These Are the Worst Travel Habits, Ranked


Traveling can be both rewarding and stressful. It is rewarding to have the opportunity to cross borders and oceans, but stressful to deal with multiple aggravating factors that can end your sanity.  

For some, traveling is an integral aspect of their lives. Still, bad manners and unhygienic travel habits are among the frustrating factors that can make long flights and hotel stays significantly challenging. 

Expedia’s 2018 Airplane and Hotel Etiquette Study results summarize the common travel behaviors that interrupt an enjoyable travel experience. The study surveyed over 18,000 people from 23 countries about their biggest behavioral pet peeves when traveling and how they cope with these situations. Based on the results, the top three factors that annoy people most are seat kickers, barefoot passengers, and obnoxiously chatty or loud travelers.

Photo by UNSPLASH.

In addition to delayed flights and overbooked airplanes, these are the worst offenders in the air:

  1. The Seat Kicker/Bumper/Grabber (51%)
  2. The Aromatic Passenger (43%)
  3. Inattentive Parents (39%)
  4. Personal Space Violators (34%)
  5. Audio Insensitive (29%)
  6. Queue Jumper (18%)
  7. Pungent Foodies (14%)
  8. Baggage Mishandler (13%)
  9. Armrest Hog (13%)
  10. Airplane Mode Violator (11%)
  11. Security Newbie (9%)

On top of these “superlatives,” 90 percent of American travelers reported a preference for sleeping to talking to other passengers, while 77 percent confessed they dreaded sitting next to a chatty passenger.

Photo by UNSPLASH.
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An airline passenger incident that attracted global attention earlier this year was when an overweight passenger flying Taiwanese airline EVA Air forced an all-female cabin crew to undress him in the lavatory, then clean him after using the toilet. Taiwan and other parts of Asia were appalled by this man’s behavior during a 14-hour journey after a flight attendant and some passengers posted the incident on social media.

In terms of hotel rooms and other accommodations, travelers from across the globe agree that unsanitary surroundings are the main reason they request to switch rooms. The worst reports have been for discoveries like cigarette smoke or foul smells, and 82 percent of Americans admit their worst hotel room encounter would be bedbugs and dirty surroundings. 

As for the top ranking accommodation violators, here are the top 10:

  1. The Inattentive Parents (45%)
  2. The Hallway Hellraisers (41%)
  3. The In-Room Revelers (41%)
  4. The Complainers (29%)
  5. The Party-goers (27%)
  6. The Bar Boozer (27%)
  7. The Bickerers (20%)
  8. The Loudly Amorous (19%)
  9. The Hot Tub Canoodlers (11%)
  10. The Elevator Chatterbox (5%)



Other than airplane and hotel transgressions, an extreme example of improper travel etiquette is demonstrated by the recent controversy involving a British family of 12 on vacation in New Zealand. From dumping chips onto someone else’s beach blanket to leaving their motel room with a stench, their behavior was deemed so unruly that locals were left to track and document their every move on social media as a means of warning the public on their latest antics. This family encapsulated the don’ts for every tourist in a foreign country, to the point where the family’s behavior heightened the Kiwis’ anxieties about the expanding overseas tourism.

With the costs of travel becoming more affordable these days, more people are given the opportunity to travel. This increases the chances of bumping into passengers exhibiting behaviors listed above. Misdemeanors like the two incidents cited above epitomize the challenges that go hand-in-hand with traveling. This will also serve a reminder not to commit those travel mistakes yourself.

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