Travel Travel Tips

A Tetchy Traveller’s Top Tips

So you may have gathered by now that I like travelling. A lot. But there are lots of things that can make even the calmest person a bit tetchy when travelling, no matter how long or short your haul. If you have a tendency to switch to ‘tourist brain‘ the minute you step outside your house, then this list is aimed at you.  If I can convert just one person to change their habits, my work here is done.


Stay out the way of the boarding gate until your row is boarding. Milling around next to the desk is not going to get you on faster and just frustrates folk who are trying to get past – not to mention the crew announcing the boarding procedure, who you’re clearly not listening to. It’s not a race and you’re not going to miss your flight. Calm the fudge down.


Backpacks and rucksacks are super useful, but not when you’re in a crowded space not looking where or who you’re bashing. Play nice and employ a little backpack etiquette when you’re moving around people. Or put it on your front – you may feel and look very stupid, but at least it’s no longer anyone else’s responsibility to play dodge the bag.


C’mon people, the liquids rule was introduced about a decade ago and yet every time I go through security I’m behind people who have massive bottles of alcohol, perfume, suncream or bath soak in their bags.  You’d think I could make an exception if you haven’t travelled for over 10 years, but even then there are masses of signs telling you what to do!  Get with it and prepare for security (or you don’t have the right to get narky with the nice security person when they take it off you). Remember: no bigger than 100ml, containers must fit comfortably in ONE plastic bag (20cm x 20xm) and you must show it at security. Bosh.  Why not do everyone a favour and familiarise yourself with the full rules.

Moving along

This one applies mostly to trains and tubes during rush hour. Why-oh-why-oh-why-oh-why-oh-why are people not just able to move along into the carriage, even if they are getting off at the next stop. Guess what? So am I but I’m left standing on the b*stard platform because you’re blocking the door! Here’s an idea; move along where there’s space, let people in and, I know it’s a bit crazy, but say “excuse me” when you need to get off! Wow.

Overhead lockers

I was recently told by a fellow passenger “you can’t put your bag in the overhead locker, as it’ll squash my laptop”. I’m sorry, what?!  If you have something fragile then perhaps you should have made some special arrangements for it or, if your brain power permits, hang on until everyone has put their stuff in and let your precious cargo squash everyone else’s cabin bags.  I also overheard a passenger (man 1) telling another passenger (man 2) to put take his bag out of the locker and put it under the seat in front, so man 1 could put his bag in the locker instead. What the actual..?

Personal Space

Respect your seat neighbour’s personal space. On a recent flight to the US, Mr Southsea Wanderer had an unnaturally hairy man next to him, who insisted on rubbing his upper arm against his and reading Mr SW’s book over his shoulder, making comments on the content. Luckily he is less tetchy than me and managed not to explode over the 10 hours. Keep yourself to yourself and no one will get hurt.


Just because you’re a bit stressed out or tired from the process that is travelling, it doesn’t mean you’re excused if you take a holiday from your manners. I might get tetchy but I am always polite. The nice people working for airports, airlines, train companies etc. all deserve please and thank yous for making your journey as hassle-free as possible.


We’ve all seen the recent uproar about the new devices that you can get to stop the seat in front of you reclining – let me tell you where I stand on this. I am totally for reclining and I’ll probably get a lot of backlash for this. My reasoning is this: You pay for a seat, not a space. You also do not know what condition the person in front of you is in – perhaps they have back issues, perhaps they haven’t slept for the last 48 hours due to some drama or other, perhaps they travel for a living and this is their only chance to rest. Or they just deserve a comfortable chuffing journey! I get it – reclining isn’t fun for tall people and when the seat is so jerky you spill your complimentary vino – but take that up with the airline and not the passenger that’s paid for the thing they’re sitting in.

Grabbing Seatbacks

I’m pretty sure most of you are able to stand up unaided, using the power of your legs. They why, WHY, do you suddenly need to start levering yourself up using the seat in front of you just because you’re travelling on a bus, train or a plane? My seat; jolting me out of whatever restful state I took ages to reach. You’ve got arm rests, use them.


Do you really think I want to move your discarded trolley out the way so I get to the check in desk? No. You went and got it, so you should put it back where it goes. Or at the very least, leave it to the side and not in everyone’s way. I bet you’re the sort of person who leaves your pants on the floor for your mother to put away, aren’t you?

Wheeled cases

We all love a wheely case but some people don’t know how to handle them properly. Top tip: don’t drag them behind you without paying attention to what it’s hitting, rolling over or who’s way it’s getting in. And if you’re going to suddenly stop, spare a thought for those walking behind you. See Backpacks above: think about a bit of case management and respect for others.

X-ray trays

Please do not give me tray rage; just return your security tray like the nice sign tells you to.


 What do you hate about travelling? Leave your top tips for other travellers in the comments below…

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  • Reply
    3rd May 2015 at 7:53 am

    Totally empathise with all of these! Made me chuckle – thank you!

  • Reply
    3rd May 2015 at 7:10 pm

    How about single or pairs of people on trains who take up a 6 seat area with their bags and act like you’re being rude when you try to sit in the same area

  • Reply
    3rd May 2015 at 9:27 pm

    You forgot the people who believe standing directly in front of the baggage carousel will make their bags come faster. Who cares that no one else can see which bags are coming or that you’re probably going to get smacked with (my) suitcase when I have to pick it up. No no.. as long as you can spot your bag first, all is well with the world. If everyone took a big step back, it would help us all out at the end of a long journey when all you want to do is go home!

    • Reply
      Lou Nev
      3rd May 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Oh my goodness Alyssa, how did I miss this one – totally irritating, I agree! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    20th August 2018 at 2:01 pm

    If I had to pick one politeness would be the lucky winner. I’ve seen a lot of unnecessary conflicts between flight crew and passengers escalate only because people were rude – and I’m referring to both sides. Being nice should be a given!

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