common sense but the problem is a lot of people don’t think that their feet smell. They may even be incapable of detecting how bad their own odor is.

Some recommend that whatever odor you can sense from your own feet, multiply that by 10 and that is what other passengers can smell! Yikes.

The odor issue is the worst when someone has been sweating in their shoes for some time.

This could be because they were doing a lot of running around during the day before the flight or because they were breaking a sweat getting through the airport.

Other times, it’s the long term sweat that has been absorbed into the shoes causing the odor. This can be common in shoes used for working out, working boots, etc.

So if you suspect that your feet or shoes will have an odor, consider not removing your shoes.

Or, if you still want to take your shoes off take some measures to prevent the bad odor.

One of the best steps you can take is to wear quality wool socks. Wool fibers can absorb large quantities of water vapor allowing you to better keep odors in check, retaining 66% less body odor than polyester and 28% less than cotton.

Plus, these socks can be very comfortable and warm when traveling.

You can also explore other ways to reduce foot and shoe odor like washing your shoes/insoles and using deodorant with a baking soda base. 

If you’re flying in a business class or first class cabin with a private suite or semi-private pod, you will have much more leeway because other passengers will not be so close to you.

But trust me, you still don’t want to push it because odors can travel farther than you think they can.

Shoes off reclining in business class

When you don’t have socks on

Lots of travelers are not comfortable with seeing or being close to bare feet on a plane.

There may be evolutionarily reasons for this but beyond that an aversion to feet is understandable considering lots of people just have a gross feet and toes.

I realize lots of people can’t help the appearance of their feet so I have sympathy, but I’ve seen some seriously misshapen toes that don’t necessarily need to be showcased during a flight.

So if you have chosen to not wear socks with your shoes, it’s probably best to just keep your shoes on.

This is one reason why flip-flops or sandals are sometimes frowned upon on a plane.

But at least people wearing those have aired out their feet so the odor issue may not be as big of a problem.

If you’re wearing snug shoes

It’s pretty common for your feet to swell when flying on a plane. For some people, the swelling can be pretty dramatic.

This means that if you have snug fitting shoes and you take them off at the beginning of your flight, you may not be able to put them back on at the end of your flight!

You can help reduce the swelling by wearing things like compression socks which can reduce the swelling and threat of things like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting.

When flying on a short flight

If you’re on a short flight, say 2.5 hours or under, it’s probably not hard for you to get through that flight without taking off your shoes.

If you don’t have any offensive foot odor then I don’t think there is any problem with taking off your shoes on short flights but it may not be worth the hassle.

Passengers will probably be quicker to roll their eyes and less understanding of even faint odors on shorter flights.

When close to departure or landing

If you are getting ready to take off consider keeping your shoes on until you get to altitude. Or if you are about to descend, make sure that your shoes are on around 10 to 15 minutes before you touch down.

This is because in the event of an emergency landing, you don’t want to be running around a plane with no shoes on.

Putting your feet on armrests or on the bulkhead

One thing that is taboo is putting your feet on the armrest in front of you or on the bulkhead.

If you have shoes on, putting your feet up on the bulkhead is not that offensive to me although it does make you look like a certain type of person.

Passenger with foot on bulkhead

But if you have no shoes on or are barefoot and you put your feet up on the bulkhead that’s a pretty egregious breach of airplane etiquette.

Nobody, or maybe I should say the majority of people, wants to see your wiggling toes on display — especially if you are flying first class!

Passenger with bare foot on bulkhead
AA first class, July 2019.

As for putting your feet on the armrest in front of you, that should never be acceptable.

I’ve seen some unbelievable videos of people feeling like it’s okay for them to do this to window seat passengers in front of them and once again that’s a major violation of airplane etiquette.

And finally, please for the love of all humanity do not clip your toenails on a plane!

Walking around the cabin bare foot or with only socks on

Another thing that can be pretty gross is when a passenger walks to the lavatory and back with only socks on or even worse, with bare feet.

The passenger isn’t necessarily hurting anyone when doing this, although if they are having to climb over you to get in and out of the aisle that could be gross.

But even if they have an aisle seat, shoeless cabin wandering is something they probably don’t want to do.

For one, you may get some strange looks from disgusted passengers.

But you also are putting your skin into contact with the floor of an airplane lavatory.

In addition to stepping on urine, you could be coming into contact with bacteria, viruses, and of course fungus. Those lavatory floors and cabin aisles don’t get cleaned as often as you might think.

Sometimes flight attendants might even request for you to put shoes on when heading to the lavatory so you can avoid that embarrassing situation by having your feet covered.

This is where slippers can come in handy so that you at least have something between your feet/socks and the floor of the airplane.

Or you can do what I do and just have your shoes easily accessible so that you can slip them on when you get up.

Final word

Taking your shoes off on a plane is not inherently problematic or a breach of airplane etiquette. The problems arise whenever you have an offensive odor or are putting unsightly feet on display.

You also want to think about some personal considerations like if your feet will swell and if you will be ready in the event of an emergency landing.

But by using just a little bit of common sense you should be able to deal with the shoe problem when flying relatively easy.

Should You Use the Call Button for Flight Attendant Service (Drinks & Other Requests)?

Just like reclining your seats or using a first class lavatory as an economy passenger, whether or not you should use the call button for flight attendant service is a pretty hot button issue (no pun intended).

But is it really not appropriate to use this call button for basic service requests such as asking for a drink re-fill?

In this article, we will take a look at both the arguments for and against using the call button and explain why it may or may not be a good idea on your next flight.

Should you use the call button for flight attendants?

Using the call button for flight attendants is somewhat controversial when used for non-urgent purposes.

However, if you are struggling to locate a flight attendant or have limited access to the aisle, you can probably use the call button to make basic service requests for things like drinks without any major issue.

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How to use the flight attendant call button

Some passengers get the call button mixed up with the button used to turn on the reading lights directly above their heads because the two buttons can be so close to each other.

Typically, the call button will have some type of stick figure icon on it and will be a different color from the overhead lights button so you can look for that difference if you are in doubt. (The overhead lights are often indicated by a lightbulb.)

Hitting the call button will cause a light to turn on directly above your seat and may cause a noise or another light to light up in the galley in order to get the flight attendant’s attention.

Once you hit the call button, that light most likely will remain on and so you will also need to remember to turn it off. Typically, it’s a good idea to turn it off as soon as you see a flight attendant approaching your seat.

Related: Can You Go to the Lavatory When the Fasten Seatbelt Sign Is On?

Call Button for Flight Attendants

Why do passengers not like using the call button for flight attendants?

One of the main reasons why passengers try to refrain from using the call button is that they are afraid a flight attendant will respond in some type of rude fashion.

For example, they may reprimand the passenger for using the button to request a drink and insist that the button only be used for emergencies or urgent scenarios.

Other passengers may just be uncomfortable “summoning” someone for service requests, especially if they are not flying first class or business class.

And lastly, it’s just not a very popular thing to do. Many passengers have probably never used the button before and are unsure about the attention it may draw to them.

Arguments in favor of using the call button

The call button itself indicates it can be used for service requests

On some aircraft, the call button for the flight attendants actually shows a person in a “server position” holding a tray or holding an arm out. Some even have an actual drink on the button!

This indicates to many that the button is there at least in part so that you can make service related requests like asking for another drink or snack.

Call Button for Flight Attendants

It’s difficult to get the attention of a flight attendant

Sometimes you only have a couple of flight attendants patrolling your aisle and these flight attendants move very swiftly past your row before you can even move a muscle.

Then there are those flight attendants that are highly skilled at avoiding eye contact with passengers….

And lastly, sometimes chatty flight attendants go MIA in the galley for extended lengths of time and don’t perform walk-throughs.

These are all situations where the call button becomes handy.

Engaging at the galley is more intrusive

An alternative to pressing the call button is to simply walk up to the galley to make your request to a flight attendant.

Some passengers view the galley area, where the crew assembles the trolley and gets a break from passengers, as an area that should be mostly off-limits to passengers.

Also, if you hit the call button it gives the flight attendant time to figure out when to head over to your seat versus when you come to them in the galley they may have to drop what they are doing to help you out.

By encroaching into that galley area you are “intruding” on the flight attendants which can be a problem if they are particularly busy trying to get things in order.

On the flipside, a lot of flight attendants are happy to chat it up with passengers when they visit this area so it’s not clear to me that this should be a no go zone for passengers.

Airlines tell you to ask for anything you need

If you ever watch or pay attention to the safety video from an airline, sometimes you will hear them tell you quite clearly that you can ask them for anything that you need.

Presumably, this would involve using the call button.

Call Button for Flight Attendants

Arguments against using the call button

Emergency use only

Some believe that the call button is for “emergency use only.”

For example, you should only use it if somebody next to you is having a heart attack or you see an engine on fire outside of your window.

The idea here is that flight attendants are not on the plane to serve you in the way that a waitress or waiter is and instead they need to focus on safety issues.

While you definitely can use the button for emergencies, I think a lot (probably most) would agree that these buttons are not reserved for emergencies only.

Flight attendants don’t spend all of their time focused on troubleshooting safety issues and they have the training and skillset to assist with basic service requests. There’s no reason why they should only be responding to emergencies.

Furthermore, if this button was meant for emergencies only, that should be clearly communicated in the preflight videos.

Urgent use only

A more reasonable position is that the call button should only be used for urgent matters.

Obviously, the big question here is what do you define as urgent?

Here are some examples of what could be considered urgent:

  • You’re suffering from a bad cough due to a dry throat and need a bottle of water
  • You are hypoglycemic and in need of some sugar or bread
  • You spill a drink on you or someone else

While the urgent use argument is more understandable, I still think that it still places the threshold a little too high on when it is appropriate to use the call button.

Sometimes people just need a drink to chill out!

When it is appropriate to use the call button


If you notice something that needs immediate attention then you should feel free to use the call button.

However, be aware that sometimes the call button is ignored and so it could be better to get up and go speak directly with a flight attendant to get some things sorted out.

Food and drink requests*

Personally, if I want to make a drink request, I will try to do that by getting up and heading to the galley.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with making a drink request via the call button, but (*) I would probably only use that button (sparingly) to make such a request if I wasn’t able to get the attention of a flight attendant.

Also, if you have mobility issues and were perhaps a pre-boarding passenger, you should feel free to utilize the call button without feeling the need to get up.

You are stuck in a window or middle seat

If you find yourself seated in a window seat or a middle seat and you know that getting out of your seat will require you to inconvenience the passenger next to you because they are eating, working on a laptop, sleeping, etc., that’s probably one of the most justifiable times to use the call button.

At that point, it’s just a matter of choosing to not inconvenience your fellow passenger(s) and a flight attendant should be able to understand your reasoning, especially if they know they have been hard to find.

Seat broken

If you are dealing with a broken seat, either your own seat or perhaps a seat in front of you or next to you, I think the call button can be a good choice.

For example, one time we had a seat in front of us that was broken and it was reclining ridiculously far back.

It would’ve been difficult to get out of our seat and I thought that it was more appropriate that the flight attendant would see how badly that seat was affecting us with us still sitting in the seat.

If your seatback TV is not properly functioning, that could merit the use of the call button.

When it is NOT appropriate to use the call button

Minor requests

Don’t use the call button for minor (non-time-sensitive) requests like requesting a flight attendant to throw away the wrapper to your pretzel package or to place your jacket in the overhead storage bin. These are non-pressing things you can do yourself.

Gross requests

If you have a dirty diaper or some other type of gross tissue that needs to be promptly disposed of, I believe you should do that yourself. It’s just a common courtesy to not involve others, including flight attendants, in the disposal of these things.

Interrupting service

If you see that the flight attendants are pushing the cart through the aisle and they have already passed you up, consider just waiting until they finish their initial beverage service to buzz them.

This will allow them to get through the cabin more efficiently. (If they have skipped you that might be a different story….)

Repeated requests

It’s one thing to make a request for a drink or snack mid-flight. But it’s another thing to make a request for a Bloody Mary every 30 minutes throughout the entire duration of your flight.

Try to be considerate of the time available to the flight attendants and consolidate your requests or keep them at a reasonable minimum. Just use common sense.

International first class and business class

I believe things are a lot different when you fly on an international first class flight with certain airlines.

If you have ever flown in an international first class cabin on an airline known for service such as Singapore, Emirates, Cathy Pacific, etc., you’ve probably noticed a huge difference with respect to the cabin crew.

The crew seems much more interested and well-trained in catering to your specific needs and requests.

What’s more, they do it with a positive and professional attitude so that you don’t ever feel like you are inconveniencing them.

On flights like these, you are practically encouraged to use the call button.

Indeed, I have used the call button many times on first class and business class flights with these airlines and have never been greeted with anything other than a very pleasant, “what can we do for you?”

Final word

In general, I try to avoid using the call button and prefer to make my service requests by walking up to the galley.

However, if you cannot locate a flight attendant or don’t have aisle access, I don’t think there’s any problem with using the call button for basic service requests — just don’t overdo it.

And finally, if you are flying first class or business class there’s often more of an expectation that you may use the call button so you should not feel weird about using it.

Should You Recline Your Seat on Flights?

The great debate on whether or not passengers should be able to recline seats has been going on for a long time. It’s caused more in-flight confrontations than any of us can probably count and has even given us inventions banned by some airlines.

But should you, as a reasonable and thoughtful passenger, ever feel okay with reclining your seat? Or is this a rude intrusion only practiced by inexperienced and uncourteous passengers?

In this article, I will take a look at both sides of the debate and try to make sense of how people feel about this touchy subject.

Let’s start off by looking at some of the common arguments made by people on both sides of this debate.

The argument in favor of reclining

The recline button exists for a reason

The biggest argument in favor of reclining your airplane seat is that the recline button is there for a reason (to be used). As a paying customer, you are entitled to take advantage of features you paid for.

Passengers can select seats with extra legroom if needed

People also argue that if someone is unhappy with the amount of legroom that they have, they have options like upgrading to economy plus or grabbing an emergency exit seat where they can have a few more inches of legroom.

Passengers could also purchase a first class ticket which will provide them with more than enough legroom in the event someone chooses to recline.

People need it to relieve pain or serious discomfort

Some people experience bad back pain when flying and being able to recline, even minor amounts, can allow them to adjust their position and alleviate some of that pain. On longer flights this is absolutely necessary, even for those without any kind of chronic pain conditions.

Reclining is virtually forced upon some passengers

Once a passenger sitting in front of someone decides to recline, that aft passenger is almost forced to recline in order to gain back the precious inches that they just lost. It’s hard to get upset at someone for reclining when they just had someone’s seatback drop into their personal space.

Unfortunately, this can have a domino effect that goes all the way to the passenger in the emergency exit row or back of the plane who may or may not be able to recline.

The argument against reclining

A lot of passengers are against reclining an economy seat and would bring up the following points.

Little comfort gained but lots of comfort lost

One of the main arguments is that by reclining your seat you only gain a very marginal amount of extra comfort but you cause a high degree of discomfort by shrinking the person’s leg room behind you.

This is especially true for tall people or for passengers trying to get work done with a laptop or even trying to enjoy a meal on the tray table. Reclining can show a real lack of consideration for these people, especially if it is done abruptly.

Makes it difficult to get in and out of seats

You can also make things a major challenge when middle seat or window seat passengers have to get up and head to the lavatory.

It’s not uncommon for passengers to take out their “vengeance” on a reclining passenger by giving the seat a shake of fury or even a Street Fighter knee-kick as they try to climb past them.

The unstated social contract

Although the recline button is there, there’s sort of an unstated social contract between seasoned passengers that you just don’t utilize the recline button — at least not on shorter flights.

Not necessary on short flights

If we’re talking about a flight of just a couple of hours, many believe that there is simply no need to recline because the flight is so short. These shorter flights also often have business travelers getting work done with laptops on tray tables so reclining is sort of a nuisance.

Some people might even argue that you should never recline even on longer flights although I find that to be a ridiculous position. At a certain point, you have to give people a break.

My thoughts on the great reclining debate

Passengers have a right to recline

Every passenger has a right to recline their seat, even if I don’t think it is necessary and I find it annoying. Remembering this is a good way to keep your knee-jerk reaction in check. Part of traveling is learning how to deal with discomfort anyway.

Don’t take it personal if somebody reclines

One of the reasons why reclining becomes an issue for some people is that they take it personally and that can amplify reactions.

It’s as if they imagine the person sitting in front of them deliberately plotting against their own comfort.

In most cases, the passenger in front of them just simply is not thinking about other passengers.

So try to not allow your blood to boil if a passenger reclines and violates your space. At worst, it’s probably just a lack of consideration directed at all passengers and not yourself individually.

With these things said, I do think passengers should keep the following two things in mind when reclining.

Don’t recline by default

Some passengers feel like they have to recline their seats or that it is the standard when the fasten seatbelt light goes off but that is not the case.

I would suggest only reclining your seat if you feel like you really need to in order to avoid discomfort. For many people, this probably won’t happen until at least a couple of hours into your flight.

Don’t recline on a tall passenger

If you noticed that you were seated in front of a particularly tall passenger, let’s say somebody 6’3″ or taller, I would recommend you to not recline.

That’s because you’re going to be ramming your seat into someone’s knee in most cases and it often results in this “push fest” between you and the other passenger. That’s certainly a recipe for an unwanted confrontation.

How to politely recline your seat

If you do choose to recline, then it needs to be done in the most respectful way possible.

I’ve shared some tips for doing this and they can be summarized as the following:

  • Reconsider reclining when people are boarding — don’t get in the way of passengers trying to get seated by instantly reclining your seat when you sit down
  • Take it nice and slow — Never slam your seat back all the way and instead gently recline it back
  • Keep it up when meal service comes out — give your fellow passengers a little bit of elbow room whenever it is time for meals to come out
  • Verify the person behind you is done — make sure the passenger behind you is finished with their meal before you take your seat back down
  • Make up your mind — avoid reclining your seat and bringing it back up over and over again during the flight because this can be really annoying
  • Ask for permission — While I don’t think you have to get permission from another passenger, it can be a way to diffuse tensions especially if you have a valid reason to ask for it such as to relieve your back pain.
  • Choose a seat with extra legroom — choosing a seat with a few extra inches of legroom can prevent the issue in the first place or at least make it much less of a problem
  • Only recline “one notch” — try to compromise and not fully recline your seat
  • Be aware of broken recliners — avoid reclining a seat that is broken because you may be extending much further back than the seat is designed for

Final word

Ultimately, I think every passenger has a right to recline their seat. It’s not always the best thing to do based on the circumstances and so I think it should generally be avoided if possible.

If you do decide to recliner seat then consider some of the factors above and try to not cause any more discomfort to your fellow passengers than is necessary.

Can You Bring Alcohol Into a Hotel?

For a lot of travelers, traveling and drinking alcohol go hand-in-hand. There’s nothing like relaxing on a vacation and having a cold one while escaping reality for a few days.

But is it actually allowed for you to bring alcohol into a hotel or do you have to purchase all of your alcohol at the bar or from the minibar?

In this article, we will take a look and see what type of policies hotels usually have when it comes to alcohol.

Can you bring alcohol into a hotel?

Most hotels will allow you to bring alcohol into the hotel and with you to your hotel room. However, they may place restrictions on where you can consume alcohol. For example, you may not be able to consume your own alcohol in the lobby area or in the bar area.

Let’s take a closer look at how hotels handle guests bringing in alcohol!

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“Prohibition” hotels

Believe it or not, there are some hotels that do NOT allow guests to bring alcohol into the hotel.

They do this for a few reasons but it’s mostly just to prevent people from getting out of control or causing noise disturbances. It’s essentially a way to try to prevent people from throwing parties in their hotel rooms.

It also could presumably help increase revenue for the hotel since more guests would be inclined to purchase alcohol from the bar or the mini bar in the room.

The obvious issue with this type of policy is the difficulty with enforcing it.

You could imagine a guest walking into a hotel after hitting up the local liquor store and taking several cases of beer to their room. Or better yet, bringing an entire cooler of brewskis with them.

In that situation, the guest could stick out enough so that someone at the front desk could stop them and inform them that alcohol is not allowed in the property.

If they were truly enforcing the policy they would probably just ask you to leave the alcohol at the front desk or perhaps take it back to your vehicle in the parking lot. It’s highly unlikely that a hotel would kick you out on the spot.

However, if anyone was aware of the rule they could easily hide their alcohol in their luggage making it very easy to get around the rule.

The other way this could be enforced is when housekeeping gets into the room and they see evidence that someone has been drinking.

They could see a lot of empty beer bottles lying around the room, for example.

The issue with that scenario is that any “punishment” is going to result in some very unhappy guests, especially because the evidence is still somewhat indirect.

Also, if the guests were not causing any kind of loud commotion, the hotel does not really have a good reason for coming down on them. So I really wouldn’t worry too much about this scenario.

Related: Can You Bring Alcohol & Mini-Liquor Bottles on Planes: A Sobering TSA Guide

Hilton Aspire bonus free night
Hilton Americas-Houston Lobby Bar

Restrictions on pool and gym areas

Hopefully your idea of a workout is hitting the treadmill hard and not shotgunning a beer or guzzling down a bottle of wine.

But, you can probably expect alcohol to not be allowed inside of hotel gyms because it’s a bad idea and it just doesn’t vibe with other people who are in there trying to work on their fitness.

It’s also extremely common for alcohol to not be allowed in pool areas.

Lots of hotel pools do not have lifeguards on duty and so the potential of someone getting drunk, slipping, and then drowning is a real possibility.

There’s also the threat of someone breaking glass bottles somewhere by the pool and creating a hazard for others.

Restaurant and bar areas

Restaurants and bars — whether located inside of a hotel or outside of a hotel — usually have strict policies that do not allow you to bring alcohol in. “No Outside Food Allowed” signs are very common to see.

So it’s no surprise that you’ll find these policies applied to restaurants and bars located in hotels.

Lobby and other common areas

Whether or not you can drink in the lobby area of a hotel (or any other public area) is going to depend on the hotel’s policy and also on the local laws.

It’s not uncommon for there to be rules against drinking and smoking in common areas and the hotel lobby is the quintessential common area of a hotel.

For example, here is what the Hampton Inn Portage states:

Our Hotel does not possess a State Liquor License nor a special event permit. We prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the common areas to include the lobby, pool, fitness center, and/or hallway corridors. 

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites Collingwood states the following:

Drinking Alcohol is prohibited in all Public Areas including; in the hotel’s Lobby, Hallways, Pool areas, and parking areas

With that said, some hotels will allow you to do it.

Contrary to what some believe, most hotel staff members don’t want to interfere with a guest unless they feel like they have to. Even if a hotel does have “no alcohol in the lobby” policy it’s possible that the hotel staff may look the other way if you are drinking but not causing a problem.

However, if you are getting belligerent or running around causing a scene, that could be a different story and they may decide it’s time to enforce their policy.

So don’t expect hotels to allow you to drink your own alcohol in common areas but if you do and are discreet, you may not run into trouble.

What if you get caught with alcohol?

In most cases, unless you are causing some other type of issue, if you get caught drinking alcohol somewhere you are not supposed to you will probably just be asked to leave or discard your alcohol.

If a hotel does not allow you to bring in alcohol, there is also a chance they may have some type of penalty for getting caught. For example, they could slap you with some type of $100 fee.

Any property that develops a reputation for charging this type of fee would probably be quickly ridiculed and suffer in the realm of public opinion so I would not expect this to happen.

There’s always the possibility of a hotel kicking you out for violating its policies but again I would imagine getting kicked out for simply possessing alcohol would be an extremely rare occurrence. The backlash to the hotel would just be too great.

Related: Can You Get Kicked Out of a Hotel?

Final word

Most hotels will allow you to bring alcohol into the hotel and into your room. You probably will not run into any issues consuming alcohol in your room unless you are causing some type of disturbance.

But if you want to consume alcohol in common areas of the hotel, you need to be mindful that this could be against the policy of the hotel or even local laws.

In addition, some areas of the hotel will virtually always be off-limits to alcohol such as the hotel pool.

What Are Hotel Quiet Hours? And What Happens if You Violate Them?

If you’ve ever been trying to get some rest at a hotel only for your hotel neighbors to keep you up at night, you’ve probably wondered about hotel quiet hours.

But do hotels actually set certain hours where noise limits need to be contained or do they just handle everything on a case-by-case basis?

In this article, we will take a look at hotel quiet hours and also give some insight into how hotels will handle noise complaints.

What are hotel quiet hours?

Hotel quiet hours are hours during the night and morning when hotels require guests to keep noise at a minimum.

They typically begin around 9 PM to 10 PM and last until about 6 AM. Some hotels may not begin quiet hours until 11 PM and some properties also have different quiet hours for the week versus the weekend.

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How do you know what the quiet hours are at your hotel?

Hotel quiet hours are often not advertised on the hotel’s website. Instead, you will need to contact the hotel and speak to someone to get clarification on when they apply.

Getting a hotel to tell you their quiet hours is not always so straightforward.

For one, a lot of workers simply may not even know what the quiet hours are.

I’ve spoken with some front desk agents who gave me a puzzled look whenever I brought up “quiet hours.”

Some agents may be uncomfortable telling you what the quiet hours are because they think that if you are inquiring about such a thing, you must be up to no good.

For example, perhaps you are throwing a party and you want to know when you need to start shutting things down. Even if you are going to comply with the quiet hours, you could be a liability to the hotel.

But, you will find some hotel agents who are quite willing to divulge this information to you and in those cases all you have to do is ask.

What happens if you violate hotel quiet hours?

Every hotel is going to treat noise complaints according to their own internal policy so outcomes for noise violations may not always be the same.

With that said, this is typically how it works.

If you were causing a noise disturbance during quiet hours and someone reports you, you usually get a warning.

That warning may come in the form of a phone call or you could even have a member from the hotel knock on your door to see what’s going on.

They will probably inform you that a guest submitted a noise complaint although I’m sure most hotels keep that complaint anonymous.

If a hotel believes that there is some kind of emergency situation in the room, such as someone getting assaulted, they could just come right into your room even if you have a do not disturb sign on.

On the other hand, the police will have to get a warrant to get in your room unless an exception applies (which could be the case if they believe that someone was getting harmed inside).

Anyway, after you receive that warning you are going to be on a short leash.

If you have yet another noise complaint, some hotels have a two strike policy and they will kick you out of the hotel at that point.

Usually there is at least one security guard working at a hotel and if the hotel is smart they will send a security guard to escort you off the premises.

In some cases an actual police officer could be called, though.

If you get kicked out of your property, you will almost certainly not get a refund. (Hotels usually state that they are allowed to kick you out with no refund for certain reasons in the terms and conditions that you agree to.)

If you are on a multiple night stay and you get kicked out towards the beginning, you might be able to get away with a cancellation fee but I doubt the hotel is going to be very lenient with you considering the circumstances.

Finally, some hotels will not kick you out until you have a third noise complaint.

What kind of noises should you minimize?

The most common type of noise disturbance is just people being rambunctious such as when they are partying.

This would usually include loud laughter, shouts, music, and potentially people knocking things over, stomping, etc. There are also those people who run through the hallways….

It’s pretty much the worst for anyone staying in a hotel room near you so I would highly recommend that you avoid trying to throw (loud) parties in hotel rooms.

It’s one thing to pregame for a little bit but quite another to bring a large after party back to your room.

Loud TVs can also be a problem.

Sometimes the culprit simply does not realize how loud the TV is but I’ve definitely had neighboring rooms blasting the TV throughout the evening.

Another problem can be if someone has a loud alarm but they simply do not hear it.

And of course, the most awkward of situations, when people are engaged in loud love making.

Real examples of hotel quiet hours

During our research, we contacted a lot of different properties to see if they would divulge the quiet hours to us.

A lot of hotels chose not to do so but others were gracious enough to share them and we have listed them below. As you can tell, they usually begin from 9 PM to 11 PM. As for when the quiet hours end, most hotels did not state when the ended but you could assume that it is somewhere between 5 AM and 7 AM.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square WestAfter 10pm
Hampton Inn & Suites Los Angeles/HollywoodAfter 11pm
Palmer House a Hilton HotelAfter 10pm
Hyatt Centric Midtown 5th Avenue New YorkAfter 10pm
Park Hyatt New YorkAfter 10pm
Andaz West HollywoodAfter 10pm
Hyatt Place Chicago/Downtown-The LoopAfter 10pm
Hyatt Regency ChicagoAfter 9pm M-F; After 12am Sa-Su
Park Hyatt ChicagoAfter 10pm
Hyatt House Houston/GalleriaAfter 11pm
Hyatt Centric The WoodlandsAfter 11pm
Kimpton Hotel EventiAfter 11pm
voco Times Square South New YorkAfter 11pm
Kimpton Hotel Monaco ChicagoAfter 10pm
Crowne Plaza Chicago West LoopAfter 10pm
Kimpton Hotel Palomar PhoenixAfter 10pm
Staybridge Suites Phoenix – Biltmore AreaAfter 10pm
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Phoenix Dwtn – State CapitolAfter 10pm
The Ritz-Carlton, Los AngelesAfter 10pm
W HollywoodAfter 9pm
Renaissance Phoenix Downtown HotelAfter 10pm
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & SpaAfter 10pm
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Chicago O’Hare South, ILAfter 10pm
Wyndham Garden ChinatownAfter 10pm
TRYP by Wyndham New York City Times Square / MidtownAfter 9pm
Hotel Versey Days Inn by Wyndham ChicagoAfter 9pm

Final word

Some hotels have official quiet hours and they will share them with you while others either don’t have them or are not willing to share them.

Either way, whenever you are staying at a hotel you should be prepared to start shutting it down around 9 PM or 10 PM.

This is a good practice not just because hotels have rules in place but because it’s good to be considerate of other people sharing your walls or ceiling/floor.

Should You Avoid Looking Like a Tourist When Traveling?

The word “tourist” almost seems like a dirty word to some travelers.

“I’m a traveler, not a tourist” is a common meme that’s been around for a while.

But should you really spend time and energy trying to avoid looking like a tourist when traveling? Or is it really not that big of a deal?

In this article, I’ll give you some things to think about when it comes to being a tourist, including my top tips for blending in (when you need to).

Should you avoid looking like a tourist when traveling?

Not looking (or more importantly not acting) like a typical tourist can help you avoid appearing as an easy target for criminals and can prevent you from annoying or offending locals.

However, looking like a tourist is not always something to be avoided as long as you use common sense and develop good situational awareness. I’ll go into more detail below!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Why you don’t want to look like a tourist

There are a few key reasons why you don’t want to look like a tourist and I’ll dive into each of these below.

Personal safety

Perhaps the most important reason for avoiding the appearance of a tourist is to avoid getting assaulted or mugged.

If you look like the stereotypical tourist, local thieves may see you as someone who likely has money on them and is easy prey (i.e., oblivious to threats).

You can avoid scammers

Not everyone is out to get you in a violent way but in a lot of countries scammers will still hone in on tourists in order to scam them or take advantage of their ignorance/kindness.

For example, if you’re arriving at an airport or train terminal, scammers will look for people who look like out-of-towners and try to persuade them to book a ride with them while they charge them triple the standard price.

I’ve seen this in many places like Paris, Milan, etc., but there are lots of different taxi scams used around the globe.

In another situation, you might be approached by trained “beggars” who will not stop pestering you for money and won’t be afraid to make a scene.

In Cape Town, South Africa, we once were hounded by two teenagers who followed us for several blocks demanding that we give them money. No doubt, our tourist appearance made us targets.

You can induce the local rudeness

Some places may have reputations for being rude to tourists. For example, Paris doesn’t have a reputation for being the nicest place on the planet for tourists.

By flying under the tourist radar, you might get better treatment from locals.

Sometimes the rudeness is uncalled for but other times it happens for a reason.

Tourists (including US tourists) have a reputation of being obnoxious/disrespectful/entitled — you get the picture.

For example, tourists might be loud in inappropriate settings or disregard important local customs like showing too much skin.

For these situations, the real problem isn’t that you “look like a tourist” — it’s that you come off as disrespectful.

Tip: If you’re worried about locals being rude, learn some basics of their language and they will almost always be surprised and more willing to be friendly with you.

While changing for scuba diving in Dubai we were told to not expose our chests as it is taboo.

Why it doesn’t matter if you look like a tourist

At the end of the day a lot of times it really doesn’t matter if you look like a tourist.

Most people don’t care

Most people just don’t care about your visitor status.

As long as you are not impacting them in a negative way, they have no reason to give you a second look.

Easier to engage with locals

Some people will actually be happy that you decided to visit their home city.

Many locals will be interested in where you are from and might engage in some type of conversation with you.

I recall having one great conversation with a local man in Taiwan at Elephant Mountain — he was genuinely intrigued with what I was doing solo in Taiwan and super pleasant to talk with.

Being labeled as a tourist can also be a great way to get help or good recommendations on places to eat and visit. Strangers become concierges. You might even get a free beer out of it in places like Texas.

Common sense and awareness are what really matters

If you know how to deal with scammers, have common sense on how to identify sketchy areas/people, and basic awareness of local customs, then looking like a tourist is actually not a major concern.

Side note: Don’t skip out on tourist sites

Also, as an aside, I would recommend not skipping locations purely because they are “tourist spots.”

I’m like most people who try to steer clear of crowds but tourist spots are often tourist spots for a reason. They are usually very interesting sites with fascinating stories behind them.

Try not to get turned off by every tourist spot because you’ll end up missing out on some cool sites.

Don’t avoid tourist spots just because they are tourist spots.

Ways to avoid looking like a tourist

Ditch the DSLR camera

This is really a tough one for people like me who like to capture the scenery in the optimal way.

But one of the biggest giveaways that you are not a local is when you carry around a large DSLR.

Not only that, but you also look like you have money to a lot of people because they know those cameras are not cheap.

Some places like those in South America have a reputation for targeting tourists with fancy cameras so bringing them out can be a pretty risky move.

Smart phones now take such good photos that you often can get away with just relying on them for your memories.

And while your iPad may take good photos, taking photographs with an iPad (or selfie stick) is a pretty typical tourist move.

Me pictured with a tourist trifecta: DSLR w/strap, North Face jacket, and Texas A&M shirt.

Leave your vacation apparel at home (or the resort)

I get it, sometimes it’s just fun to dress up in vacation gear especially when heading to places like Hawaii or other tropical destinations.

Putting on that leisure attire (floral shirts, wide brim hats) is just yet another reminder that you are disconnected from your daily work load back at home.

But this type of clothing just screams: “I’m on vacation, have money to blow, and might be exercising poor judgment when I get tipsy later.”

It’s totally fine to rock these while hanging out at your all-inclusive resort but try to avoid this garb when venturing into town, especially on your own.

Man in vacation apparel
On a hotel balcony thinking about how my vacation apparel makes me a target out in the wild.

Make some style adjustments (within reason)

The other type of apparel to avoid is shirts or jackets with your country, state, or city’s name on it.

I love to rep Texas but I am well aware that when I do, I’m calling attention to myself pretty much whenever I am outside of the Lone Star State.

Sometimes that attention is welcomed but other times it would not be the best idea.

Also, consider that there are some types of clothing that are common in the US but stand out in other countries. For example, shorts and flip-flops can be tourist giveaways in a lot of places.

Another dead giveaway is whenever you don’t dress appropriately for the climate.

When I used to live in the Bay Area a lot of times it would be easy to spot out-of-towner’s because they were way under dressed for the cold weather.

You can try to fit in with the local attire by doing some research on the local style but that can be extremely hard to do and a waste of time and money.

Plus, no matter how much you go all out with the wardrobe sometimes you’re still just going to stand out….

Donning the local attire won’t always allow you to blend in.

Keep the backpacks small

Depending on where you are traveling, backpacks might be something a lot of locals wear, so they don’t always “out” you.

For example, we were recently exploring Washington DC and a lot of people wore backpacks on their commute. And when I used to commute into London a number of us locals wore backpacks on the train/London Tube.

But if you don’t look like you are heading to school or to work, chances are a backpack will mark you as a tourist, especially if it is on the larger side.

Move at the right pace and with purpose

Tourists often have a distinct way of moving that you can spot from a mile away, especially in cities like New York City, London, etc.

It’s usually because they are walking slower, looking up at the various sites, stopping for street performers, or pointing around at different things.

One of the easiest ways to not look like a tourist is to simply walk with a purpose and match the pace of other pedestrians.

Know where you are going and walk as if you have navigated this route 1,000X.

When we are exploring a place by foot I like to navigate by staying on one main road rather than zigzagging through other (potentially sketchy) roads even though that route might be faster according to Google Maps.

This makes it a lot easier to make your way through a city with a bit more purpose in your steps since you’re not checking your phone for directions every two seconds.

Obviously, if you are new to an area it’s good to take your time and admire the sites — that’s why you travel in the first place.

But when you are doing things like crossing a busy intersection or making your way through public transportation those are the times when you really want to try to look like you know what you’re doing.

Pick-up on local customs (quickly)

As an outsider you can’t be expected to know all the customs but certain things should be picked up on pretty quickly.

For example:

  • If everyone is standing on the right side of the escalator and passing on the left, don’t cluelessly stand on the left side.
  • If nobody walks in the bike lane, stay out of it when walking.
  • If people start crossing the crosswalk when no cars are coming, cross or get out the way.
  • If people let others out of the train first don’t go barging in when the doors open.

Picking up on these little things will go a long way. They’ll help you avoid frustrating locals by not getting in their way and will help you will look like less of a target for thieves.

Strategically access your map

If you need to pull out a map or look at your phone to see where you’re going, try to do it somewhere that is not in the middle of a busy public setting.

This will prevent you from disrupting the flow of traffic and reduce the odds of you getting approached by someone looking to take advantage of you.

I prefer to take a seat on a bench to figure out my next move or simply lean up against a wall somewhere that is not in the middle of a busy walkway.

If you’re riding public transportation, download the subway maps to your phone or take pictures of them so that you’re not constantly looking at the signs posted in the train or rail stations.

The idea is to just fade into the background so that to the average passerby you just look like someone texting or browsing social media instead of consulting a map.

Don’t always use an umbrella

Umbrellas can be a unique tourist identifier.

In some rainy/drizzly destinations like London a lot of people go without umbrellas and may just use waterproof coats.

That’s often because the rain does not last very long and because some of the walkways are very congested.

By popping up that umbrella in places like that you can instantly stand out as a tourist, especially if the logo of your hotel is on the umbrella.

Apply sunscreen

Tourists often get sunburned really fast while on vacation.

If you want to avoid getting spotted as a tourist apply some quality SPF to your face every day while out in the sun.

sun burned tourist

When you can’t avoid looking like a tourist

Sometimes you simply can’t avoid looking like a tourist or hide your tourist status very long.

For example, if you are a 6-foot plus white American traveling to Japan you will certainly stand out. There’s just no getting around it.

When you can’t help but to stand out like a tourist you can still take some measures to protect yourself.

Up your situational awareness

When you know you’re going to be sticking out as a tourist you need to up your situational awareness.

How do you do this?

Avoid walking through places that look even remotely suspect, get off the train if people look like they are up to no good, don’t drink too much, etc.

Don’t fight your instinct if it is telling you that you need to get out of a certain place or avoid certain people.

There is a major difference between being a “scared traveler” and a “naïve traveler.”

You don’t want to be the latter.

Sunglasses + cell phone = not getting bothered

If you’re walking through a narrow street where there are a lot of people pestering tourists or you have to cross through a market area where you know aggressive locals will try to hound you to buy something there is one trick that works amazingly well.

Put on your sunglasses and act like you’re talking on your cell phone.

These two things together act like a repellent to those locals who want to bother you.

The sunglasses help you to avoid eye contact and the cell phone acts as another barrier to get your attention that they won’t want to bother with.

You basically become one of the most difficult tourists to flag down and most swindlers will simply let you pass by.

Dress down

One of the most common mistakes people make is to not dress down properly.

Ditch the Louis Vuitton and other designer apparel that is flashy and calls attention to yourself.

For men, jeans and a plain (non-bright) t-shirt is often a good combo. In some countries, collard shirts or a button down shirts might be more fitting.

Don’t wear your wedding ring, fancy watch, or any other type of expensive accessory because all you are doing is calling attention to yourself.

You can leave those items in your hotel safe or simply hide them in your luggage somewhere in your hotel room.

A pretty low-key casual outfit (minus the watch).

Use a fake wallet

When you’re going to be out and about in an area where you suspect there may be criminal activity, consider carrying two wallets with you.

One wallet is your fake wallet which goes in your pocket and has a small amount of cash, an old ID, and perhaps a couple of old credit cards.

The idea is that if you are mugged you could hand this over with little to no financial consequence.

Meanwhile, you may have a smaller wallet hidden under your clothing or somewhere else on your body.

Do something a local would do

If you were a thief and you suspected two people of being from out of town but one pulled out a local newspaper on the train and started reading it who would you rather target?

When trying to blend in, you can do things like reading the local newspaper or other little acts that will send a signal to potential perpetrators that you’re not an outsider.

If you’re worried about someone talking to you in their foreign language put headphones in and most people won’t bother you.

Final word

Trying to avoid looking like a tourist for the sake of not looking like a tourist is not really that useful.

The main reasons why you would want to not look or act like a tourist is to avoid becoming an easy target for thieves and scammers and to ensure that you’re not offending or disrespecting locals.

There are a number of things you can do to make yourself fly under the radar but in some cases you will always stand out. In those situations, you just need to use heightened awareness and common sense and you will probably be okay.

Is It Wrong to Book ADA (Accessible) Hotel Rooms (If You Don’t Need Them)?

If you’ve done a lot of traveling then you probably have thought about booking an accessible room or maybe you have just been put in one without requesting it.

In those situations, you may have had mixed feelings about taking up an accessible hotel room if you don’t actually need any of its accessibility features

But is it really wrong of you to take up one of those rooms?

Let’s take a look below and breakdown major questions that people have about ADA rooms.

What is an accessible room?

An accessible room is a hotel room that is designed to cater to people with disabilities or other mobility issues such as those who may be in a wheelchair.

How different are the accessible hotel rooms?

Sometimes you might not even be able to tell the difference between an accessible hotel room and a standard hotel room.

But other times, the differences can be much more noticeable.

For starters, doorways are often much wider allowing for easy wheelchair access.

Often you will find a much larger bathroom with hand rails to help people get around the toilet area and into and out of the bath or shower.

They may even have a roll-in shower (that might allow water to spill out which can be one of the major complaints of accessible bathrooms).

The shower may also have a bench and different types of showerheads that can be more easily used by someone sitting in the shower.

It’s not uncommon to find emergency assistance buttons or cords in the bathroom, either.

Sometimes, the entire room may also be larger, almost empty feeling.

You may even notice some minor quirks around the room. For example, the rack for hanging up clothes in the closet could be much lower or the furniture could be spaced out in an odd way.

The rooms are often located closer to the central area of the hotel such as the lobby.

For example, if you’re staying somewhere like a lodge that has multiple cabins, the accessible cabins will probably require the shortest walk.

Other times they may be closer to the elevator or stairs for the quick access.

Because the rooms can be located closer to higher traffic areas, they can be noisier which is sometimes one of the major drawbacks of these rooms.

If the room is designed to cater to those with hearing impairments, you may notice things like flashing lights.

Accessible hotel bathroom

Why would someone book an ADA room?

People book ADA rooms because it helps them get around the room and hotel easier.

But as for people who don’t actually need the accessibility features….

Usually the reason why someone would book an ADA room when they don’t need it is because it is the only type of room left (and possibly the only one left they can afford).

If it’s between a standard ADA room or a presidential suite, most people will just go for the standard ADA room.

Another reason why some people will book an ADA room is because the room is showing a discounted rate.

The discounts may not always be that much but sometimes people will do what they can to save a few bucks.

And finally, some people may book these rooms because they like having more space. Some accessible rooms resemble something closer to a junior suite.

Why do people not want the accessible rooms?

Some people may not want to be put in an accessible hotel room for the reasons mentioned above that deal with being located in high traffic areas that can be noisy.

They also may not feel comfortable taking up an accessible room in the same way that they would not want to take up an accessible parking space or bathroom stall.

But a lot of people don’t like to be put in these rooms because they feel like there is some kind of stigma or something.

It’s as if they don’t want to be “associated” with being handicapped or reminded that one day they may be in need of extra assistance for their daily needs. The sight of walls lined with hand rails can be triggering for some.

And finally, some hotel guests may be worried that the room has some type of weird functionality that is less than ideal.

This actually can be true sometimes with the bathrooms because you may find some of the layouts to be a little bit problematic or even confusing.

For example, sometimes the shower heads could be tough to deal with for someone 6 feet tall and other times you may not have as much counter space.

It also doesn’t help that sometimes the front desk agent presents the accessible room as something that you would only choose as a last resort.

“We only have an accessible room available, is that going to be okay?”

* makes frowny face*

Tip: Always ask the front desk if there is something odd about the ADA room just in case something might present a problem.

Accessible hotel bathroom

Can you get put in an accessible room without booking one?

Yes, you can absolutely get put in an accessible room even when you did not book one.

In fact, this is happened to me many times.

Probably, too many to count.

You could potentially increase the odds of this happening by trying to get early check in but other times it can just be random.

Sometimes if you are booking something like a corporate rate the relationship that your employer has with the hotel could dictate if you get placed in an accessible room or not.

Also, if you were traveling with the family a front desk agent could feel like a larger accessible room will be a better accommodation for you and your kids so they may place you in it.

If a hotel ever offers me an accessible room, I usually ask to be put in a different type of room but sometimes that is the only available room so you sort of have to just accept it.

Here are some tips for dealing with this situation

If you’re wondering about how to go about booking and dealing with getting put in an accessible room, here are some tips.

Always avoid booking an accessible room if you don’t need it

Some people believe that you should never book an accessible room if you don’t need it.

The feeling is that if you prevent someone from having access to an accessible room that truly needs it, it’s just not a very kind thing to do.

I agree with this line of thinking although I know that I’ve been guilty of booking these rooms in the past when I was unable to find anything else.

In reality, the number of people who need an accessible room is probably not so high every night that those in need of an accessible room are denied accommodation.

But still, lots of people don’t like to chance this.

Book an accessible room but include a note that you don’t need it

Sometimes the only type of room that will be available is an accessible room.

If you really need to stay at the property, one option you have is to book that room but include a note that you do not need an accessible room.

The thinking here is that the hotel will be able to shuffle rooms around by the time check-in comes around and you will not have to stay in the accessible room because it can be given to someone else (perhaps someone who needs it).

You can leave a note when booking on the website a lot of times or you can send an email or call the hotel if you need to let them know that you don’t need accessible room.

Sort it out at check-in

If you book an accessible room and don’t need it you can often get this sorted out at check-in.

Simply let the person at the front desk know that you don’t need an accessible room and ask them if they can put you in a different room.

Related: 14 Ways to Avoid Getting Walked by a Hotel

Final word

Overall, I would try to avoid booking accessible rooms if you don’t need them because it’s risking taking up a room that someone may truly need during their trip.

If you do end up booking one, consider notifying the hotel that you will not need it and you might be able to get moved to a different room at check-in.

And if you happen to get put into an accessible room with no alternative, try not to worry too much about it because chances are it’s probably not that big of a deal.

Also, try not to waste energy worrying about any associated stigma with staying in those rooms because at the end of the day nobody really cares.

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