This might spark much debate, but whether we acknowledge them or not, there are a few unspoken rules to travel. I mean, if you’re going to come in contact with hundreds, if not thousands of people throughout your transit, take some time to learn to be a pleasant one.


1. Check your #seatprivilege. Both center armrests are for the middle-seater.


Both. Los dos. It’s happened before. Not only are you seated on a plane between two strangers with limited personal space and lacking views, but now you’ve also got to “enjoy” your flight with your elbows wedged into your sides just to accommodate the people on both sides of you.


No, sir. No, ma’am.


To you aisle-seaters who have room to stretch your legs and you window-seaters with the premiere, sky high views, we middle-seaters are reclaiming our [armrests]. And if you’re wondering next time why you’re having to go one armrest less, consider it a consolation or even a common courtesy for those in the middle being stuck in a less than ideal situation. And the truth is, some of us (like myself) just aren’t ‘arm assertive.’ Meaning we often yeild to the passengers on either side as a signal of humility, but we gotta stop that. Tell your neighbor to check their seat privilege (nicely). They need to learn to give up your extra comfort for someone else’s basic one.


2. If you’re gonna travel sick, come prepared.


It’s inevitable. You book a trip months in advance, then right before your voyage your sinuses stage a coup and you’re stuck having to fight congestion in your chest and the airports. I know because I’ve been there. How-be-ever, if you must travel sick, protect others!


Say it with me: Hand sanitizer. Disinfectant wipes. Vitamin C.


I know it seems a bit dramatic, but after getting sick three times within two months of heavy travel I seriously considered purchasing a mask. Instead, I opted to start preparing my body a week before my trips by taking vitamins and hydrating properly. I also start packing supplements like vitamin-C powder and turmeric (with black pepper) to add to my water or juice while on the plane. Whatever you’ve got to do to minimize your impact is not just a kind gesture, but a humane responsibility. (You should also be prepared for the side eyes that will be given every time you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.)


3. Take personal hygiene personally…


It should be apart of your every day life anyway, but take into account that travel can cause stress, stress can cause perspiration/ sweating and stress sweat can be a bit more “intense” than the normal kinds of sweat. This can cause a bit of frustration to those around you to say the least. I’ve been there before too (the frustrated passenger that is). There’s usually someone on your plane that barely makes the closing gate after jetting across the airport during a tight layover. That’s definitely been me and I’ve been so thankful for that extra swipe (or two) of antiperspirant to keep my fellow flightees happy. If you’re going to be in a similar boat of hectic travel, a few extra steps in your daily routine (more about this later) will come in handy specifically with inevitable delays or tight connections and long layovers.


4. …but PLEASE tone down the perfume/cologne.


I get it. I also just said it in #3. Personal hygiene is king (or queen), and we all want you to stay fresh. Once that boarding gate shuts, however, a silent timer begins on how soon the people around you begin to see if other seats are available. Since there is very little in-flight circulation in air crafts, be courteous of the space you’re sharing with your fellow cabin mates. Avoid perfumes and/or sprays and instead opt for scented oils (or dry oils if you have oily skin) after you shower. These absorb into the skin and provide freshness (and fight the funk) at the source instead of sitting on top of the skin like lotions or on top of your clothing like colognes and perfumes. It’s really simple guys.


Follow the Golden [Travel] Rule: Be the traveler you’d want to travel with.


Written by Coresa Nancy Hogan. 

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