Passenger Rights

Don’t Tread on My Travelers’ Rights

In honor of Election Day in the United States, when people from all over the country celebrate our right to vote by going out and choosing our leaders, we present this (slightly irreverent) Travelers’ Bill of Rights.

1. Travel companies, whether tour operators, cruise lines, hotels or tourist boards, shall make no law prohibiting travel reviews, or abridging the freedom of travelers to tell others about their trips, good or bad.

2. A well-packed suitcase is necessary to the success of a trip; therefore, the right of the people to carry their (modestly sized) luggage onto an airplane without hindrance shall not be infringed.

3. No travelers shall, if they have paid a fair amount, be quartered in any hotel room that is plagued by bed bugs.

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4. The right of travelers to be secure in their person, papers and belongings, against pickpockets and thieves in public places, shall not be violated. And no law keeper shall maintain, upon a traveler reporting a crime, a blame-the-victim attitude.

5. No tourist shall be compelled to wear a silly outfit or act foolish while visiting any attraction or on any tour, nor shall any traveler be subject to street vendors loudly trying to push their wares on them.

6. At all tourist attractions, the visitor shall enjoy the right to a speedy entrance, and to be informed up front of all the charges and fees associated with the site and related experiences.

7. On tours, where the size of the group exceeds 20 people, the right to separate from the group if they are annoying shall be preserved, and no traveler may force his or her presence upon another during meals without the specific consent of the diner.

8. Excessive walking shall not be required, nor shall uninformative lectures from bored tour guides reciting names and dates be inflicted.

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9. The powers delegated to travel companies, including any rules and regulations, shall not infringe on the basic human rights of travelers such as working toilets and clean drinking water.

10. The enumeration in the Bill of Rights, of these rights, shall not be construed to deny other rights retained by travelers.

— written by Dori Saltzman

By Sarah Schlichter

Deputy Executive Editor Sarah Schlichter's idea of a perfect trip includes spotting exotic animals, hiking through pristine landscapes, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, and soaking up as much art as she can. She often attempts to recreate recipes from her international travels after she gets home (which has twice resulted in accidental kitchen fires—no humans or animals were harmed).

Sarah joined the SmarterTravel team in 2017 after more than a decade at the helm of Sarah's practical travel advice has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Budget Travel, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A journal. Even years later, reading my notes from a trip can bring back incredibly vivid memories."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Road tripping and hiking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia."

Travel Motto: "'To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.'—Freya Stark"

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle. I get restless on long flights and like to be able to move around without disturbing anyone else."

Email Sarah at

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