Don’t be a nightmare traveller

Travelling, it’s all fun and games until you get stuck next to the passenger from hell.

Don’t be a nightmare traveller

Travelling, it’s all fun and games until you get stuck next to the passenger from Hell. You know them all too well – dressed like ordinary travellers – they come in all forms, popping up when you least expect it and often when your patience is running low.

Sharing space with a nightmare fellow passenger is an experience you would rather forget and one that often leads to more arrival drinks than planned, to erase the unpleasant memories imparted by your unwanted companion.

So how can you avoid being THAT person yourself when travelling? Follow our five tips to avoid being the traveller everyone prays not to end up stuck next to.

1. Dress appropriately
It may seem obvious to you but if you’ve been to an airport lately you probably would have witnessed at least one offensive outfit, most likely in the form of a singlet so sloppy it no longer seems to serve a purpose, or a pair of cut off shorts so small they could be mistaken for a denim belt. 

In what should not be a news flash, your fellow passengers do not wish to know you this well and would prefer not to spend extended waiting periods confronted by the ins and outs of your body.

2. Volume control
Travelling, by its nature, involves prolonged periods of waiting, often spent in close proximity to a large amount of other people. This situation is made worse when one of your ‘fellow’ travellers is shouting into their phone/computer/ iPad or quite possibly at their friend next to them.

Avoid death stares and being everyone’s most hated passenger by finding a quiet place to discuss your private life, the stock exchange, etc. Or, if you must do so in close quarters, at least conduct the communication at a level that won’t deafen everyone around you – not too mention, the person on the other end of the line.

3. PDAs are not ok
We get it. You’re in love. Or lust. Or whatever. It’s sweet and we don’t begrudge you your happiness, we just don’t wish to see it shoved in our faces when we can’t escape.

Just yesterday I was waiting, with 100 of my nearest and dearest, to disembark a ferry in Naples. Exhausted after what had already been a long day and journey so far, the couple next to me decided this would be the perfect time to start kissing. Not only was this possibly the worst time for declarations of undying love, they also happened to be approximately five centimetres from my face.

So save us all and leave the PDAs for behind closed doors. Or when your loved one walks out of the international arrivals doors. We’ll turn a blind eye to those displays!

4. Spatial awareness goes a long way
Personal space is precious, especially when travelling. Unfortunately the two are often mutually exclusive events. Between trying to negotiate getting around with all your bags to queuing, and of course sitting for hours on end in the crammed conditions that are buses, planes, car and trains.

Travelling is challenging enough without being bashed by someone’s bag, trodden on or pushed out the way. Have some patience and respect for those around you and allow them their breathing space. Pushing people won’t make a queue move faster but it may earn you a well-deserved worst enemy very quickly

5. Consideration is not dead
Chivalry may be dead but kind consideration will always be cool. There’s a very simple saying when it comes to being considerate; treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s not difficult to think about all the things you don’t appreciate your fellow travellers doing or, on the positive side, the actions you do appreciate them doing. Following the theory people in glasshouses shouldn’t throw rocks, take time to consider things from your travel companion’s point of view and you’ll be making fast friends in no time.

Pro tip: wearing strong deodorant also helps.

Join in the conversation below. What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had with other passengers travel etiquette, or lack thereof?


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    3rd Oct 2015
    Unfortunately, when travelling alone and in cattle-class it is not possible to have a seating strategy to avoid being seated beside or being hemmed in by an obese passenger. The best option is to always avoid the middle and window seats (yes, forego the view) and pre-book an aisle seat. Beauty of the aisle seat is that you only get 'blubbered' on one side and after the seat belt sign is turned off you can easily ask the flight attendant if you can move to a vacant seat, if available.
    3rd Oct 2015
    My dear wife had the misfortune of sitting next to an extremely obese man on a flight from Denver to Frankfurt earlier in the year. It was not so much the blubber hanging over the seat which got to her but rather the profuse sweating and heat. Made for a very uncomfortable trip. We were assigned to different seats on this flight so had to feel for her.
    3rd Oct 2015
    Unfortunately in the aisle you get groins pushed in your face by passengers stowing luggage in overhead lockers or sweaty backsides at shoulder level when disembarking, not to mention having to put up with being climbed over by the window and centre seat passengers.
    I prefer the window seat occupied early with the elbows extended.
    3rd Oct 2015
    Planes seem to be a story on their own and some travellers are definitely on the nose with their own needs whilst they push, elbow and trample over other passengers.
    Had a very interesting flight 3 years ago where my wife and I had gotten on to our flight and were seated. A contingent of Chinese travellers boarded after us (the 'new' rich!) and the younger woman proceeded to tell us that her father had the window seat my wife was sitting in. He didn't and we stood (sat?) our ground. Strike 1. The father then sat next to me (on my seat belt) and of course I could not do up. No amount of communicating made any difference as the man sat there with soic indifference. I finally had to reaf the seat belt out from under him. Strike 2. On arriving this contingent got up, stood in the aisle, had a conversation and ignored requests from us and other passengers who wanted to get off (the aisle in front of this group was empty. My wife and I managed to get up with our ski boot bags and on the way out my wife swung around with the bag on her back and sent the Chinese woman (who was in the aisle bending over doing something) flying all over their seats. A belly buster methinks. To this I lost it and let out a great cheer whilst my dear wife (ever the politically correct angel) was totally embarrassed.
    As I always say.......there is a God. A funny story though.
    3rd Oct 2015
    good one Mick, chinese seem to be in a world of their own, they may be the new rich but the manners and public behaviour have not caught on yet; just shove them out the way if all else fails.
    3rd Oct 2015
    I choose the aisle seat for a different reason. I can lean out and get my nose as far as possible from the person next to me. This was after being seated next to a young man who had obviously been backpacking somewhere rough and wanted to prove it by not washing (for a month I expect). He proudly man-spread and the poor girl on the window seat looked as if she was about to break the glass to avoid suffocation. Perhaps airport sniffer dogs should be used on backpackers prior to passengers boarding.
    3rd Oct 2015
    Avoid flying Frontier Airlines in the US. This is a the Tiger equivalent in the US and is used for workers heading off to work. Definitely need a clothes peg with this carrier.
    3rd Oct 2015
    Funny Sue but most of what you describe only happens IN AUSTRALIA. We have never had a problem overseas. Maybe that is just luck but even overseas I see the ugly younger generation behaving badly. It is embarrassing to be an Australian when this happens and when with (overseas) friends we have to apologise for our fellow countrymen. Australia has a bad bad reputation overseas. Says something about how we bring our children up and what the rest of us find 'acceptable' in both the education system and justice system. Both have failed us and politicians find it too difficult to fix and look the other way whilst many of our youth behave like animals in public.
    Maybe I am getting too old!
    3rd Oct 2015
    Never hade problems in the air - but certainly did have on a cruise around New Zealand a few years ago. My husband used a wheelchair and thus needed to use the lifts to get from cabin to dining room etc. Every day at rush hour times the mostly-abled-bodied passengers pushed forward and rushed into each lift as it arrived, leaving us waiting time after time until there were more free lifts than passengers - so very rude. When on my own I was more than happy to use the stairs (helping to exercise and off-load all those calories from the extra food) but I rarely saw other passengers using the stairs. Not good for them, and certainly not considerate of those who have no choice but to use the lifts.
    5th Oct 2015
    Dancer, this doesn't only happen on overseas cruise ships, but on the Spirit of Tasmania, too. Especially when you have people going to the top, staying in the lift just to go to the floor below, or even down to the garage decks. So very rude!
    3rd Oct 2015
    Keep your shoes on especially if you have sweaty, smelly feet. Not a pleasant trip.
    16th Apr 2016
    What is a "Death stare"?
    16th Apr 2016
    Wow Maggie you have 6 months of Your Life Choices to catch up on. Death Stare, derived from the clause, 'If looks could kill, you would be dead.'

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