Travel Tips: Sharing Hotel Rooms

To close out my “travel etiquette mini series” I am shifting my focus from air travel to the hotel. Whether you are on a trip with friends, traveling for work, or visiting family, it is likely you will be sharing a hotel room with others. So, how do you get through a few days with a new found roommate?

  1. Be courteous of your roommate’s sleeping habits
    • If you tend to stay up late, but your roommate goes to sleep early:
      • Keep the lights low and the noise level even lower.
      • If you like to read before bed, I suggest bringing a small clip-on reading lamp. Kudos to those hotels who now have the mini light next to the bed!
      • If you are someone who watches TV to fall asleep, be sure to watch it on your laptop/tablet/iPad using headphones.
      • Put your phone on vibrate/silent.
    • If you tend to wake up early, but your roommate sleeps in later:
      • Put aside your outfit and toiletries the night before so you are not making noise as you rummage through your bag in the morning.
      • Set your alarm with a “peaceful” ringtone at a reasonable volume, and when it goes off, be sure to wake up rather than hit snooze repeatedly.
      • Once you are awake, avoid turning on the lights in the main room. If you need assistance finding your way around, simply use the light on your phone.
      • When using the bathroom, ensure you close the door all the way before turning on the light.
      • If you exit the room, close the door gently.
  2. Share the bathroom
    • It is perfectly fine to leave your toiletries in the bathroom; however, do not take over the entire counter or leave your things messy. Keep your things to one side/corner.
    • Ensure you both have enough time to get ready. Most hotels have a mirror outside the bathroom so for those of us who need to put on makeup or fix our hair, use that area instead of hogging of the bathroom.
    • Ask before claiming the hotel toiletries for yourself. If you both need them, simply call the front desk or housekeeping and ask for additional items.
    • In regards to cleanliness, ensure you rinse out the sink, flush the toilet, and clean up any hairs that may have strayed from brushing or shaving.
  3. Be aware of your own habits
    • Do you snore at night? If so, bring some earplugs for your roommate. If your snoring is truly bad, you will want to let your roommate know ahead of time.
    • Do you sleep in the freezing cold or prefer to be warm and toasty? Compromise on a temperature for the room and bring pajamas that can be versatile for any temperature.
    • Do you use products with a heavy smell? You may be used to them after every day use, but remember you are in a small space. Try not to go overboard on products and fragrances.

We are all creatures of habit and when we travel, our habits become more apparent to us. Ensure you are being a courteous roommate and do not takeover as if the space is your own.

Safe travels y’all!

AB

The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Travel

Welcome to part two of my Travel Etiquette Mini Series. In my job I travel quite a bit and all my trips start and end the same way… at the airport. In part one I discussed my tips and tricks for airport etiquette, but what about actually being on the plane? Here are my thoughts on how we can all be courteous while we travel:

  1. Open seating. It is totally up to you!
    • If you are traveling with other people who have a boarding number after your own, true travel etiquette is to give up your earlier boarding position and join your travel partner at his/her boarding position. However, if you do board ahead and want to try to save a seat, simply place a coat, purse, or small bag in the seat you hope to save:
      • If someone asks for the seat, kindly say, “I was hoping to save this for my friend/spouse/parent, do you mind looking for another seat?” Normally, people will be understanding especially if there are still plenty of seats left, but do keep in mind it is not your right to save that seat.
      • If the airplane is filling up and the flight attendant has started making announcements to “take any open seat you see,” it is time to give up your seat saving mission. You do not want to be the person who delayed your flight because you forced others to play musical chairs until your travel partner got on the plane.
    • If you see someone traveling with an individual who needs assistance (i.e. a parent and younger child or someone with a disability), but they cannot find a seat together and you have an open seat next to you… Do the right thing and offer your seat to them.
  2. Stowing Your Carry-On Items
    • Place your bag above your own seat. Do not take up the storage space above another row unless your space is full and the flight attendant directs this.
    • If you need to move someone’s bag a little in order to fit your’s in the overhead bin, ask the person, “Do you mind if I scoot your bag over a bit?” Most people will not have a problem, it is simply polite to ask in case they have something fragile in their bag or are traveling with hanging garments (gowns, suits, etc.).
    • If the flight attendant says your bag will not fit, chances are it really will not. Allow the flight attendant to place your bag in another overhead bin. It is not worth holding up the line of people behind you and potentially delaying your flight because you tried to play Tetris with the bags in the overhead bin.
    • Always offer assistance to someone you see struggling to get their bag in the overhead bin.
  3. Be a Good “Seat Mate”
    • You cannot go wrong by starting off your trip with a simple smile and saying “hello” to the person you will be seated next to for several hours.
    • If you have a middle or window seat and need to get up to stretch your legs or use the restroom, be sure to politely ask the individuals closer to the aisle if they will please move for you.
    • When standing up, do not grab the seat in front of you. This often pulls that individual’s seat backwards and can be quite disruptive.
    • Who gets the arm rest? True travel etiquette indicates the person in the middle seat gets both arm rests while the people in the outside seats get those arm rests. In a row with only two seats? Share the middle armrest.
    • We all like to travel in comfort, but do not get too comfortable!
      • Keep your shoes on. You may think you do not have feet that smell, but it is very possible that you do. Also, some people just do not like feet.
      • If you want to take a nap, be cognizant of your surroundings. Try your very best not to lean on the person next to you. Travel Tip: Use a neck pillow, it helps to prevent the lean!
      • Do not bring foods on the plane that have heavy odors. For example, a tuna packet probably is not the best thing to crack open mid flight.
      • Keep the volume on your headphones low. Your seat mate very likely does not want to hear what you are listening to especially if he/she is trying to nap, read, or do work.
      • Avoid getting drunk and making your seat mate feel uncomfortable.
      • Check before you recline! Ensure the person behind you is not getting something from under your seat or using the tray table. If they are, simply say, “Excuse me, I’m going to recline my chair, I just want to let you know.” This will avoid you bumping him/her, accidentally spilling a drink, or even potentially breaking an open laptop.
  4. Be Courteous to the Flight Attendants
    • Pay attention to the flight attendants when they give the safety instructions. Yes, they are often the same on every flight, but they really are important to know.
    • Listen when they tell you it is time to turn off electronics or stop using certain ones. Side note: Always be sure your devices are in airplane mode!
    • When the flight attendant brings you a snack or asks for your drink order, always say “please” and “thank you.”
  5. De-Planing
    • We all know the mad rush to get out of your seats as soon as the “Fasten Seat-belt” light turns off, but remember you are in a small area, there really is not a lot of space for you to move. Let the people ahead of you have the room they need to get out of their seats and retrieve their bags from the overhead bin.
    • If you have a short connection time to your next flight, ask the flight attendant during the flight if it would be possible for you to get off the plane before others. Due to a delay on one of flights, there was a passenger who had a very short amount of time to get to his connection. When we landed and were taxiing to the gate, the flight attendant said, “We have a passenger on board who needs to exit quickly to make a short connection. Please allow this person through the aisle before we begin regular de-planing.” If asked this on one of your flights, be kind and follow the request to help the other person.
    • If there is someone who needs special assistance exiting the plane, allow them to go first.
    • Thank the flight crew on your way off the plane.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you find yourself on a plane!

Safe travels y’all!

AB

Travel Tips: Airport Etiquette

Over the last year, I have found myself spending a lot of time in airports and on planes. These opportunities for travel have not only been fun, but also taught me an awful lot about travel etiquette. With all I have learned, I decided to write a “travel mini-series” to share my experience!

  1. Be prepared for the security line. We know it is coming… The moment you have to go through the metal detector/body scanner, so why not be ready for it? Often times, the security lines can be long leaving us to stand there with nothing to do. Rather than using our phones to distract us and strolling along until we reach the scanner, let’s use this time to start preparing for the security check.
    • Throw away your beverage/empty your water bottle.
    • Remove your coat, sweater, scarf, etc. and hold it while you walk.
    • Take off your heavy jewelry, watch, and belt.
      • Personally, I leave a small jewelry bag in my purse or carry-on when I travel so when I get to security I can put all my things in that little bag and secure it in my own carry-on instead of using the small tray security provides. Also, this allows me to go straight from security to my gate without having to stop to put everything back on, I can do it at my gate instead. Travel Tip: A small Ziploc bag works just as well!
    • Have your ID and boarding pass out to hand it to the TSA Agent right away.
    • If you are traveling with a laptop/tablet, put it in an easily accessible place so you can take it out quickly for the security scan.
    • When you get to the scanner, do not rush the people in front of you. Be patient and wait to place your things on the scanner belt.
    • Once you have cleared the scanner, pick up your things and step aside. In most airports, they have benches very close to security so you can put all your belongings away and accessories back on you.
  2. The Walk (sometimes run) to your gate… When walking in the terminal, follow the same rules as the road. Stay to the far right if you are casually walking to your gate so you can leave the inside “lanes” open for those in a rush to get to their gate or moving at a faster pace.
  3. Do Not Hog the Plug! You know which one I mean… The incredibly coveted electrical plug to charge your phone, iPad/tablet, laptop, etc.
    • First and foremost, be sure to charge your electronics before leaving home. This will prevent you from having to search the terminal for an electrical outlet or charging station.
    • If you need to charge your phone/electronics before your flight, use any free plug you can find or wait patiently for one to become available. If you have to wait, stand near the charging station and wait your turn. Do not stare down all the people currently using the charging station hoping someone will give up.
    • When using the plug/charging station, make your best effort to not use the electronic device you are charging unless it is an emergency or absolutely necessary. If other people are waiting, using your device while it charges only makes the process take longer. Be considerate of the others in line.
    • Use one plug and one plug only! If there are people waiting, do not plug-in your personal phone, work phone, iPad/tablet, and laptop all at the same time. NOTE: If you have a plug that turns into an extension and has 4 plug-ins then this is OK.
    • Travel Tip: If you have a plug that works as an extender and you are not using all of the extra outlets, offer it to other people! Kudos to these people for being friendly travelers and genuinely kind!
    • If people are waiting, you do not need to charge your phone to 100%. Get your battery to a decent level then let the next person use the plug.
  4. Waiting In Line to Board Your Flight
    • Whether you are on a flight with an already designated seat or getting in line based on boarding groups to pick your own seat, we all have to wait in line to get on the plane. When you get in line, be sure not to crowd the people ahead of you, try to squeeze your way to the front, or complain if you end up towards the end of the line.
    • When traveling in a group you would like to sit with but you do not have boarding numbers close to one another, true travel etiquette dictates you get in line with the individual who has the later boarding number.

What travel etiquette do’s and don’ts have you witnessed? Are there travel situations you do not know how to navigate? Let me know!

With these new tips, I hope you will be an even more polite and considerate traveler!

Safe travels y’all!

AB

Happy Birthday, America! 🇺🇸

It is no secret I am a big fan of birthdays and celebrating them! To say the 4th of July is one of my favorite days of the year is an understatement! As someone who grew up in a military family and spent several years working with the military, I show off my American spirit whenever I get the chance. 🇺🇸 So let’s just say, I am more than ready for this birthday party!

As we celebrate our freedom and our country, be sure to sparkle in all the right ways! One standout way to do this is to honor and respect the flag 🇺🇸 Here are my tips on how to do so:

  • Fly the flag all day! Be sure to keep a light on Old Glory when the sun goes down.
    • NOTE: If you are hanging the flag rather than flying it, ensure you display it correctly. Here’s how:

  • Attending a parade, event, or sporting event? When Old Glory passes you, place your hand over your heart and remove any headgear (unless being worn for medical or religious reasons).
  • While it may add to the festiveness of your party, I suggest not using place-mats, table cloths, plates, or napkins that have the American flag on them as a decorative piece. Even though it is not technically a real flag, eating off the flag and the act of wiping your mouth or using the flag to clean your hands is disrespectful.
    • NOTE: A design of stars and stripes is great, I am referring to the actual American flag printed on a serving piece and napkins.
  • A little known fact is that Old Glory “should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” Rather than wearing the flag, a design of stars and stripes is more appropriate.
    • NOTE: I realize patriotic apparel is trendy in pop culture and will likely continue to be so I encourage you to be thoughtful in your outfit choices. If you do choose to wear apparel displaying the flag, ensure it is displayed in full not draped across you, tattered, or distressed in any way.
  • For even more in-depth (and fast-paced) information on flag protocol, watch this video and refer to this valuable flag protocol information.

Last, but certainly not least, remember and thank the service members who have fought for and are currently serving to protect our freedoms.

Happy Independence Day, y’all! 🇺🇸

AB

Editorial Note: This is a revised version of a previous post. For more tips on celebrating Independence Day, see another original post!

The Plus One

It’s official, your friend/family member/colleague is getting married and you know you are getting an invitation! Inevitably, you begin to wonder, “Will I get a plus one? Who should I bring?” After all, weddings are fun and who does not want to have a date to bring out on the dance floor? It is definitely something we are all guilty of, but before we get ahead of ourselves, there are things to consider.

For most couples, the guest list is difficult to put together and even more difficult to cut down. Between big families and a lifetime of friendships made, there are a lot of people to consider and of course, a budget to follow. With the cost of weddings today, many couples are opting to not give their single friends a “plus one.” In the couple’s defense, it is their wedding day and they should have the people that mean the most to them there. As much as I hate to say it, that likely does not include your special someone who they still have not met or barely know.

With that in mind, how do you know if you have a plus one? Well, if the invitation is addressed to:

  • Your Name + Another Name (i.e. Ms. Mary Smith and Mr. Bob Jones): This clearly states you are invited with your significant other and that individual is your plus one. If your co-invitee is unable to attend this does not mean you should invite someone else in his/her place. As noted, the invitation is specifically for the two of you. Along the same lines, if you are invited to an event this way and you and your co-invitee end your relationship, you should not invite someone else in his/her place. (For a related scenario and how to deal with it, read my previous post)
  • Your Name + Guest (i.e. Ms. Mary Smith and Guest): Woohoo, you have a plus one and your guest is up to you! In that vein, think carefully about who you invite. Typically, the “and Guest” is for you to bring a date/significant other. I advise against using this plus one to bring another friend who knows the couples, but did not make the invite list. For whatever reason, that individual was not given his/her own invitation and that decision is for the couple to make. If you do not have someone you want to invite as a date, it is perfectly acceptable to R.s.v.p. for yourself only. Think of it this way, if you do not bring a plus one, you are giving the couple the opportunity to invite someone else they wanted to include, but were not able to under the current budget or venue capacity.
  • Your Name (i.e. Ms. Mary Smith): This invitation is solely meant for you. In this case, it is never appropriate to R.s.v.p. and add a guest or contact the couple and ask to bring a guest/plus one. The couple has made their list and you should respect their wishes. Again, these decisions are majorly driven by budget and venue capacity. Weddings are stressful enough and you adding surprises to the guest list is an unneeded complication for the couple to tackle, not to mention pay for when it may not be something they cannot afford.

Overall, I urge you to remember, this is not about you. If you are single and you do not get a plus one, it is not to make you feel bad. Who knows, maybe there is a large group of singles attending and you will be placed at an awesome table with fun people! So, dive head first into celebrating the couple. Attempt to push aside all the inevitable feels you get about being single and have fun with the friends/family you know who are also attending! Look in the mirror, smile, and remember you are crushing it in your own right even if that does not include a relationship at the moment!

Cheers y’all!

AB

Set It Up, Minus the Netflix Ending

How many of you have been on a date setup by friends? You know, the ones that typically start with your friend saying, “I know someone I think you will like, you two should go out!” Probably a lot of people (me included), but how many people have gone on one of those dates and had it actually work out leading to more dates or even a relationship? (Also, 🙋). I truly hope for everyone who has experienced this success they are now in wonderful relationships! For those of you in the less successful crowd (do not worry, I also join you there, more than once actually.. 😳🤦‍♀️😂), what do you do when you have been setup by friends and it does not turn out successful?

For this, there are a few scenarios… If it was just one date and you do not hit it off, it is a pretty easy situation to handle (see my suggestion in an earlier post) and when handled correctly, everything should be fine! BUT what if the date went great and you actually started seeing each other, doing things with the friends who introduced you, introducing him/her to your other friends, etc. and then things go south? Well…

  • How do you tell the friends who introduced you? It is more than likely one of you knows the friend(s) better than the other. If this is the case, the individual who knows the friend(s) better should be the one to let them know. And yes, you should let them know. It may not be easy to talk about a breakup, and you can even say you prefer not to get into the details, but it is better for your friend to hear it from you rather than word of mouth, social media, etc.
  • Who “gets custody” of the friends? (let’s be real, having humor is the only way to get through these things) This can become a bit of a sticky situation, but my thoughts on this are in line with who should tell your friends about the relationship ending… Whoever came into the relationship with the friendships gets to keep them on the exit. This can be hard to come to terms with because you may have developed friendships on your own aside from the person who introduced you, but the last thing you want to do is put a friend in the middle. If you have formed a good friendship with your ex’s friend(s), I suggest letting the friend(s) reach out to you. If the friend initiates continuing the friendship, then I think it is fair game. One caveat to this – leave your ex out of it, in all ways. Bad mouthing your ex, or even going into personal details of him/her/the relationship, to your mutual friend(s) only leaves you in a poor light and potentially puts the friend(s) in the middle. If you do not think you can handle being friends with the same people without talking about your ex, you may want to reconsider.
  • What about future plans already made? This is where it really gets tough. If you had plans to attend a friend’s (one your ex “won custody of”) gathering together, I highly recommend gracefully backing out. Depending on how close you became with this person, you can send a card with your well wishes but I suggest leaving it at that. Similarly, if you had invited your ex to an upcoming family function, wedding, etc., it is perfectly acceptable to reach out and change your R.s.v.p. You do not have to give details about what happened, you can simply say “_____ is no longer able to attend. I apologize for the inconvenience, but appreciate you making the change.”

So, there you have it. This is never fun, but it happens so it is best to handle things with grace. Keep your head up and definitely keep dating.

Cheers y’all!

AB

Mother’s Day: Simple Ways to Say “Thanks Mom!”

Next weekend we celebrate one of the most important holidays, Mother’s Day. I think it is safe to say, we all owe a lot to our moms (and to those women who acted like and watched over us like a mom). On Mother’s Day, be sure that special woman knows how much she is appreciated! Here are some ideas for simple ways to say thank you!

  1. Make a Statement, Write it Down
    • No texts or emails and not just a phone call. Find a beautiful card, or make one, with a sentiment that expresses your gratitude. If your mom is someone who appreciates the little things, having this card to keep will mean the world to her.
  2. For All She Has Done and Still Does, Give Back
    • Growing up, we all know our moms have given a lot to help us; now it is our turn to give back. Find something your mom does and do it alongside her.
      • If your mom volunteers, take the time to go volunteer with her.
      • Does she always do everything to get dinner ready? Help her out in the kitchen and jump in on the cooking.
      • Is mom always keeping the house tidy? Treat her to some extra help around the house or pay for a house cleaning.
      • Do you have other siblings? Jump in and takeover helping them for the day/weekend.
  3. Give a Meaningful Gift, Small or Large
    • A great keepsake and simple gift to put together is a photo album. Collect photos of you and your mom throughout the years, put them in an album, and write down your favorite memories.
    • Do you have a favorite memory or an “inside joke” with your mom? Find a small trinket that commemorates that!
    • Send your mom to get pampered (whatever that means to her) and let her enjoy the day.
    • Has your mom had her eye on a certain something, but will not spend the money on herself? Splurge for her!
  4. Spend Quality Time with Your Mom!
    • If you can give nothing, give of yourself. Amidst our busy lives, we often forget to plan time with those most important to us. Sometimes, we even take them for granted.
      • No plans this weekend? Hop in the car and drive home to see your mom!
      • Plan a meal your whole family can attend. This is especially meaningful if your family lives in different areas. Pick one weekend to gather everyone in the same place!
      • If you are a daughter, plan a “Girls’ Day!” Go out for lunch and a movie. Plan a trip to the spa. Go do or see something the two of you have been talking about for a while. The ideas are endless!
  5. Most Importantly – Give Your Mom a Hug and Tell Her You Love Her!

To all the moms out there, especially my own, THANK YOU! In celebration of the wonderful women in all our lives, here is one of my favorite sentiments:

Photo Credit: Mothers Who Know

Photo Credit: Mothers Who Know

Cheers y’all!

AB