This article, "The thoughtful traveler: Etiquette tips for international travel," made me recall a TED Talk back in 2014 by Aziz Abu Sarah, "For more tolerance, we need more...tourism?" Sarah is a Palestinian activist who advocates tourism as an unusual approach to peacekeeping. His premise is that simple interactions with people in different cultures can erode decades of bad feelings or untrue stereotypes. He points out that travel breaks down the walls that separate people.
Having the opportunity to travel for business (both domestically within the U.S. and internationally to locations all over the world) over the past 18 years has been one of the most life-changing elements of working at Plus Relocation. I have been changed by those experiences of going to places like China, Singapore, Japan, Canada, England, Scotland, Romania, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and many other countries. I have met and connected with so many amazing people (you know who you are) that have opened doors physically and figuratively for me. The vast majority of interactions with people as you travel internationally remind you that people, when face to face, are extremely interesting, surprisingly caring and generously helpful. Occasionally, you do bump into someone not fitting that description but after every trip I return home feeling more connected to the world, feeling energized by the new learnings and connections and wanting to plan the next trip.
And, while there is no question that we travelers are changed by travel experiences, as we venture off into the world, we have an opportunity to make a difference for someone else too. The opportunity to be an ambassador of Plus, of Minnesota, of the U.S. does come with the responsibility of being a respectful and considerate traveler and certainly leads one to feeling more like a true global citizen. Hopefully, along the way, someone out there learned something about the world that they didn't know before I showed up.
This article provides some key tips to travelers that might actually make the world a better place. Following these "pay it forward" tips might improve your travel karma or just make you feel good about being a traveling role model and a positive global citizen.
It starts before you board the plane If you’ve ever counted the seats at the gate, you’ll have noticed there are fewer seats there than on the plane. Being aware of your surroundings helps you notice that another passenger could sit if you moved your carry-on onto the floor rather than taking up an empty seat. And, waiting to stand until your zone is called helps keep congestion and jostling down for all parties. Be fair in the air Do you really need to recline? On a long, overseas journey, maybe. But only if you are trying to sleep. Check behind you before reclining so you don’t spill someone’s beverage or slam their laptop cover down on their fingers. And remember, it’s one armrest per person. Look for the one that contains the media outlets, because that one is yours. When it’s time to deplane, allow the people who are seated in front of you get off first and be patient while they wrestle with their items.