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Spring Break Travel Tips

Traveling this Spring? Avoid the Stress with Lizzie Post’s Travel Tips

With spring break just around the corner, planes, trains and America’s highways will be more crowded. Sometimes, the road to rest and relaxation is paved with flaring tempers! Not to worry! I have etiquette advice to ease the stress and keep travelers' tempers in check.

crowded white sand beach with crystal blue ocean water

Keep Your Stress Levels Low

There are easy ways to overcome your own inclination to be rude or brusque when travel stress gets to you.

Try these three simple steps to avoiding airport stress:

  1. Eat something: I know I’m more prone to stress and snippiness if I haven’t eaten.
  2. Take a deep breath and remember you’re not alone: everyone has to go through security, everyone has a plane or train to catch.
  3. Smile and don’t gripe. The more you smile, the more others around you will feel calm. Seeing other calm people is infectious.

Solutions for Common Travel Situations

Situation: Clunky carry on bags.

Solution: With baggage fees on the rise, carry on luggage is multiplying like bunnies. Simplify! Either choose an airline like Jet Blue or Southwest where your first checked bag is free, or check out your credit card benefits; many cards offer credits toward baggage fees on your airline of choice.

Situation: Reclining your airplane seat.

Solution: Be considerate when reclining your seat. On a four hour flight, it’s fine if you recline for an hour or two, but give the person behind you a break and put your seat up for a while.

Situation: Declining a seat swap request.

Solution: “I’m sorry, I’d prefer to stay in my seat.” That’s all you need to say, just leave it at that.

Situation: You need to charge your laptop and there’s not a power source to be found.

Solution: Power outlets at airports are more popular than Kim Kardashian's Twitter feed. When you're traveling, you always have at least one mobile device in need of a charge. Come on people! Don't hog the power outlets. Charge your device, then move on. Share the plug if there's more than one outlet. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to share the plug. Just say, “Excuse me, may I plug in?”

Situation: Misbehaving child screaming and kicking my seat on the airplane.Solution: If the parent is trying to control the child, cut them some slack, but if they aren’t doing anything, here are three solutions:

  1. Do what you can to block the noise – I love my Bose noise cancelling headphones for exactly this reason!
  2. If you’re not comfortable addressing the parent directly, you can ask a flight attendant for assistance.
  3. If you can do it in a polite way, ask the parent to speak to the child. Try this: "I'm not sure if you noticed, but your daughter is kicking the back of my seat. Could you please ask her to stop? Thanks."

Situation: Maintaining privacy in close quarters with a nosy neighbor.

Solution: Install a laptop or cell phone privacy filter, such as one made by 3M. They range from $50-70 and prevent anyone from viewing your screen. This alleviates you from having to worry about private documents or text conversations.

Situation: You’re in the car with a friend (she’s driving) and she starts texting or talking on phone.

Solution: Safety first! Offer to take over the task for her. Also, double check your mobile services – you might have a talk to text feature which would make the situation safer.

Situation: Radio/music disagreements on the road.

Solution: Plan ahead of time who will be the DJ and how much authority they have; set time limits and rules before hitting the road. With technology today you can do amazing things. Stream Pandora – a music service that allows you pick a song or artist and then it chooses similar artists and songs to play – it’s like your own personal radio station.