For sanity’s sake, always keep headphones with you when you travel

a close up of a white earbudsOn a recent trip I was reminded that no matter what I need to make sure I always have my headphones. It’s necessary for my sanity.

I had just boarded my plane and gotten settled. Perusing my email, I occasionally glanced up at the line of passengers slowly shuffling past. It wasn’t too exciting other than the occasional inadvertent smack on the arm from a passing carry-on. An email had come up that I actually had to pay full attention to, so at first the music didn’t really register. But it kept getting louder and louder, and I heard the guy next to me mutter, “Turn off your phone, dude!” I thought it was a phone ringtone until the guy walked past me, like no big deal, with his phone hooked onto his belt playing his music at full volume.

I saw people nearby looking around trying to figure out where the sounds came from, and rolling their eyes once they figured it out. As the guy passed behind me I was relieved that he wasn’t seated close to my row….until the music started getting louder again as he headed back our way. He ended up sitting a couple of rows back so it wasn’t too loud, but we could hear it until he turned it off right before we pushed back from the gate.

In my opinion if you’re in a public indoor place, you should have your headphones in when listening to music. Outdoors it really depends, but indoors, and especially on confined spaces like airplanes, you just need to keep your noises–music, games, movies, phone conversations–to yourself as much as possible.

Alas, since we can’t control the actions of others, this situation is just another reminder to always have your own headphones! That way if there are loud people nearby you can block them out (mostly).

Readers, have you ever experienced someone listening to loud music or a movie without headphones while flying?


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  1. Same for all those idiots who are always saying things like babies shouldn’t be allowed to fly. It’s 2018. if you don’t have Pair of noise cancelling headphones when you travel that’s your problem. don’t blame the baby!

  2. I left my headphones on the charging station at home when I headed out Monday morning so I had to buy a pair in the airport. There is no way I’m getting on a flight without something to drown out the noise!

  3. In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of people playing games on their phones in restaurants where the noise was really loud.

  4. This happens on the subway in NYC and drives me nuts. I always exit the car at the next stop and move to another car. I can only guess they weren’t brought up right because why else would one be so inconsiderate of others?

  5. The most grating thing for me is people who use FaceTime in public places. Just use headphones (with a microphone). This is particularly true while waiting in the gate area, when I usually don’t wear headphones so I can hear boarding announcements. But I also see lots of people using FaceTime in restaurants which drives me bonkers.

  6. 1 – I was once on a Miami-Boston flight and a child of around three in the row in front of mine was playing with an electronic game on a laptop with the volume turned up.

    2 – When I asked the adult female with the child to mute the sound or to make the child use headphones, the adult replied “What am I supposed to do, take the laptop from her?”

    3 – D*mn inconsiderate people.

  7. Thanks for sharing this.I am travel freak, travel a lot. One thing I always make sure that I have my headphones. It’s necessary for my sanity. People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

    This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing!
    “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you!

  8. It’s extremely annoying and also rude I think to watch movies, listen to music or play games with the sound on for all to hear. Showing a lack of empathy I’d say. But as you say, it’s really hard to make people do what you want, so the path of least resistance is definitely to make sure to have one’s own headphones and some offline music åprepared to create your own calm bubble.

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