There are essentially six signs that you’re a classy traveler. Classy ladies and gentlemen adhere to these important guidelines all over the world. They travel from England, China, Argentina, Russia. And, despite some ugly stereotypes, I sincerely believe a good number of Americans travel with this type of respect and dignity. Check the list, and see how you compare!
1. You tip generously.
In this day and age, there’s little reason to tip under 20%. Unless the service was truly sub par (and not just the server forgetting a lemon wedge for your lemonade), tip well.
As a former server myself, I experienced a lot of gratitude toward people who took care of me. I remember people like Carl, the aging workaholic who would give a few extra dollars because I refilled his coffee often. It’s a classy move, and if you can afford to travel, you can afford the gratuity. If you truly cannot, consider street food, packing lunches, ordering less expensive items, or sacrificing that second glass of vino.
2. You research some basic customs and etiquette before arriving at your destination.
The classy traveler knows that shoulders should be covered in most cathedrals.
The classy traveler knows that in some Arab and Asian countries, it’s rude to point your foot at someone.
Part of what makes traveling great is the consciousness you build after being exposed to other societies. It also requires a little pregaming in the consciousness department. A little research goes a long way in excursions. Know how to act, and the people will (usually) respect you for it.
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3. The hotel room isn’t trashed.
My wife takes this seriously. Yes, you are paying for a housekeeping service. This doesn’t warrant a free pass for leaving a pig sty though. Not only is it courteous to the staff, it is helpful to other guests as well. We had to wait almost two extra hours for our room because a family left the place in disarray. Don’t be that guy.
Some specific tips:
- Use the trash bin.
- If it gets full, call management.
- Don’t flush your pants down the toilet.
- Save the blowing of snot-rockets for the woods.
- Wine goes in the mouth.
- Anything rotting should be tied in a bag immediately and taken outside the building.
- Don’t conceal vomit. Be a big boy/girl and ask for help.
- Dogs that can handle their s— (no pun intended) are ok. Cats are another story.
5. You keep your shoes on.
This specifically applies to planes, trains, and automobiles. Even if you had a pedicure last week, keep those metatarsals to yourself. If you haven’t washed your feet since packing, definitely keep that funk contained.
I spoke to a flight attendant close to me, and she revealed some of the in-flight atrocities she’s seen. She spoke of the minor offenses, like people walking barefoot to the lavatory as if it were their own home. But more disgustingly, she spoke of jamokes setting their feet up on the armrest in front of them. This is not classy.
6. You have at least one black-tie affair on the itinerary.
You don’t have to wear an Armani suit or dress like Sophia Loren every day of your trip to breathe class. But it’s good to have at least one chance to look elegant. Even after you take the dress socks off, you’ll likely remain in a sagacious mindset.
Also, don’t take this as “I need to spend a lot of money on formal wear and spend a lot of money on an expensive restaurant.” Adapt. If you’re low on cash, who says you can’t wear a tie on a picnic? Who says a tie from Goodwill isn’t formal?
Another note: this is not a point of condescension. There are more reasons to embrace sophistication than there are excuses for disposing your own pride. I want everybody in this world to feel good. We all owe it to ourselves!
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