Travel etiquette: Sharing is caring, at least during travel

In business travel we talk a lot about the importance of personal space, and while it may seem odd, sharing is a big surge protectorpart of that. If everyone on a business trip (or any kind of trip, really) would share the way they are supposed to I think we all would have better travel experiences.  Alas, travel etiquette isn’t always followed and this doesn’t always happen.  To help bring awareness here are my top four places where sharing is super important.

Outlets.  If you are on a business trip and have more than one device to charge do your fellow travelers a favor and use a Mini Travel Surge Protector.  It is not only a more courteous way to charge multiple devices, but if there is only one outlet available to begin with it may be the only way to charge multiple devices.  If you happen to have an extra plug available and see someone in need, do them a favor and offer to let them plug in to your surge protector.  I’ve done this often at conferences–it’s a good way to make friends!  Otherwise don’t use more than one plug at a time.  We all need to charge stuff, so sacrifice one of your devices so that someone else can plug in. 

Hotel common areas. All too often when I’m at a hotel on a business trip I see the lobby being taken over by just a few people.  Normally there is plenty of room for a dozen or so people to comfortably work in the lobby, but some people feel the need to spread everything out like it’s their hotel room—briefcase on one chair, papers on another, with a computer on yet one more. If business travelers can learn to share the lobby area it can be a great place for a lot of work to get done, while avoiding having a bunch of people cooped up in their hotel rooms.

Overhead Bins. If you ever board late, or watch others board late, you know that this can be a challenging time to find overhead bin space.  The problem is often not the number of bags but instead how the bags are placed in the overhead bin.  Placing  your (not oversized) carryon properly is the biggest single thing you can do to make sure the most passengers can fit their bags in the overhead bin. It can be slightly confusing, because on some aircraft the bags have to go in wheels first, on some they have to be handle first, and on a few planes they can only fit sideways. (In the past, I’ve always had a hard time getting my bag to fit wheels first on Southwest planes, so I’ve had to put it sideways.  However, on a recent flight I was able to make it work. So I guess it really depends on the plane.) On some planes, i.e. the Super 80s that American uses so much, the bags will only fit on the D-E-F side. The most important thing is to listen to the flight attendants! If you fly all the time, you probably know on any given plane how your bag will fit. But if you don’t fly as much, or you’re on an unfamiliar aircraft, pay attention. The overhead bins are shared space. So do your best to share!!  If you need help selecting carryon luggage that will fit airline regulations, check out our suitcase page for assistance.

Gate area seats. A place where I really wish more sharing went on is gate area seating. It never fails when I arrive to the gate area close to boarding time (which I do on a regular basis) half the would-be open seats are taken up by passengers’ luggage.   It’s not necessarily me that I’m worried about the seating for, but more for people in need like older people, pregnant women, etc. It’s frustrating to see these people standing when it’s not necessary. So friends, share that seat next to you with a fellow passenger, not your luggage. That luggage will be just fine in front of your own seat!

Readers, where do you wish travelers would be better at sharing? 

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