What Makes A Good Traveller: 22 Rules You Need To Follow

cory Lake Balaton

Traveling the world means expanding your horizon and learning new things. Traveling the world can make you a better person. You can very quickly become aware of what is important in life and establish new priorities. I believe that being a good traveller means educating yourself and building your character.

Becoming a real traveller takes time and it's in itself a learning curve. I'm sure at least once you had a bad experience on a plane, or you dealt with a person who treated you badly. It’s all part of being a traveller and it’s not always just pink and flowers. But Gandhi once said: "Be the change you want to see in the world", and this is exactly what I'm telling you today, to follow this list of simple rules and become the outstanding traveller you want everyone else to be. Together, as travellers, we are a community, a family, and we should teach and learn from each other.

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Speak quietly

When you are in a public place, make sure to keep your voice to a conversational level. Don’t be too loud as you might disturb others around you. A good traveller is an educated traveller.

Respect other peoples’ space

Don't get into someone's personal space. Many people mind if they can feel your breath on the back of their neck when they queue somewhere. This also applies when you ask for directions or want to have a conversation. Always keep a reasonable distance.

Respect your elders

Be patient with the elderly, respect and listen to them. They have more life experience, they are the wiser ones. Ask them questions, learn from them. Please be patient if they can't climb the stairs or can't leave the plane as quickly as you want them to.

Know when to recline your seat on a plane

This can cause a lot of stress! It's impossible for the person behind you to eat if you have your chair reclined. If the lights on the aeroplane are on, just put your chair in its upright position. We all thank you.

Cory Budapest House of Parliament

Don’t grab someone’s chair in front of you

Use the armrests to aid yourself, not the chair in front of you. That passenger might have just fallen asleep and you are waking them up. It’s not nice.

Don’t bang
 on that chair

The passenger in front of you is trying to relax, read or catch some sleep. Just don't bang on the back of their chair. This also applies to your children, stop them from banging on other people's chairs.

Respect other people’s privacy

People need their space and privacy. If someone reads a book or watches a movie, it's rude to lean over to check what they are doing.

Be polite

A smile, a 'please' and a 'thank you' can take you a long way. People always appreciate when someone talks nicely to them and you have more chances of getting your problem solved. Screaming at someone will only make them angry and unwilling to listen to you.

Szigligeti Castle Hungary

Respect other cultures

When visiting a country make sure to learn about their customs. Familiarise yourself with the Dos and Don'ts and act accordingly. Don't ever assume you can get away with things just become you are from a different country.

Read more about what I learned about the Japanese customs and manners.

Always come prepared

Don't rely on others when travelling. Bring medicine, take out travel insurance, have several bank cards and be prepared for all possibilities. Don't think you can always rely on the governments, police or other public institutions as some countries have high levels of corruption. Check the Foreign Travel Advice website and learn how to prepare accordingly.

Keep an open mind

Don't shy away from new experiences and try to keep an open mind. Try to learn new things, be inquisitive and ask questions. Travelling the world means becoming more culturally enriched, making memories and not just acquiring tons of photos.

Respect other people’s right to enjoy an attraction

You are not the only traveller around wishing to see, touch or photograph an attraction. I'm not saying you should always rush around, but you should always be considerate towards others. When there is a queue, don't just stand in front of a statue and take 50 pictures with different members of the family.

Cory Nelson Sunset

Don’t expect everyone to speak your language

Let's say you are visiting Japan but no one really speaks English. Should you get angry? Of course not! You are a guest in a different country, you are the one who should know the basics of that language and make an effort to integrate. Good travellers should never expect others to bend their ways around them.

Be patient

Don't huff and puff behind another person. If you really can't wait, just nicely communicate your issue. Are you waiting in a queue and afraid you might miss your plane? Just ask the people in front for consideration. Making angry sounds behind a person will only slow them down and make them feel awkward. Above all? They probably don't even understand what they are doing wrong.

Cover your mouth if you are ill

ALWAYS! Please don't cough in my face, nor sneeze in my drink. Just cover your mouth! No exceptions, EVER!


Don’t push and pull others

Just because you push someone in front of you, the queue won't move any faster. If you have a problem, communicate it nicely.

Don’t force your way in

Stop pushing in. Everyone else is waiting patiently for their turn. You should too.

Clean after yourself

ALWAYS! Please pick up your rubbish and find a bin. If you are sharing a room in a hostel or apartment, please clean after yourself and be considerate. If you are smoking, drinking or eating in nature, please don't leave your rubbish around. Come on, you know it's that easy.

Look after your children

Here is a scenario for you: You saved for years to afford an awesome holiday and on your way there the only thing you can hear is a child screaming for hours on end. Would you like that? Of course not! The thing is, nobody does. Please be a good traveller and look after your children. Don't allow them to scream, bang, cry or be loud. You might think making funny noises is cute, but the rest of us don't. Just be considerate.

Cory Old Town Barcelona Spain

Step aside, don’t stop in the middle

Do you want to take a nice picture or an awesome selfie? Want to have a conversation with someone you just stumbled across? Step aside and don't stop in the middle.

Respect other country's laws and rules

If you see a massive no entry sign, don't go in. If you see a 'no photo' zone, put your camera away. If the flight attendant tells you to get your chairs upright, do so. Rules and laws are in place for everyone's comfort and benefit. When not respecting the rules, you are a bad traveller, and nobody likes a bad traveller.

The golden rule

The rule is simple: if it bothers you, chances are it will bother everyone else too. To be a great traveller you just need to use common sense. Always ask yourself: Would it bother me if someone else would do it? If the answer is yes, please reconsider.

Did you memorise all of them? Brilliant, you are now on the right track to become a good traveller. Did I miss something? What do you think makes a good traveller? Let me know in the comment section below.

Cory Varga - You Could Travel Author

Cory Varga - Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she's obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


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