Kick back, relax, and unwind this summer; you’ve earned it. Going casual, however, doesn’t mean you should relax your standards of gracious etiquette—even if you’re vacationing close to home due to today’s high cost of travel.
What’s summer without time spent at the beach? Unfortunately, unless you’re on an exotic island, a thousand other people will have had the same idea as you.
Don’t crowd other beachgoers with your towel, umbrella, and gear; they deserve their space. This includes their aural space, so minimize the volume as you listen to music. Better yet, use earbuds. Likewise, respect their air; nothing ruins a beach breeze faster than cigarette or vape smoke.
If you’re up for a rousing game of volleyball or tackle football, set up well away from tanners. Have a word with the kids, because lifeguards don’t appreciate any games that involve the word “Help!”
Lastly, when you’re done for the day, take a moment to see which direction the wind is blowing before accidentally shaking out your towel over other beachgoers.
At the Airbnb
Vacation rentals through home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb are cozier, homier, and often cheaper than a hotel. They’re a great way to travel with children, particularly when a hotel room may not have enough beds. But remember that while you’re getting an authentic local experience, you’re also a temporary part of a community.
Loud family reunions and birthday parties aren’t acceptable. Respect all noise curfews. If a listing is marked “no children under 12” or “no pets,” don’t think that your wonderful kids or pooches are the exception. No unregistered guests are allowed, ever.
Never eat or drink in the bedrooms; keep meals in the dining area. If you break something, report it to the property manager or owner immediately.
Happy Hotel Guests
Summer should be casual, but not overly so, particularly at the hotel pool. Wear pool shoes (i.e., flip-flops) on the way to and from the pool area; bare feet inside aren’t acceptable. Watch your own children, even if there’s a lifeguard. Letting them swim during early morning or late afternoon hours not only is respectful to other guests, but may also allow them to have the pool to themselves.
Don’t place a towel, magazine, or bag down to claim chairs if you aren’t going to immediately use them. As on the beach, mind your music; earbuds are best. While the resort will refresh your towel as often as you like, tell the pool boy that you’ll use it all day, unless, of course, it gets soaking wet. Ask at the front desk before you invite any guests.
Road Trip 101
In addition to being courteous to fellow drivers, be considerate of those in the car with you. Encourage them to use the bathroom every time you stop, to avoid asking for unscheduled stops later. Don’t hog the radio or bring enough playlists for the entire trip, unless everyone shares your music taste. Sing only if everyone wants to.
If you’re in the front passenger seat, assist the driver with navigation, and open a bottle of water for them as needed. Most importantly, stay awake during the drive to keep the driver company, unless you’re napping for your turn at the wheel.
If you have the opportunity to journey to new lands this summer, indulge—but don’t be inadvertently offensive in your enthusiasm to experience and photograph every detail.
Give people their personal space. In the United States, we often greet each other with physical contact, but that may not be acceptable behavior everywhere. Also, keep hand gestures such as “OK” to a minimum, unless you know exactly what they mean (in France, it means “zero” or having no value). While many countries are taking on more of a Western mindset, research their attire before you go to avoid what may be perceived as offensive clothing.
All this said, we should be practicing these same courtesies—mindful photos, respect for personal space, dressing appropriately, and so on—when traveling in our home country as well.