When it comes to traveling with kids, good etiquette goes a long way, says Mia Ljungberg Nevado.
Pardon me. May I give you a few tips on travel etiquette? In 1948, socialite Millicent Fenwick wrote Vogue’s Book of Etiquette, and 70 years later, her book is more relevant than ever. Etiquette classes are popping up everywhere — for grown-ups and kids, too. The fact is, good manners empower you no matter your age, and a simple “hello” when you’re traveling goes a long way.
I asked some leading experts in the etiquette eld to share advice that can be helpful for your next trip. New York’s legendary Plaza Hotel launched a program in 2016 with Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, and it has attracted people of all ages from far and wide. “Travel manners are incredibly important, because they show respect to those around us,” says etiquette master Meier. “Anytime we are on an airplane or train, we should think of others and how our actions a ect them.”
That means that as parents, we must help our children to respect others, and preparation is key. “It’s important that parents speak to their children about what will be expected of them during the travel period,” Meier says. “I always recommend rewarding good behavior to encourage more of it.”
At the iconic members-only club Doubles in New York City, Marion Piro has been hosting her Manners Matter Most classes for over 20 years. “You have to see bad manners, hear them and feel them to appreciate how bad they can be,” Piro says. “When someone else behaves badly in the airport, restaurant or hotel, let the bad behavior become an etiquette lesson for your kids.” Another piece of Piro advice: “Teach your child to be an ambassador for your country.”
In East Hampton, a tony vacation town outside New York City, I sent my sons John John and BoBo to see what they could learn from Dale Ellen Le , founder and president of the Le Etiquette Edge. Le ’s classes often take place in her home, where kids are welcomed by a speaking parrot. “Teach the children a few foreign words to use on the trip,” Le suggests. “Being able to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language where you are going can open many doors.”
Of course, manners classes are helpful, but in the end, it really comes down to us as parents — how we behave and how we interact with others we meet when on the go. Children are natural mimics, so if you have good manners on your travels, you’ll inspire your kids to have good manners, too.
Mia’s Top Travel Tips
Make sure your kids are well rested
Tired children will forget all manners.
Arrive at the airport early…
so you can relax and eat. Stressed, hungry kids don’t think about good behavior.
A sugar-high child on a plane? No fun.
Wear nice but comfy clothes
Dressing up inspires children to behave better
Bring toys with little or no noise
Sticker books, Model Magic and Legos won’t disturb others. Bring headphones for games or music.
Teach your kids to look people in the eye and smile.